Corning's New Gorilla Glass 6 Will Let Your Phones Survive 15 Drops

4 days 1 hour ago
Corning just announced its most durable glass yet: Gorilla Glass 6. "The company says that the glass will survive up to 15 drops from a one meter height and can be 'up to two times better' than Gorilla Glass 5," reports The Verge. From the report: As phones get slimmer and have ever sleeker glass displays, reports have appeared that the slimness may actually cancel out the improvements in new iterations of Gorilla Glass, since thinner glass is weaker glass, even if it's become stronger. Still Corning argues that sleek edge-to-edge displays have actually led to stronger smartphones. Sometimes, in smartphones of previous years, the bezel would crack first, then leading to a weakness in the glass. There's also a tradeoff between drop resistance and scratch resistance, which Corning has admitted to in the past. Corning says that Gorilla Glass 6 will have the same amount of scratch resistance as previous generations. So although the company claims the new generation of Gorilla Glass is "better," you shouldn't expect new phones made with the glass to be more scratch-resistant. The first devices to feature Gorilla Glass 6 are expected to arrive near the end of the year.

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eBay Is Conducting a 'Mass Layoff' In the Bay Area

4 days 1 hour ago
eBay is planning to slash nearly 300 jobs from Bay Area locations by July 20, calling the cuts a "mass layoff." Those being laid off were informed at the end of June, reports The Mercury News. The San Jose-based company estimated that it would eliminate 224 jobs in San Jose, 41 in San Francisco, and five in Brisbane. From the report: "This action is expected to be permanent," eBay stated in the Employment Development Department filing. "No affected employee has any bumping rights." Over the one-year period that ended in March, eBay lost $1.64 billion on revenues of $9.84 billion, according to information posted on the Yahoo Finance site. During the first quarter that ended March 31, eBay earned $407 million on revenues of $2.58 billion. Compared to the year-ago first quarter, profits were down 60.7 percent and revenue rose 12 percent.

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DeepMind, Elon Musk and Others Pledge Not To Make Autonomous AI Weapons

4 days 1 hour ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: Yesterday, during the Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, the Future of Life Institute announced that more than 2,400 individuals and 160 companies and organizations have signed a pledge, declaring that they will "neither participate in nor support the development, manufacture, trade or use of lethal autonomous weapons." The signatories, representing 90 countries, also call on governments to pass laws against such weapons. Google DeepMind and the Xprize Foundation are among the groups who've signed on while Elon Musk and DeepMind co-founders Demis Hassabis, Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman have made the pledge as well. "Thousands of AI researchers agree that by removing the risk, attributability and difficulty of taking human lives, lethal autonomous weapons could become powerful instruments of violence and oppression, especially when linked to surveillance and data systems," says the pledge. It adds that those who sign agree that "the decision to take a human life should never be delegated to a machine." "I'm excited to see AI leaders shifting from talk to action, implementing a policy that politicians have thus far failed to put into effect," Future of Life Institute President Max Tegmark said in a statement. "AI has huge potential to help the world -- if we stigmatize and prevent its abuse. AI weapons that autonomously decide to kill people are as disgusting and destabilizing as bioweapons, and should be dealt with in the same way."

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IBM Wants $167 Million From Groupon Over Alleged Patent Infringement

4 days 2 hours ago
On Monday, IBM asked a jury to award the company $167 million in a lawsuit against deals site Groupon for using patented technology without authorization. The patents involve e-commerce technology that had already been licensed to Amazon, Facebook, and Alphabet for between $20 million and $50 million per company. "Most big companies have taken licenses to these patents," IBM's lawyer, John Desmarais, said. "Groupon has not. The new kid on the block refuses to take responsibility for using these inventions." Reuters reports: Groupon lawyer J. David Hadden argued that IBM was overreading the scope of its patents and claiming ownership of building blocks of the internet. "A key question for you in this case is whether these patents cover the world wide web," Hadden told jurors. "They do not and that is because IBM did not invent the world wide web." An IBM executive is expected to testify during the two-week trial about licensing deals with technology companies like Amazon and Google, providing a rare glimpse into IBM's efforts to derive revenue from its large patent portfolio. The Armonk, New York-based company invests heavily in research and development and has secured more U.S. patents than any other company for the past 25 years.

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Hackers Account For 90 Percent of Login Attempts At Online Retailers

4 days 3 hours ago
Hackers account for 90% of of e-commerce sites' global login traffic, according to a report by cyber security firm Shape Security. They reportedly use programs to apply stolen data acquired on the dark web -- all in an effort to login to websites and grab something of value like cash, airline points, or merchandise. Quartz reports: These attacks are successful as often as 3% of the time, and the costs quickly add up for businesses, Shape says. This type of fraud costs the e-commerce sector about $6 billion a year, while the consumer banking industry loses out on about $1.7 billion annually. The hotel and airline businesses are also major targets -- the theft of loyalty points is a thing -- costing a combined $700 million every year. The process starts when hackers break into databases and steal login information. Some of the best known "data spills" took place at Equifax and Yahoo, but they happen fairly regularly -- there were 51 reported breaches last year, compromising 2.3 billion credentials, according to Shape. Taking over bank accounts is one way to monetize stolen login information -- in the US, community banks are attacked far more than any other industry group. According to Shape's data, that sector is attacked more than 200 million times each day. Shape says the number of reported credential breaches was roughly stable at 51 last year, compared with 52 in 2016. The best way consumers can minimize these attacks is by changing their passwords.

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Zuckerberg: If Someone Gets Fired For Data Abuse 'It Should Be Me'

4 days 3 hours ago
Mark Zuckerberg isn't planning to fire himself. At least, not at the moment. From a report: During an interview with Recode's Kara Swisher published Wednesday, the Facebook CEO touched on Russians interfering with US elections, misinformation, data breaches, the company's business model and more. When asked by Swisher who's to blame for the Cambridge Analytica scandal and related data misuse, Zuckerberg said he "designed the platform, so if someone's going to get fired for this, it should be me." Swisher followed up by asking if he was going to fire himself. "Not on this podcast right now," he said. Zuckerberg also defended the social media platform's decision not to kick off conspiracy theory-peddling websites like the far-right InfoWars. From a report: Zuckerberg said that instead of banning websites outright, the company removes individual posts that violate Facebook's terms of service. Posts promoting violence are particularly likely to be taken down, he added. Zuckerberg, who is Jewish, said even Holocaust deniers have a place on the platform as long as they genuinely believe the content they share. "I find that deeply offensive," he said. "But at the end of the day, I don't believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don't think that they're intentionally getting it wrong."

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Google Warns Android Might Not Remain Free Because of EU Decision

4 days 4 hours ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: The EU's decision to force Google to unbundle its Chrome and search apps from Android may have some implications for the future of Android's free business model. In a blog post defending Google's decision to bundle search and Chrome apps on Android, Google CEO Sundar Pichai outlines the company's response to the EU's $5 billion fine. Pichai highlights the fact a typical Android user will "install around 50 apps themselves" and can easily remove preinstalled apps. But if Google is prevented from bundling its own apps, that will upset the Android ecosystem. "If phone makers and mobile network operators couldn't include our apps on their wide range of devices, it would upset the balance of the Android ecosystem," explains Pichai, carefully avoiding the fact that phone makers will no longer be forced to bundle these apps but can still choose to do so. Pichai then hints that the free Android business model has relied on this app bundling. "So far, the Android business model has meant that we haven't had to charge phone makers for our technology, or depend on a tightly controlled distribution model," says Pichai. "But we are concerned that today's decision will upset the careful balance that we have struck with Android, and that it sends a troubling signal in favor of proprietary systems over open platforms." While it may be a bluff to court popular opinion, Google is threatening to license Android to phone makers. "[I]f phone makers can bundle their own browsers instead of Chrome and point search queries toward rivals, then that could have implications for Google's mobile ad revenue, which constitutes more than 50 percent of the company's net digital ad revenue," reports The Verge.

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Robocall Firm Exposes Hundreds of Thousands of US Voters' Records

4 days 5 hours ago
An anonymous reader shares a report: RoboCent, a Virginia Beach-based political robocall firm, has exposed the personal details of hundreds of thousands of US voters, according to the findings of a security researcher who stumbled upon the company's database online. The researcher, Bob Diachenko of Kromtech Security, says he discovered the data using a recently launched online service called GrayhatWarfare that allows users to search publicly exposed Amazon Web Services data storage buckets. Such buckets should never be left exposed to public access, as they could hold sensitive data.

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British Airways Says Computer Problems Affecting Operations at Heathrow

4 days 5 hours ago
British Airways said on Wednesday that its operations at London's Heathrow, Europe's biggest airport, were disrupted because of an issue with a supplier's IT systems. From a report: "We are working with our supplier to resolve the matter and are sorry for the disruption to our customers' travel plans," the company said in a statement. Further reading: The Telegraph, which reports that several flights have been delayed or cancelled because of the IT failure.

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Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019 To Support True UTC-Compliant Leap Second

4 days 6 hours ago
Mehedi Hassan, writing for Thurrott: Microsoft is bringing support for leap seconds -- yes, that one extra second -- to Windows, starting with Windows 10 Redstone 5 and Windows Server 2019. With the upcoming updates for Windows 10, Microsoft's operating system now deals with leap seconds in a way that is incredibly accurate, UTC-compliant, and traceable. Leap seconds typically occur every 18 months, resulting in one extra second. The extra leap second occurs to adjust with the earth's slowed down rotation, and an extra second is added to UTC in order to keep it in-sync with mean solar time. To deal with the extra second more appropriately, Windows 10 will now display that extra second, instead of directly jumping to the next one. H/T Perfycat who adds: The new move makes Windows Server the first OS to have full support of the rare but valid timestamp of: 23:59:60. Linus Torvalds has long maintained that users needs to chill out about leap seconds. Further reading: Microsoft's blog post 1, and blog post 2.

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Frequent Smart Phone, Internet Use Linked To Symptoms Of ADHD in Teens

4 days 6 hours ago
Most teens today own a smartphone and go online every day, and about a quarter of them use the internet "almost constantly," according to a 2015 report by the Pew Research Center. Now a study published this week in JAMA suggests that such frequent use of digital media by adolescents might increase their odds of developing symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. From a report: "It's one of the first studies to look at modern digital media and ADHD risk," says psychologist Adam Leventhal, an associate professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California and an author of the study. When considered with previous research showing that greater social media use is associated with depression in teens, the new study suggests that "excessive digital media use doesn't seem to be great for [their] mental health," he adds. Previous research has shown that watching television or playing video games on a console put teenagers at a slightly higher risk of developing ADHD behaviors. But less is known about the impact of computers, tablets and smartphones.

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Apple iCloud Data in China is Being Stored By a State-Run Telco

4 days 7 hours ago
Six months ago Apple caused controversy by announcing its intentions to move Chinese users' iCloud keys out of the US and into China, in order to comply with Chinese law. From a report: Now, that data, which includes emails, text messages and pictures, is being looked after by government-owned mobile operator China Telecom. And users and human rights activists alike have big concerns. The move has unsurprisingly been praised by state media, with Chinese consumers being told they can now expect faster speeds and greater connectivity. But as comments on Weibo (China's equivalent of Twitter) reveal, users have major privacy worries, claiming the government -- known for its extreme citizen surveillance methods -- will now be able to check personal data whenever it wishes.

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Blue Origin Pushed Its Rocket 'To Its Limits' With High-Altitude Emergency Abort Test

4 days 8 hours ago
Blue Origin pulled off another successful test launch today, landing both the New Shepard rocket -- a reusable vehicle designed to take tourists to the edge of space and back -- and capsule after flight. From a report: The company ignited the capsule's emergency motor after it had separated from the rocket, pushing the spacecraft up to a top altitude of around 74 miles -- a new record for Blue Origin. The firing also caused the capsule to sustain up to 10 Gs during the test, but Blue Origin host Ariane Cornell said "that is well within what humans can take, especially for such a short spurt of time." [...] The rocket which went up today is the third New Shepard vehicle that the company has ever flown. The first one flew to a super high altitude in April 2015, but the booster was unable to land back on Earth after flight. The second iteration of the vehicle was much more successful, however. Blue Origin launched and landed the rocket and booster a total of five times before retiring the system. This third New Shepard has already done two launches and landings, and it sports some upgrades over its predecessors. For instance, this one actually has windows in the crew capsule; the second vehicle had its windows painted on. Blue Origin is building even more vehicles to carry passengers, though there isn't a firm date for when the first crewed flights will occur. The company's president Rob Meyerson has estimated that the first test passengers could fly as soon as this year, while commercial flights could start in 2019. Blue Origin also plans to start selling tickets next year, too.

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How 'Mission Impossible' Made the Leap To 4K and HDR

4 days 8 hours ago
In the run up to the release of Fallout, the new movie in the Mission Impossible franchise, Paramount studio re-released the entire Mission Impossible series on 4K Blu-ray last month. The new discs aren't only a huge upgrade for cinephiles -- they're also a fascinating glimpse at how studios can revive older films for the 4K/HDR era. Engadget: "In terms of any re-transfers or remastering that we are doing for our HDR releases, we will go back to the highest resolution source available," Kirsten Pielstick, manager of Paramount's digital mastering group, said in an interview. In the case of Mission Impossible 1 and 2, that involved scanning the original 35mm negatives in 4K/16-bit. As you'd expect, the studio tries to get the original artists involved with any remasters, especially with something like HDR, which allows for higher brightness and more nuanced black levels. Pielstick worked with the director of photography (DP) for the first Mission Impossible film, Stephen H. Burum, to make sure its noir-like palette stayed intact. [...] "Our mastering philosophy here is always to work directly with the talent whenever possible, and use the new technology to enhance the movie, but always stay true to the intent of the movie," Pielstick said. "You're not going to want to make things brighter just because you can, if it's not the intent of how you were supposed to see things." [...] "You also have to remember that we're not putting in anything that didn't exist on the film [for HD remasters]," Pielstick added. "It was always there we just didn't have the ability to see it. So we're not adding anything new, we're not doing anything to increase those, we're just able to look at the negative in a much clearer way than we ever could before."

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Why Startups Aren't Pushing the Feds To Break Up Big Tech

4 days 9 hours ago
An anonymous reader shares a report: Today's tech startups have largely stayed out of the debate over whether antitrust law should be used to humble -- and possibly break up -- giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon. Startups are often in position to lead the antitrust charge against major competitors. But entrepreneurs face a dilemma: If they go running to regulators, they have to admit they're in danger and tick off a powerful player in their world. If they do nothing, they risk bleeding out. [...] Tech giants have immense leverage over startups. "The tech hypercaps have never been more powerful relative to startups, including Microsoft in the '90s," said Sam Altman, the president of startup accelerator Y Combinator. "[T]he resources are so mismatched it's an unfair fight." Startups (or larger competitors) can confidentially press their case before staff members at the Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission, or the startups can go public with their concerns. With the exception of Yelp, there are no major startups in the U.S. that have turned to regulators to take on today's biggest companies, like Facebook, Amazon, or Google. [...] Why startups don't lodge antitrust complaints: "Running a startup, running a growth company there's so many things to do, and every hour is precious," said Albert Wenger, a managing partner at Union Square Ventures.

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Amazon Responds After Third-Party Sellers Put Bootleg Games on Its Store

4 days 10 hours ago
Jeff Grubb, reporting for VentureBeat: Over the weekend, some thrifty gamers spotted a deal on Amazon. A downloadable version of the tough strategy survival sim Frostpunk was available on the Amazon Marketplace from a third-party seller for $3, which is a 90 percent discount from the standard $30 price. But after looking into the game, some customers who dropped the three bucks had some questions. For example, why does the metadata for this version of Frostpunk refer to the DRM-free version that people can buy from GOG. [...] So I reached out to Amazon, and it provided the following statement from a company spokesperson: "Our customers trust that when they make a purchase through Amazon's store --either directly from Amazon or from its third-party sellers -- they will receive authentic products, and we take any claims that endanger that trust seriously. We strictly prohibit the sale of counterfeit products, and these games have been removed." That's all it would say on this.

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Appeals Court Won't Take Up Copyright Decision That Raised Alarm About Embedding, Linking

4 days 10 hours ago
The 2nd Circuit denies an immediate appeal in a case that challenges how news organizations used embedded photos of Tom Brady. The Hollywood Reporter: Back in February, a New York judge caused a bit of a freakout by issuing a copyright decision regarding the embedding of a copyrighted photo of NFL superstar Tom Brady. Now comes another surprise with potentially big ramifications to the future of embedding and in-line linking: The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has denied an interlocutory appeal. Justin Goldman is the plaintiff in the lawsuit after finding the photo of the New England Patriots quarterback he shot and uploaded to Snapchat go viral. Many news organizations embedded social media posts that took Goldman's photo in stories about whether the Boston Celtics would recruit NBA star Kevin Durant with Brady's assistance. Breitbart, Heavy, Time, Yahoo, Vox Media, Gannett Company, Herald Media, Boston Globe Media Partners and New England Sports Network were defendants in the lawsuit, but many of these companies have since settled. Heavy has not, and in February, U.S. District Court Judge Katherine Forrest shocked many legal observers with a decision that refused to apply the "Server Test," where the direct liability of a website publisher for copyright infringement turns on whether the image is hosted on the publisher's own server or is embedded or linked from a third-party server. Although the Server Test has been adopted in other jurisdictions, Forrest wrote, "The plain language of the Copyright Act, the legislative history undergirding its enactment, and subsequent Supreme Court jurisprudence provide no basis for a rule that allows the physical location or possession of an image to determine who may or may not have 'displayed' a work within the meaning of the Copyright Act." She added, "Nowhere does the Copyright Act suggest that possession of an image is necessary in order to display it. Indeed, the purpose and language of the Act support the opposite view."

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Top Voting Machine Vendor Admits It Installed Remote-Access Software on Systems Sold to States

4 days 11 hours ago
Kim Zetter, reporting for Motherboard: The nation's top voting machine maker has admitted in a letter to a federal lawmaker that the company installed remote-access software on election-management systems it sold over a period of six years, raising questions about the security of those systems and the integrity of elections that were conducted with them. In a letter sent to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) in April and obtained recently by Motherboard, Election Systems and Software acknowledged that it had "provided pcAnywhere remote connection software ... to a small number of customers between 2000 and 2006," which was installed on the election-management system ES&S sold them. The statement contradicts what the company told me and fact checkers for a story I wrote for the New York Times in February. At that time, a spokesperson said ES&S had never installed pcAnywhere on any election system it sold. "None of the employees -- including long-tenured employees, has any knowledge that our voting systems have ever been sold with remote-access software," the spokesperson said. ES&S did not respond on Monday to questions from Motherboard, and it's not clear why the company changed its response between February and April. Lawmakers, however, have subpoena powers that can compel a company to hand over documents or provide sworn testimony on a matter lawmakers are investigating, and a statement made to lawmakers that is later proven false can have greater consequence for a company than one made to reporters.

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EU Regulators Fine Google Record $5 Billion in Android Case

4 days 12 hours ago
The European Union hit Alphabet's Google with a record antitrust fine of $5.06 billion on Monday, a decision that could loosen the company's grip on its biggest growth engine: mobile phones. From a report:The European Commission ordered Google to end the illegal conduct within 90 days or face additional penalties of up to 5 percent of parent Alphabet's average daily worldwide turnover. The EU enforcer also dismissed Google's arguments citing Apple as a competitor to Android devices, saying the iPhone maker does not sufficiently constrain Google because of its higher prices and switching costs for users. The European Commission finding is the most consequential decision made in its eight-year antitrust battle with Google. The fine significantly outstrips the $2.8B charge Brussels imposed on the company last year for favoring its own site in comparison shopping searches. The decision takes aim at a core part of Google's business strategy over the past decade, outlawing restrictions on its Android operating system that allegedly entrenched Google's dominance in online search at a time when consumers were moving from desktop to mobile devices. Android is the operating system used in more than 80 per cent of the world's smartphones and is vital to the group's future revenues as more users rely on mobile gadgets for search services. Google has denied wrongdoing. The European Commission took issues with the following practices: In particular, Google: 1. has required manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and browser app (Chrome), as a condition for licensing Google's app store (the Play Store); 2. made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices; and 3. has prevented manufacturers wishing to pre-install Google apps from selling even a single smart mobile device running on alternative versions of Android that were not approved by Google (so-called "Android forks"). Update: Google has announced that it would be appealing against the record fine. In a statement, the company said, "Android has created more choice for everyone, not less. A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovation and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition. We will appeal the Commission's decision." Update 2: In a blog post, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, said, the European Commission's decision ignores and misses several facts. He wrote: Today, the European Commission issued a competition decision against Android, and its business model. The decision ignores the fact that Android phones compete with iOS phones, something that 89 percent of respondents to the Commission's own market survey confirmed. It also misses just how much choice Android provides to thousands of phone makers and mobile network operators who build and sell Android devices; to millions of app developers around the world who have built their businesses with Android; and billions of consumers who can now afford and use cutting-edge Android smartphones. Today, because of Android, there are more than 24,000 devices, at every price point, from more than 1,300 different brands, including Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Polish, Romanian, Spanish and Swedish phone makers. [...] The free distribution of the Android platform, and of Google's suite of applications, is not only efficient for phone makers and operators -- it's of huge benefit for developers and consumers. If phone makers and mobile network operators couldn't include our apps on their wide range of devices, it would upset the balance of the Android ecosystem. So far, the Android business model has meant that we haven't had to charge phone makers for our technology, or depend on a tightly controlled distribution model. [...] Rapid innovation, wide choice, and falling prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition and Android has enabled all of them. Today's decision rejects the business model that supports Android, which has created more choice for everyone, not less. We intend to appeal. Update 3: The French government said on Wednesday that it welcomes the record fine imposed on Google by European Union regulators, with a government spokesman describing it as an "excellent decision."

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Secretive Startup Zoox Is Building a Bidirectional Autonomous Car From the Ground Up

4 days 13 hours ago
A secretive Australian startup called Zoox (an abbreviation of zooxanthellae, the algae that helps fuel coral reef growth) is working on an autonomous vehicle that is unlike any other. Theirs is all-electric and bidirectional, meaning it can cruise into a parking spot traveling one way and cruise out the other. It can make noises to communicate with pedestrians. It even has displays on the windows for passengers to interact with. Bloomberg sheds some light on this company, reporting on their ambitions to build the safest and most inventive autonomous vehicle on the road: Zoox founders Tim Kentley-Klay and Jesse Levinson say everyone else involved in the race to build a self-driving car is doing it wrong. Both founders sound quite serious as they argue that Zoox is obvious, almost inevitable. The world will eventually move to perfectly engineered robotic vehicles, so why waste time trying to incorporate self-driving technology into yesteryear's cars? Levinson, whose father, Arthur, ran Genentech Inc., chairs Apple Inc., and mentored Steve Jobs, comes from Silicon Valley royalty. Together, they've raised an impressive pile of venture capital: about $800 million to date, including $500 million in early July at a valuation of $3.2 billion. Even with all that cash, Zoox will be lucky to make it to 2020, when it expects to put its first vehicles on the road.

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