How Amazon Cloned a Neighborhood to Test Its Delivery Robots

In March, Matt Bratlien saw something odd in the spacious suburb of Silver Firs, north of Seattle. A six-wheeled robot with the Amazon Prime logo on its sky-blue carapace was driving up and down the sidewalks and curbs, watched by a company representative. “I was surprised, excited, and very curious,” says Bratlien, a partner at Net-Tech, an IT services company in nearby Bellevue. Bratlien had encountered Scout, a delivery robot Amazon is testing in the area, including by ferrying real …

The Cypherpunks Tapping Bitcoin via Ham Radio

Every six hours, at his home in the high desert outside Kingman, Arizona, midway between Phoenix and Las Vegas, Brian Goss downloads the latest blocks from the bitcoin blockchain via satellite. He receives the transmission through a dish he installed this January; it arrives with messages, too—tweets, blogs, odes to Satoshi—sent by bitcoiners around the world. Goss rebroadcasts them from a radio device perched on his roof, in case the neighbors care to tune in. There’s nothing wrong with Goss’ …

Facebooks Libra Reveals Silicon Valleys Naked Ambition

As David Mamet once wrote, “Everybody needs money. That’s why they call it money!” And when you have more money than anyone could ever need, you call it Libra. Facebook on Tuesday introduced a comprehensive, borderless economic system for its platform, which is based on a new cryptocurrency, Libra. The company plans to sit ostentatiously on its hands when it comes to governing the project, just one member of the so-called Libra Association, with a total of 28, to emphasize …

India is escalating a trade fight with America. It’s a high risk strategy

New Delhi (CNN Business)India’s decision to slap new tariffs on American goods over the weekend escalates a trade battle with the United States that may not be worth fighting and could backfire. Like China, which is locked in a full-blown trade war with the United States, India sells a lot more to America than it buys. It imported US goods worth $33 billion last year, while exporting goods worth $54 billion. Trade in services between the two countries — worth …

The end of erotica? How Hollywood fell out of love with sex

The sex scene is dying out: not just because of #MeToo, but also because of new box-office economics For decades, no big-box-office, adult-oriented Hollywood movie was apparently complete without a sex scene, from Dont Look Now to Basic Instinct. Yet it appears that erotica is now dying out in mainstream cinema. A critical analysis Washington Post told last week. But, again, liberating 22-year-old Zendaya from her Disney-princess prison with a shocking coming-of-age series is not quite equivalent to the behaviour …

The Ambitious Plan Behind Facebooks Cryptocurrency, Libra

Near the end of 2017, on a Dominican Republic beach with his family, Facebook executive David Marcus wrestled with a question he’d been pondering since his previous job as president of PayPal. How would you build the internet of money? A friction-free global digital currency would be a boon for the many people with mobile phones but no access to banking. And who better to develop something like this, he wondered, than Facebook, with its global reach and massive user …

How Facial Recognition Is Fighting Child Sex Trafficking

One evening in April, a California law enforcement officer was browsing Facebook when she saw a post from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children with a picture of a missing child. The officer took a screenshot of the image, which she later fed into a tool created by nonprofit Thorn to help investigators find underage sex-trafficking victims. The tool, called Spotlight, uses text- and image-processing algorithms to match faces and other clues in online sex ads with other …