Is United’s green supersonic jet too good to be true?

United announced that it will buy 15 supersonic passenger planes from the aviation startup Boom. | Boom

Several startups are racing to get supersonic planes flying again, nearly two decades after the Concorde was retired.

On Thursday, United Airlines announced it was purchasing a fleet of 15 planes that can travel faster than the speed of sound. With a cost per jet of $200 million, the deal is worth $3 billion. If the order goes through, this would be the first fleet of supersonic passenger aircraft since the Concorde.

United says that the planes, which are being purchased from the Denver-based supersonic flight startup Boom, are designed to go at speeds twice as fast as a typical flight. That would be fast enough to get someone from Newark to London in just three and a half hours. The first of these flights is scheduled for 2026, and the company plans … Read the rest

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Google says it’s committed to ethical AI research. Its ethical AI team isn’t so sure.

Google’s ethical AI department has been in a state of flux since the company fired Timnit Gebru, the team’s former leader. | Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Six months after Timnit Gebru left, Google’s ethical artificial intelligence team is still in a state of upheaval.

Six months after star AI ethics researcher Timnit Gebru said Google fired her over an academic paper scrutinizing a technology that powers some of the company’s key products, the company says it’s still deeply committed to ethical AI research. It promised to double its research staff studying responsible AI to 200 people, and CEO Sundar Pichai has pledged his support to fund more ethical AI projects. Jeff Dean, the company’s head of AI, said in May that while the controversy surrounding Gebru’s departure was a “reputational hit,” it’s time to move on.

But some current members of Google’s tightly knit ethical AI group told Recode … Read the rest

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Michael Flynn’s coup comments show how QAnon is evolving in the Biden era

Michael Flynn over the weekend appeared to endorse the idea that a coup should happen in the US. He later backtracked his comments. | Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

Some QAnon followers think a military coup like the one in Myanmar should also happen in the US.

While speaking at a Dallas conference aimed at QAnon adherents on Sunday, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn appeared to endorse the idea of a military coup to reinstate Donald Trump as president. A member of the audience asked about the possibility of a Myanmar-style coup in the US, and Flynn said there was “no reason” something similar couldn’t happen in America. He added, “I mean, it should happen here.”

After public backlash, Flynn subsequently declared on the encrypted chat app Telegram that the media had manipulated his words, insisting he actually said there was “no reason it (a coup) should happen here (in … Read the rest

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What is home automation? The Myth: When we hear of the term ‘enterprise search’, many people imagine it is a tool that is only used by corporate professionals to find out information from their organizations data. The country maintains a constant economical scale due to the. It was incorporated in mar 2014. Winner of the 16th asia pacific international entrepreneur excellence award 2017. Our factory, berjaya steel product sdn bhd is the largest kitchen equipment manufacturer with the largest factory in malaysia. To connect with sedcovest, sign up for facebook today. We are all but an alchemist of change. sangamoncorifleassociation Time and again, humans have come up with something new that would go on to change the course of the … Read the rest

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You should be suspicious of benevolent big business

When companies weigh in on politics, they’re often seeing dollar signs. | Getty Images

When a company weighs in on politics, look at its bottom line.

We’re living in an age of benevolent corporations, or at least corporations that want to be perceived as such.

In early April, outgoing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos tossed off a curious parenthetical in his response to the White House’s proposed $2 trillion infrastructure plan. If you didn’t look closely, you might not have noticed it: “(we’re supportive of a rise in the corporate tax rate).”

Considering Amazon has often managed to avoid paying taxes, this is a big deal — or maybe a medium deal. The way Amazon and Bezos himself often get around big federal tax bills has little to do with the corporate rate, and if it were serious, Amazon could do more to push the issue than stick a few words … Read the rest

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Here’s who owns everything in Big Media today

With its $8.45 billion purchase of MGM, which owns the James Bond franchise, Amazon is becoming a bigger player in the movie business. | Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

It probably won’t look like this for long.

The media landscape used to be straightforward: Content companies (studios) made stuff (TV shows and movies) and sold it to pay TV distributors, who sold it to consumers.

Now things are up for grabs: Netflix buys stuff from the studios, but it’s making its own stuff, too, and it’s selling it directly to consumers. That’s one of the reasons older media companies are trying to compete by consolidating. Disney, for example, bought much of 21st Century Fox — though much of the early success of its Disney+ streaming service looks like it’s a result of earlier purchases of Lucasfilm, Marvel, and Pixar. Meanwhile, distributors like AT&T, which bought Time Warner, and Verizon, which bought AOL … Read the rest

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Who wins Instagram giveaways? An investigation.

Who is actually winning cash and prizes from Instagram giveaways? | Getty Images/fStop

Influencers and marketing firms keep teaming up to give you cars, cash, and more. No one ever seems to win.

In 1851, the inventor and entrepreneur Benjamin T. Babbitt began traveling around the United States in a wagon, offering consumers free lithographic prints with the purchase of baking soda. According to historian Wendy A. Woloson, this new mode of marketing inspired enterprising salesmen to launch their own prize giveaways, many of which ended up being scams. We can trace the history of the giveaway from the 1850s right up through March 23, 2021, when Kris Jenner, the matriarch of the Kardashian family known fondly for working harder than Satan, posted a photograph of herself on her Instagram page sitting on a grand staircase surrounded by thousands of dollars’ worth of Louis Vuitton luggage.

“Who wants a 20k … Read the rest

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The bipartisan consensus on broadband is a mirage 

Members of Congress are focused on funding broadband connection through the infrastructure package. | T.J. Kirkpatrick/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Biden wants more publicly funded internet. Cable companies and Republicans, not so much.

There’s a tense fight in Washington between Republicans and Democrats over President Biden’s infrastructure plan, from the amount of funding in it to the very definition of infrastructure. But on the question of addressing the internet and bridging the digital divide, there appears to be resounding agreement that broadband is very, very important and very, very bipartisan. This is a mirage.

Earlier this week, Vice President Kamala Harris met with members of Congress from both parties to hammer out the logistics of funding broadband through the infrastructure package, saying the subject is one Americans see as nonpartisan. Sen. Amy Klobuchar told local media in Minnesota that discussion was just focused on “nuts and bolts.”

While … Read the rest

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A disturbing, viral Twitter thread reveals how AI-powered insurance can go wrong

Lemonade wants you to forget everything you know about insurance. | Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Lemonade tweeted about what it means to be an AI-first insurance company. It left a sour taste in many customers’ mouths.

Lemonade, the fast-growing, machine learning-powered insurance app, put out a real lemon of a Twitter thread on Monday with a proud declaration that its AI analyzes videos of customers when determining if their claims are fraudulent. The company has been trying to explain itself and its business model — and fend off serious accusations of bias, discrimination, and general creepiness — ever since.

The prospect of being judged by AI for something as important as an insurance claim was alarming to many who saw the thread, and it should be. We’ve seen how AI can discriminate against certain races, genders, economic classes, and disabilities, among other categories, leading to those people being denied … Read the rest

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