Tech Hub Troubles


The Dark Side of Superstar Tech Cities

Superstar tech cities like New York and San Francisco boast sparkling urban redevelopments, but as Axios reports, they also are beset by ever-deepening inequality and housing crises. A frequently overlooked effect of tech's rise is “the slow evisceration of the soul of the cities they call home—apparent through transformed neighborhoods and the detritus of shuttered local businesses.”


Facebook Unveils Its Privacy-Focused Redesign


CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared in March that he planned to redirect Facebook toward private communications. This week at its annual developer conference, the company unveiled a redesign of its mobile app and desktop site—the first in a series of changes to achieve that shift, the New York Times reports. The revisions add new features to promote group-based communications instead of News Feed.


Apple Has Nearly Regained a $1 Trillion Valuation

Apple's stock charged its way up to more than $215 a share in trading on Wednesday, despite reporting its worst-ever decline in iPhone sales, Business Insider reports. It cements a roughly $330 billion rally in its market cap since Jan. 3, and put Apple within reach of a $1 trillion market value once again.


What Would a World Without 'Likes' Be Like?


The “like” is one of the most valuable metrics on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; "likes" also turned social media into a popularity contest, taking the focus away from higher-quality posts and conversations. During a time when big tech is being forced to re-examine some of its core features, Twitter and Instagram have both shown they’re at least ready to consider a world without “likes,” Fortune reports.


More Than Half of Mobile Users Still Want Their Cash


Fifty-five percent of U.S. mobile users say they hate the idea of life without cash, Mobile Marketer reports. That signifies a major hurdle for banks, payments processors and tech companies that urge consumers to adopt digital wallets, according to a survey by Origin, Hill Holliday's independent research arm.


Will This Bot Actually Do Homework for $9.95 a Month?

EssayBot aims to be the holy grail for the world’s burnout 11th-graders. But when Vox writer Luke Winkie sent an essay that the app produced to his 10th-grade history teacher, "he gave it an easy F."


A Surge in Phone and Laptop Searches at the Border


Searches of travelers' laptops and mobile phones at the U.S. border have nearly quadrupled since 2015, digital rights group EFF and the American Civil Liberties Union claim in a federal lawsuit. The searches are often warrantless and therefore "unconstitutional," the plaintiffs allege. There were 33,295 searches of travelers' devices in the 2018 fiscal year, the BBC reports.


Is Copyright Law Ready for AI-Made Music?

AI is capable of making music, but does that make AI an artist? As AI begins to reshape how music is made, courts are going to be confronted with some messy questions regarding authorship, The Verge reports. Do AI algorithms create their own work, or is it the humans behind them?


A KOL Is ... What, Exactly?

Influencer marketing has become a power strategy for brands looking to reach a targeted audience on social media, with an average ROI of $6.50 for each dollar spent. But if your brand is looking to reach a specific, niche demographic, you might need to understand the difference between influencers and key opinion leaders, HubSpot says.


Digital Robinson Crusoe


Robert Bainter, an avid body surfer in California, accidentally performed an epic torture test on his Apple Watch, CNet reports. Six months after he caught a gnarly wave and discovered his Apple Watch had slipped away into the water, a beachcomber discovered the watch three miles from where it was originally lost—and it still works just fine.