Studies on Kids and Tech Flip the Meaning of Digital Divide

Experts are coming to grips with the impact of digital technology on children. Educators worried that students from poor homes would find themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide, but, in fact, many states are spending money to make sure that all their students have access to computers, while Silicon Valley parents are choosing to raise their children with traditional toys and non-digital activities. The reason is that technologists are privy to recent research about the dangers of exposing kids to screen time. Continue reading Studies on Kids and Tech Flip the Meaning of Digital Divide

Pirated Software Dips 37 Percent, But Is Still Commonly Used

The Software Alliance (BSA) published “Global Software Survey,” the latest edition of its report on pirated software, which reveals that the use of pirated PC software declined 37 percent in 2017, down from 39 percent two years ago. The report also states that the value of pirated software dropped 8 percent to $46.3 billion worldwide. BSA, which supports Adobe, Microsoft, Symantec and other software companies via legal action and lobbying, said that piracy is still widespread in some countries. Continue reading Pirated Software Dips 37 Percent, But Is Still Commonly Used

Airbus, SoftBank and Bill Gates Invest in EarthNow Satellites

The EarthNow project, which plans to launch 500 small satellites to provide video coverage of the world, now has three notable investors: Airbus, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and SoftBank Group chief executive Masayoshi Son. Satellite entrepreneur Greg Wyler, who has also partnered with Airbus and SoftBank on OneWeb, another satellite Internet project, is a fourth investor. Project chief executive Russell Hannigan says EarthNow will cost more than $1 billion, but didn’t reveal tech details or a launch date. Continue reading Airbus, SoftBank and Bill Gates Invest in EarthNow Satellites

In Response to Elon Musk and His Concerns About AI Safety

Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking are among those that have raised concerns regarding our pursuit of artificial intelligence, while Musk has recently gone so far to suggest that AI presents “more risk than North Korea” and should be regulated, like “everything (cars, planes, food, drugs, etc.) that’s a danger to the public.” Our colleague Yves Bergquist, director of ETC’s Data & Analytics Project, published a compelling rebuttal on Medium this week, in which he clearly defines “narrow AI” and “artificial general intelligence” in order to provide additional context regarding the evolution of AI applications and their numerous possibilities. Continue reading In Response to Elon Musk and His Concerns About AI Safety

India Opens its Massive Biometric Database to App Developers

Having created the world’s largest biometric-identity database, India is now opening it up for use by tech firms, healthcare providers and app developers. The country’s government had already culled fingerprints and eye scans, among other digital ID records, of nearly all its 1.2 billion citizens. Now, “India Stack,” a government-backed initiative, plans to standardize the digital exchange of that data. The result will make it easier for citizens to conduct financial transactions, get jobs and verify their identity. Continue reading India Opens its Massive Biometric Database to App Developers

CES 2017 Keynote Speaker Line-Up Foretells Scope of Show

A look at the line-up of keynote speakers for the upcoming CES 2017 show in Las Vegas confirms the Consumer Technology Association’s expanding worldview and provides a leading indicator of what to expect when the sprawling show opens on January 5. The “night before” keynote, made famous by Bill Gates, is now a coveted timeslot occupied this year by Nvidia co-founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, making his first CES keynote presentation. Nvidia’s substantial investment in artificial intelligence along with its well-established achievements in self-driving cars, VR, and gaming are likely topics. Continue reading CES 2017 Keynote Speaker Line-Up Foretells Scope of Show

Microsoft Debuts its ‘Teams’ Office Chat Tool, Similar to Slack

Microsoft introduced its first major addition in years to Office 365, the company’s $23 billion/year software, by debuting Microsoft Teams, which allows workers to gather with colleagues in private chat rooms. Similar to Slack, the new feature was brought to fruition by Microsoft co-founder/now technology adviser Bill Gates. Office 365’s suite of tools includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint and is delivered over the Internet. Microsoft Teams will be bundled for free with the business version of Office 365. Continue reading Microsoft Debuts its ‘Teams’ Office Chat Tool, Similar to Slack

CES: Keynotes by Netflix, Intel, IBM, YouTube, and Others

CES keynote presentations by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and YouTube’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl highlight the increasing importance of entertainment to the vast consumer technology market. The scheduling of Netflix as the opening session, a time slot usually occupied by hardware companies, helps to underscore the Consumer Technology Association’s expanding universe of products and services. So, too, does the presence of two auto manufacturers, GM and VW, and tech giants Intel and IBM. Samsung is the lone hardware keynote. Continue reading CES: Keynotes by Netflix, Intel, IBM, YouTube, and Others

Reddit Chief Promises Better Communication with Community

In the wake of the abrupt dismissal of Reddit employee Victoria Taylor, CEO Ellen Pao apologized to the site’s disgruntled users, acknowledging a history that goes back several years of broken promises and poor communication. But apologies by Pao and co-founder/executive chairman Alexis Ohanian haven’t yet mollified users, who are circulating an online petition demanding Pao’s termination. The 10-year old San Francisco-based company has 70 to 80 employees but relies on its power users to govern the site. Continue reading Reddit Chief Promises Better Communication with Community

Ballmer to Retire: What Challenges Lie Ahead for Microsoft?

Steve Ballmer is retiring as CEO of Microsoft, leaving many to question what the next CEO will need to do in order to invigorate the company, boost morale and emphasize innovation. Ballmer is said to have focused more on sales and revenue, rather than experimentation, and did not fully develop many technologies the company began, some of which competitors would later turn into blockbusters. However, innovation under Ballmer is evidenced by departures such as the Kinect motion sensor and the interface of Windows 8. Continue reading Ballmer to Retire: What Challenges Lie Ahead for Microsoft?

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

You may have noticed that Apple.com’s homepage simply features a thoughtful image of pioneer and innovator Steve Jobs today. As the industry (and world) mourns the loss of a true original, we thought we’d provide you with some early comments to Steve’s untimely passing. The links below will take you to more detailed statements from those who have provided their thoughts.

  • “He changed the way each of us sees the world.” — President Obama
  • “The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.” — Bill Gates
  • “His focus on the user experience above all else has always been an inspiration to me. He was very kind to reach out to me as I became CEO of Google and spend time offering his advice and knowledge even though he was not at all well.” — Larry Page
  • “Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.” — Mark Zuckerberg
  • “He was a historical figure on the scale of a Thomas Edison or Henry Ford, and set the mold for many other corporate leaders in many other industries.” — Walt Mossberg
  • “Everything good I have done, I have done on a Mac.” — John Hodgman (PC in the Mac commercials) via Twitter
  • “People sometimes have goals in life. Steve Jobs exceeded every goal he ever set for himself.” — Steve Wozniak
  • “Steve was a teacher to anyone paying attention, and today is a very sad day for everyone who cares about innovation and high standards.” — Jeff Bezos
  • “Steve’s work made the world a better place for hundreds of millions of people.” — Marc Andreessen
  • The magic of Steve was that while others simply accepted the status quo, he saw the true potential in everything he touched and never compromised on that vision.” — George Lucas
  • “Steve Jobs was an extraordinary visionary, our very dear friend and the guiding light of the Pixar family. He saw the potential of what Pixar could be before the rest of us, and beyond what anyone ever imagined. Steve took a chance on us and believed in our crazy dream of making computer animated films; the one thing he always said was to simply ‘make it great.’ He is why Pixar turned out the way we did and his strength, integrity and love of life has made us all better people. He will forever be a part of Pixar’s DNA. Our hearts go out to his wife Laurene and their children during this incredibly difficult time.” — John Lasseter and Ed Catmull
  • “Steve Jobs was simply the greatest CEO of his generation.” — Rupert Murdoch