November 20, 2018

The Secret (and Dangerous) History of Self-Driving Cars

“American journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Duhigg published a shocking exposé in the New Yorker regarding the ongoing legal saga of former Google engineer, Anthony Levandowski, who defected to Uber in 2016 before being fired. The fine print of the exposé contains shocking claims regarding Google’s negligence — including claims that Google never publicly reported multiple autonomous vehicle crashes, and that Levandowski took autonomous cars on “forbidden routes” for which the car’s software was not trained to handle.

The report depicts Levandowski as a stereotypical startup guy: self-important, imperious, and possessing a techno-utopian worldview that drove his belief that the rules don’t apply to people like him. (Notably, Levandowski is the founder of a pseudo-religion that believes God will be an artificial intelligence.) Levandowski is best known for his role in a year-long litigation between Uber and Google’s self-driving car project, Waymo. Specifically, Waymo alleges Levandowski stole confidential files full of trade secrets when he left Google to start his own self-driving car startup, which was eventually acquired by Uber.

According to the report, Levandowski was in charge of hardware development for “Project Chauffeur”— Google’s secret self-driving-car division that later evolved into Waymo. At some point, his obsession with innovation overtook his morality, which resulted in an unreported crash involving one of Google’s self-driving vehicles.”

Read more

JJ Best Of The Web

"...after five months of canceled meetings and muted statements of dissatisfaction by both countries, experts say there is no sign of progress toward the Singapore goal of so-called "denuclearization" of the North."

"The presidential news conferences have become frustrating to watch and, doubtless, are frustrating for President Trump to engage in. While we have freedom of the press in our country, we should not tolerate unprofessionalism."

"It's highly unlikely that Israel's center-left parties will form a coalition to run together in the 2019 election, but they should not abandon efforts to find common ground to fight for."

"Cam has the brilliant audacity to argue that the internet isn’t about connecting people. Netflix’s slick, saucy new horror noir understands the existential terror of losing your carefully curated fictional internet persona."

"Wealthy nations have strong currencies. A strong dollar allows Americans to buy goods, services and resources from other countries at low prices."

"China’s leaders like the internet they have created. And now, they want to direct the nation’s talent and tech acumen toward an even loftier end: building an innovation-driven economy, one that produces world-leading companies."

"At an inaugural desert festival of yogis and spirit guides like Russell Brand, an exclusive industry grapples with consumerism, addiction, and the actual meaning of wellness."

"The confusing thing about Franzen is that even people who hate him admit that he is a great novelist, and even people who love him admit that his essays are often a little on the insufferable..."

"“And just like that” or “in the blink of an eye” are familiar captions on parenting milestone photos. But for me, while the days were long, not even one year flew by."

"How the Silicon Valley set fell in love with sourdough and decided to disrupt the 6,000-year-old craft of making bread, one crumbshot at a time."

"...everyone can — and should — learn quantum mechanics. It’s not rocket science — it’s a fundamental part of how our world works, and not as complex as you might fear."

"New Hebrew University initiative brings international students to Yoga studio run by Breslov Hasidim for course on 'Judaism and the Body.'"