The Sizzle - Issue 1145

Thursday 18th June, 2020

In This Issue

  • Uber’s flying taxi nonsense it cooked up for Melbourne has gone nowhere

  • Microsoft tried to sell facial recognition tech to the DEA months after saying it’s immoral to do so

  • You can literally shout into the void with Twitter’s new voice tweet feature

  • Mini Ryzen PC, $1/m VPS, SVG logo search engine, free audio transcription & free Springer textbooks

  • Cheap Far Cry 5, Cities Skylines, DJI OSMO Action, LIFX Minis


News

Uber’s flying taxi nonsense it cooked up for Melbourne has gone nowhere

About a year ago, Uber made a big song and dance about how Melbourne is going to be one of the first cities in the world to get a flying taxi service. The plan was to use electric powered vertical takeoff and landing aircraft for humans and drones for deliveries, and have them land on rooftops around Melbourne's inner-city. It will not surprise you to learn that sweet fuck all has been done in regards to this venture capitalist fever dream/hype project. There's no government regulation changes to allow it to happen, Uber has made no applications for any sort of plans to those regulators, there's no infrastructure being built (i.e: helipads) and even Uber Australia doesn't want to give any interviews about it. What a massive load of PR bullshit.

Microsoft tried to sell facial recognition tech to the DEA months after saying it’s immoral to do so

In 2017 Microsoft was pitching its Azure services (Translation, Transcription, Video Processing, Facial Recognition, etc.) to the USA's Drug Enforcement Agency, then in 2018 its President, Brad Smith, put up a blog post (a good one imho) saying how we need regulation around this tech, how it's not perfect, shouldn't be used for law enforcement and so on. Despite this public stance, Microsoft kept promoting facial recognition services as part of its Azure Government offering to the DEA well after the "we don't think facial recognition should be used by cops yet" public statement. It's one thing for the execs to say not to do it, it's another for the sales people who want to close a deal to not give their customers what they want.

You can literally shout into the void with Twitter’s new voice tweet feature

Twitter is testing a new voice tweet feature. Next to the camera button in the Twitter app is a voice button. Tap it, talk into your phone for up to 140 seconds and it gets posted to Twitter as a video along with your profile pic and a whirly animation. Here's an example of one in the wild. Twitter reckons voice tweets will "create a more human experience for listeners and storytellers alike. Whether it’s #storytime about your encounter with wild geese in your neighborhood, a journalist sharing breaking news, or a first-hand account from a protest", but we all know it will be used by weirdos and US Presidents to shout conspiracy theories and/or abuse people 140 seconds at a time. Prove me wrong Twitter, prove me wrong.


Not News

Mini Ryzen PC, $1/m VPS, SVG logo search engine, free audio transcription & free Springer textbooks


Bargains


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😁 The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Join us on Slack and chat with other Sizzle subscribers.

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The Sizzle is created on Wathaurong land and acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, recognising their continuing connection to land, water and community. I pay my respect to them and their cultures and to elders both past and present.​