TLDR Daily Update 2019-08-30

Big Tech & Startups

Stories about tech giants, startups, and venture capital
Uber proposes policy that would pay drivers a minimum wage of $21 per hour while on a trip (3 minute read)
Uber has proposed a policy that would give drivers a minimum $21 per hour while on a trip, paid time off, sick leave and compensation if they are injured while driving, and also a voice when Uber is making decisions regarding their work. A new website called Independent Driver has been launched by Uber in support of drivers who want to remain independent contractors. Lyft and Uber are both circulating petitions against a bill which would reclassify drivers as employees rather than independent contractors. The bill would ensure gig economy workers are entitled to minimum wage, workers' compensation, and other benefits. Gig Workers Rising, one of the organizations leading the effort to unionize, has rejected Uber and Lyft's efforts to stop the bill, stating that these attempts show how worried the companies are regarding the new laws.
Apple will let more independent repair shops buy ‘genuine’ iPhone parts (3 minute read)
More independent repair shops will be able to buy genuine iPhone parts and tools under Apple's new repair rules. Repair technicians will be able to purchase parts after undergoing a free Apple training course. Only parts and tools for the most common out-of-warranty iPhone repairs will be available, so customers will still have to go to an authorized service provider for more complicated repairs. The costs of the parts have not yet been disclosed. However, leaked documents show a battery cost of $16-$33 and a screen that costs more than Apple's screen repair service. These parts come with a guarantee of quality but may result in higher repair costs as independent stores can set their own prices. More devices are now being locked down by manufacturers, with Apple being particularly aggressive by making their devices require specific tools or authorized parts. Apple has lobbied against right to repair bills in the past, and while it is starting to open up its repair system, it is still positioning itself to be the center of control and profit.

Science & Cutting Edge Technology

Stories about scientific breakthroughs and futuristic technologies like AI, blockchain, and space travel
Facebook is training an AI assistant inside ‘Minecraft’ (2 minute read)
Facebook has started training an AI inside Minecraft in an attempt to create a generalist AI. Many different AIs exist for games, but they struggle when they are taken out of their normal trained environment. It is hoped that training the AI in an environment where players can create almost anything with a small set of tools can result in an AI assistant that is capable of helping people with their day-to-day tasks. Facebook has previously experimented with M, an AI-powered personal assistant within its Messenger app, but the project failed as not enough people were using it for it to be trained properly.
Brain Waves Have Been Detected Coming From 'Mini Brains' Grown in The Lab (5 minute read)
Scientists have observed electrical activity, similar to the brain activity of premature babies, in lab-grown brains. The lab-grown brains are simplified versions of the organ that is grown in a lab for research purposes. They do not have brain regions to connect to, and they are also engineered to lack a protein that is essential for the normal function of neurons. By six months, the organoids were showing energetic brain activity. The activity was not like the organized, predictable brain activity of an adult, but it was similar to the chaotic bursts of brain activity seen in preterm infants. Some scientists are concerned with the results as it may mean that the lab-grown brains may develop consciousness if they were allowed to exist longer than the 10 months they are currently limited to.

Programming, Design & Data Science

Tools, open source libraries, and other resources for programmers, designers, and data scientsts
Data Science and Machine Learning Career (GitHub Repo)
This repository contains information designed for prospective analytical employees to help them in their job searches. It lists job-search platforms, sites with employee reviews on companies, online courses, competitions, skills, podcasts, communities and more.
NLP Best Practices (GitHub Repo)
As natural language processing grows in quality and usability, clarifying and developing best practices for building NLP systems will help in significantly reducing time to market by simplifying the experience and providing guidelines. This repository contains examples and best practices for building NLP systems through Jupyter notebooks and utility functions. It focuses on state-of-the-art methods and common scenarios.

Miscellaneous

Random stuff techies might be interested in
A 12-hour workweek. Jack Ma thinks AI could make it the norm (2 minute read)
Billionaire Jack Ma said on Thursday that people may be able to work just 12 hours a week with the help of artificial intelligence. Ma has been an outspoken advocate for China's extreme work culture, endorsing the tech sector's infamous 12-hours-a-day, six-days-a-week routine. In a presentation with Elon Musk, Ma spoke about reforming the education system and changing the work culture so that employees only have to work three days a week, four hours a day. According to Ma, the current education system is outdated and modeled for a different time, and that machines will soon outperform humans in areas of memory and repetitive skills. Ma says that education should focus on nurturing creativity. Musk agreed with Ma while speaking about Neuralink, a project which is trying to merge the human brain with AI.
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