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Thousands of Google employees signed a petition protesting Google’s role in a DoD program used to improve drone strikes. The Hustle Thur, Apr 5 Brought to you by PrettyLitter… cat-pee alchemy. Google employees petition to pull out of Pentagon AI...
Google employees petition to pull out of Pentagon AI project
Thousands of Google employees signed a petition calling for the search giant to end a partnership with the Pentagon to improve AI and image-recognition tech that could be used for drone strikes.
The letter, which has made the rounds at Google for weeks, has more than 3k signatures and is addressed specifically to Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive.
The letter requests that Google pull out of the Pentagon pilot program titled Project Maven, stating: “We believe that Google should not be in the business of war…”
What is Project Maven?
Established in 2017, Project Maven began as a pilot program to speed up the military’s implementation of the latest and greatest AI tech.
Expected by the Pentagon to cost less than $70m in its first year, the program will focus on better integrating big data and machine learning to improve the targeting of drone strikes.
In a statement on Tuesday, Google claimed its part in Project Maven was “specifically scoped to be for non-offensive purposes.”
It doesn’t take a 5-star general to know: That’s what they all say
While the petition insists that the company pull out of the current program, it also urges it to avoid similar contracts in the future -- which already seems unlikely.
Google is expected to compete with the likes of Amazon and Microsoft to provide cloud services to the DoD’s Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud procurement program, which, according to the department’s chief management officer, was designed to “increase lethality and readiness.”
State of the ‘killer AI’ industry
As autonomous weaponry quickly moves out of the labs and into the world, weaponized AI has become an increasingly hot topic of debate on a global scale, with many calling for regulation by international treaty.
As China, the US, and other prototype-releasing nations prove that a 21st century arms race is well underway, opponents are focusing on keeping the race from accelerating.
How do you make economy flights seem less sh*tty?
Answer: Basic economy.
At first glance, basic economy seems like a win for consumers -- competition must have forced major airlines to offer cheaper flights for stoic travelers willing to give up legroom. Right?
Not quite. Big airlines like United, American and Delta actually created basic economy to scare frequent fliers into shelling out inflated business fares.
False benefits: the oldest trick in the SkyMall catalog
Wolfish airlines focus on squeezing money out of the fliers with the deepest pockets (15% of customers cough up 45% of revenue).
To keep high-fliers spending, airlines attack from both directions -- incentivizing them with first-class perks and frequent flier programs, while disincentivizing them with nightmarish budget travel options.
In the ’90’s, airlines used “Saturday-night stay” requirements to segment leisure travelers -- happy to spend Saturday away -- from weekend-warrior business-people willing to pay 4-5x more to get home.
Necessity is the mother of ruthlessness
Saturday-night stays disappeared as fliers got wise in the early 2000s -- but as margins dropped post-2008, airlines found other creative ways to stay aloft on their wingtip-thin margins.
What started as mere advance booking requirements -- which made standard fares impractical -- soon evolved into the franken-fare we know as basic economy -- which proved to be wildly successful.
With hidden fees (like baggage) included, basic economy often costs more than normal fare for budget travelers -- and a full 50% of fliers upgrade anyway when confronted with the miserable, sardine-can reality of the basic life.
So yes, basic economy does exist only to make your life miserable.
Admitting bigger breach, Zuck updates terms and invites you to scream into your pillow
Hours before admitting that “most” of Facebook’s 2.2B users have had their data stolen, Facebook announced its first major update to its user terms since 2015.
Facebook claims the terms update was in the works before the Cambridge Analytica breach that they now believe affected 87m users (up from an estimated 50m) -- but they’re scrambling to placate users before they #deletefacebook.
So how is Facebook changing the way they collect data?
According to Facebook, they’re not -- the revised terms make existing user policies easier to understand without affecting the data they collect or even asking for new permissions.
Basically, Facebook doesn’t think it was wrong to mine your data -- maintaining it helps you connect with friends -- but now it does feel responsible for putting a lock on the vault they keep it in.
Facebook will restrict 3rd-party API access, but not their own access to user data. Users won’t be able to do anything about it, but at least now they know that Facebook has monitored their mouse movements, nearby devices, messenger histories, and proximity to cell towers all along.
If you’ve got questions or comments, you’re invited to chime in…
But Facebook admits it probably won’t read them. Regardless, you’ll have to agree to the revised terms by next week.
Whether or not he listens to users, Mucky Zuck will listen to Congress next week -- because what they say will partially determine how quickly Facebook climbs out of a $90B hole.
About 95% of global cocoa output is produced by small farmers -- 70% of whom come from West Africa. It’s a precious natural resource for the entire region, and a tremendous part of personal livelihoods.
But make no mistake, from slavery and child trafficking to dire environmental implications like mass deforestation, there’s a very dark side to the chocolate trade -- and there’s no milky, creamy center.
But Hershey Co. is spending $500m to try to change that. Through 2030, their Cocoa for Good program will invest in the elimination of child labor, and the increase of shade-grown cocoa, which can be productive for 15 years longer than sun-grown plants.
The initiative comes after a rough year for producers
World cocoa supplies dwindled from their normal surplus recently following a price hit that limited global farm production and sent fudge ripples through the market.
But at the same time chocolate demand continues to grow. Global retail sales reached $102B in 2017 and are expected to climb 8.2% by 2022.
Which means Hershey better get to work
The program will prioritize Ghanaian growers to meet short-term supply needs before moving to the Ivory Coast (the No. 1 cocoa grower).
Hershey increased purchasing of certified sustainable cocoa to 75% of total cocoa buying last year and hopes to reach 100% by 2020.
Hey! Listen! If you haven't heard, we’re on a quest to bring you something new this Sunday. See you in 3 days. Cheers to the freakin' weekend.
things you should...
SIMPLIFY: your morning with a Bodum Travel Press, $20
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The forgotten surf bums of Kansas finally have something to get stoked about -- the Blea e-surfboard transforms even the most placid rural waters into a gnaaaarly swell. These babies cruise at 30 mph on flat water with, or without, an ocean.
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