Connect with us

Uncategorized

AOL founder Steve Case, involved early in Section 230, says it’s time to change it

Published

on

AOL founder Steve Case was there in Dulles, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C., when in 1996 the Communications Decency Act was passed as part of a major overhaul of U.S. telecommunications laws that President Bill Clinton signed into law. Soon after, in its first test, a provision of that act which states that, “[n]o provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider,” would famously save AOL’s bacon, too.

That wasn’t coincidental. In a wide-ranging call earlier today with Case — who has become an influential investor over the last 15 years through his Washington, D.C.-based firm Revolution and its early-stage, growth-stage, and seed-stage funds — he talked about his involvement in Section 230’s creation, and why the thinks it’s time to change it.

We’ll have more from our interview with Case tomorrow. In the meantime, here he talks about the related legal protections for online platforms that took center stage yesterday or, at least, were supposed to during the Senate’s latest Big Tech hearing.

In that early birthing stage of the internet, [we were all] figuring out what the rules of the road were, and the 230 provision was something I was involved in. I do think the first lawsuit related to it was related to AOL. But 25 years later, it’s fair to take a fresh look at it — [it’s] appropriate to take a fresh look at it. I’ve not recently spent enough time digging in to really have a strong point of view in terms of exactly what to change, but I think it’s fair to say that what made sense in those early days when very few people were online maybe doesn’t make as much sense now when when the entire world is online and the impact these platforms have is so significant.

At the same time, I think you have to be super careful. I think that’s what what the CEOs testifying [yesterday] were trying to emphasize. [It was] ‘We get that there’s a desire to relook at it. We also get that because of the election season, it’s become a highly politicized issue. Let’s engage in this discussion, and perhaps there are some things that need to be modified to reflect the current reality . . .let’s don’t do it just in the heat of a political moment.’

When we started AOL 35 years ago, only 3% of people are connected. They were only online about an hour a week, and it was still illegal, actually, for consumers or businesses to be on the internet [so] I spent a lot of time on commercializing the internet, opening up consumers and businesses, figuring out what the right rules of the road were in terms of things like taxes on e-commerce. And generally, we were able to convince regulators and government leaders that a light touch for the internet made sense, because it was a new idea, and it wasn’t clear exactly how it was going to develop.

But now, it’s not a new idea. And now it has a profound impact on people’s lives and our communities and countries. And so I’m not surprised that there’s more more focus on it, [though] it’s a little too bad that there’s so much attention right this moment because in an election season, things tend to get a little bit hot on both sides.

Putting that aside, I think there are legitimate issues that the policymakers need to be looking at and are starting to look at, not just in Washington, DC, but more broadly in Brussels. And I think having more of a dialogue between the innovators and the policymakers is actually going to be critical in this internet third wave, because the sectors up for grabs are most important aspects of our lives — things like health care and education and food and agriculture. And that’s really going to require not just innovation from a technology standpoint, but thoughtfulness from a a policy standpoint.

I understand entrepreneurs who get frustrated by regulations kind of slowing down the pace of information. I get that. Obviously, some of the businesses that we back have suffered from that. But at the same time, you can’t not expect the government — which is elected by the people — to serve the people, including protecting the people.”

Lyron Foster is a Hawaii based African American Musician, Author, Actor, Blogger, Filmmaker, Philanthropist and Multinational Serial Tech Entrepreneur.

Continue Reading
Comments

Uncategorized

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 will land on phones in Q1 2021

Published

on

As promised, more info following yesterday’s Snapdragon 888 announcement. First off, as expected, the company’s next flagship SoC will arrive in the first quarter of next year. We’re still waiting on specific models, but as noted yesterday, the San Diego-based chip giant already has a lineup of smartphone makers planning to employ the 765 follow-up, including ASUS, Black Shark, LG, MEIZU, Motorola, Nubia, realme, OnePlus, OPPO, Sharp, vivo, Xiaomi and ZTE.

The focuses are also what you’d expect: 5G, AI, speed, security, imaging and gaming. As Qualcomm announced earlier, the new system sports the third-gen X60 5G modem, which supports both sub-6 and mmWave variations of the wireless technology with speeds up to 7.5 Gbps. Also on board is support for Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.

The sixth-gen version of the company’s AI Engine brings faster processing speeds at lower power consumption — specifically up to 3x performance per watt, per Qualcomm’s numbers. That’s capable of up to 26 tera operations per second (TOPS). Compare that to the “incredible” 5.5 TOPS the company was talking up on the Snapdragon 765 roughly this time last year. The AI stuff is primarily used to boost camera, gaming, connectivity and voice assistants like Google’s.

On the camera side, the new chip features the improved Spectra 580, sporting the line’s first triple ISP (image signal processor). That’s going to go a ways toward fostering multi-camera setup, with the ability to simultaneously have three cameras at up to 2.7 gigapixels a second. The system also supports capture of three 4K HDR videos at once — overkill, perhaps, but neat. There’s improved low-light support as well, to brighten up dark shots — always a nice thing.

The on-board Adreno 660 GPU can do up to 35% faster graphics. The Kryo 680 — based on the new Arm Cortex-X1 architecture — brings up to a 25% uplift in CPU performance. Game rendering has been improved by up to 30%, and titles will get access to Variable Rate Shading — a first for a Qualcomm chip. As for security, the new chip offers a number of new features aimed at protecting on-device data, including the Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit.

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Self-driving trucks startup TuSimple raises $350M from U.S. rail, retail and freight giants

Published

on

Self-driving trucks startup TuSimple has closed a $350 million funding round from a diverse consortium of strategic investors that include major U.S. corporations in rail, retail and freight, according to sources familiar with the deal. 

The round, which was oversubscribed, was led by VectoIQ LLC, confirming a report by TechCrunch in September. VectoIQ is the consulting and investment company founded by Steve Girsky, the former GM vice chairman, consultant and investor whose special purpose acquisition company merged with hydrogen electric startup Nikola Corp. this summer. 

The injection of capital stands out not only because of its size, but the array of companies involved. Goodyear, Union Pacific, CN Rail, freight company U.S. Xpress and retailer Kroger all participated in the round, sources familiar with the deal told TechCrunch. Existing investors Volkswagen AG’s heavy-truck business The Traton Group and Navistar also participated. (Last month, Traton, which already held a 16.6% stake in Navistar agreed to acquire its remaining shares.)

TuSimple has raised $648 million since its founding in 2015.

The company declined to comment. 

TuSimple was one of the first autonomous trucking startups to emerge in what has become a small, yet bustling industry that now includes Aurora, Embark, Ike, Kodiak and Waymo. While TuSimple’s founding team and its earliest backers Sina and Composite Capital are from China, a chunk of its operations are in the United States, including its global headquarters in San Diego. TuSimple also operates an engineering center and truck depot in Tucson and more recently set up a facility in Texas to support its autonomous trips —always with a human safety operator behind the wheel. TuSimple also has operations in Beijing and Shanghai. 

As TuSimple has scaled with workforce and testing in the U.S., it has diversified its customer and investor base. The company has attracted a number of investors and partners in recent years, including UPS, Korean Tier 1 supplier Mando Corporation, Traton Group and now U.S. Xpress. 

TuSimple raised $55 million in 2017 with plans to use those funds to scale up testing to two full truck fleets in China and the United States. By 2018, TuSimple began to test on public roads, beginning with a 120-mile highway stretch between Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona and another segment in Shanghai. TuSimple has since expanded operations into Texas. 

Last year, the company’s valuation eked over the $1 billion-mark after raising $95 million in a Series D funding round. It’s unclear what TuSimple’s new post-money valuation is.

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Jitsu nabs $2M Seed to build open source data integration platform

Published

on

Jitsu, a graduate of the Y Combinator Summer 2020 cohort, is developing an open source data integration platform that helps developers send data to a data warehouse. Today, the startup announced a $2 million seed investment.

Costanoa Ventures led the round with participation from YCombintaor, The House Fund and SignalFire.

In addition to the open source version of the software, the company has developed a hosted version that companies can pay to use, which shares the same name as the company. Peter Wysinski, Jitsu’s co-founder and CEO, says a good way to think about his company is an open source Segment, the customer data integration company that was recently sold to Twilio for $3.2 billion.

But he says, it goes beyond what Segment by allowing you to move all kinds of data whether customer data, connected device data or other types. “If you look at the space in general, companies want more granularity. So let’s say for example, a couple years ago you wanted to sync just your transactions from QuickBooks to your data warehouse, now you want to capture every single sale at the point of sale. What Jitsu lets you do is capture essentially all of those events, all of those streams, and send them to your data warehouse,” Wysinski explained.

Among the data warehouses it currently supports include Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, PostGres and Snowflake.

The founders built the open source project called EventNative to help solve problems they themselves were having moving data around at their previous jobs. After putting the open source version on GitHub a few months ago, they quickly attained 1000 stars, proving that they had delivered something that solved a common problem for data teams. They then built the hosted version, Jitsu, which went live a couple of weeks ago.

For now, the company is just the two co-founders, Wysinski and CTO Vladimir Klimontovich, but they intend to do some preliminary hiring over the next year to grow the company, most likely adding engineers. As they begin to build out the startup, Wysinski says that being open source will help drive diversity and inclusion in their hiring.

“The goal is essentially to go after that open source community and hire people from anywhere because engineers aren’t just […] one color or one race, they’re everywhere, and being open source, and especially being in a remote world, makes it so so much simpler [to build a diverse workforce], and a lot of companies I feel are going down that road,” he said.

He says along that line, the plan is to be a fully remote company, even after the pandemic ends, as they hire from anywhere. The goal is to have quarterly offsite meetings to check in with employees, but do the majority of the work remotely.

Continue Reading

Trending