Coinbase responds to rampant overcharges: ‘We have identified a solution’

Digital currency exchange Coinbase responded this afternoon to a report from The Verge regarding rampant overcharging of users and unauthorized withdrawals from their accounts, saying in a statement that the company has “identified a solution” to the problem. The issue, which began percolating on the dedicated Coinbase subreddit late last week, appears to be related to a recent change in the way credit cards classify digital currency transactions. Users were reporting empty cryptocurrency accounts as a result, which was creating panic and calls for legal action among Coinbase customers.

“We’re currently investigating an issue where some customers were charged incorrectly for purchases of digital currency with credit and debit cards,”…

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Survival game ’We Happy Few’ is delayed until summer

We've been excited about We Happy Few, the paranoia-fueled horror survival game set in a small English town, for awhile now. But it looks like we're going to have to wait a bit longer to play it. While the game was originally scheduled to be released…
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Patreon rescinds maligned fee restructure: “We messed up. We’re sorry”

When Patreon, a platform for freelance creatives, announced it would start charging a $ 0.35 transaction fee on every payment placed on the website, many contributors were outraged. While the company initially defended the move, citing technical requirements, it’s now issued a repeal as well as an apology. And to the company’s leadership we say: bravo! Creators & patrons: We’ve heard you loud and clear. We’re sorry, and we’re not rolling out the fees change. — Patreon (@Patreon) December 13, 2017 In a blog post titled “We messed up. We’re sorry, and we’re not rolling out the fees change.” Patreon…

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Jeff Bezos: “We Have to Go to Space to Save Earth”

Eyes on the Prize

Jeff Bezos is a busy man. Obviously, his primary focus is Amazon, the half-a-trillion-dollar company he founded, but improving how goods are bought and sold here on Earth is far from his most ambitious goal. Through his aerospace company Blue Origin, Bezos wants to expand humanity’s reach in the solar system.

Want to Go To Space? This is How Much It Will Cost You
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During an interview at the invite-only Summit Series held in Los Angeles this weekend, Bezos recounted his long obsession with space, according to a TechCrunch report.

At his high school graduation, he gave a valedictory speech that ended with a play on the “Star Trek” tagline — “Space, the final frontier. Meet me there.” — and Bezos’ Summit Series interview added a little more urgency to his invitation: “We have to go to space to save Earth…We kind of have to hurry.”

While Bezos believes humanity needs to explore the universe beyond our planet and has previously said he envisions a future where “millions of people [are] working and living in space,” he was sure to note during his Summit Series interview that we shouldn’t simply give up on the Earth. “We’ve sent robotic probes to every planet in our solar system. This one is the best. It’s not even close,” he said, according to TechCrunch’s report.

The Greatest Barrier

A few decades after giving his valedictory speech, Bezos is now one of the people most likely to actually enable that off-world meet up by opening space to tourism and possible colonization. As he’s noted before, though, we’ve yet to overcome one very significant hurdle: cost.

“We should build a permanent settlement on one of the poles of the Moon,” said Bezos while receiving the Buzz Aldrin Space Innovation Award. “What’s holding us back from making that next step is that space travel is just too darned expensive.”

Bezos’ Summit Series interview expanded on this point, with the CEO noting how lowering the price of admission for space travel could lead to thousands of space-based startups the same way lowered infrastructure costs opened the internet up to web startups.

Key to lowering costs will be the development of reusable rockets, and just like Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Bezos’ Blue Origin has been focused heavily on reusable rocket technology. Recently, the company reached a breakthrough with the next-generation space engine they plan to use for a rocket that could be ready to fly tourists into sub-orbital space by April 2019.

Indeed, the future of space exploration and perhaps even colonization is in the hands of companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin, and as emphasized during Bezos’ Summit Series interview, it all starts with making space more accessible. We may still have decades to wait until humanity reaches Mars, but if Bezos has any say in the matter, he’ll be ready to meet us there.

The post Jeff Bezos: “We Have to Go to Space to Save Earth” appeared first on Futurism.


Former General Motors Executive: “We Are Approaching the End of the Automotive Era”

Relinquishing the Driver’s Seat

Saying that autonomous cars are slowly increasing in popularity is a bit of an understatement. An idea once relegated to works of sci-fi is slowing becoming a reality, and it’s seemingly only a matter of time before the majority of vehicles on our streets and highways are self-driving and we reach the end of the automotive era as we know it.

A glance at the companies investing in autonomous technologies should tell you everything you need to know about the tech’s expected impact — Tesla, Google, Lyft, Uber, General Motors, and Ford are just a handful of the many companies creating, testing, and deploying autonomous cars.

While figuring out how to sell self-driving cars to consumers might be a more near-term consideration for some of these companies, no doubt others see the possibility that we’re heading toward a future in which people no longer own cars at all or, at the very least, one in which owner-driven vehicles represent just a small minority of those on the road.

Bob Lutz sees such a future on the horizon.

The former VP of General Motors may have retired in 2010, but with 47 years’ worth of experience, few know the automotive industry as well as he does, so when he says we’re approaching the end of the automotive era, it’s in every automaker and car owner’s best interest to pay attention.

“The auto industry is on an accelerating change curve,” Lutz wrote in an article published by Automotive News. “For hundreds of years, the horse was the prime mover of humans, and for the past 120 years, it has been the automobile. Now, we are approaching the end of the line for the automobile because travel will be in standardized modules.”

Autonomous Public Transport: The Future of the Urban Commute [INFOGRAPHIC]
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Lutz expects the transition to autonomous cars to impact consumers fully within the next 15 to 20 years. The “tipping point,” as Lutz put it, will be when roughly 20 to 30 percent of vehicles are self-driving, which will cause society to realize that autonomous cars are safer than those driven by humans. Human-driven vehicles will then be made illegal on roads, and car owners will either have to scrap their vehicles or trade them in for something that can drive itself.

Public Acceptance

Interestingly enough, Lutz doesn’t believe public acceptance will be necessary for self-driving cars to find success. Companies like Uber, Lyft, FedEx, UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, and Amazon will lead the charge, each buying thousands of low-, medium-, and high-end models to advance their businesses.

Those vehicles won’t be branded by their manufacturer, according to Lutz. Instead, they’ll bear the brand of the company using them, so while the autonomous car may look like one of, say, Ford’s models, it’ll be branded “Lyft” or converted into a UPS truck.

Lutz’s prediction that the end of the automotive era is nigh is supported by a number of recent assertions and actions by others.

NVIDIA’s CEO thinks we’re only four years away from fully autonomous cars, and Toyota believes they’ll have intelligent talking cars by 2020. California will allow self-driving cars without human drivers to operate on roads by mid-2018, and Google’s Waymo is expected to launch a self-driving car service within the next few months.

According to Lutz, automakers will be largely okay for the next 10 to 15 years, operating in a manner similar to what they do today. However, within 20 years, the shift to self-driving vehicles will be complete, and the human-driven automobile, repair facilities, and car dealerships will become relics of the past.

“I won’t be around to say, ‘I told you so,’ though if I do make it to [105-years old], I could no longer drive anyway because driving will be banned,” mused Lutz in his article. “So my timing once again is impeccable.”

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