Silicon Valley Activism


Behind the Tech Workers' Revolt

Whether it’s protesting projects with immigration authorities or walking out to demand better treatment of women, activism has hit Silicon Valley with a force the tech industry has never experienced, The Guardian reports. It interviewed tech workers who are confronting their bosses over immigration, censorship and racism.




What Controversies? Facebook's Business Is Doing Just Fine


The potential Federal Trade Commission fine of up to $5 billion dominated Wednesday's coverage of Facebook's quarterly financial results, but Fortune's Data Sheet says the company's cash-generating products are as popular as ever. It generated $9.3 billion in cash from operations, an 18 percent increase. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s latest quarterly sales and earnings were both better than expected.




Elizabeth Warren Takes on Amazon

Sen. Elizabeth Warren this week called out Amazon in a town hall speech, accusing the online retail titan of using data that it collects from sellers and buyers to create its own private label products, Business Insider reports. The Democratic presidential candidate later wrote on Twitter: "When Amazon can tilt the online marketplace in its own favor, small businesses see an immediate impact in their profits. That can be absolutely crushing." Amazon denied that it uses individual sellers' data to launch its own private label products.




The Illusion of Being Careful Online


People who want to guard their privacy often try to be “careful” online by staying off social media, or if they’re on it, posting cautiously. But thanks to “data inference” technology, companies know more about you than you disclose, writes Zeynep Tufekci in the New York Times. She is the author of “Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragilty of Networked Protest."




A Step Toward Decoding Thoughts


Researchers at the University of California have generated intelligible sentences from the thoughts of people without speech difficulties, Scientific American reports. A co-author of the study says the work provides a proof of principle that one day it should be possible to turn imagined words into understandable, real-time speech circumventing the vocal chords.




Is Digital Technology Destroying Our Freedom?

Douglas Rushkoff, a media theorist at Queens College in New York City, believes the notion that technology drives social progress is wrong. In his new book, “Team Human,” and in an interview with Vox, he argues that digital technology is eroding human freedom and destroying communities.




AI Helps Beer Get Smart


IoT and artificial intelligence are helping craft brewers achieve perfect suds, ZDNet reports. When the co-founders of Sugar Creek Brewing Co. had a foam problem, they installed Bosch sensors to monitor every aspect of the beer-making process.




Say Goodbye to the Instagram Aesthetic

As Instagram has grown to more than 1 billion monthly users, it has "ushered in a very particular look: bright walls, artfully arranged lattes and avocado toast, and Millennial-pink everything, all with that carefully staged, color-corrected, glossy-looking aesthetic," Taylor Lorenz writes on The Atlantic. But the look made famous by the platform no longer resonates.




Want to Fail at Social Media Marketing? Here’s How

From refusing to discuss issues with your followers to forgetting to attach visuals to most posts, there are so many ways to do social media badly. Contently shares an infographic from Red Website Design that lists 15 mistakes that can torpedo a social media strategy.




Truckin’ with Robots


Boston Dynamics’ robot Spotmini can dance to songs and open doors. But that’s not all, The Next Web reports. In a newly released video, you can see 10 Spotpower bots (a beefed-up variant of Spotmini) working as a team to pull a truck up a road with ease.