Updates: The great, the dangerous, and the autonomous
Been hankering for an replace in your fav non-productive EV firm? How a few primer on how the world’s greatest solely paper straw firm is doing?
Listed here are a number of updates on some previous gems:
The great: Aardvark is killing the paper straw recreation
In August, Aardvark, the nice crusader towards plastic straws, was acquired by Hoffmaster Group — as a result of if you’re the solely paper straw maker in an business at present catching like wildfire, typically you want a hand.
As promised by the Hoffmaster Group, Aardvark is constructing a brand new manufacturing unit to additional keep forward of booming demand (which has grown 50x), and a query looms: What’s Aardvark’s carbon footprint gonna seem like as soon as the new digs are up and operating?
The dangerous: Faraday Future nonetheless on onerous occasions
What’s worse than an organization with arguably one in every of the most revolutionary EV ideas in the previous 5 years however nonetheless no product to point out for it? Reply: A firm that, almost 5 years later, nonetheless has no product to point out for it. And what have you learnt, it’s the staff who proceed to endure.
In line with the Verge, EV firm Faraday Future has furloughed at the very least 250 extra staff since decreasing employees from 1k to 600 again in October. Their reasoning: A “financial crisis.”
In fact, the firm is pointing its finger at Evergrande Well being, who agreed to a $2B bailout again in June so Faraday might hold the lights on.
Now, the firm claims the investor is “refusing to make its scheduled payments,” and staff are getting the ax due to it. Principally, Faraday is the child who repeatedly wrecks his automotive, then blames Mother and Dad for chopping him off.
The autonomous: Waymo’s new self-driving taxi launches
Final month, Alphabet’s self-driving arm, Waymo, introduced its new self-driving taxi, the Waymo One, would hit the streets in December.
Nicely, the vacation season is right here, and they didn’t disappoint: Yesterday, Waymo turned the first autonomous ride-hailing firm to hit the streets with out the restraints of a closed course, or engineers driving shotty.
Now, it’s simply the automotive, you, and nothing behind the wheel.
Lie detectors are BS — and eye-scanning know-how gained’t make them any higher
Greater than 100 years in the past, The New York Occasions imagined a future the place a machine would be capable of inform if individuals have been mendacity or telling the fact.
Immediately, that machine exists: It’s referred to as a lie detector — it’s a $2B-per-year business, and it’s based mostly virtually completely on shoddy pseudoscience.
In a current function, Wired went deep on a brand new gadget, Converus EyeDetect, that’s making an attempt to vary this by enlisting eye-scanning know-how. However is tech actually any higher at detecting lies?
Why do lie detectors suck?
A conventional polygraph check rests on the premise that when an individual lies, she is going to produce a singular physiological response. Primary “indicators” like blood strain, pulse, and respiration price are measured throughout a spherical of questions; if there’s a spike, it’s interpreted as deception.
These checks have been discredited by quite a few research, even Supreme Courtroom instances — but 2.5m of them are nonetheless carried out in the US yearly.
One firm thinks it could possibly do higher…
The Converus EyeDetect guarantees to spice up the accuracy of lie detection from 65% to 86% by “capturing imperceptible changes in a participant’s eyes.” It already boasts 500 paying clients in 40 nations.
However in response to Wired reporter Mark Harris, who examined the system, the EyeDetect falls again on the similar assumption as the polygraph, that deception could be bodily measured in a scientifically sound approach.
What’s actually being measured right here is worry and nervousness. And as everyone knows, sh*tting your pants isn’t a sign of guilt.
China claims it should crack down on IP-thieves
After almost 6 months of a commerce struggle waged by the US, China stated it can lastly punish corporations and people who conduct mental property theft towards overseas corporations.
As Bloomberg reviews, the Chinese language authorities has laid out a complete of 38 totally different punishments relating to IP violations, which might be a “positive step” towards mending the contentious commerce relations between the US and China.
Mess with the spray tan you get the tariffs
In early 2017, the US accomplished a 7-month investigation discovering “hard evidence” that China makes use of foreign-ownership restrictions on American corporations to conduct cyber assaults, with the intent of accessing commerce secrets and techniques.
The Trump administration started levying tariffs on China in July after the investigation, alleging that China’s insurance policies have been inflicting “multiple billions of dollars” in injury to US corporations.
Concession? Or smoke display?
Over the years, China has dismissed claims of government-backed IP-thievery as heresay (even after F-35 fighter jet and US submarine supersonic warfare secrets and techniques have been confirmed stolen and bought to China), so the vowed crackdown should imply… we’re making some progress… proper?
Meh. Specialists from the Middle for Strategic and Worldwide Research stay skeptical, noting that IP violations have elevated since the investigation. The crackdowns, in a way, really feel like the similar ol’ track and dance.
Based on the middle’s personal Jim Lewis, “What they’ve done in the past is fail to enforce or, when they have to enforce, find somebody they don’t like, blame them, and then say to the Americans, ‘See?’”
In the age of Alexa, Pindrop raises one other $90m to stop voice fraud
Whereas everybody and their mom is constructing a sensible voice assistant (Fb’s Aloha and Salesforce’s Einstein Voice, to call a couple of newcomers), Pindrop is constructing the software program they’ll all want to guard our vocal identities.
The corporate simply raised a $90m Collection D ($212m thus far) to develop voice “fingerprinting” tech that analyzes “1,400 acoustic attributes” to confirm a name or a voice command.
Why does this matter?
It’s not simply to maintain youngsters from ordering 10 lbs of gummy worms on their mother and father’ Alexas… it’s to cease hackers from ordering 10 lbs of gummy worms on our Alexas.
Pindrop claims that the fee of voice fraud grew 350% from 2013 to 2017. As we use telephones and voice assistants to do increasingly complicated duties — from opening a bank card to disabling a house safety system — hackers have all the extra alternative to infiltrate our personal information.
Pindrop at present works with name facilities in eight of the prime 10 US banks to determine telephone scams utilizing distinctive audio traits, and signifiers like sort of gadget, service, and site to determine repeat callers — and repeat scammers.
One of the best half?
Not having to rattle off your mom’s maiden identify, highschool mascot, and Social Safety quantity.
Finally, this type of tech might permit us to make use of our voices in lieu of passwords or fingerprints — and that places Pindrop in a reasonably candy place.
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