Weekend Sizzle - Issue 1

Saturday 18th May, 2019

Now that the Sizzle is hosted on Substack, there's no longer a 2-week free trial. There's now "free" and "paid" subscribers.

Free subscribers get a neat summary of recent tech news every weekend. Paid subscribers get this news every afternoon, in more detail, alongside interesting tech related links (cool apps, funny stories, fascinating projects, inspiring people) and loads of links to cheap gadgets on sale.

Tesla’s Autopilot system used in a fatal accident for the third time

The USA's National Transportation Safety Board has confirmed that a third person died whilst using Tesla's Autopilot system. A man in Florida (not Florida man) was driving along a highway when a truck pulled out, but the Model 3's sensors didn't notice the truck's trailer and drove right under it at 110km/h, shearing off the top of the car and killing the driver. This is almost identical to a 2016 crash where someone using Autopilot drove under a truck trailer and died.

Christchurch Call tries to do something about online extremism but the USA doesn’t like it

NZ PM Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron managed to get 17 countries, the European Commission, 8 tech companies and many other organisations to agree to the Christchurch Call - a range of “voluntary commitments from Governments and online service providers intended to address the issue of terrorist and violent extremist content online and to prevent the abuse of the internet as occurred in and after the Christchurch attacks”. One notable exception is the US government, who reckon the Christchurch Call restricts freedom of speech. Which makes sense considering the next bit of news I got for ya…

San Francisco bans government use of facial recognition tech

San Francisco's city council has voted to ban the use of facial recognition technology by police and all other municipal agencies. Their argument is that mass surveillance of a city does not lead to a healthy democracy and doesn't work properly with minority groups. Other cities in America are working on similar laws, but having San Francisco (i.e: where most of this shit comes from) be first to say "nah, we don't want this in our city" sends a strong signal that facial recognition tech just isn't ready yet, or maybe ever, for use by the government. I guess they saw what goes down in China (i.e: the social credit system) and don't want that happening in San Francisco.

US Supreme Court to hear Apple anti-trust case

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of "a group of iPhone users who accuse Apple of driving up the price of apps by charging third-party app developers a 30% commission". The court hasn't said Apple is guilty of this, just that it thinks there's enough ground to explore the issue further. The New York Times explains my opinion on this better than I could - "On the one hand, the closed environment is a boon to consumer privacy because the company has the leverage to insist upon it; on the other hand, that environment fosters a kind of monopoly". Good luck to the Supreme Court in nutting this out.

Uber's IPO was a dud

Uber is now a publicly listed company (they're UBER on the NYSE), with shareholders, a stock price, annual reports and shit like that. You'd think such a well known business that operates around the world would be an investor's delight, but the reality is that Uber's business sucks and investors know it, as Uber's share price has already dropped 7.6%. That's not what's supposed to happen after an IPO.

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