A Threat to Facebook, Steps to Autonomy and More

One: The real threat to Facebook is the Kool-Aid turning sour—Who wants to work on a weapon?

"These kinds of leaks didn’t happen when I started reporting on Facebook eight years ago. It was a tight-knit cult convinced of its mission to connect everyone, but with the discipline of a military unit where everyone knew loose lips sink ships. Motivational posters with bold corporate slogans dotted its offices, rallying the troops. Employees were happy to be evangelists.

"But then came the fake news, News Feed addiction, violence on Facebook  Live, cyberbullying, abusive ad targeting, election interference and, most recently, the Cambridge Analytica app data privacy scandals. All the while, Facebook either willfully believed the worst case scenarios could never come true, was naive to their existence or calculated the benefits and growth outweighed the risks. And when finally confronted, Facebook often dragged its feet before admitting the extent of the issues.

"Inside the social network’s offices, the bonds began to fray. An ethics problem metastisized into a morale problem. Slogans took on sinister second meanings. The Kool-Aid tasted different."

Josh Constine, Techcrunch

 

Two: Steps to autonomy

"The standard way to talk about autonomous cars, shown in this diagram, is to talk about levels. L1 is the cruise control in your father’s car. L2 adds some sensors, so it will try to slow down if the car in front does, and stay within the lane markings, but you still need to have your hands on or near the wheel. L3 will drive for you but you need to be ready to take over, Level 4 will drive for you in some situations but not others, and Level 5 doesn’t need a human driver ‘ever’ and doesn’t have a steering wheel."

Benedict Evans

 

Three: Apple will reportedly ditch Intel chips in Macs as early as 2020

"In a major shift that carries big implications for both companies, Apple will reportedly replace Intel’s processors with the company’s own chips in Mac computers as soon as 2020, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The changeover is likely to begin with laptops such as the 12-inch MacBook. Intel’s stock price took a hit soon after the report was published; Bloomberg estimates that Apple provides approximately 5 percent of the chipmaker’s annual revenue. Aside from the processors in its Macs, Apple also uses Intel’s modem chips in some iPhones."

Chris Welch, The Verge

 

Four: At Uber, A New C.E.O. Shifts Gears

"The Indian city of Gurugram, which in Hindi means “village of the guru,” is a technology-and-business hub twenty miles south of New Delhi, reached by highways filled with auto-rickshaws, exhaust-spewing buses, and the occasional immovable cow. The city’s glass high-rises contain dozens of multinational corporations, including Pepsi, Google, and Microsoft. On a recent morning, a white S.U.V. pulled up in front of the building housing the largest Indian office of the ride-hailing company Uber, and out climbed Dara Khosrowshahi, the company’s new C.E.O."

Sheelah Kolhatkar, The New Yorker

 

Five: The End of Windows

"The story of Windows’ decline is relatively straightforward and a classic case of disruption:

  • The Internet dramatically reduced application lock-in
  • PCs became “good enough”, elongating the upgrade cycle
  • Smartphones first addressed needs the PC couldn’t, then over time started taking over PC functionality directly

"What is more interesting, though, is the story of Windows’ decline in Redmond, culminating with last week’s reorganization that, for the first time since 1980, left the company without a division devoted to personal computer operating systems (Windows was split, with the core engineering group placed under Azure, and the rest of the organization effectively under Office 365; there will still be Windows releases, but it is no longer a standalone business). Such a move didn’t seem possible a mere five years ago, when, in the context of another reorganization, former-CEO Steve Ballmer wrote a memo insisting that Windows was the future (emphasis mine)..."

Ben Thompson, Stratechery

 

Photo by Tim Bennett on Unsplash