Newley's Notes

Newley’s Notes 187: AI Startup Questions; WeWork to IPO; Crazy Deepfakes; Grinning Corgis

2019 08 19space

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Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes.

🔌 My most recent story: a piece with my colleague Parmy Olson that went online Wednesday and was in Thursday’s print WSJ.

The headline: AI Startup Boom Raises Questions of Exaggerated Tech Savvy. And the lede:

Startup says it uses artificial-intelligence technology to largely automate the development of mobile apps, but several current and former employees say the company exaggerates its AI capabilities to attract customers and investors.

The story was picked up by tech news sites such as The Information, The Verge, Slashdot and more.

Click through to give it a read.

Here are ten items worth your time this week:

💰 1) WeWork files for long-awaited IPO [Axios]

“WeWork will be the most polarizing IPO of 2019, and that’s saying something in a year that already saw Uber and Lyft.”

Bonus link: Shira Ovide, writing for Bloomberg: “Let’s be clear, though: This company is profoundly shocking, and odd. It is at once perhaps the most controversial member of the last decade’s ‘unicorn’ era of richly valued startups, and the one that perfectly encapsulates this moment in financial history. WeWork is so unicorn, it hurts.”

🎧 2) Facebook Paid Contractors to Transcribe Users’ Audio Chats [Bloomberg]

“The company said the users who were affected chose the option in Facebook’s Messenger app to have their voice chats transcribed. The contractors were checking whether Facebook’s artificial intelligence correctly interpreted the messages, which were anonymized.”

🧐 3) Bill Hader channels Tom Cruise – Deepfake [Ctrl Shift Face on Youtube]

Bonus link, the NYT’s Kevin Roose, writing last year: “Deepfakes are one of the newest forms of digital media manipulation, and one of the most obviously mischief-prone.”

🥵 4) Shot: Scientists confirm July set new global heat record [AP]

“July was the hottest month measured on Earth since records began in 1880, the latest in a long line of peaks that scientists say backs up predictions for man-made climate change.”

🏗️ 5) Chaser: The dawn of the age of geoengineering [Eli Dourado]

“Let’s be honest. The world’s governments might not coordinate to stop climate change…Here are four of my favorite large-scale projects to improve Earth’s environment.”

🕹️ 6) The US Navy says no to touchscreens – maybe automakers should, too [ArsTechnica]

“Starting next summer the Navy will refit its DDG–51 destroyer fleet with a physical throttle and helm control system. The effort is a response to feedback the Navy solicited in the wake of a pair of fatal crashes involving that class of ship during 2017.”

🧹 7) Clean City Law: Secrets of São Paulo Uncovered by Outdoor Advertising Ban [99% Invisible]

“As it turned out, advertisements were quite literally covering up problems with the city that needed to be addressed. Removing billboards revealed, for instance, the presence of certain smaller shanty towns (known as favelas) that few knew existed, hidden as they were behind a vertical landscape of giant signs.”

😂 8) Critically Acclaimed Horror Film of the 2010s or Your Ph.D. Program? [McSweeney’s]

“A powerful elder, known to you as The Director, explains that you and your friends must take part in a time-honored rite to appease the Ancient Ones.”

📚 9) A Novel Concept: Silent Book Clubs Offer Introverts A Space To Socialize [NPR]

“The concept is simple yet revolutionary: Members meet up at a bar, a library, a bookstore or any venue that will host them. Once the bell rings, silent reading time commences. After an hour, the bell rings again. Other than that, there are no rules.”

🐶 10) Carry me hooman [Reddit]

💡 Quote of the week:

“The more you love a memory, the stronger and stranger it is.” – Vladimir Nabokov

👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,


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