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Want to develop ethical AI? Then we need more African voices

Artificial intelligence (AI) was once the stuff of science fiction. But it’s becoming widespread. It is used in mobile phone technology and motor vehicles. It powers tools for agriculture and healthcare. But concerns have emerged about the accountability of AI and related technologies like machine learning. In December 2020 a computer scientist, Timnit Gebru, was fired from Google’s Ethical AI team. She had previously raised the alarm about the social effects of bias in AI technologies. For inst...
Tags: Google, Startups, Insider, Neural, Joy Buolamwini, Timnit Gebru, Gebru


Who are the nuns taking on Microsoft?

Microsoft has survived brutal battles against Apple and Google, but the company now faces a more formidable foe: the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace. The congregation is leading a group of Microsoft investors who want to hold the firm accountable for its tech. The campaigners are urging Microsoft shareholders to vote for two proposals at a November 30 meeting: Ask Microsoft to ensure its lobbyists live up to its values and policies on racial justice, human rights, and privacy. Call for Microsoft ...
Tags: Apple, Google, Startups, Microsoft, Insider, St Joseph, Neural, Next Featured


Is it a car? Is it a motorbike? No, it’s an autocycle!

You might have seen a weird vehicle at any number of recent car show that sits somewhere between motorcycles and cars. It’s called an autocycle, and while the idea is hardly new, it kind of reached its peak about 2014, only to leave most hopeful buyers cooling their heels waiting for vehicles to roll off the factory floor. But what is an autocycle? Where does it sit in the mobility ecosystem? More importantly, can it emerge as the future of micromobility? What is an autocycle?  Version 2 of the ...
Tags: Startups, Shift, Insider, Shift Basics


The childhood phones that broke our hearts

Do you remember the good old days? When people had real values, the streets were safe at night, and America was great? Me neither. But I do recall the joyous phone designs of the past. In the old days, my dear, before every handset was just an enormous screen, phones came in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Most of them were hideous and stupid, but at least they had charm. Many of these cellular gems are in the Mobile Phone Museum. The collection of over 2,000 models has been meticulously transfer...
Tags: Startups, America, Insider, Plugged


Why being a ‘Swiss army knife’ hurts your business

Boris is the wise ol’ founder of TNW who writes a weekly column on everything about being an entrepreneur in tech — from managing stress to embracing awkwardness. You can get his musings straight to your inbox by signing up for his newsletter! When I bought my first house, I wanted to make some home improvements and needed tools. While I was mostly looking for a drill, I was amazed when I happened upon a great deal at the hardware store. An incredible 3-in-1 machine that would solve all my prese...
Tags: Startups, Insider, Boris, Growth Quarters


Adam Mosseri vs Congress: Why the Senate believes Instagram is bad for kids

Instagram is in the crosshairs of Congress. The social app’s chief, Adam Mosseri, is expected to testify before a Senate panel in the week of December 6. Mosseri will appear as part of a series of hearings about online safety for kids, The New York Times reports. The hearing will be led by Senator Richard Blumenthal, who heads the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection. “After bombshell reports about Instagram’s toxic impacts, we want to hear straight from the company’s leadership w...
Tags: Startups, Instagram, Congress, Senate, New York Times, Insider, Richard Blumenthal, Senate Commerce, Adam Mosseri, Mosseri, Plugged


The weirdest future cars at this month’s auto shows

With big events like the German Autoshow struggling this year, you might be forgiven to think that COVID-19 has killed the traditional car show. But you’d also be completely wrong. In China and the US, auto shows are back with a vengeance and they’re not taking any prisoners. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen a whole host of cool stuff coming out of the massive LA Auto Show and Guangzhou International Auto Show. Now, if you’re looking for some serious breakdown on what the  shows’ new rele...
Tags: Startups, China, US, La Auto Show, Shift, Insider, Guangzhou


Ground-breaking or site-breaking? What devs expect from WordPress 5.9

WordPress is a notoriously divisive platform. While the CMS powers a whopping 39% of websites, it’s abhorred and adored in equal measure. The next version looks destined for further contrasting reactions. WordPress this week shared new details on what to expect in release 5.9. A block party? Set for release on January 25, WordPress 5.9 will add a range of updates, including: The next generation of themes, including a new default theme called Twenty Twenty-Two More than 30 theme blocks Extra desi...
Tags: Startups, Cms, AMP, Insider, Design &, Dev


This AI app turns your words into striking (and less cursed) fan art

Fan art has flourished in the social media age, but not everyone is blessed with the skills to turn their ideas into spectacular — and disturbing — visual creations. The worst offenders hang in galleries of horrors across Reddit and Twitter. Visit them if you dare, but be warned: these cursed images will be forever imprinted on your brain. Fearful of joining these walls of shame, fan artists are turning to a new AI app for help. Known as Wombo Dream, the software converts text into computer-gene...
Tags: Startups, Reddit, Insider, Neural


Think predictive text makes you faster? You’re a fool

Typing is one of the most common things we do on our mobile phones. A recent survey suggests that Millennials spend 48 minutes each day texting, while boomers spend 30 minutes. Since the advent of mobile phones, the way we text has changed. We’ve seen the introduction of autocorrect, which corrects errors as we type, and word prediction (often called predictive text), which predicts the next word we want to type and allows us to select it above the keyboard. Functions such as autocorrect and pre...
Tags: Startups, Tech, Insider, Next Featured


Vehicle ramming kills pedestrians again. Can tech provide a solution?

The last few decades have seen the mainstreaming of a very particular kind of crime — vehicle ramming.  According to the US Department of Homeland Security, this is when a perpetrator deliberately aims a motor vehicle at a target with the intent to inflict fatal injuries or cause significant property damage by striking with concussive force. And it’s a problem for cities, law enforcement, and carmakers.  This week, it was front and center in many people’s minds when a man driving a speeding car ...
Tags: Startups, Milwaukee, Shift, Insider, US Department of Homeland Security


Nvidia’s new text-to-image tool shows how AI could render stock photos obsolete

Stock photos are the bane of many marketers and designers. The heavyweight image providers are prohibitively pricey, while the affordable ones could lead to a concerned call from HR. At TNW Towers, we smoothly circumvent these barriers by creating custom masterpieces — like these glorious pictures of Mark Zuckerberg: Mark, I promise I had nothing to do with any of this. Credit: The Next Web Sadly, not everyone is blessed with such virtuosity — including yours truly. Just check out the monstrosit...
Tags: Startups, Mark Zuckerberg, Nvidia, Insider, Neural, TNW Towers


Compulsory EV chargers give retailers a chance to win back UK shoppers

We reported in September that the UK was making the installation of EV chargers a prerequisite for newly built homes and offices. But now it’s official, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson formally announcing the initiative at the CBI annual conference. From 2022, new homes and buildings such as supermarkets, shopping malls, and workplaces will be required to install electric vehicle charging points.  Specifically, new office blocks will need to install a charge point for every five parkin...
Tags: Startups, UK, Cbi, Boris Johnson, Shift, Insider


Why NASA is going full Michael Bay and attacking an asteroid?

In a move clearly inspired by the hyperrealistic movie Armageddon, NASA has decided to attack an asteroid. The space agency, however, has recklessly overlooked Michael Bay’s ingenious idea of training oil drillers to become astronauts. Nor will the NASA nerds follow the director’s advice of blasting the rock with a nuclear bomb. Instead, they want to smack it with a spacecraft. Life disregarding art Smaller asteroids frequently strike the Earth, but most burn up in the atmosphere before they rea...
Tags: Startups, Michael Bay, Nasa, Earth, Insider, Neural


NYC bill to rein in AI hiring tools looks like it was meant to backfire

New York recently passed a bill providing guidelines for the operation of automated hiring software in the city. Allegedly, city council’s aim with this legislation was to protect New Yorkers from biased AI. But, from where we’re sitting, it looks like it’s going to do the exact opposite. Up front: The bill, dubbed int 1894-2020, was meant to address the issue of bias in AI software. Companies such as HireVue claim their algorithms can actually remove hiring bias – the schtick here is that compu...
Tags: Startups, New York, Opinion, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Insider, Neural, Next Featured


Tesla’s app outage exposes the bigger problem of IoT

Is there ever a week without some kind of fuck up at Tesla? If it was a lesser brand, I’d think it was a ploy for publicity, but the latest app bug was way too severe for that. Last Friday, the BBC wrote that about 500 users reported an error on the Tesla app at around 4:40 ET (10:40 CET) that left car owners unable to unlock the doors or start their cars. Since the company has no PR team (Elon sacked them), it was Elon Musk to the rescue. So he went on Twitter to keep stranded drivers updated.…...
Tags: Startups, Elon Musk, Tesla, Bbc, Shift, Insider, Elon


Crypto bonds! Volcanoes! What we know about the first ‘Bitcoin City’

Crypto bros could soon have a new dream destination. At a conference on Saturday, the president of El Salvador unveiled plans to build the world’s first “Bitcoin City.” Dressed in all white and donning a backward baseball cap, President Nayib Bukele looked more like a pop star than a politician as he described an ecological metropolis funded by Bitcoin-backed bonds. He compared his strategy to that of Alexander the Great founding cities that he humbly named after himself: The idea behind it was ...
Tags: Startups, Bitcoin, El Salvador, Insider, Alexander the Great, NAYIB BUKELE, Hard Fork, Alexandrias


Are phones designed to slow down over time? Let’s review the evidence

It’s usually around this time of year you hear people complain about their phones slowing down. Apple and Google release new versions of their operating systems (OS) and suddenly there’s a slew of people claiming their old devices have started to lag – conveniently just before Christmas. But do manufacturers really slow down our phones on purpose to nudge us towards shiny new ones, as has been claimed? The answer to this, as usual, is complicated. Let’s take a look at the evidence. The ol’ opera...
Tags: Apple, Google, Startups, Insider, Plugged


Facebook wants to rule the metaverse space. We can’t let that happen

In the midst of the scandals of the Facebook papers, Facebook rebranded the company as Meta. The new name was designed to reflect a focus beyond the Facebook social network platform, and into the metaverse — the extension of the internet into three-dimensional virtual reality (VR) spaces. However, given Facebook’s handling — or mishandling — of their current social responsibilities, we should be cautious about how much control a single company should have over the potential metaverse. We have an...
Tags: Startups, Facebook, Insider, Plugged


Party-pooping AI nerds wanna ruin your future drug binges

The next generation of legal highs could be discovered by AI. Scientists in Canada have developed a model that identifies future designer drugs before they even hit the market. But don’t get too excited: the researchers aren’t planning to provide your next buzz. Instead, they want the cops to find it first. High times It wasn’t easy introducing AI to the drug game. First, the neural network needed a crash course in pharmacology. Instead of a traditional education in a meth lab, the neural networ...
Tags: Startups, Canada, Insider, Neural, Next Featured


Electric Bike Company Model Y review: A luxury cruiser ebike

Most of the ebikes we’ve tested at TNW have futuristic designs, ample smart features, or minimalist aesthetics. But sometimes you just want something a little more classic, and for that, the Electric Bike Company’s Model Y exactly fits the bill. Made in the USA Electric Bike Company is a relatively rare breed of an ebike brand in that its bikes are actually designed and built in the USA. Pretty much all of the company’s bikes are some variety of beach cruiser, and though some components are sour...
Tags: Startups, California, US, Shift, Insider, Electric Bike Company, Plugged, Next Featured, Electric Bike Company Model Y, USA Electric Bike Company, USA Pretty


China is leading the retail revolution, but can it change the way the world shops?

China’s dominance in manufacturing has made it the factory of the world. The subsequent economic growth enriched an ever-expanding middle class, and the country’s retail industry has quickly adapted to supply a growing appetite for consumption. Some of these developments in the way people spend their money, powered by the latest technology, will soon be appearing on a device near you. Indeed, at the start of this year, The Economist suggested that retailers everywhere should look to China, and s...
Tags: Startups, China, Insights, Economist, Insider, Next Featured


4 compelling conspiracy theories about Amazon’s beef with Visa

On a crisp autumn morning in London town, I awoke to an email from someone whom I hate but just can’t quit: Amazon. The company was writing to notify me of some important news: it will soon stop accepting Visa credit cards for UK payments. Customers will still be able to use Visa’s debit cards, but the firm’s credit cards are getting dumped on January 19. The coverup story notification email from Amazon. Amazon blamed the move on Visa’s high processing fees, but conspiracy theorists suspect some...
Tags: Amazon, Startups, UK, London, Customers, Jeff Bezos, Visa, Insider, Sun Valley, Amazon Amazon, Hard Fork


Why professionalism is boring AF

On Monday, I received the draft of a new marketing campaign for a company I follow. It looked professional, but not in a good way. It was easy to imagine what kind of conversation preceded this campaign. Someone probably said, “I want it to look professional,” and so the marketers went with that. The campaign reflected a mature and professional organization. But it also looked like it could fit any organization. It was polished, clean, and corporate. But not original, emotional and personal. As ...
Tags: Startups, Insider, Growth Quarters


I’m calling it: 2022 is the year of circular design

I’m calling it. 2021 was the year of the electric vehicle. I predict, 2022 is the year of circular design.  We recently saw batteries makers Northvolt produce its first lithium-ion battery cell featuring a nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cathode produced with metals recovered through battery waste recycling. This is a big deal.  While this is a huge leap in battery innovation, we’re not entirely there yet. The company aims to produce cells with 50% recycled material by 2030 — that’s a long way off...
Tags: Startups, Shift, Insider, NMC, Northvolt


Apple will sell spare parts to fix your iPhone as pigs learn to fly

Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write, let alone in 2021: Apple today announced Self Service Repair, a program that will allow everyday customers to buy genuine Apple repair parts and tools to fix their own broken devices, starting with the iPhone 12 and 13. In related news, the domestic pig, Sus domesticus, has recently been spotted flying south for the winter. Seriously though, my mouth was agape as I read Apple’s press release. I can still hardly believe it as I type this. Apple notes t...
Tags: Apple, Startups, Insider, Plugged


Lowering the age of a licence won’t solve the truck driver shortage

Think back to when you were a kid, and people asked what job you wanted to do when you grew up. Did you say a truck driver? Well, now, once you turn 18, you can become one. But why would you want to?  The Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE-Safe) is changing to allow 18-year-olds to drive trucks across states. While  48 out of 50 US states currently allow 18-year-olds to obtain a Commercial Driving License until federal law is changed, they cannot drive a truck across...
Tags: Startups, US, Shift, Insider, Pete


Twitter’s auto-refresh fix could make wading through the cesspit worthwhile

Twitter may be a cesspit, but sometimes it’s worth trudging through toxic waste in search of buried treasure. If you find a pithy wisecrack or a memorable meme, dysentery doesn’t feel so awful. Unless, of course, Twitter’s auto-refresh vaporizes the tweet before you’ve pulled it out of the pigshit. After tormenting users with this issue for years, the bird app has finally shown some mercy. Twitter announced on Tuesday that it will no longer automatically refresh your feed. Instead, you can now c...
Tags: Startups, Apps, Twitter, Insider


What does it take to create an object that travels at 1% the speed of light?

Light is fast. In fact, it is the fastest thing that exists, and a law of the universe is that nothing can move faster than light. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second (300,000 kilometers per second) and can go from the Earth to the Moon in just over a second. Light can streak from Los Angeles to New York in less than the blink of an eye. While 1% of anything doesn’t sound like much, with light, that’s still really fast – close to 7 million miles per hour! At 1% the speed of light, it would...
Tags: Startups, Space, New York, Los Angeles, Earth, Insider, Next Featured


Remember Windows Media Player? Microsoft is finally replacing it

When’s the last time you used Windows Media Player? What about Microsoft’s Groove Music app? If you’re anything like me, it was probably right after getting a new computer or completing a fresh install, when you tried to play some music or videos only to remember you haven’t installed foobar2000 or VLC yet. Needless to say, the antiquated Windows Media Player looks completely outdated with Windows 11‘s modern UI, and Groove has been lackluster since Microsoft gave up on its streaming service, so...
Tags: Startups, Microsoft, Vlc, Insider, Plugged