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Blackstone To Buy Russian Billionaire’s Bumble Stake After Forbes Investigation Into His Companies

Russian billionaire Andrey Andreev will sell his majority stake in MagicLab, the company that owns online dating apps Bumble, Badoo and others, to private equity firm Blackstone Group in a deal that values the entire group at $3 billion, according to a statement issued Friday by Blackstone and MagicLab.

Andreev, who founded MagicLab, will step down as CEO of the company as part of the deal. Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder and CEO of Bumble, the dating app that markets itself as empowering women, will take over as CEO of the entire group. Before the news of this transaction, Forbes pegged Andreev’s net worth at $1.5 billion. Forbes estimates that the deal will boost Andreev’s net worth to $1.7 billion.

“My aim now is to ensure a smooth and successful transition before I embark on a new business venture in search of innovative leaders with new and exciting ideas,” Andreev said in a statement. “I wish MagicLab and Blackstone every success.”

Today In: Billionaires

In July, Forbes published an investigation into the work culture at Badoo’s London headquarters. Thirteen former employees described a work environment that was  toxic and misogynistic. After Forbes published the article, Andreev and MagicLab announced they would launch an internal investigation into the London office.

Wolfe Herd met Andreev in 2013 while she was an executive at dating app Tinder. Shortly after, she left Tinder and sued the company, alleging her ex-boss and ex-boyfriend Justin Mateen had sexual harassed her. The suit was confidentially settled for an estimated $1 million. She launched Bumble with funding and support from Andreev, at the end of 2014. Wolfe Herd is selling part of her stake in MagicLab to Blackstone as well, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the deal.

“This transaction is an incredibly important and exciting moment for Bumble and the MagicLab group of brands and team members,” Wolfe Herd said in a statement. “We will keep working towards our goal of recalibrating gender norms and empowering people to connect globally, and now at a much faster pace with our new partner.”

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Angel Au-Yeung has been a reporter on staff at Forbes Magazine since 2017. She covers the world’s wealthiest entrepreneurs and tracks how they use their money and power.

 

Source: Blackstone To Buy Russian Billionaire’s Bumble Stake After Forbes Investigation Into His Companies

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On dating app Bumble, the ladies are required to make the first move. Once those women make a match, the app gives them 24 hours to reach out and start a conversation. The company launched at the end of 2014, gaining more than three million users. Now, Bumble is heading into the “friend zone” with Bumble BFF. The app uses its algorithm to help people find friendship. Founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe, who was a co-founder of Tinder, joins “CBS This Morning” to discuss the new venture.

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Igniting Passion And Diversity In STEM

It wasn’t until my first job out of college—one in the wireless business—that I developed a passion for technology and saw how STEM impacts everything we do. This was the spark that led me to fall in love with the network engineering elements of wireless, and the more immersed I got in the industry, the more exposed and interested I was in other components of technology.

Now, as the father of a teenage daughter who’s interested in STEM subjects and potentially even computer science, I want her to find her own opportunities, discover where her passions lie, and to ensure she has the resources and encouragement to pursue them.

In the U.S., there simply aren’t enough people pursuing STEM to meet growing technology demands. According to the Smithsonian Science Education Center, “78 percent of high school graduates don’t meet benchmark readiness for one or more college courses in mathematics, science or English.” And then there are barriers to STEM advancement like four or six-year degree requirements for many jobs—which are remarkably difficult for most people to afford. So it’s not that surprising when people like Nasdaq vice chairman Bruce Aust say, “By 2020, there will be one million more computing jobs than there will be graduates to fill them, resulting in a $500 billion opportunity gap.”

What’s clear is we need to make it easier for people to experiment with STEM early in life, then create accessible and alternative opportunities to pursue their dreams. Equally important, we need to find ways to dramatically advance gender diversity in STEM fields to accelerate innovation around the world.

Fostering Excitement Around STEM Takes a Village

Organizations like the Washington Alliance for Better Schools (WABS)—which I’m on the board of—partners with school districts around Western Washington State, and is an example of families, teachers, schools, and public and private sector businesses uniting to develop meaningful STEM education and advancement opportunities, because everyone involved can benefit. Hands-on learning and vocational programs like their After School STEM Academy is a great way to help students connect the dots of scientific principles in a fun way. And WABS’ 21st Century Community Learning Centers leverage Title IV funds to help students meet state and local academic standards—from homework tutoring to leadership opportunities that can turn into summer internships or jobs.

As students’ interests in STEM grow, it creates a fantastic opportunity for businesses to see passions play out through hackathons, group ideation, and other challenges. Recently, for the second consecutive year, T-Mobile’s Changemaker Challenge initiative—in partnership with Ashoka—called on youth aged 13 to 23 from the U.S. and Puerto Rico to submit big ideas for how they would drive change in their communities. T-Mobile received 428 entries—a 28% increase over last year—133 in the ‘Tech for Good’ category. Interestingly, one quarter of all the tech entries were focused on STEM projects and even more interestingly, 63% of all technology category applications were from young women. We saw submissions from apps to robots to video games—all with the goal of changing the world for good. Next up, we’ll announce the Top 30 teams and each of them will receive a trip to T-Mobile’s HQ for the three-day Changemaker Challenge Lab to supercharge their projects along with some seed funding. Three category winners will pitch their ideas to T-Mobile leadership for a chance to win the $10,000 grand prize. To say that these young people’s ideas are inspiring is an understatement!

Accelerating Innovation Through Gender Diversity and Inner-Sourcing

Women aren’t typically well represented in many STEM-focused industries. Gender diversity is crucial to designing and building innovative solutions around the world, including T-Mobile’s products and services. At least half of our customers are female, and of the more than 50,000 employees who make up T-Mobile, 42% identify as female. If our product and technology employees don’t represent the diversity in our community, we stand to lose relevance in the market. By making diversity and inclusion a thoughtful, premeditated, sustained, and structural part of our recruitment and retainment of employees—including network engineers, software developers, data scientists, and other STEM professions—we’re able to foster a stronger company culture and build more innovative, customer experience obsessed products and services.

Let’s not forget that plenty of STEM-related jobs don’t include “engineer”, “developer”, or “scientist” in the job title across fields that intersect technology and digital customer experiences. One way we’ve cultivated the right talent at T-Mobile is “inner-sourcing” existing employees. For instance, through our Team of Pros program (TOPs), we provide opportunities for our frontline retail and customer care employees to apply for a 6 to 9-month program in a product management capacity to learn and work directly with engineering teams to ensure a tight coupling between what customers really want and the products, apps, training, and troubleshooting resources we design and develop. This is a great opportunity for our frontline employees to pivot into full-time STEM-related roles within T-Mobile corporate, without the need to pursue a formal technology-oriented education.

Championing STEM to Create a Better World

We live in a world where technology is omnipresent however connected, collaborative, and continuous STEM education isn’t equally accessible, and gender diversity is not well represented. To address pervasive global issues like climate change, resource inequality, economic stagnation, disease prevention, and others, we need diverse people who understand technical processes and technologies to work together to develop effective solutions. For those of us fortunate enough to reach a level of financial stability in STEM fields, we owe it to the future of our world to give back by leading and inspiring today’s and the next generation of technology leaders.

Cody Sanford is T-Mobile’s Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, leading the company’s digital transformation strategy fueling the Un-carrier revolution. He is responsible for spearheading the development of a product-centric technology organization that leverages the power of people, process and technology to bring to life T-Mobile’s innovative experiences for customers and frontline employees. Under Cody’s leadership, the Product & Technology organization is driving T-Mobile’s digital transformation, with an industry-leading software dev shop, expansion into adjacent products and services categories, and a leadership role in delivering open source innovations that solve large customer pain points.

Source: Igniting Passion And Diversity In STEM

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Many people in the world of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) have begun to question why the STEM workforce doesn’t reflect the diversity of society at large. In this talk, Jess Vovers tackles some key questions: What is diversity? Why does it matter? Why does STEM lack diversity? And what can we do about it? Jessica Vovers is a PhD candidate in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Melbourne, with a focus on sustainable solvents. When she’s not painting herself blue, she’s usually playing video games or riding her bike. Jess advocates for diversity in STEM through her work with Science Gallery Melbourne and mentoring with Curious Minds. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

 

Chinese Drone Air Taxi Maker EHang Files For $100 Million IPO On Nasdaq

EHang, a Chinese company that is preparing to launch what could be the first autonomous air taxi service, filed Thursday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to go public on the Nasdaq with a $100 million offering of depository shares.

In January, EHang became the first company to receive approval from Chinese aviation regulators to establish a pilot air taxi service. EHang is planning an initial cross-river route in its home city of Guangzhou using a two-seat, 16-rotor autonomous passenger vehicle called the EHang 216. The company is hoping to expand to other major cities in China, where crushing traffic congestion makes the prospect of an aerial alternative tantalizing, as well as internationally.

While it’s been developing its passenger vehicles, EHang has made a name for itself, and some money, by staging light shows with hundreds of coordinated small drones, as well as selling surveillance drone systems. According to Derrick Xiong, a cofounder of the company and its chief marketing officer, the light shows have given EHang valuable experience that is helping it to perfect software that will be capable of coordinating a large network of passenger-carrying vehicles. “When we build a three-dimensional transport system, we need to be able to control thousands of aircraft,he told Forbes in a phone conversation last month.

Today In: Business

Xiong says that in addition to air taxi services, the company has customers in China who want to use its passenger drones for sightseeing in scenic locations in the mountains or on the coast, as well as interest in Norway to use them to transport workers and supplies to offshore oil platforms.

Another market: speedy delivery of organs for transplant. In 2016, the U.S. biotech company United Therapeutics said it would order up to 1,000 of EHang’s first passenger drone, the one-seat EHang 184, to transport manufactured lungs and other organs its developing.

United Therapeutics and its subsidiary Lung Biotechnology have pumped $17 million into EHang in return for 2.9 million preferred shares, EHang’s F-1 filing says. The company has already delivered 38 passenger drones to customers and has a backlog of 28 orders, according to the filing.

EHang disclosed a net loss of $5.5 million for the first six months of 2019, up 42% from the same period in 2018, on $4.7 million in revenue, off 15.6%, as a rise in sales in its passenger and cargo drone businesses was undercut by a decline in its light show and surveillance drone operations. The company has raised $52 million in venture capital from funds including GGV Capital and ZhenFund.

EHang was founded in 2014 by Xiong, who had just returned to China after earning an MBA at Duke, and CEO Huazhi Hu, a software developer who had built an emergency dispatch system for the Beijing Olympics.

The EHang 216, which the company is manufacturing in Austria in collaboration with FACC, a maker of composite airframe parts, has a range of roughly 10 miles and a top speed of 99 mph. The company says it has safely conducted over 2,000 flight tests of the 216 and the 184, including in high winds.

Since June 2018, EHang has been operating a pilot drone food delivery service in Guangzhou the supermarket chain Yonghui within a roughly 6-mile radius of a store in the center of the city. Xiong said that the service had successfully completed 30,000 deliveries to distribution points where customers come to pick up their order.

It’s also launched a drone cargo delivery service with DHL-Sinotrans between an industrial park in Guangzhou and a DHL hub 5 miles away in Dongguan.

The share offering is being underwritten by Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Needham & Co. and Tiger Brokers.

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I help direct our coverage of autos, energy and manufacturing, and write about aerospace and defense. Send tips to jbogaisky[at]forbes.com

Source: Chinese Drone Air Taxi Maker EHang Files For $100 Million IPO On Nasdaq

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Subscribe to our YouTube channel for free here: https://sc.mp/subscribe-youtube Chinese firm shows off its pilotless air taxi for the first time in Europe. Developed by Chinese drone company Ehang and Austrian aeronautics company FACC, the Ehang 216 was tested in Vienna, Austria on April 4. The flying taxi’s speed can reach up to 130 kilometres per hour and fly for 40 minutes. The flying taxi is expected to cost 200,000 euros (US$224,000). The autonomous flying car industry is rising, with aerospace giant Airbus and Boeing aiming to offer such service. However, regulations have yet to be made for this kind of transportation.

The 7 Biggest Technology Trends In 2020 Everyone Must Get Ready For Now

We are amidst the 4th Industrial Revolution, and technology is evolving faster than ever. Companies and individuals that don’t keep up with some of the major tech trends run the risk of being left behind. Understanding the key trends will allow people and businesses to prepare and grasp the opportunities. As a business and technology futurist, it is my job to look ahead and identify the most important trends. In this article, I share with you the seven most imminent trends everyone should get ready for in 2020.

AI-as-a-service

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most transformative tech evolutions of our times. As I highlighted in my book ‘Artificial Intelligence in Practice’, most companies have started to explore how they can use AI to improve the customer experience and to streamline their business operations. This will continue in 2020, and while people will increasingly become used to working alongside AIs, designing and deploying our own AI-based systems will remain an expensive proposition for most businesses.

For this reason, much of the AI applications will continue to be done through providers of as-a-service platforms, which allow us to simply feed in our own data and pay for the algorithms or compute resources as we use them.

Currently, these platforms, provided by the likes of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, tend to be somewhat broad in scope, with (often expensive) custom-engineering required to apply them to the specific tasks an organization may require. During 2020, we will see wider adoption and a growing pool of providers that are likely to start offering more tailored applications and services for specific or specialized tasks. This will mean no company will have any excuses left not to use AI.

Today In: Innovation

5G data networks

The 5th generation of mobile internet connectivity is going to give us super-fast download and upload speeds as well as more stable connections. While 5G mobile data networks became available for the first time in 2019, they were mostly still expensive and limited to functioning in confined areas or major cities. 2020 is likely to be the year when 5G really starts to fly, with more affordable data plans as well as greatly improved coverage, meaning that everyone can join in the fun.

Super-fast data networks will not only give us the ability to stream movies and music at higher quality when we’re on the move. The greatly increased speeds mean that mobile networks will become more usable even than the wired networks running into our homes and businesses. Companies must consider the business implications of having super-fast and stable internet access anywhere. The increased bandwidth will enable machines, robots, and autonomous vehicles to collect and transfer more data than ever, leading to advances in the area of the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart machinery. Smart cities

Autonomous Driving

While we still aren’t at the stage where we can expect to routinely travel in, or even see, autonomous vehicles in 2020, they will undoubtedly continue to generate a significant amount of excitement.

Tesla chief Elon Musk has said he expects his company to create a truly “complete” autonomous vehicle by this year, and the number of vehicles capable of operating with a lesser degree of autonomy – such as automated braking and lane-changing – will become an increasingly common sight. In addition to this, other in-car systems not directly connected to driving, such as security and entertainment functions – will become increasingly automated and reliant on data capture and analytics. Google’s sister-company Waymo has just completed a trial of autonomous taxis in California, where it transported more than Xk people.

It won’t just be cars, of course – trucking and shipping are becoming more autonomous, and breakthroughs in this space are likely to continue to hit the headlines throughout 2020.

With the maturing of autonomous driving technology, we will also increasingly hear about the measures that will be taken by regulators, legislators, and authorities. Changes to laws, existing infrastructure, and social attitudes are all likely to be required before autonomous driving becomes a practical reality for most of us. During 2020, it’s likely we will start to see the debate around autonomous driving spread outside of the tech world, as more and more people come round to the idea that the question is not “if,” but “when,” it will become a reality.

Personalized and predictive medicine

Technology is currently transforming healthcare at an unprecedented rate. Our ability to capture data from wearable devices such as smartwatches will give us the ability to increasingly predict and treat health issues in people even before they experience any symptoms.

When it comes to treatment, we will see much more personalized approaches. This is also referred to as precision medicine which allows doctors to more precisely prescribe medicines and apply treatments, thanks to a data-driven understanding of how effective they are likely to be for a specific patient.

Although not a new idea, thanks to recent breakthroughs in technology, especially in the fields of genomics and AI, it is giving us a greater understanding of how different people’s bodies are better or worse equipped to fight off specific diseases, as well as how they are likely to react to different types of medication or treatment.

Throughout 2020 we will see new applications of predictive healthcare and the introduction of more personalized and effective treatments to ensure better outcomes for individual patients.

Computer Vision

In computer terms, “vision” involves systems that are able to identify items, places, objects or people from visual images – those collected by a camera or sensor. It’s this technology that allows your smartphone camera to recognize which part of the image it’s capturing is a face, and powers technology such as Google Image Search.

As we move through 2020, we’re going to see computer vision equipped tools and technology rolled out for an ever-increasing number of uses. It’s fundamental to the way autonomous cars will “see” and navigate their way around danger. Production lines will employ computer vision cameras to watch for defective products or equipment failures, and security cameras will be able to alert us to anything out of the ordinary, without requiring 24/7 monitoring.

Computer vision is also enabling face recognition, which we will hear a lot about in 2020. We have already seen how useful the technology is in controlling access to our smartphones in the case of Apple’s FaceID and how Dubai airport uses it to provide a smoother customer journey [add link]. However, as the use cases will grow in 2020, we will also have more debates about limiting the use of this technology because of its potential to erode privacy and enable ‘Big Brother’-like state control.

Extended Reality

Extended Reality (XR) is a catch-all term that covers several new and emerging technologies being used to create more immersive digital experiences. More specifically, it refers to virtual, augmented, and mixed reality. Virtual reality (VR) provides a fully digitally immersive experience where you enter a computer-generated world using headsets that blend out the real world. Augmented reality (AR) overlays digital objects onto the real world via smartphone screens or displays (think Snapchat filters). Mixed reality (MR) is an extension of AR, that means users can interact with digital objects placed in the real world (think playing a holographic piano that you have placed into your room via an AR headset).

These technologies have been around for a few years now but have largely been confined to the world of entertainment – with Oculus Rift and Vive headsets providing the current state-of-the-art in videogames, and smartphone features such as camera filters and Pokemon Go-style games providing the most visible examples of AR.

From 2020 expect all of that to change, as businesses get to grips with the wealth of exciting possibilities offered by both current forms of XR. Virtual and augmented reality will become increasingly prevalent for training and simulation, as well as offering new ways to interact with customers.

Blockchain Technology

Blockchain is a technology trend that I have covered extensively this year, and yet you’re still likely to get blank looks if you mention in non-tech-savvy company. 2020 could finally be the year when that changes, though. Blockchain is essentially a digital ledger used to record transactions but secured due to its encrypted and decentralized nature. During 2019 some commentators began to argue that the technology was over-hyped and perhaps not as useful as first thought. However, continued investment by the likes of FedEx, IBM, Walmart and Mastercard during 2019 is likely to start to show real-world results, and if they manage to prove its case, could quickly lead to an increase in adoption by smaller players.

And if things are going to plan, 2020 will also see the launch of Facebook’s own blockchain-based crypto currently Libra, which is going to create quite a stir.

If you would like to keep track of these technologies, simply follow me on YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, or head to my website for many more in-depth articles on these topics.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Bernard Marr is an internationally best-selling author, popular keynote speaker, futurist, and a strategic business & technology advisor to governments and companies. He helps organisations improve their business performance, use data more intelligently, and understand the implications of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, blockchains, and the Internet of Things. Why don’t you connect with Bernard on Twitter (@bernardmarr), LinkedIn (https://uk.linkedin.com/in/bernardmarr) or instagram (bernard.marr)?

Source: The 7 Biggest Technology Trends In 2020 Everyone Must Get Ready For Now

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In this Intellipaat’s top 10 technologies to learn in 2019 video, you will learn all the trending technologies in the market in 2019. The end goal of this video is to educate you about the latest technologies to learn and all the top 10 trending technologies you can watch for in order to make a fantastic career in IT technologies in 2019. Do subscribe to Intellipaat channel to get regular updates on them: https://goo.gl/hhsGWb Intellipaat Online Training: https://goo.gl/LeiW5S AI & Deep Learning Training: https://goo.gl/amnqEK Blockchain Training: https://goo.gl/CgDPyu Cloud Computing Training: https://goo.gl/PY2nbX Big Data Hadoop Training: https://goo.gl/NJaDuf BI Tools Training: https://goo.gl/SbkRXT DevOps Training: https://goo.gl/zz15qn Salesforce Training: https://goo.gl/zN3tLj SAP HANA Training: https://goo.gl/x2Jiu7 Python Programming Training: https://goo.gl/8urtdD Oracle DBA Training: https://goo.gl/LhYLTS Are you interested to learn any of the trending technology 2019 mentioned in the video? Enroll in our Intellipaat courses & become a certified Professional (https://goo.gl/LeiW5S). All Intellipaat trainings are provided by Industry experts and is completely aligned with industry standards and certification bodies. If you’ve enjoyed this top technologies to learn video, Like us and Subscribe to our channel for more trending technologies of 2019 tutorials. Got any questions about the top technologies to learn in 2019? Ask us in the comment section below. —————————- Intellipaat Edge 1. 24*7 Life time Access & Support 2. Flexible Class Schedule 3. Job Assistance 4. Mentors with +14 yrs 5. Industry Oriented Course ware 6. Life time free Course Upgrade #Top10TechnologiesToLearnIn2019 #TrendingTechnologies2019 #Top10ITTechnologiesIn2019 —————————— For more Information: Please write us to sales@intellipaat.com, or call us at: +91- 7847955955 Website: https://goo.gl/LeiW5S Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/intellipaato… LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/intellipaat/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/Intellipaat

Microsoft Just Lost A Big Fight With America’s Top Huawei Prosecutor

Newly unsealed court documents have revealed a secret legal battle between Microsoft and one of America’s leading prosecutors focused on chasing Chinese technology companies breaking U.S. law.

U.S. attorney Alexander Solomon—who also happens to be the lead prosecutor on two criminal cases involving Huawei—just scored a big victory in that tussle, forcing Microsoft to keep quiet about a demand to hand over customer emails.

That request was originally filed in August 2018 and was followed by a gag order. Both were kept secret until Wednesday, when it emerged Microsoft was told to hand over emails, text messages and voicemails belonging to two employees at one of its unnamed enterprise customers. Microsoft said that while it could provide the data, it should be allowed to inform executives at that unnamed company. It asked the government to lift a gag order that had prevented it from informing anyone. As revealed in a Microsoft blog post and court documents unsealed Wednesday, the software giant lost that fight, though it will appeal.

Nothing was said about why the government wanted those emails. But there are numerous indications the data grab is related to America’s fight against Chinese businesses’ breaches of U.S. law.

Today In: Innovation

To start, the prosecutors in the case are both leading high-profile cases into various offenses committed by Chinese nationals and businesses against the U.S. And one, Alexander Solomon, is the lead prosecutor in two cases in which Huawei is at the center.

The biggest is the one in which Huawei stands accused of illegally exporting equipment to Iran from the U.S. via a subsidiary called Skycom, and then repeatedly lying about the deals. Not only were Huawei, its U.S. business and Skycom charged, so was the daughter of the Huawei CEO and the current CFO, Wanzhou Meng, who is currently fighting extradition from Canada. Huawei has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The Huawei entities were, in January this year, charged with bank fraud, wire fraud and violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (lEEPA), a law that Trump recently used to enforce sanctions on Iran. As per court documents detailing the order on Microsoft, the two employees of the unnamed customer are suspected of similar crimes, namely wire fraud, money laundering and breaches of lEEPA.

Going deeper, those staff at the Microsoft customer are being investigated for working for one multinational corporation and conspiring with another to violate the lEEPA. They did so “by sending and attempting to send U.S. origin goods to [a company] in [a foreign country], in contravention of U.S. sanctions,” according to a court filing.

The name of the customer remains a mystery. It’s unlikely to be Huawei, though. That’s because Microsoft was asked to hand over the emails of two “low-level employees in one business unit of a multinational, publicly listed Microsoft customer.” Huawei is not publicly listed; its private ownership has, in fact, been the subject of much speculation. Though it claims to be owned by its employees, academics have suggested that’s misleading.

The prosecutor, Solomon, is also leading a case against Chinese professor Bo Mao, who has been accused of stealing technology from a California company for a Chinese company, reportedly Huawei. Mao has pleaded not guilty on a single charge of wire fraud.

Huawei hadn’t responded to a request for comment on the above cases. Microsoft also hadn’t provided comment. The prosecutor’s office declined to comment.

Microsoft’s fight with the U.S.

But Microsoft had a lot to say in court filings and a blog post about the government’s attempts to completely silence the maker of the Windows operating system.

It argued that 20 years ago, the government would go directly to the company that controlled the data, not its cloud-based tech supplier. Microsoft said it was “disturbing” that governments were now going to tech companies instead. And it therefore should be allowed to at least tell employees at an affected company about a government data grab, as long as it wouldn’t jeopardize an investigation. “The government cannot justify such a total ban on Microsoft’s speech,” the company’s lawyers said.

Dev Stahlkopf, Microsoft’s corporate vice president and general counsel, said the company would “continue to stand up for the principle that our customers are entitled to know when the government obtains their data.”

“Absent extraordinary circumstances, government agents should seek data directly from our enterprise customers, and if they seek our customers’ data from us, they should allow us to tell our customers when demands are made,” Stahlkopf added.

“We believe strongly that these fundamental protections should not disappear just because customers store their data in the cloud rather than in file cabinets or desk drawers.”

Microsoft has also been vocal about restrictions on American companies doing business with Huawei. Company president Brad Smith recently said the U.S. should revisit the ban preventing Microsoft and others from letting Huawei run American software.

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I’m associate editor for Forbes, covering security, surveillance and privacy. I’ve been breaking news and writing features on these topics for major publications since 2010. As a freelancer, I worked for The Guardian, Vice Motherboard, Wired and BBC.com, amongst many others. I was named BT Security Journalist of the year in 2012 and 2013 for a range of exclusive articles, and in 2014 was handed Best News Story for a feature on US government harassment of security professionals. I like to hear from hackers who are breaking things for either fun or profit and researchers who’ve uncovered nasty things on the web. Tip me on Signal at 447837496820. I use WhatsApp and Treema too. Or you can email me at TBrewster@forbes.com, or tbthomasbrewster@gmail.com.

Source: Microsoft Just Lost A Big Fight With America’s Top Huawei Prosecutor

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Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou returned to British Columbia Supreme Court on September 23, 2019 to fend off her extradition case. At the hearing, attorney Richard Peck alleged that Canadian authorities delayed Meng’s arrest in an effort to collect evidence for U.S. authorities, conducting a “covert criminal investigation” in the process. Subscribe to us on YouTube: https://goo.gl/lP12gA Download our APP on Apple Store (iOS): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cctvn… Download our APP on Google Play (Android): https://play.google.com/store/apps/de… Follow us on: Website: https://www.cgtn.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChinaGlobalT… Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cgtn/?hl=zh-cn Twitter: https://twitter.com/CGTNOfficial Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/CGTNOfficial/ Tumblr: http://cctvnews.tumblr.com/ Weibo: http://weibo.com/cctvnewsbeijing Douyin: http://v.douyin.com/aBbmNQ/

How Snapchat Became The Best-Performing Tech Stock In 2019

Topline: After its stock market debut two years ago floundered, Snapchat has made a strong comeback: Its shares have risen nearly 200% in 2019, outpacing the broader market and easily eclipsing the rest of its peers in the technology sector.

  • Now valued near $23.5 billion, Snapchat sits at $17 per share, up from a $7.2 billion valuation and an all-time low of $4.99 per share last December, according to Bloomberg data.
  • Snapchat’s stock has eclipsed its peers in the tech sector this year: It is far and away the best performer in the iShares U.S. Technology ETF. While rival companies like Facebook and Pinterest are up 40% and 23%, respectively, they can’t compare with the triple-digit growth in Snap’s share price.
  • Strong earnings in recent quarters (with fewer losses than Wall Street had expected), new revenue opportunities and improved profitability have all helped drive Snap shares higher this year.
  • After being written off two years ago, the social media company’s user base and engagement is finally growing again. When Snap had its IPO in March 2017, valued at $31 billion, it hoped to become the next Facebook. But the app never really caught on with the masses—instead, it appealed mostly to younger users, as many adults and advertisers found it difficult to use.
  • Over the last year and a half, the company has transitioned to focus on its younger users again, exploring new revenue opportunities like Snap Games, which was rolled out in the spring. Some Wall Street analysts already predict that the new gaming business could be a big growth driver for Snapchat going forward. Evercore ISI analyst Kevin Rippey, for instance, sees it bringing in as much as $350 million in revenue each year by 2022.
  • Snap has ten “buy” ratings, 25 “hold” ratings, and 4 “sell” ratings from Wall Street analysts, according to Bloomberg data.

What to watch for: Third-quarter earnings, due in November, will be an important indicator. The company’s second-quarter earnings, released in July, saw revenue increase 48% year-over-year to $388 million.

Today In: Money

Surprising fact: Despite growth prospects, it’s still important to remember that Snapchat is losing money: Free cash flow dropped by 32% between the first and second quarter, the first such decline in a year.

Tangent: Since Snapchat stock started its comeback, CEO Evan Spiegel’s net worth has grown from just over $1.4 billion to $3.7 billion.

Critic: While Susquehanna Financial Group’s Shyam Patil remains optimistic about the company’s continued momentum in the short term, Patil highlights that the stock’s “valuation remains elevated,” compared to peers like Facebook and Twitter, and points out competition with Instagram as another potential downside risk, writing that “SNAP must hold onto the key 18-34 demographic to attract advertisers.

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I am a New York—based reporter for Forbes, covering breaking news—with a focus on financial topics. Previously, I’ve reported at Money Magazine, The Villager NYC, and The East Hampton Star. I graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2018, majoring in International Relations and Modern History. Follow me on Twitter @skleb1234 or email me at sklebnikov@forbes.com

Source: How Snapchat Became The Best-Performing Tech Stock In 2019

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Apple Just Did Something Remarkable And It’s Very Good News For Its Customers

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No one likes to admit when they’re wrong. That’s true for you and me, and it’s especially true for big companies like Apple. The thing is, when you’re willing to admit when you made a mistake, it goes a long way towards building trust. And trust is, by far, your brand’s most valuable asset.

Today, Apple apologized for how it had handled recorded snippets of users’ voice interactions with Siri, the company’s digital assistant. In a statement, the company said that  “we realize we haven’t been fully living up to our high ideals, and for that we apologize.”

You might remember that Apple, like pretty much every other tech company, recently admitted that it used contractors to listen to, and transcribe these recordings in an effort to improve the artificial intellience-powered service. Making matters worse is that fact that the company hadn’t disclosed this practice, and contractors often heard false-activations that revealed personal information and other private conversations.

Earlier this month, Apple paused its review program and ended its relationship with the contractors involved. Now, it appears to be taking the next step, which started with an apology.

That’s actually pretty remarkable. It’s not often that companies say, “I’m sorry. We messed up.” Sure, they sometimes say a lot of words that vaguely sound like “I’m sorry,” but rarely are they this direct. Apple basically called itself out, saying that it wasn’t living up to its own standards, and that it owed customers an apology for a problem it caused.

Along with the apology, maybe the even bigger news here is that Apple announced a series of steps it plans to take moving forward, including:

  • The company will no longer retain recorded Siri interactions, but will use computer-generated transcripts instead.
  • Apple will allow users to opt in to having their audio samples included in the company’s efforts to improve the product. Users will also be able to opt out at any time after that.
  • Apple will only allow its employees (not contractors) to listen to audio samples, and will delete any “inadvertent trigger,” of Siri.

This is a big deal for a lot of reasons, but mostly because Apple will now allow users to ‘opt in.’ This is exactly how it should work.

There are perfectly legitimate reasons why Apple would want to listen to recorded snippets of Siri interactions. That’s one of the only ways it can really know how accurate the AI is at understanding user requests and providing the right information for a human to review and correction. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t agree that that’s reasonable.

But Apple is changing the default assumption of an unspoken ‘opt in’ to one where people are given the choice to participate, instead of simply offering some opaque way of opting out. Companies offer opt out because they know most people won’t go through the trouble of changing whatever the default setting is, meaning people stay in whether they really want to or not.

Every tech company handling sensitive data should do exactly this. Don’t just let people opt out, or delete their history, or make a request to no longer be recorded. Make the default position the thing that’s best for the user, even if it makes your job a little harder.

Then, make your case for why your practice is worth it to the customer, and let them decide to participate or not.

By: Jason Aten

 

Source: https://www.inc.com/

At its 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple showed off iOS 13, which will be coming to iPhones this fall. Some of the new features include a dark mode, an overhaul for Maps, and the ability to swipe to type. Here are the best features Apple showed off. The event took place at the San Jose Convention Center, not Cupertino as mentioned in the video. Tech Insider regrets the error. MORE IPHONE CONTENT: 23 iPhone Tricks To Make Your Life Easier https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U52mI… $479 Pixel 3a XL VS. $1,099 iPhone XS Max https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ddAY… Lifelong iPhone User Switches To The Galaxy S10 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1r3wb… —————————————————— #Apple #iPhone #TechInsider Tech Insider tells you all you need to know about tech: gadgets, how-to’s, gaming, science, digital culture, and more. Visit us at: https://www.businessinsider.com TI on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/techinsider TI on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tech_insider/ TI on Twitter: https://twitter.com/techinsider TI on Amazon Prime: http://read.bi/PrimeVideo INSIDER on Snapchat: https://insder.co/2KJLtVo The Best Features Apple Just Announced Coming To The iPhone

New Billionaire: Dean Stoecker’s 22-Year Journey & The Software That Makes Almost Anyone A Data Savant

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Sun Tzu meets software in mid-August at downtown Denver’s Crawford Hotel. The floors are terrazzo. The chandeliers are accented with gold. And Dean Stoecker, the CEO of data-science firm Alteryx, has summoned his executives for the annual strategy session he calls Bing Fa, after the Mandarin title of The Art of War. “Sun Tzu was all about how you conserve resources,” says Stoecker, 62. “How do you win a war without going into battle?”alteryx

Stoecker knows something about conserving resources. He cofounded Alteryx in 1997, when the data-science industry scarcely existed, and spent a decade growing the firm to a measly $10 million in annual revenue. “We had to wait for the market to catch up,” he says. As he waited, he kept the business lean, hiring slowly and forgoing outside investment until 2011. Then, as “big data” began eating the world, he raised $163 million before taking Alteryx public in 2017. The stock is up nearly 900% since, and Stoecker is worth an estimated $1.2 billion.

“People ask me, ‘Did you ever think it would get this big?’” he says. “And I say, ‘Yeah, I just never thought it would take this long.’ ”

Alteryx makes data science easy. Its simple, click-and-drop design lets anyone, from recent grads to emeritus chairmen, turn raw numbers into charts and graphics. It goes far beyond Excel. Plug in some numbers, select the desired operation—say data cleansing or linear regression—and presto.

There are applications in every industry. Coca-Cola uses Alteryx to help restaurants predict how much soda to order. Airlines use it to hedge the price of jet fuel. Banks use it to model derivatives. Data analysis “is the one skill that every human being has to have if they’re going to survive in this next generation,” says Stoecker. “More so than balancing a checkbook.”

Alteryx’s numbers support that forecast. The company, based in Irvine, California, generated $28 million in profit on $254 million in revenue in 2018, and Stoecker expects to hit $1 billion in annual sales by 2022.

Stoecker grew up the son of a tinkerer. His father built liquid nitrogen tanks for NASA before quitting his job to sell “pre-cut” vacation homes in Colorado. He made them himself. “It was literally just him nine months of the year, and he would cut wood for 50 buildings,” Stoecker recalls. As a teenager he joined his father, and by the time he arrived at the University of Colorado Boulder to study economics, he was able to pay his own way.

After graduating in 1979, Stoecker earned his M.B.A. from Pepperdine, then took a sales job in 1990 at Donnelley Marketing Information Services, a data company in Connecticut. There he met Libby Duane Adams, who worked in the firm’s Stamford office. Seven years later, the pair founded a data company of their own, which they cumbersomely named Spatial Re-Engineering Consultants. (A third cofounder, Ned Harding, joined around the same time; Stoecker, who came up with the idea, took the lion’s share of the equity.)

SRC’s first customer, a junk mail company in Orange County, paid $125,000 to better target its coupons. “We were building big-data analytic cloud solutions back in 1998,” says Stoecker, when many businesses were barely online and terms like “cloud computing” were years away.

SRC was profitable from the outset. “We didn’t spend ahead of revenue. We didn’t hire ahead of revenue,” says Adams, sitting in a remodeled 1962 Volkswagen bus at Alteryx headquarters, theoretically a symbol of the company’s journey. “We never calculated burn rates. That was a big topic in the whole dot-com era. We were not running the business like a dot-com.”

In 2006, as part of a pivot away from one-off consulting gigs, SRC released software to let customers do the number-crunching themselves. They named the software Alteryx, a nerdy joke for changing two variables simultaneously: “Alter Y, X.” Stoecker made Alteryx the company name, too, in 2010.

The market was still small. To grow revenue, “we just kept raising the price of our platform,” Stoecker says. In the beginning, Alteryx sold its subscription-based software for $7,500 per user; by 2013 it was charging $55,000. The next year, as Stoecker felt demand growing, he slashed prices to $4,000. Volume made up for the lower rate. Today Alteryx has 5,300 customers. “We immediately went from averaging eight, nine or ten [new clients] a quarter to north of 250,” he says.

Although data mining and data analytics is a long-established field, encompassing a slew of startups as well as giants like Oracle and IBM, “we see almost no direct competition,” Stoecker insists.

“It’s a pretty wide-open field,” says Marshall Senk, a senior research analyst at Compass Point Research & Trading. “The choice is you buy a suite from Alteryx or you go buy 15 different products and try to figure out how to get them to work together.”

Inside Alteryx’s offices, Stoecker pauses in front of a time line depicting his first 22 years in business. “The good stuff hasn’t even occurred yet,” he says. “I’m going to need a way bigger wall.”

 

I’ve been a reporter at Forbes since 2016. Before that, I spent a year on the road—driving for Uber in Cleveland, volcano climbing in Guatemala, cattle farming in Uruguay, and lots of stuff in between. I graduated from Tufts University with a dual degree in international relations and Arabic. Feel free to reach out at nkirsch@forbes.com with any story ideas or tips, or follow me on Twitter @Noah_Kirsch.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/

You’ve disrupted the status quo, dissolved data conventions and altered everything we knew about analytics. This year, we invited you to put your groundbreaking insights on the main stage at our annual user conference. Revisit the fun in Nashville as we celebrated the game changing stories that educated leaders and motivated a community of data experts to shatter more barriers than ever before. This year was all about You.Amplified.

Why TIME’s 2019 Tech Optimists Are Upbeat About the Future

As data breaches, misuse of personal information and the spread of disinformation erode the public’s trust in Silicon Valley, it can be all too easy to become cynical about technology’s impact on the world. But there are still plenty of reasons to be optimistic about tech’s role in society moving forward.

Below, TIME speaks to 10 innovators, founders, investors and even athletes who remain upbeat about technology’s influence despite the many challenges facing the industry today.

Moustapha Cisse

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Moustapha Cisse left Senegal a decade ago to study artificial intelligence, and now he believes the technology can change Africa for the better.

Cisse, 34, is leading Google’s AI research center in Accra, Ghana, the company’s first such venture in Africa. “I built my team here around people who are really committed to make a difference in people’s lives,” Cisse tells TIME. “[They] bring a fresh perspective in the field by looking at the problems that we have in Africa.”

Growing up, no one would have expected Cisse to be heading up a multi-billion dollar corporation’s research initiative. Cisse was the first member of his family to go to university, or receive formal schooling of any kind. Eventually, he traveled to France to get a master’s degree in AI and a Ph.D. in computer science, then went on to work for Facebook, developing machine learning algorithms meant to better account for society’s inherent biases.

“While I was doing all this research, I still had in the back of my mind that I wanted to come back to Africa to contribute,” Cisse says. He originally left for Europe because he couldn’t find a single program in Africa to study machine learning. But in 2018, he recruited a slate of top-tier researchers and started an AI master’s degree program at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Kigali, Rwanda with funding from Facebook and Google. His program began teaching its first 30 students in September; there are plans to expand to 100 students next year, with an additional location in Accra. For Cisse, his graduates represent the future of African computing, uniquely equipped to solve the toughest challenges facing the continent — as well as bring diversity to a field concentrated in Europe, North America and Asia.

Cisse’s lab in Ghana is already starting to use machine learning to address local issues. He wants to create AI programs to help farmers diagnose blights affecting their harvests, as well as translation software to better connect speakers of Africa’s 1,000 to 2,000 languages. More broadly, Cisse believes that Africa’s technological solutions should be developed within the continent itself. “I truly believe that the types of challenges and problems we decide to solve … are informed by the environment in which we are,” Cisse says. “Being here, we have the unique opportunity to look at the problems and design solutions that fit these problems, but also ultimately will impact the whole world.”

Andy Clark

Provided by Andy Clark

We’re all natural-born cyborgs — according to philosopher and cognitive scientist Andy Clark, anyway. He thinks humans are hardwired to incorporate outside technologies (from paper and pencils to smartphones) into our methods of thinking and acting. And as our devices get faster and smarter, so do we, he says.

Clark, who teaches cognitive psychology at the University of Sussex, believes a good deal of human cognition takes place in feedback cycles between the brain and the outside world; he calls this model “the extended mind.” “If you’re looking for the circuitry that makes human thought and reason possible, then you’ll miss a lot of the quite interesting stuff if you just look inside the brain,” says Clark, 61.

For anyone who feels helpless without their smartphone, Clark’s ideas might seem more intuitive than when he and philosopher David Chalmers introduced them in 1998. His prescient thinking has not gone unnoticed in the cognitive science world — or by today’s technology titans. In addition to his teaching and research, Clark now works as a consultant for Google, advising it on relations between humans and their devices.

What keeps Clark up at night? If our smartphones and devices form integral parts of our “extended minds,” then we might face an even more unequal future, one in which the wealthy are able to continuously upgrade their cognitive abilities with better devices, leaving the rest of us behind. “There’s enough inequality in the world already without adding new and ever-more complex layers to it,” says Clark. “There is a real issue there about making sure that it’s not totally co-opted by late capitalism.”

Despite those issues, Clark remains a “techno-optimist,” as he puts it. As the devices we interact with get smarter, he sees us inhabiting an ecosystem of continuously interacting, nearly invisible non-biological artificial intelligences.

“I think we’ll soon enter an era of what I’d dub ‘universal deep recognition,” Clark adds over email. “We’ll become used to being able to discover information about what’s around us, and how it all works and inter-relates, on demand and without typing or attending to a screen. A sub-vocal query or a haptic shortcut (a subtle motion of the hand to the ear, say) would ask ‘what bird is making that birdsong we can hear?,’ with results delivered by a hearable. A point at a salient object — say, a mushroom — would identify the type, while an augmented reality overlay could show a guess at the underground architecture of the mycelium. Hearables will be widely used for providing translations of spoken languages, too — tech that already exists.”

Still, Clark doesn’t believe that ubiquitous interaction with these artificial intelligences will make us any less human. Rather, he argues that will become more intelligent, aware versions of ourselves. “You don’t have to worry about suddenly finding yourself in some post-human future,” he says. “That’s the thing that’s most human about us … self-reinvention.”

Anil Dash

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Technology’s transformative power is what Glitch CEO Anil Dash loves most. “That’s been the thing that captured my imagination from when I was a kid,” says Dash, 43, whose two decades of experience as “the tech guy in the room” for organizations like Project Include and the Obama Administration’s Office of Digital Strategy have cemented his reputation as one of the most vocal advocates for a more humane and ethical Internet.

“And then it happened,” he says, referring to what he characterizes as the rise of technology lacking an ethical compass, and the proliferation of toxicity facilitated by algorithms spreading misinformation, vitriol, and violence. The weird, creative communities that sparked Dash’s curiosity toward the web were shrinking, replaced with social networks where few seemed happy. Safe spaces for unorthodox self-expression and creation became but pockets of goodness in a larger, nastier social web more concerned with mob justice than friendly banter and learning. “It sucks to [create] in an environment where everything else is crumbling,” Dash says.

Dash is trying to preserve the web’s old-school community spirit through Glitch, where he manages a growing, collaborative community of programmers who make, share and remix apps. There are no comments or likes on Glitch. Instead, coders can ask for help on a project or thank others for their assistance. With over 1 million users, Dash is watching as both coding veterans as well as the next generation of programmers embrace a community where downvotes are out, but helping is in. And he says it’s working.

“It’s an incredibly diverse community,” says Dash of Glitch’s users. “We have kids in junior high school creating the first line of HTML they ever wrote, and we have some of the most advanced engineers at Google working on their cutting-edge artificial intelligence platforms creating demos.”

When it comes to inclusivity, Dash practices what he preaches at the company level. “I think it’s no coincidence that whatever we are as a company is what we try to be as community,” he says. “I think we’ve seen so many institutions that have been undermined by people that have no reverence for truth or consistency or decency.” At Glitch, notoriously sensitive topics like salary structure or company values are discussed openly, with every employee contribution moving the needle closer to the intended goal of workplace fairness.

All the creativity he sees on Glitch gives Dash hope that more people, including those from communities underrepresented in the technology industry, will take a chance and try to learn something new, even if they’ve never written a single line of code. “If you can trust in a community, and you can trust in your ability to express yourself, and you can trust in having a safe place to share your ideas, that gives you space to be optimistic,” says Dash. “It gives you space to have some hope to think you have something to share when the ground is shifting under you and you can’t take people at their word.”

Hugh Herr

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Hugh Herr was a terrible high school student. “If you asked me what 10% of 100 was, I couldn’t tell you the answer was 10,” jokes Herr, 54. Herr’s attitude towards academia has since changed — he’s now the MIT Media Lab’s head of Biomechatronics (a field of study combining neuroscience, biology, and robotics) and one of the world’s foremost experts on and advocates for advanced prostheses.

As a teen, Herr was an obsessive rock climber. But a climbing accident in 1982 led to frostbite on both his legs, which later had to be amputated. He was then forced to confront the then-abysmal state of wood and plastic prostheses. “I thought, ‘really?’” says Herr. “This is what society has produced to emulate a missing body part? It was shocking.”

Herr’s disappointment gave way to determination, leading him to invent his own prostheses for rock climbing. From there, Hugh worked on other solutions for amputees, along the way earning degrees in mechanical engineering and biophysics from MIT and Harvard University respectively. Now, Herr gets around on cutting-edge legs of his own making called “BiOM,” which let him walk, run, and even dance with fluidity. Unlike traditional prostheses, Herr’s legs move naturally thanks to an array of sensors and microprocessors combined with a carbon fiber spring adding force to every step.

Up next for Herr? He wants to link the human body’s nervous system to artificial limbs, allowing people to better control and receive feedback from their prostheses. Herr and his team has already made progress: Herr’s friend and fellow mountain climber Jim Ewing used a feedback-capable artificial foot of Herr’s design to successfully climb the mountain where Ewing’s own life-altering injury occurred.

Thanks to advanced artificial limbs, Herr believes, the stigma of having a disability will be replaced with understanding, acceptance or even a desire for an artificial limb. “A society once said that if you’re missing a limb, your life is over,” says Herr. “Society won’t use the fact of losing an innate biological limb as a crippling influence on a person’s life. It won’t be crippling at all. It will be perhaps liberating.”

Andre Iguodala

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About a dozen years ago, around the time the first iPhone was released, then-Philadelphia 76ers swingman Andre Iguodala — a huge Apple fan — read an article suggesting that if you put the money you spent on all your devices into Apple stock, you’d be able to buy the stuff by the truckload. “That hit this light switch,” he tells TIME.

Iguodala, 35, has been a tech bull ever since. He started following stocks and learning the ins and outs of the tech businesses on his own. “It was like going back to school again,” he says. When he joined the Golden State Warriors and set up shop in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley in 2013, he earned his version of an advanced degree. He’s sought out venture capitalist mentors, who are very willing to make time for professional athletes, and helped start the Players Technology Summit in 2017; the now-annual exclusive confab brings together athletes, investors and entrepreneurs. Iguodala, the 2015 NBA Finals MVP who released his autobiography The Sixth Man in June, has invested in more than 40 companies, including video conferencing company Zoom (which rwent public in April), Lime, the electric scooter outfit, and Allbirds, which designs environmentally-friendly footwear.

Optimism, Iguodala says, is in his DNA. “Coming from where I come from, not having a lot of access to certain things, when you talk about tech, it’s disruption for the better,” says Iguodala, who grew up in a working class neighborhood in Springfield, Ill. He’s expanding his tech bets, all the way to Africa. In March, Iguodala — whose father is Nigerian — joined the board of e-commerce platform Jumia, known as Africa’s Amazon. Iguodala predicts that demand for ecommerce will help build up the continent’s tech infrastructure, as well as improve connectivity, productivity, and opportunity for millions of underserved people.

The market seems to agree with him. On April 12, Jumia became the first African startup to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Jumia’s initial public offering (IPO) was valued at $1.3 billion; shares closed up 75% on the day. “Oh man, I was so psyched,” says Iguodala of tracking the IPO. “That just shows the growth that there is in Africa. You’re going to start seeing a lot more companies in Africa building these platforms that have had success in other places.” This offseason, the Warriors traded Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies; the rebuilding Grizzlies may buy out his contract, sending Iguodala on the move again (perhaps to the Los Angeles Lakers, who can benefit from Iguodala’s championship pedigree). No matter where Iguodala plays his upcoming season, he’ll keep one eye on a on the court, and another on the emerging digital world.

Katrina Lake

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As some experts get increasingly pessimistic about the value of big data, others, like Katrina Lake, are exploring ways to make it more useful. The 36-year-old founder and CEO of clothing subscription service Stitch Fix, Lake says the trick is to make sure her company’s data gets a human touch. “We knew from the beginning that the only way to provide accessible personal styling at scale was to combine humans and data science,” says Lake.

Stitch Fix collects customers’ measurement data and style preferences, then sends them a box full of clothes and accessories designed to fit great. Whatever they don’t like, they can send back. Lake says the company’s algorithms are great at handling data like people’s measurements, with information like skirt length, sleeve opening, and button height all factoring into finding the perfect fit. But Lake isn’t just crunching numbers; she’s dealing with humans, who might fudge their measurements by an inch or two. To make up for any fibbing, Lake says Stitch Fix’s pool of data can reveal patterns that help make sure customers get what they really need.

“We noticed that men who are 5’11” tend to round their height up to 6’ tall,” says Lake. Instead of making those men confront their aspirational verticality, or suggesting they were less than truthful, Stitch Fix used the data — along with feedback from stylists — to adjust its algorithm, providing customers with better-fitting outfits despite the incorrect measurements. “Retail is an emotional business, and the success of Stitch Fix is built on our ability to empathize,” says Lake.

Since launching in 2011, Stitch Fix has added options like maternity and plus size clothing for women, subscriptions for men, gender-neutral choices for children, and “Hybird Designs,” which are items created by Stitch Fix’s private label brands to accommodate gaps in the market, like particular styles in a slightly longer cut. That, says Lake, means everyone will be able to find something that fits them without embarrassment or frustration. “We are committed to serving everybody,” says Lake, “and believe our culture, which is rooted in diversity and inclusion, has a direct bearing on our innovation and our ability to serve everybody.” With a valuation of over $2 billion, and over 5,000 employees, Lake seems to be on the right track.

Andrew Ng

Eric Risberg—AP

One of the world’s foremost artificial intelligence researchers, Andrew Ng isn’t alone in believing that AI will alter nearly every sector of the global economy. “Everything from agriculture to healthcare to manufacturing, these are the sectors that AI is in the process of transforming,” says Ng, 43. “I have a hard time thinking of any large industry that AI will not transform.”

Ng himself had a hand in sparking that change. In 2011, while an adjunct professor at Stanford University, Ng led the Google Brain project, which produced, among other things, an algorithm that famously taught itself to detect cats in YouTube videos (groundbreaking AI projects often seem silly on the surface but carry greater significance in the big picture.) The initiative ultimately helped take modern AI from the realm of academic research to the business world. “The basic lessons about [machine learning] and scalability we learned then are now also widely applied across the industry,” says Ng.

Ng acknowledges that AI presents unanswered problems, like its potential to centralize knowledge and wealth among those who can understand or afford its powers. But he believes that the benefits — like generating economic growth to revealing new ways to address climate change — will far outweigh the downsides. “AI is an incredibly powerful technology, and like any technology it can be used for a variety of purposes, some beneficial, and some less so,” says Ng. “Fortunately the AI community is, for the most part, focused on applying it to the useful purposes.”

Ng is on a mission to convince the world AI is a friend, not a foe. He teaches people about the technology beyond the classrooms and board room; his machine learning class remains the most popular course on Coursera, an online education platform he co-founded. But Ng believes computer programmers aren’t the only people who should understand how AI works. To that end, he recently introduced a class he calls “AI for Everyone,” an AI crash course for laypeople.

“I created ‘AI for Everyone’ in order that any business leader, or anyone in a non-technical realm … can learn enough about AI to navigate this rise,” says Ng. With the growth of artificial intelligence, businesses, governments and more face a slew of new challenges, and Ng says it’s important that those making choices understand the new technology. “I think AI is actually less mysterious than most people think,” he says.

Alexis Ohanian

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If it’s optimism you seek, there are few better places to look than in the hearts and minds of investors. That’s doubly true for early-stage investors like Alexis Ohanian, the Reddit co-founder-turned-venture capitalist whose firm, Initialized Capital, aims to be the first to put money behind up-and-coming startups. That kind of high-risk, high-reward investing — often in the days when a founder has a dream and little else — is in many ways the ultimate act of tech optimism.

“We want to be the very first people to believe in a founder, write her a check, then roll up our sleeves and help grow it into what one day will hopefully be a multi-billion dollar company,” says Ohanian, 36.

One of the companies in Initialized’s portfolio that most excites Ohanian is Athelas, a health technology startup using computer vision to analyze small amounts of users’ blood for immunology data. Ohanian knows how familiar that might sound — and not in a good way. Another blood analysis startup, Theranos, infamously flamed out in spectacular fashion, taking a chunk of the core idea’s credibility down with it. But he insists that Athelas is doing right what Theranos had done wrong. The company’s technology is different, for one. But so, he says, is the company’s ethical compass.

“What’s very different about Athelas is that this technologically has been validated across thousands of patient samples by third-party institutions with actual clinical trials, it’s been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and it’s real and it works,” says Ohanian. “This is a technology that is real, that has two very earnest founders that have been working really hard to build something significant, and have been in a lot of ways eschewing the hype in order to build something that … is actually solving a problem that is going to improve people’s lives.”

Of course, public opinion is souring on Silicon Valley more broadly. Mishandling of user data, a reluctance to better moderate social media platforms and the spread of misinformation have all contributed to the so-called “techlash.” Ohanian, however, is optimistic that today’s conversation about technology’s role in society is a necessary and even healthy process. The founders with whom Ohanian meets, he says, are now “bringing with them a much-heightened awareness of their responsibility that didn’t really exist in the mid-aughts.” Without Theranos, Cambridge Analytica and so on, that might not be the case.

Reshma Saujani

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Reshma Saujani says there’s one surefire way to help girls change the world: teach them to code. “It’s like giving them a superpower,” she says.

Saujani, 43, is the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a non-profit working to even the gender imbalance in the tech workforce, in part by organizing high school and college programs that teach girls the fundamentals of computer science. Since its inception in 2012, Girls Who Code has taught computer science skills to around 185,000 girls, half of whom are members of historically underrepresented groups in tech, it says.

But women in Silicon Valley still face a tough outlook. In one of America’s fastest growing and highest paying professions, only about one in four programmers is female. And that proportion has only shrunk in recent decades, perhaps in part due to marketing for home computers that increasingly targeted men and boys. Groups trying to reverse the trend have gotten support from the industry; Girls Who Code counts giants such as Adobe and Salesforce among its sponsors (Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff owns TIME.)

Still, Saujani thinks powerful companies need to do more. “You’re talking about a wholesale change of what the industry looks like,” she says. “That takes time, that takes energy, that takes effort, and that takes commitment.”

Saujani hasn’t spent much time working directly in the tech industry herself. After graduating from Yale Law School, she spent seven years working in corporate law and finance. In 2010, she ran for office in New York’s 14th congressional district, challenging Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney in the Democratic primary. Saujani ran on a pro-Wall Street platform, raised $1.3 million, and got clobbered at the polls, receiving only 19% of the vote.

“I was 33 years old, and it was the first time in my entire life that I had done something truly brave,” Saujani said at a 2016 TED talk. She has since channeled the experience into a motto: “Brave, Not Perfect.” That’s also the title of her recent book, in which she argues that girls have been taught to be flawless and only pursue opportunities when they are sure of success, while boys are taught to be brave and take risks.

Saujani believes that learning to code enables precisely the sort of risk-taking that girls should embrace. “Most girls have been taught so that their mindset is fixed,” she says. “You’re either good at something or bad at something. What we do besides the technical piece is to tell women to basically sit with a challenge and learn how to do something over and over again.”

By Patrick Lucas Austin , Alejandro de la Garza , Alex Fitzpatrick and Sean Gregory

Source: Why TIME’s 2019 Tech Optimists Are Upbeat About the Future | Time

Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, and Other Tech Leaders Share Their Favorite Summer Reads

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  • When they’re not busy ideating in Silicon Valley, tech execs like to settle down with a beach read.
  • NBC reporter Dylan Byers rounded up book recommendations from tech CEOs in a summer reading list for his newsletter.

For folks seeking an elevated beach read this summer, NBC reporter Dylan Byers asked six tech executives for summer reading recommendations in his newsletter.

Read on for book recommendations from Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Tim Cook, and more.

Mark Zuckerberg — Facebook, CEO

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The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore.

A novel about who really invented the lightbulb by the screenwriter behind the Oscar-wining film “The Imitation Game.” It features the intertwining stories of Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, and George Westinghouse.

Sheryl Sandberg — Facebook, COO

Reuters

The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

Philanthropist Melinda Gates writes about the importance of empowering women, and how that action can change the world.

Tim Cook — CEO, Apple

Getty

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When a young Stanford neurosurgeon is diagnosed with lung cancer, he sets out to write a memoir about mortality, memory, family, medicine, literature, philosophy, and religion. It’s a tear-jerker, with an epilogue written by his wife Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, who survives him, along with their young daughter.

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

A memoir by the creator of Nike, Phil Knight.

Dawn Ostroff — Spotify, CCO

Richard Bord/Getty Images

Educated by Tara Westover

Westover, raised in the mountains of Idaho in a family of survivalists, didn’t go to school until she was 17. She would go on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University. This memoir chronicles her path towards higher education.

Evan Spiegel — Snap, CEO

Mike Blake/Reuters

Mortal Republic by Edward Watts

A history of how ancient Rome fell into tyranny.

Jeffrey Katzenberg — KndrCo

Getty Images / Larry Busacca

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

Written in 2018, Harari addresses technological and political challenges that humans will have to tackle in the 21st century.

White Working Class by Joan C. Williams

Williams, a law professor, writes “Class consciousness has has been replaced by class cluelessness — and in some cases, even class callousness.”

Rebecca Aydin Business Insider

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