In: Venture Capital

Facebook arrest foreshadows the global data encryption war
March 14, 2016

On March 1, Brazilian federal police arrested Diego Dzodan for his failure to turn over decrypted WhatsApp messages for a drug investigation. Dzodan is a vice president at Facebook, the parent company of WhatsApp, which offers its customers “end-to-end” encryption of their messages. Though he spent only about 24 hours in jail, Dzodan’s arrrest shows that foreign governments may take measures that are far more direct — and immediate, than those pursued by the FBI in its effort to force Apple to unlock an iPhone.
Above: Senior Facebook executive Diego Dzodan, who was recently released from a Brazilian jail due to a disputed court order demanding data from the company’s WhatsApp messaging service for a confidential drug-trafficking investigation, speaks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts March 5, 2016.
Image Credit: Reuters/Mary Schwalm What if Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had been in Brazil at the moment his company defied a court o..

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The tech industry, according to Trump
March 14, 2016

Despite having never held public office (nor, perhaps, a computer mouse?), Republican front-runner Donald Trump has a lengthy track record of commentary on tech policy and trends. Trump seems completely out of touch at times, but his positions on mass surveillance, immigration reform, Net Neutrality, major tech corporations, and cyber warfare nevertheless hold weight with a significant portion of the U.S. population, and thus seem worth gathering together for further study.
That’s what we’ve done below. If you’d like to submit a quote, please let us know.
Trump on Google Why doesn’t President Obama just get the people from Google to fix the failed website. In fact, why didn’t he use them in the first place! (2013, Twitter)
Trump on Apple
I think what you ought to do is boycott Apple until such time as they give that security number. How do you like that? I just thought of that … Boycott Apple! (2016)
I use both iPhone & Samsung. If Apple doesn’t give info to authorities on the te..

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North Korea denies cyber attacks on South Korea officials
March 14, 2016

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea on Sunday denied that it conducted cyber attacks against officials from rival South Korea, calling the South’s accusation that it did so a “fabrication”.
South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers on Friday that North Korea had recently stepped up cyber attack efforts against the South and succeeded in hacking the mobile phones of 40 national security officials, according to members of parliament who received a closed-door briefing.
“The South is claiming the North’s cyber attack and using it for its own political purpose,” an opinion piece in the Rodong Sinmun, the official daily newspaper of the North’s ruling party, said on Sunday.
It accused the South of making the cyber attack claim in order to justify a controversial new “anti-terrorism” law.
“There is nothing to expect but the sound of eating corpses from a crow’s mouth. However, we cannot just overlook the South’s abrupt, provocative, and heinous accusations against its neighbor,” the article said..

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Valve enables gamers to play non-VR games on the HTC Vive
March 13, 2016

Valve just announced that it has launched an early beta test for the SteamVR Desktop Theater Mode, which enables gamers to play non-virtual-reality games with VR systems.
The new mode will work with the upcoming HTC Vive virtual reality headset, and it will be shown off at next week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. VR is expected to become a $30 billion market by 2020, according to tech advisor Digi-Capital. And GDC will be full of VR companies trying to win over hearts and minds.
We haven’t seen this mode yet, but it looks like a way to provide more content on VR systems in their early days, when there isn’t that many dedicated VR games available yet. It’s not likely to cause anyone to buy a new VR system, I would guess. But it could give people something to do in VR while they’re waiting for more content.
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Go board game champion Lee Sedol apologizes for losing to Google’s AI
March 13, 2016

Lee Sedol, whom many people believe to be the top player of the ancient Chinese board game Go, put up a real fight in each of the three games against Google’s AlphaGo artificial intelligence (AI) program, but, in the end, the machine won the match. And for that, Lee Sedol is sorry.
In a press conference after the third game of the match, Sedol made unscripted remarks that clearly conveyed his regret:
I don’t know how to start or what to say today, but I think I would have to express my apologies first. I should have shown a better result, a better outcome, and better content in terms of the game played, and I do apologize for not being able to satisfy a lot of people’s expectations. I kind of felt powerless. If I look back on the three matches, the first one, even if I were to go back and redo the first match, I think that I would not have been able to win, because I at that time misjudged the capabilities of AlphaGo. The second match, I think, would have been the make or break.
If ..

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SXSW is wasting the chance to take on world-changing issues
March 13, 2016

Each year, SXSW brings together a unique mix of people in the world of technology, design, media, film, music, and — as of late — an increasing number of people associated with the worlds of philanthropy and social change. The event provides a unique opportunity to cross-pollinate thinking and partner on efforts related to addressing the most interesting and serious issues facing our global society today.
In other words, SXSW should be the ultimate playground for people trying to solve complex problems and have a meaningful, measurable impact on the world.
Unfortunately, that isn’t happening. The tens of thousands of smart, passionate, talented people who descend on Austin each March are not committing themselves to solving the most interesting and important problems. The potential that exists to dramatically transform the way we address serious global issues simply isn’t being realized.
When I first started attending SXSW 15 years ago, I could count on one hand the number o..

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6 ways marketing clouds will help you burn the competition (webinar)
March 13, 2016

With marketing covering more territory and tasks than ever, marketing clouds are becoming indispensable. But figuring out where to start and how to choose can make walking on hot coals a more attractive undertaking. Join us for this quick one-hour webinar and learn what platforms are considered the best — and how they’ll help you edge out the competition.
Register here for free.
It may seem a wild idea to think you could accomplish all your online marketing assignments at once. While that may not be entirely possible, marketing clouds can get you pretty close.
Certainly, with more than 2,000 products available in the martech ecosystem, marketers should be using more than a Google spreadsheet to keep track of their online duties. This is where marketing clouds come in. They bring all the functionality you need into one place, in one system of record, with one unified profile of your customers, and one unified, simple user interface to control it all.
To state it more si..

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Sony’s Future Lab unveils Project N hands-free headphone prototype
March 13, 2016

Sony’s Future Lab has unveiled the first of many concept prototypes that it wants your feedback on. At the South by Southwest interactive conference, the company touted its first project — called “N” — a hands-free headphone that may remind you of LG’s Tone Infinim Wireless headset, but with the difference that it includes voice control.
This wearable device, which is equipped with open speakers and responds to voice prompts, doesn’t require any earpieces, although Sony has also experimented with an open-ear concept. It features a camera, sensors, and a GPS feature. So far, Project N has ties with Strava, AccuWeather, and Yelp as content partners.
Up close, the design looked like a premium Sony device and didn’t feel cheap. The audio quality was sharp and the voice technology, which was created by Sony, can be activated by saying “Hey Arc.”
Above: A concept prototype of Sony’s interactive display projector.
Image Credit: Ken Yeung/VentureBeat Other prototypes that Sony showed off in..

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Mark Zuckerberg congratulates Google for ‘historic milestone in AI research’
March 13, 2016

Facebook cofounder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg had some complimentary things to say about Google today. His remarks came a few hours after Google’s AlphaGo artificial intelligence (AI) program beat Lee Sedol, a highly decorated player of the board game Go, in the third consecutive game of a five-game match in Sedol’s native South Korea.
Google competes with Facebook on some fronts, and both companies are at the forefront of AI research. In fact, the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) group has been training its own AI software to play Go, but clearly it’s not yet at the same level as AlphaGo. Zuck’s praise for Google could be read as a challenge to Facebook researchers to step their game up.
FAIR head Yann LeCun today also offered congratulatory words to Google.
In January, I asked Demis Hassabis — head of the Google DeepMind research group that’s behind AlphaGo — if there were any plans for AlphaGo to take on Facebook’s computer Go player. He told me that there were not. ..

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Android N’s split-screen feature is a step forward for tablets like the Pixel C
March 13, 2016

The developer preview of Android N, the upcoming version of Google’s Android mobile operating system, comes with a few new features that build on its predecessor, Android Marshmallow, right out of the box (and more new stuff will arrive in previews to follow). One highlight of this initial preview is a split-screen mode that works in both portrait and landscape orientations on smartphones and tablets.
Split-screen is particularly impressive on Google’s recently released Pixel C convertible tablet, which is one of just two tablets that can run this first developer preview. The other is the Nexus 9. Sure, split-screen does work on Android phones — I’ve been experimenting with it on a Nexus 5X — but on tablets it looks more impressive, and you can be more productive.
The change is important because it will give Android feature parity. Microsoft’s Surface, and any other convertible tablet that runs Windows, lets you split your screen like a champ with little tinkering, and for years Sam..

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