Why a random federal agency gets to decide which devices we tinker with

State of the Nation

Source:  ARS Technica The Library of Congress issued new rules (PDF) Friday outlining when it’s legal to circumvent copy-protection systems. Among the activities blessed by the Librarian: unlocking cell phones to move from one network to another, repairing cars and tractors, performing security research, and pulling data from medical devices. The agency also expanded an existing …

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Silicon Valley’s dirty secret: Using a shadow workforce of contract employees to drive profits

State of the Nation The Google Goolag

Source:  CNBC   This year at Google, contract workers outnumbered direct employees for the first time in the company’s 20-year history. This trend is on the rise as public companies look for ways to trim HR costs or hire in-demand skills in a tight labor market. Some 57.3 million Americans, or 36% of the workforce, …

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Should a self-driving car kill the baby or the grandma? Depends on where you’re from

The New Age

Source:  MIT Technology Review The infamous “trolley problem” was put to millions of people in a global study, revealing how much ethics diverge across cultures. In 2014 researchers at the MIT Media Lab designed an experiment called Moral Machine. The idea was to create a game-like platform that would crowdsource people’s decisions on how self-driving …

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