The next wave of driverless cars won’t have pedals or steering wheels. Is that allowed?
This week, Cruise, the self-driving car subsidiary of GM, introduced Origin, a fully autonomous vehicle that has no driving controls whatsoever. It’s meant to be a rolling pod that carries passengers on demand, almost like a small bus or train car. But are companies allowed to operate cars without steering wheels on public roads? Both Cruise and Waymo have pushed the federal government to lift requirements on equipment like pedals, steering wheels and mirrors, and they are allowed in certain conditions. States have their own rules. Although carmakers and safety advocates have been hoping for some clear guidance on what will and won’t be allowed nationwide, Jack Stewart, who covers transportation for Marketplace, says that’s not coming anytime soon.
Why nonprofits are wary about a private firm buying the dot-org domain
Right now, registrations for websites that use dot-org — like Marketplace — are overseen by a nonprofit organization called the . Overseeing all of this is ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which can approve or reject the sale. Andrew McLaughlin, who helped found ICANN, talks to host Molly Wood about it.
In William Gibson’s new novel, AI is actually the good guy
This week, Google/Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and also suggested a temporary ban on facial recognition technology. Microsoft President Brad Smith, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, also said we need to create ethical guidelines and rules for how AI should be used. In a new novel out this week by legendary sci-fi author William Gibson, the tech is good enough to decide for itself. The book is called “Agency,” and it’s a sequel to Gibson’s 2014 novel “The Peripheral.” In that book, a super technologically advanced future society can create new alternate histories called stubs for fun or influence the timeline leading to their own present. Gibson talks about “Agency” and the upcoming TV series based on “The Peripheral” with host Molly Wood.
Less, please! Google responds to pressure to eliminate cookies collecting our data
Google recently announced some big privacy changes for its internet browser Chrome. It’s planning to make obsolete what are known as third-party cookies. Cookies are the trackers that advertisers plant so when you shop for shoes one time, you’ll then see ads for them … forever. It’ll also put a limit on the amount of data websites can collect. Other browsers have already made moves to cut tracking and preserve privacy, but what Google does might be significant in that it may change the way the whole web works.
Can we count on tech to protect the online 2020 Census?
This year’s census is going digital — the first one in history to be available to complete online, instead of on paper. That’s fitting in a world that’s much more connected, compared to 10 years ago, but our online lives mean there’s some risks, too. Disinformation is a big one — mainly fake news designed to influence people’s thinking, which led to intense criticism of social media platforms after the 2016 elections. The Census Bureau is warning that false information could affect the number of people who take part in the upcoming Census.
Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood helps listeners understand the business behind the technology that's rewiring people lives. From how tech is changing the nature of work to the unknowns of venture capital to the economics of outer space, this weekday show breaks ideas, telling the stories of modern life through our digital economy.
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