<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Tech News]]>Copyright 2018 https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/tech http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area https://www.nbcbayarea.com en-usThu, 20 Sep 2018 08:46:55 -0700Thu, 20 Sep 2018 08:46:55 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Uber Says It Has Fixed Glitch on Drivers' Instant Pay]]> Mon, 17 Sep 2018 01:10:28 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/201*120/uber-generic-lawsuit-2-12417.png

Ride-hailing company Uber said Sunday it has fixed a glitch that was keeping its drivers from being paid instantly.

A spokesperson for the San Francisco-based company said it had resolved the issue with the Instant Pay feature, and drivers should have been able to use the feature again starting Sunday.

The issue was widely reported Friday. But at least one driver told NBC Bay Area she had an issue with the Instant Pay feature as far back as Aug. 6 and then most recently on Thursday.

Uber said in a statement Saturday it was working to reslove the glitch, and all drivers would be paid.

"We sincerely regret any inconvenience this may have caused our valued driver-partners and will continue working to improve their experience with Uber every day," the company said.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Hackers Fight Wildlife Trafficking at San Diego Zoo Safari Park ]]> Sat, 15 Sep 2018 10:33:37 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_176452823758.jpg

Some of the brightest minds in technology and research are gathering at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, California, to try to solve the world-wide problem of wildlife trafficking. 

Programmers, designers and more are participating in the Zoohackathon, a three-day event through the zoo, in partnership with the State Department.

An opening reception kicked off the weekend on Friday. During the hackathon on Saturday and Sunday, the hackers work to "create applications, systems, and tools to help reduce demand for trafficked wildlife products," according to the Zoohackathon site.

The hackers work around the clock for the 48 hours to try to implement the thoughts and ideas laid out by designers and researchers.

"You have animal and plant parts being traded illegally throughout the world. They have to be shipped somehow," said Stacey Johnson, corporate director of conservation and research for the San Diego Zoo. "Most of the shipping companies are using tracking systems of their own. So figuring out how we can examine them." 

Johnson said the hackers will also look into illegally posted animal and plant products online. 

Rhinos are of particular interest at the event, Johnson said. The wild animals are often poached for their horns. In Africa, the black rhino is critically threatened and the northern white rhino went extinct in the wild, with the only remaining ones living at a conservancy in Kenya.

The State Department said it believes technology can help end the cycle of buying and selling illegal wildlife products

When the event is over, the hacking teams pitch their ideas to judges and winners receive prizes. Those winners then have the opportunity to compete for prizes around the world.

Hacking events are also taking place over the weekend in Madrid, Mumbai and Uganda. New Delhi will host an event next weekend.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File]]>
<![CDATA[SpaceX Books the First Tourist to the Moon]]> Fri, 14 Sep 2018 07:10:10 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_18037863115871.jpg

The moon may soon get its first tourist — and first human visitor in more than four decades. SpaceX announced Thursday that it's booked the world's first private passenger to the moon.

Elon Musk's space technology company said on Twitter the unnamed traveler would board its BFR (or Big Falcon Rocket) to the moon, where only 24 people have ever traveled. Only 12 of those people actually walked on the moon, and they were all Americans.

The last manned flight to the moon was the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972.

SpaceX didn't reveal any details about the potentially historic voyage but said it plans to reveal the traveler's identity and more on Monday, Sept. 17. The company called the plan "an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space."

Musk shared the announcement on his personal page but remained tight-lipped as well. However, when asked if the passenger was him, Musk responded with an emoji of the Japanese flag.

This isn't the first time SpaceX dabbled in lunar tourism. Musk had said in February 2017 that two people paid the company a "significant" amount of money to go on a weeklong trip around the Moon this year. However, details about the supposed trip were never revealed.

SpaceX has held a bold vision for commercial space travel. Musk said in March that the first Mars spaceship could be ready for short trips by early 2019. But he lowered those expectations in the same address, joking that "sometimes, my timelines are a little, you know..." 



Photo Credit: AP Photo/John Raoux, File]]>
<![CDATA[Reddit Bans Qanon Subreddits After Series of Violent Threats]]> Thu, 13 Sep 2018 03:57:30 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Qalone.jpg

Reddit banned one of its largest communities dedicated to discussion of the Qanon fringe conspiracy theory on Wednesday, citing the subreddit's repeated violations of the network's content policy.

The community, called /r/GreatAwakening, had more than 71,000 subscribers making over 10,000 comments on average per day before it was banned, NBC News reported. A backup subreddit, /r/the_greatawakening, was also banned, along with 17 other Qanon focused communities, including r/BiblicalQ and r/Quincels.

The Qanon subreddits have been host to escalating threats of violence from proponents of the conspiracy theory — despite repeated calls from the community’s moderators urging them to stop.

Qanon devotees falsely believe that President Donald Trump is secretly waging a war with special counsel Robert Mueller to take down a global pedophile ring led by Hollywood celebrities and the Democratic Party, most notably Hillary Clinton.



Photo Credit: Rick Loomis/Getty Images (File)]]>
<![CDATA[Priscilla Chan Speaks at TechCrunch Disrupt]]> Fri, 07 Sep 2018 17:52:28 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/RAW+-+Day+1.00_00_05_17.Still001.png

It's known as a place for startups to get noticed — and at this year's TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco, some are hoping to be noticed by Priscilla Chan, the pediatrician and philanthropist at the helm of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

"You can only try to break the rules so many times before you realize the whole system is broken," Chan said of why she wanted to enter the world of philanthropy.

The daughter of Chinese-Vietnamese refugees, Chan studied at Harvard before becoming a teacher, and later a pediatrician. Her ambition came from a drive to give all children the same good fortune she'd had when mentors helped her succeed, she told TechCrunch Editor-At-Large Josh Constine in a rare public appearance.

"This is about as good as TechCrunch Disrupt gets," remarked fellow TechCrunch editor Jordan Crook as the talk concluded in front of a crowd packed nearly to standing room.

And yet, this sort of appearance is the essence of the Disrupt conference, and the reason why it's so valuable for startups.

"It's really tough to find the movers and shakers in the tech world," said TechCrunch Editor-At-Large Josh Constine. "They're all protected in their offices, they're all really busy. So you have to have a crazily important event to get them all in one place together."

That's what Disrupt aims to be: A place where early-stage startups can pitch Silicon Valley A-listers at their booths on the conference's bustling Startup Alley.

"They're here, and they're gonna wander through that Startup Alley and see what's coming next," Constine said.

After founding the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative in 2015 with a focus on education, Priscilla Chan and husband Mark Zuckerberg announced they were expanding the focus of the $49 billion fund to include investment in science that could cure all disease by the end of the century. Far from a traditional foundation, the initiative is a decidedly Silicon Valley take on philanthropy.

"Rather than just donating money, they're also investing in startups, hoping these companies will be able to create lasting change, but also give returns back to the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative that they can also invest in other companies," Constine said.

Constine said this year's Startup Alley exhibitors are advancing the latest innovations in biotechnology, from gene editing to mapping the inner workings of human cells. They're on an exhibit floor three times the size of past years: for the first time, Disrupt has moved to the storied halls of Moscone West, which has played host to countless keynotes by Silicon Valley legends, including the launch of the iPhone by Steve Jobs in 2007. It also happens to be an easy walk from TechCrunch's offices.

"It definitely makes it more convenient, and it gives us more time to prepare to ask hard questions and get the real answers for our audience," Constine said.


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<![CDATA[Elon Musk Smokes Weed, Lights Up Twitter]]> Fri, 07 Sep 2018 15:45:45 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/221*120/elon_musk.JPG

Elon Musk smoked weed on the Joe Rogan show Friday and that’s all people are talking about on Twitter.

“It’s like a cup of coffee in reverse,” the Tesla and SpaceX CEO said while lighting up during a live interview with California comedian Joe Rogan. Rogan lit up a blunt and passed it onto Musk, who has admitted that he is not a regular pot smoker.

Tesla shares plunged more than nine percent Friday after news of a couple of executive resignations and Musk’s pot smoking video.

Marijuana is legal in California, but Twitter users still weighed in with comments which ranged from people calling the negative comments childish to cheering him on.[[492722811, C]]

“Elon Musk just made weed lame,” tweeted Vice.

“Interesting how much is being made of Tesla CEO Elon Musk taking one puff of legal cannabis yet he was drinking whiskey throughout the interview with Joe Rogan. If we’re going to be upset about a drug should it not be alcohol, the most dangerous in the world?” one commentor said.

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CNBC contributor Jane Wells weighed in: "I do not consume cannabis. Not my thing. But the reaction to @elonmusk smoking (state) legal #pot on a podcast shows the deep divide between the western half of the US and the NY-DC corridor. I mean, come on, have you ever been to Silicon Valley? California? West of the Rockies?

“The reaction to Elon Musk & weed is so childish. It's also a good time to recall that Steve Jobs (along with other key Silicon Valley visionaries) credits LSD with some of his most critical insights, without which he believes Apple would not have happened,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

Check out the other reactions here: [[492720931, C]]



Photo Credit: The Joe Rogan Experience
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<![CDATA[Dulles Airport Debuts Facial Recognition Technology]]> Thu, 06 Sep 2018 14:51:58 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DIT+NAT+DULLES+FACE+ID.00_00_06_08.Still009THUMB.jpg

Dulles International Airport has implemented facial recognition software for international travelers; the system will be used to identify visa holders as they leave the country. Passengers have their pictures taken before boarding, and those photos are compared to their visa photos.

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<![CDATA[Twitter, Facebook Offer Apologies and Promises]]> Wed, 05 Sep 2018 14:46:23 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NC_socialmedia0905_1920x1080.jpg

Executives from Twitter and Facebook face questions on foreign election influence and political bias during Capitol Hill hearings. NBC's Jennifer Johnson reports.

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<![CDATA[Utah Driver Sues Tesla After Crashing in Autopilot Mode]]> Wed, 05 Sep 2018 13:48:32 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tesla-generic.jpg

A Utah driver who slammed her Tesla into a stopped firetruck at a red light earlier this year while using the vehicle's semi-autonomous function has sued the company, saying salespeople told her the car would stop on its own in Autopilot mode if something was in its path, NBC News reported.

Heather Lommatzsch claimed in the lawsuit filed Tuesday that Tesla salespeople told her in 2016 when she purchased the Model S that she could just touch the steering wheel occasionally while using the Autopilot mode. Lommatzsch, 29, said she tried to brake when she saw the stopped cars, but that the car's brakes did not work before the May 11 crash.

But Tesla spokesman Dave Arnold said in a statement the company has been clear "Autopilot doesn't make the car impervious to all accidents" and that drivers are "continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the vehicle at all times," Arnold said.

Arnold stressed that the final police report said Lommatzsch told police she was looking at her phone before the crash and that car data showed Lommatzsch did not touch the steering wheel for 80 seconds before the crash. Data taken from her car showed it picked up speed for 3.5 seconds before crashing into the firetruck and that the driver then manually hit the brakes a fraction of a second before the impact.



Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Rep. Billy Long Uses Auctioneer Skills to Drown Out Protester]]> Thu, 06 Sep 2018 07:21:08 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DIT+NAT+AUCTIONEER+PROTEST+090518.00_01_03_11.Still003THUMB.jpg

Former auctioneer Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) used his unique skills to override the voice of right-wing activist Laura Loomer, who had interrupted the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing with Twitter Wednesday.

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<![CDATA[How Tech Workers Are Starting to Revolt]]> Wed, 05 Sep 2018 10:41:32 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/942400992-Facebook-Menlo-Park-Hacker-Way.jpg

While tech industry executives are testifying before Congress on Wednesday, their biggest worry may be the protests they face from within their own companies, NBC News reports.

Tech giants like Amazon and Google have seen unprecedented pushback from their employees regarding the direction their companies are taking and how they interact with the US government. 

In June, Google said it would not renew a contract with the U.S. Defense Department to analyze drone footage after thousands of employees signed a petition, with some employees even resigning.

Facebook has seen a number of leaks in recent months, which has led to debates about the appropriateness of leaking company information.

These incidents have prompted workers and executives to consider the ethical implications of working at companies that are trying to change the world through technology. 



Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Talks 'Arms Race' to Protect Users Before Midterms]]> Tue, 04 Sep 2018 05:42:29 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/942400992-Facebook-Menlo-Park-Hacker-Way.jpg

Facebook plans to build a physical "war room" to coordinate response in real time to foreign interference in November's midterm elections, the company's head of civic engagement told NBC News.

Samidh Chakrabarti is leading Facebook's efforts to secure the platform for elections around the world, and he told NBC News in an exclusive interview that the company is "much more effective than we used to be" and the entire company is "laser focused on getting it right."

In 2016's presidential election, more than 126 million Americans saw incendiary Facebook posts from accounts, pages and ads linked to Russia. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has so far declined to say how much foreign interference remains.

Chakrabarti said Facebook's efforts around political ad transparency are making the platform more trustworthy, but he acknowledged that bad actors are getting more sophisticated: "It is an arms race. And we're always working to try to stay one step ahead."



Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[Stanford Hospitals Train Staff With Lifelike Robot Who Cries]]> Tue, 04 Sep 2018 18:35:56 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/RoboKid+THUMB.png

In a room at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, a concerned nurse pushes the "code blue" button beside the bed, and a crowd of staff comes running down the hall.

It's not a real emergency — but they've all been instructed to treat it like one. The 5-year-old patient is actually a new medical training robot called HAL that's being used in a hospital setting for the very first time.

HAL is the latest in a line of increasingly-complex "patient simulators" from Gaumard Scientific, a company with its roots in World War II battlefield surgery. After the war, the company produced the first synthetic human skeleton for medical schools. 70 years later, its latest training device can turn its head and cough just like a real kindergartener, and even cries real tears as it screams for its mom.

The doctors and nurses who run Stanford's Revive training program say lifelike "patients" can generate an emotional response among hospital staff that helps them retain the lessons they learn during these quarterly drills. Revive conducts simulations at Stanford hospitals and clinics in real patient care areas, using real equipment and supplies. If something is out of place or hard to find, staff will discover the problem during the simulation, they reason — rather than during a real emergency.

For that reason, the program's organizers demand an almost unthinkable degree of realism from robotic patients like HAL. His eyes respond to light and movement, his pulse can be found in all the right places (unless he's in cardiac arrest) and caregivers can measure his blood sugar, blood oxygen level, and even the amount of carbon dioxide in his breath using the real monitoring equipment found in every hospital room.

Along with his physical features, HAL's designers say they worked with pediatricians to design his moods, reactions and facial expressions to give caregivers the right clues about what might be hurting him.

Watch the video above to see Stanford's pediatric resuscitation team in action as they try to save HAL's (robotic) life!


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<![CDATA[Map Hack Replaces NYC With 'Jewtropolis' in Popular Apps]]> Thu, 30 Aug 2018 09:55:02 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Mapbox+Hack.jpg

Users of popular apps including Snapchat and StreetEasy were stunned Thursday morning to see New York City replaced on some maps with a new label — "Jewtropolis."

Screenshots posted to social media showed a wide variety of apps appeared to be affected, depending on how closely people zoomed into maps of the city. 

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Snapchat, in a response to a complaining user, blamed its mapping software vendor.

"Hey Dan! Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Snap Map relies on third party mapping data which has unfortunately been subject to vandalism. We are working with our partner Mapbox to get this fixed immediately," the tweet read.

Mapbox issued a statement saying it fixed the issue within an hour.

"The malicious edit was made by a source that attempted several other hateful edits. Our security team has confirmed no additional attempts were successful," the company said, adding that human error during its review process allowed the edit to make it into production. 

Other apps affected, based on screenshots posted online, included Zillow, CitiBike and Jump Bikes. 

"An issue with one of our third-party map vendors resulted in an offensive term appearing on some StreetEasy maps this morning. We are deeply sorry and addressed it as soon as we knew. The vendor is working on a fix, and in addition, we have replaced those maps on our site," a StreetEasy spokeswoman said. 

The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement saying this was "clearly an act of anti-Semitism."


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<![CDATA[Google Maps Mistakenly Shows 'McCain Senate Office Building']]> Wed, 29 Aug 2018 15:51:16 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Russell12.jpg

Google Maps wasn't waiting for the Senate.

While lawmakers debated a proposal to rename a building after the late Sen. John McCain, Google Maps displayed "McCain Senate Office Building" on its website for several hours Wednesday.

A search for "Russell Senate Office Building" directed users to the same building. The error was fixed later Wednesday.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., proposed renaming the Russell building in McCain's honor after the Arizona Republican died Saturday from brain cancer. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he'll form a bipartisan panel to solicit ideas on ways to honor McCain.

Google said in a statement Wednesday that it empowers people to contribute local knowledge to its maps, "but we recognize that there may be occasional inaccuracies or premature changes suggested by users.''

It was not clear how the error occurred.

The mix-up comes as President Donald Trump has accused Google and other U.S. tech companies of rigging search results about him "so that almost all stories & news is BAD." Trump offered no evidence of bias, but a top adviser said the White House is "taking a look'' at whether Google should face federal regulation.

On Wednesday, Trump reiterated his complaints, telling reporters he thinks Google, Facebook and Twitter "treat conservatives and Republicans very unfairly."

"I think it's a very serious problem because they're really trying to silence a very large part of this country and those people don't want to be silenced," Trump said.

But when asked whether he wants to see new federal regulations imposed on the companies, Trump, who often brags of his record slashing federal regulations, said that wasn't what he's after.

"You know what we want? Not regulation. We want fairness. When we have fairness we're all very happy," he said.

Google has pushed back sharply on Trump's claims.

"We never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment," the company said in a statement.



Photo Credit: Senate Photography Studio]]>
<![CDATA[Instagram Will Allow Users to Be 'Verified']]> Wed, 29 Aug 2018 12:43:03 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Instagram_Will_Allow_Users_to_Be__Verified_.jpg

Instagram is following its owner's example in transparency by allowing users to get "verified."

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<![CDATA[Trump Complains of Search Results Fake News; Google Responds]]> Tue, 28 Aug 2018 17:47:59 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_18233801794285-President-Donald-Trump.jpg

President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused Google and other U.S. tech companies of rigging search results about him "so that almost all stories & news is BAD." He offered no evidence of bias, but a top adviser said the White House is "taking a look" at whether Google should face federal regulation. Scott Budman reports.



Photo Credit: Alex Brandon/AP]]>
<![CDATA[T-Mobile Discovers Security Breach of Certain Customer Info]]> Fri, 24 Aug 2018 09:41:26 -0700 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tmobilebreach11.jpg

T-Mobile US and its unit Metro PCS informed customers on Thursday about a potential security breach that was discovered and shut down by the company.

T-Mobile said that on Aug. 20 its cyber-security team discovered and shut down an unauthorized access to certain information, and the company reported the breach to authorities. T-Mobile said financial data and credit card information, social security numbers and passwords were not compromised. However, some personal information may have been accessed, including name, billing zip code, phone number, email address, account number and account type.

About 3 percent of T-mobile's 77 million customers could have been affected, a company spokesperson told technology news website Motherboard.

T-Mobile said it informed customers of the incident "out of an abundance of caution."



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>