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'A white-collar sweatshop': Google Assistant contractors allege wage theft

'A white-collar sweatshop': Google Assistant contractors allege wage theft

“Do you believe in magic?” Google asked attendees of its annual developer conference this May, playing the seminal Lovin’ Spoonful tune as an introduction. Throughout the three-day event, company executives repeatedly answered yes while touting new features of the Google Assistant, the company’s version of Alexa or Siri, that can indeed feel magical. The tool can book you a rental car, tell you what the weather is like at your mother’s house, and even interpret live conversations across 26 languages. But to some of the Google employees responsible for making the Assistant work, the tagline of the conference – “Keep making magic” – obscured a more mundane reality: the technical wizardry relies on massive data sets built by subcontracted human workers earning low wages.
Federal Court Orders DEA To ‘Promptly’ Consider Marijuana Rescheduling…Or Else

Federal Court Orders DEA To ‘Promptly’ Consider Marijuana Rescheduling…Or Else

 federal appeals court gave medical cannabis patients and reform advocates a small but significant procedural victory on Thursday, ruling that it would hold open a case challenging the scheduling status of marijuana under federal law. In essence, the court is putting the federal government on notice that it must “promptly” make a decision on marijuana rescheduling so that those who rely on its medical benefits don’t unduly suffer. A group of patients and advocates filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department in a U.S. District Court in 2017, alleging that the Schedule I status of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) poses serious health risks and unfair economic disadvantages. The court dismissed the case last year, siding with the government in its scheduling determination and shooting down each of the plaintiffs’ claims.
US Government Warns of Drones That Send Data to China

US Government Warns of Drones That Send Data to China

Drone aircraft used to be prohibitively expensive, but now you can buy a camera-equipped drone that talks to your smartphone for under $100. The US Department of Homeland Security has issued an alert that drones manufactured by Chinese firms might have become a little too accessible. The DHS says much of the data collected by these drones ends up on servers in mainland China where the Chinese government can access it. The agency doesn’t mention any Chinese drone makers by name, but the target is crystal clear. Shenzhen-based DJI makes approximately 80 percent of the drones currently operating in the US and Canada.
Oculus Venues Gives You Courtside Seats in Virtual Reality—and Forces You to Put Down Your Phone

Oculus Venues Gives You Courtside Seats in Virtual Reality—and Forces You to Put Down Your Phone

elt like some character from a canned Black Mirror episode: alone in my boxers on a Sunday night, with a bulky silver headset strapped to my face, a joystick in one hand and a Bud Light in the other. But inside the goggles, I was courtside at a Magic–Cavs game, next to a 16-year-old grocery bagger with virtual blue sunglasses and a virtual blond Afro. His online alias: Slim Shady. Last year, the NBA and Oculus ran a commercial featuring Adam Levine and Jonah Hill watching the Warriors in their respective homes while their look-alike avatars sat beside each other in VR, nodding, moving their mouths, and waving their hands.
Apple Plans End of iTunes, to Reveal Glimpses of Its Next Era of Apps and Devices

Apple Plans End of iTunes, to Reveal Glimpses of Its Next Era of Apps and Devices

At WWDC, Apple will make the Watch and iPad more independent, while unifying its app strategy as it looks beyond the iPhone. Apple Inc.’s developer conference beginning Monday will move the company closer to a future in which the iPhone is no longer the central cog for other products and services.  Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and other leaders will make a keynote presentation at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California, to unveil updates of Apple’s operating systems and a new approach to apps. The changes will showcase Apple’s new generation of devices and software: Apple Watches that are more independent from iPhones, iPads with software that reduces the need for a laptop, apps that run on any Apple device, and growth areas such as augmented reality and personal health-care management, according to people familiar with the plans. 
Trump administration in early stages of possible $100B offering of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac: Exclusive

Trump administration in early stages of possible $100B offering of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac: Exclusive

FOX Business’ Charlie Gasparino on how the White House is trying to release Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from federal control. The Trump administration is in the nascent stages planning what people inside the government say could be history’s largest public offering as it looks to release the mortgage agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from government control, FOX Business Network has learned. The size of the public offering could easily exceed $100 billion, Trump administration officials concede, and it largely depends on the size and scope of the mortgage outfits’ mandate when the government finally releases them from government-controlled “conservatorship,” which was imposed on the agencies during the 2008 financial crisis.
Environmental groups sue over 12,000-acre Centennial development in northern LA County

Environmental groups sue over 12,000-acre Centennial development in northern LA County

Earlier this year, after years of debate, Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors signed off on a contentious development project set to bring nearly 20,000 new homes to the northern edge of the county. Now, environmental groups are suing over the development, which they argue will worsen pollution, traffic, and urban sprawl in the region. In a lawsuit filed this morning, the Center for Biological Diversity and the California Native Plant Society accuse county officials of mishandling environmental review of the Centennial project at Tejon Ranch, a planned community set to be constructed on 12,000 acres of land in the Antelope Valley.
Exclusive: Screenshots reveal iOS 13 Dark Mode, new Reminders app, more

Exclusive: Screenshots reveal iOS 13 Dark Mode, new Reminders app, more

We’re less than a week away from WWDC, when Apple is expected to unveil the new versions of all its operating systems, including iOS 13. We’ve talked about what to expect in detail, with information from sources familiar with the development of Apple’s operating systems. Today, we have screenshots from iOS 13, shared exclusively with 9to5Mac, that show some of its new features. Dark Mode can be enabled in the Settings app or with an option in Control Center, for quick access to the feature. On the Home screen, the only noticeable change is the Dock, which adopts a vibrant dark background instead of the light one. It’s possible that Apple will be including new wallpapers that work better in Dark Mode with the new OS.
Report to Congress ponders a future of cryptocurrency over cash

Report to Congress ponders a future of cryptocurrency over cash

Congress may be beginning to contemplate a country where cryptocurrency — not cash — is the coin of the realm. The Congressional Research Service examined the decline in cash usage in the United States and the potential rise of alternative payment systems, including bitcoin or other digital assets, in the purchase of goods and services. The CRS is tasked with producing nonpartisan advice on issues that may come before Congress, especially when lawmakers express interest in a certain subject. Alternative payment systems are gaining steam as lawmakers introduce legislation that would require stores to take cash and examine the impact of financial technology, or fintech.
Apple bought a start-up that was working on monitoring asthma in children

Apple bought a start-up that was working on monitoring asthma in children

Apple has acquired Tueo Health, a small start-up that was developing a system to help parents monitor asthma symptoms in sleeping children, according to a person familiar with the deal. It’s unclear how much Apple paid for Tueo Health. The start-up raised a small seed round of $1.1 million in funding in 2017. Tueo’s CEO and co-founder Bronwyn Harris and chief operating officer Anura Patil changed their employer to Apple on their LinkedIn profiles in late 2018, which is likely around the time Apple completed its acquisition of the company.


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