Tesla’s latest Autopilot crash is just one of many problems it is now dealing with

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A fatal crash, production problems and now a recall.

Tesla is starting the second quarter in a defensive crouch:

  • Last week, the company revealed that Autopilot, its semi autonomous feature, was engaged during a recent fatal crash in California — its second confirmed Autopilot-related fatality in the U.S.
  • Tesla is struggling to meet its production goals for the Model 3, its first-ever mass-market car. Today, CEO Elon Musk reportedly said the company is producing 2,000 Model 3s a week — 500 short of his goal, which has been adjusted twice.
  • Last week, Tesla voluntarily recalled 123,000 of its Model S luxury sedans to fix a power-steering issue. That is a lot of cars — close to half of all the vehicles the company has produced.
  • Tesla stock is down about 36 percent since its September 2017 peak.

By the company’s own admission, this is a critical time for Tesla. The electric vehicle movement the company arguably popularized is seeing momentum from new and existing players, while self-driving competitors like Alphabet’s Waymo strike deals with automakers to develop vehicles that could rival Tesla’s own offerings. As both an automaker and a self-driving tech company, Tesla still has a lot to prove.

The crash

It’s not yet known whether Autopilot was at fault for 38-year-old Tesla driver Walter Huang’s death, but the simple fact that it was involved has put Tesla’s already fraught future — as well as the self-driving industry — at risk.

On March 23, Huang crashed his Model X into a median on a California highway while the SUV was operating in Autopilot mode. Tesla recovered the logs from the vehicle, and upon analyzing them said that the driver had received “several visual and one audible” cue to take back control of the car.

“The driver had about five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view of the concrete divider with the crushed crash attenuator, but the vehicle logs show that no action was taken,” the company wrote in a blog post.

This is the second U.S. crash of a Tesla confirmed to be operating Autopilot that has led to a fatality. The first was in Williston, Fla., in May 2016.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is also investigating the March 23 crash, found that the first Autopilot-related fatality in 2016 was in part a result of the driver overrelying on Tesla’s semiautonomous software, but that Autopilot operated the way it was supposed to.

The NTSB’s investigation into this crash is ongoing, but the agency said that it was “unhappy” that Tesla revealed the details of the investigation to the public. The NTSB is also looking into reports that the driver previously complained about the performance of the Autopilot software.

Relatives of Huang said that he took his Tesla to the dealership because the software caused the car to swerve toward the highway barrier that his vehicle ultimately crashed into.

A Tesla spokesperson declined to comment on the NTSB’s comments but said they found no record of Huang bringing the vehicle into a dealership to service its Autopilot software.

“We’ve been doing a thorough search of our service records and we cannot find anything suggesting that the customer ever complained to Tesla about the performance of Autopilot,” a Tesla spokesperson said in a statement. “There was a concern raised once about navigation not working correctly, but Autopilot’s performance is unrelated to navigation.”

The fallout

The tragic death comes as both the industry and Tesla brace for the fallout from a recent fatality that involved an Uber-operated semi-autonomous vehicle in Tempe, Ariz.

The NTSB, along with local police and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is also investigating the Uber crash, which resulted in the death of 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg.

Both crashes hit at a larger question many in the industry have: Is semi-autonomous technology safe?

With Uber and Tesla being two of the most prominent brands in the auto and tech industry working on some version of self-driving, consumer trust in the new technology could take a hit.

When it launched Autopilot, Tesla set the benchmark for the most advanced adaptive cruise control available in consumer vehicles. That technology has received multiple updates, and Musk has said he expects the second generation of the software to be capable of a high level of self-driving in about two years.

However, as it exists today, Autopilot is not intended to operate in all circumstances, and in fact is limited to highway driving. In other words, drivers need to be alert and ready to take over at all times — which creates an odd situation that is now clearly prone to failure.

That was also the case in Uber’s crash: The system relies on a trained operator to take over when the technology doesn’t work, though there are some important distinctions that need to be made between the two. For instance, Uber’s technology, which is still in development, is intended to operate on local roads with variables including pedestrians. Tesla’s Autopilot is only supposed to ease the highway-driving task.

Uber’s vehicles, however, are not available to the wider public, and are not being sold direct to consumers. Tesla, which says its technology is also still in beta, is putting its technology in the hands of consumers. Still, if either of the companies’ semiautonomous software is found to be at fault, there could be a resounding impact on consumer trust around self-driving.

“The consequences of the public not using Autopilot, because of an inaccurate belief that it is less safe, would be extremely severe,” Tesla wrote in a blog post. “There are about 1.25 million automotive deaths worldwide. If the current safety level of a Tesla vehicle were to be applied, it would mean about 900,000 lives saved per year.”

Production woes

Tesla’s voluntary recall of 123,000 Model S cars punctuated its ongoing struggles with meeting production goals of its mass-market vehicle, the Model 3.

The Model 3 is a significant barometer by which investors and the industry are measuring Tesla’s capability as an automaker. Can Tesla make the shift away from being just a luxury player to a mass-market carmaker at scale?

By Musk’s own admission, the early years of Tesla — from the Roadster to the Model X — were in service of laying the groundwork for building and selling a mass-market electric vehicle.

But the company has gotten off to a rough start in meeting the many ambitious goals Musk has set for the production of the vehicle.

In July 2017, Musk said that he aimed to produce 5,000 Model 3 vehicles per week by the end of 2017. The company then shifted that rate goal to 5,000 cars per week by the end of March 2018. But then in January, Musk lowered that goal to 2,500.

Today, Tesla is producing 2,000 Model 3s a week, according to emails obtained by Jalopnik.

“If things go as planned today, we will comfortably exceed that number over a seven-day period!” Musk wrote, referring to the current rate of production.

The company’s head of engineering also tried to rally the troops last week, saying the company needed to prove the “haters” wrong, as Bloomberg first reported.

“The world is watching us very closely, to understand one thing: How many Model 3s can Tesla build in a week?” Doug Field wrote. “This is a critical moment in Tesla’s history, and there are a number of reasons it’s so important. You should pick the one that hits you in the gut and makes you want to win.”

Recode – All

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Android security update for April brings many fixes for Pixel 2, Pixel, and some Nexus

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Google releases a monthly security bulletin that contain its newest security updates and sometimes functional updates. Today, Google has released the full list of fixes and changes that will come with the April OTA update. Some of these fixes and updates apply to only Pixel 2(XL) devices while others apply to the HTC-made first-generation Pixel (XL) phones. Here are few updates mentioned in the update. Assisted dialing support for Pixel 2 Improve VoLTE – VoWi-Fi handover during emergency calls for all Pixels Reduce delays upon opening certain apps for Pixel 2 Enable IMS911…

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Telegram is down for many users – go talk cryptocurrency somewhere else

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No, it’s not just you: Telegram is down for many users across the board – so you might have to move your cryptocurrency and blockchain discussions to another platform for the time being. The popular encrypted messenger has confirmed it is struggling with server downtime due to a power outage. The issue is affecting users in Europe, Middle East, and certain parts of Asia. It seems that Russia and countries from the Commonwealth of Independent States (like Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Moldova) are most severely affected. Telegram has been struggling with intermittent downtime for a couple of  hours now, but it is worth…

This story continues at The Next Web
The Next Web

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Mark Zuckerberg says he’s ‘open’ to testifying to Congress, fixes will cost ‘many millions’ and he ‘feels really bad’

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In a wide-ranging interview, the Facebook CEO admitted that the social networking giant may have made mistakes in opening up its network so much a decade ago.

While not definitively saying yes, Mark Zuckerberg says he’s “open” to testifying before members of Congress regarding Facebook’s recent privacy scandal involving Cambridge Analytica. The data firm, which worked for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign before the 2016 election, is now embroiled in an ongoing controversy about how it collected user data from the social networking giant without user consent.

In a wide-ranging interview with Recode this afternoon, the Facebook CEO and co-founder said that he would appear before legislators if he was the “right’ one inside the company to give lawmakers information about what happened.

“I’m open to doing that,” he said when asked if he’d testify. “We actually do this fairly regularly … There are lots of different topics that Congress needs and wants to know about, and the way that we approach it is that our responsibility is to make sure that they have access to all of the information that they need to have.”

“So I’m open to doing it if I’m the right [person],” he added. (Note to Mark: You are the right and only person to speak for Facebook at this point in the controversy.)

The worst-case scenario for Facebook would be increased data regulation, which could cripple Facebook’s advertising business that relies on collecting lots of data from its users. Facebook already lost roughly $ 50 billion in market cap this week alone.

Zuckerberg admitted multiple times throughout the 20-minute interview that Facebook had made major mistakes in the building of its social platform — going as far back as 2007 — that ultimately led to Cambridge Analytica’s ability to misuse the personal profile information of some 50 million users. Unlike in his statement posted to his Facebook page on Wednesday, Zuckerberg even apologized.

“We let the community down and I feel really bad and I’m sorry about that,” he said. Earlier, and in this interview, he had called the mistakes a “breach of trust” with its users.

It’s one that Facebook was clearly responsible for. Zuckerberg reflected on these faults in how Facebook was built in the first place, techniques which it also used to grow enormously. The original mistake, he said, was the decision to open Facebook’s data trove so broadly to third-party developers without proper monitoring, which began in 2007 and was turbocharged with his 2008 launch of single sign-on feature called Facebook Connect. The vision was that people would be able to bring their Facebook identity, as well as their friend network, with them into all of the other apps and services they used online.

That wasn’t what people actually wanted, Zuckerberg said he has now come to realize. “Frankly, I just think I got that wrong,” he said, a sentiment that most Silicon Valley moguls are loath to admit.

“There was this values tension playing out between the value of data portability — being able to take your data and some social data, the ability to create new experiences — on one hand, and privacy on the other hand,” he said. “I was maybe too idealistic on the side of data portability, that it would create more good experiences — and it created some — but I think what the clear feedback from our community was that people value privacy a lot more.”

He also regrets how the company handled the original revelation that Cambridge Analytica had collected Facebook user data back in 2015. At the time, the firm gave Facebook a written statement that any data it had collected was deleted, but now Zuckerberg said he wishes Facebook had actually done its own check to confirm that claim.

“At the time it didn’t seem like we needed to go further on that,” he said. “Given what we know now, we clearly should have followed up, and we’re never going to make that mistake again.”

But Zuckerberg did not give any details about why the company did not do those checks, or about why broader monitoring of third-party developers — who in some cases were given vast troves of user information — was so shoddy.

He said Facebook is now trying to go back and check who has user data, although it’s essentially an effort to put the genie back into the bottle. When asked if he could recover some of the data now, Zuckerberg admitted, “not always.”

To help fix what has been broken — Facebook’s famous former motto was “move fast and break things” — Zuckerberg announced earlier today that Facebook will start to investigate if other developers abused its policies in the same way Cambridge Analytica did.

That won’t be easy, Zuckerberg acknowledged.

“The data isn’t on our servers, so it would require us sending out forensic auditors to different apps,” he explained. “We do know all the apps that registered for Facebook, and all the people who were on Facebook who registered for those apps, and have a log of the different data requests that the developers made. So we can get a sense of — what are the reputable companies? What are companies that were doing unusual things?”

Facebook, he said, will try to flag suspect behavior for a deeper dive. “Anyone who either has a ton of data or was doing something unusual, we’re going to take the next step of having them go through an audit,” Zuckerberg said.

How big could the problem be? Pretty big, apparently. Zuckerberg estimated that this process will take months, cost “many millions of dollars,” and include at least basic analysis of the data collection from tens of thousands of apps.

“The conversation we were having internally on this is: Are there enough people who are trained auditors in the world to do the number of audits that we’re going to need quickly?” he said.

Still, in keeping with Facebook’s — and his own — values of trying to remain a neutral platform in an increasingly fractured world, Zuckerberg also reiterated his concern about having too much of his own personal ideology influencing Facebook’s rules and regulations.

“A lot of the most sensitive issues that we face today are conflicts between real values, right? Freedom of speech, and hate speech and offensive content. Where is the line?” he said, sounding more like an ethics student than the billionaire CEO of one of the world’s most valuable and influential companies.

“What I would really like to do is find a way to get our policies set in a way that reflects the values of the community, so I am not the one making those decisions,” Zuckerberg said. “I feel fundamentally uncomfortable sitting here in California in an office making content policy decisions for people around the world.”

“[The] thing is like, ‘Where’s the line on hate speech?’ I mean, who chose me to be the person that did that?,” Zuckerberg said. “I guess I have to, because of [where we are] now, but I’d rather not.”

Now, of course, he might have to.

(Note: Recode will post the entire transcript as soon as it is ready.)

Recode – All

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A Dangerous Cyberattack On A Petrochemical Plant Could Be The First Of Many

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You probably didn’t hear about it at the time, but in August 2017, there was an attack on a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia. It was meant to cause a cascading explosion, experts determined. The only reason it didn’t (and that you didn’t already hear about it) is because there was a mistake in the assailant’s code.

This may feel far away, but such an attack could have easily happened more locally. Russians are hacking the U.S. electric grid. The greatest fear is that they are able to access American nuclear plants, which could wreak devastation rarely seen on some of the country’s most populated areas.

A new kind of attack has made its way into the world. And, frankly, it’s terrifying.

Experts are learning a lot from this foiled attack in Saudi Arabia. The New York Times reports that the attack required a level of sophistication that shows the attackers had government backing, though the individual hackers and the country backing them are still unknown.

What is clear: the malicious code was sent to do far more than just take down one plant. It was an act of war against the nation of Saudi Arabia.

Speaking to the Times, Amy Myers Jaffe, an expert on Middle East energy at the Council on Foreign Relations, noted that the attack was likely an attempt to discourage investors from getting involved with the Saudi Arabia, as it is working to diversify its economy so that the younger members of the population have different kinds of jobs.

“Not only is it an attack on the private sector, which is being touted to help promote growth in the Saudi economy, but it is also focused on the petrochemical sector, which is a core part of the Saudi economy,” Jaffe said.

Ultimately, the attack revealed that our worst fears are justified: Cyber terrorists can cause very real physical damage.

In the future, we will probably see more events like these. And in some, there won’t be errors in the code. In those unfortunate incidents, our technology and buildings may be claimed — perhaps even our lives.

The post A Dangerous Cyberattack On A Petrochemical Plant Could Be The First Of Many appeared first on Futurism.


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New survey aims to show how many people will upgrade to a new iPhone this fall

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A new survey from Loup Ventures aims to offer color on what percentage of Apple’s current iPhone users plan to upgrade to this year’s yet-to-be-announced models. The survey ultimately indicates that the iPhone is “settling into a lower growth, more predictable rhythm.”



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Samsung stops security updates for 2016 models of Galaxy A3, J1, and J3; many new devices only get quarterly updates

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Samsung has just made a couple of changes to its Android security updates page, and they’re not too pretty. Three devices — the 2016 versions of the Galaxy A3, J1, and J3 — have been dropped from security updates altogether, and out of the four new additions, three have been filed under the list for quarterly security updates.

Without further ado, here are the changes:

No longer in any list:

  • Galaxy A3 (2016)
  • Galaxy J1 (2016)
  • Galaxy J3 (2016)

Additions to monthly list:

  • Galaxy A8 (2018)

Additions to quarterly list:

  • Galaxy A8+ (2018)
  • Galaxy J2 (2018)
  • Galaxy Tab Active2

It’s not too difficult to understand why the Galaxy A3 (2016), J1 (2016), and J3 (2016) have been axed; they’re all around two years old at this point and they’re budget to mid-range devices.

Read More

Samsung stops security updates for 2016 models of Galaxy A3, J1, and J3; many new devices only get quarterly updates was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Spotify claims twice as many paid subscribers as Apple Music in its IPO filing

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The leading music-streaming service Spotify confidentially filed IPO documents with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission last December, and now the filing has gone public…. Read the rest of this post here

Spotify claims twice as many paid subscribers as Apple Music in its IPO filing” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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We May Not Be Catching as Many Fish as We Were Two Decades Ago

A Major Miscalculation

Fish play a major role in human survival. Globally, more than one billion poor people depend on fish as their main source of animal protein, and 250 million depend on  fishing and aquaculture for their livelihoods.

According to nonprofit research organization WorldFish, demand for fish is growing so much that the industry is struggling to meet it, and now, a new study published in Marine Policy suggests that we might have gotten some key numbers wrong in our past studies of global catch trends.

The authors of the study, Dirk Zeller from the University of Western Australia and Daniel Pauly from the University of British Columbia, believe that the poor quality of past recording and reporting methods may have caused researchers to overlook a significant portion of fish catches.

They argue that the seeming stability of fish catches is due to improved data collection in recent years. We now have a more accurate picture of the world’s fishing industry, but because we didn’t before, we didn’t really know how catches were trending.

For their study, the researchers made estimated adjustments to past records. They collaborated with 400 assistants across the globe as part of their Sea Around Us project, gathering data from every fishing country.

Based on their adjustments to past data, we are catching a lot less fish than we were 20 years ago. “Our reconstructed data have shown that globally, the catches have been declining by about 1.2 million metric tons a year since the mid-1990s,” Zeller told Oceans Deeply.

Fewer Fish or Less Fishing?

Some have criticized Zeller and Pauly for making too many assumptions about past data.

“We completely disagree with their conclusions of declining global catches,” Manuel Barange, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) fisheries and aquaculture director, told Oceans Deeply. “Total landings have been very consistent for 20 years.”

An Ocean of Plastic [Infographic]
Click to View Full Infographic

If the team’s adjustments are accurate, though, they raise some important questions.

A decline in fish catches could simply mean that we are fishing less — perhaps diets are shifting in key areas of the world.

However, if the number of fishing boats at sea remained the same or even increased during the period of the study, as the authors suspect, the research could be a sign that the planet simply has fewer fish.

Past studies have noted the negative impact of pollution and climate change on fish populations, and if this study is evidence that global stocks have been declining for more than two decades, it adds new urgency to our need to address those problems.

The post We May Not Be Catching as Many Fish as We Were Two Decades Ago appeared first on Futurism.


Amazon plans to open as many as six more cashierless Amazon Go stores this year

New futuristic convenience stores could appear in Seattle and Los Angeles.

Amazon’s much-heralded convenience store of the future, Amazon Go, may seem like a crazy experiment. But the company plans to open as many as six more of these storefronts this year, multiple people familiar with the company’s plans have told Recode.

Some of the new high-tech stores are likely to open in Amazon’s hometown of Seattle, where the first location is based, as well as Los Angeles, these people said. It’s not clear if Amazon will open up Go stores in any other cities this year.

In Los Angeles, Amazon has held serious talks with billionaire developer Rick Caruso about bringing a Go store to The Grove, his 600,000-square-foot outdoor shopping Mecca, two of these people said.

And in Seattle, Amazon had identified at least three locations for additional Go stores as of last year, according to one source.

Update: An Amazon declined to comment. Neither Caruso nor his company’s spokesperson responded to queries about his discussions with Amazon.

The first Amazon Go store opened one month ago to much fanfare, after more than 12 months of hype that only crescendoed as the company delayed the public opening by about a year.

Amazon spent four years crafting a system — dubbed Just Walk Out Technology — that allows shoppers to scan their phone upon entrance, grab desired items off a shelf, and automatically get charged the right amount after exiting without the need to stop at a cash register to pay. (Here’s a photo tour of the first Amazon Go store.)

Amazon is hoping that by making convenience store trips even faster, it will raise the bar for brick-and-mortar shopping in much the same way that Amazon Prime did for online shopping and delivery.

If successful, the initiative would help Amazon become even more ingrained in the daily lives of consumers and grab a greater chunk of the giant food and beverage industry that still predominantly lives inside brick-and-mortar stores. There’s also been speculation that Amazon could add the Amazon Go system comprised of cameras and sensors to Whole Foods stores now that it owns the grocery chain, but that would be a huge undertaking and represent a significantly greater technology challenge.

If the company does open an Amazon Go store in Los Angeles, it would mark just the latest example of Amazon using that city as an early testing ground for new products and services. Los Angeles was the first city that Amazon expanded its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service to after incubating it for more than five years in Seattle. More recently, Amazon was said to prepare a new shipping service in Los Angeles that would pit it against the big industry carriers UPS and FedEx.

News of the planned expansion of the Amazon Go concept is sure to set off fresh concerns about the great societal challenges that come with the type of automation that Amazon is inventing. Since the Amazon Go model does not involve customers checking out, there are no cashiers working in the stores.

There were more than 3.5 million cashier jobs in the U.S. as of 2016, according to the Department of Labor. Walmart is attempting to build a similar technology that would eliminate the need for cashiers, Recode previously reported.

Though there are no cashiers, the first Amazon Go store does employ workers who prepare fresh food and meals in an exposed kitchen visible to passersby. There is also a greeter stationed near the entrance, as well as a worker who checks customer IDs near the beer and wine selection.

Recode – All