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The all-new Jeep Wrangler is finally here (FCA)

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 02:07 PM PST

Jeep Wrangler

  • Fiat Chrysler Automobile debuted its all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler at the LA Auto Show on Wednesday. 
  • The company says the vehicle is its most capable SUV yet. It features better aerodynamics and has better fuel efficiency. 
  • Some of the biggest design changes are inside the vehicle. 

The all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler made its big debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday. 

The new Jeep looks similar to the current model, but Fiat Chrysler Automotive claims its the most capable SUV it has ever made. The vehicle is designed it to have better aerodynamics, improved performance, and the company has given it some nice tech updates. 

Jeep Wrangler 2018

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler will first be available with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that ponies up 285 hp and 260 lb-ft with the option of an automatic or six-speed manual transmission.

 A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 270 hp and 295 lb-ft and has an 8-speed automatic transmission will also be available and will feature a new eTorque technology that helps improve fuel efficiency.

Jeep Wrangler 2018

And for the first time ever, Jeep will also offer a diesel engine in the US. The diesel version will have a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 EcoDiesel engine that exerts 260 hp and 443 lb-ft and has an 8-speed automatic transmission. Given its extra torque, this will likely be the most appealing option for those serious about off-roading and towing. 

Those who opt for the diesel model, though,  will also have to wait until 2019 and it will only be available as a four-door. 

Jeep Wrangler 2018

Jeep lovers will notice some of the biggest design changes inside the vehicle. The dashboard has been flattened out to make the vehicle feel more open and the vehicle maker has added push-button start. The vehicle also comes with a standard 7-inch or optional 8-inch touchscreen. 

The new JL generation model features an aluminum frame and while its body is slightly bigger, the new version actually weighs about 200 pounds less than the previous JK model. 

Jeep will begin rolling out the 2018 Wrangler in showrooms across the US early next year. 

SEE ALSO: 21 hot cars we can't wait to see at the 2017 LA Auto Show

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NOW WATCH: The best concept cars of 2017

Nick Clegg thinks Theresa May's government has 'technophobia'

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 02:00 PM PST

Nick Clegg

  • Nick Clegg wants the UK to embrace new technologies instead of shying away from them.
  • The former deputy Prime Minister is set to accuse the incumbent government of having "technophobia" in a talk at the ad:tech conference in London on Thursday.

Former deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is set to accuse Theresa May's government of suffering from technophobia on Thursday.

In a speech at the ad:tech conference in London, Clegg will say some politicians are ignorant and fearful of technological change. He will also criticise technologists like Elon Musk for spreading what he perceives to be "catastrophic visions of the future."

"Why, you might ask, am I getting involved in this debate? I don’t claim to be the most technologically savvy of politicians, but I have seen first hand what technophobia can do in the hands of policy makers," Clegg will say, before explaining how the current government is being "technophobic."

"What's really needed — and what's missing — is the capacity for leaders in both the tech and political world to work together," Clegg will say. "Politicians all too often believe that they can grab a few easy headlines by condemning the big tech companies, and too many folk in Silicon Valley believe all Governments are the enemy. This combination — of ignorance and fear amongst some politicians, and arrogance and naivety amongst some parts of the tech community — means the two talk past each other."

He will add: "I think there is an urgent need for politicians to begin to grapple with the unfolding revolution in AI, biotech, robotics and other cutting edge technologies."

On the topic of artificial intelligence (AI) specifically, Clegg will say that he is confident AI can be developed safely and ethically in places like the UK. However, he's concerned that some nations might look to exploit the benefits of AI for wrong doing.

"In authoritarian capitalist systems like China, however, I do not have the same confidence that the development of AI will be governed by the same high standards of accountability and transparency," Clegg will say.

"We know that much of the research into AI is going on in secret in closed, autocratic regimes, and we know why. As Vladimir Putin recently said, 'whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.'"

He will add: "You can bet that Putin has his eye on the potential for AI to revolutionise cyber warfare to the suppression of his own political opponents. What this means is we are effectively in an arms race."

Clegg has set up a think tank called Open Reason, which is about to start conducting research into the social and political impacts of technology.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: We put the iPhone X's Face ID to the ultimate test with identical twins — and the results surprised us

Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook's AI could spot suicidal tendencies in users quicker than friends

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 01:46 PM PST

facebook suicide prevention

  • Facebook announced on Tuesday that it is using artificial-intelligence technology to pinpoint users at risk of suicide.
  • At an event on Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he believes the AI tool can spot some users with suicidal tendencies even before their friends report it.
  • The tool is one of several humanitarian initiatives that Facebook has recently launched.


On Tuesday, Facebook announced that it's rolling out an artificial-intelligence tool aimed at preventing suicide in its users.

The tool monitors posts, videos, and livestreams, and looks for signals from friends like "Are you OK?" and "Can I help?" Facebook's community operations team then reviews the content, and contacts the user (and their friends) via Facebook Messenger with links to relevant pages, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Crisis Text Line.

The AI component is a step beyond the platform's existing suicide prevention efforts. Facebook already allows users to report friends who they think might be at risk.

But at Facebook's annual Social Good Forum on Wednesday, CEO Mark Zuckerburg said AI could help spot suicidal tendencies even quicker. If the AI (or a friend) pinpoints a user in immediate danger of suicide, Facebook will flag local first responders — police, fire departments, or EMTs — who can aid the person on the ground.

"When you're trying to keep people safe, speed is really important," he said. "In the last month in the US, the [AI] tool has helped first responders reach out and help more than 100 people who needed that support quickly."

The company is also working to improve the technology to avoid false positives before the community operation team reviews incidents. Guy Rosen, Facebook's vice president of product management, said at the Forum that Facebook is currently expanding this team as well. He added that, in recent months, the company has made it easier for the team to find contact information for the correct first responders.

"This is artificial intelligence that can immediately identify when someone might be expressing thoughts of suicide," he said. "This is about speed ... Every minute counts."

Facebook is rolling out the suicide prevention tool globally except in the European Union, which has strict data-privacy laws. The tool is one of several humanitarian initiatives that Facebook has recently launched. On Wednesday, the company announced tools aimed at mentorship, fundraising, and increasing blood donation sign-ups.

SEE ALSO: Memphis ranks as the most generous city in the US

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NOW WATCH: A guy who reviews gadgets for a living spent a week with the iPhone X and the Pixel 2 — the winner was clear

Tesla fires back at claims that its cars suffer from major quality issues (TSLA)

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 01:45 PM PST

Tesla Model S

  • Reuters reported that Tesla's Model S and Model X vehicles suffer from frequent flaws.
  • But Tesla has never been outstanding at the nuts-and-bolts aspects of carmaking.
  • On track to delivery 100,000 vehicles in 2017, Tesla appears to enjoy endless owner patience.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that more than 90% of new Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles have some sort of problem or flaw that needs to be fixed before the vehicles can leave the factory.

Reuters cited unnamed workers and reviews of unconfirmed "figures from Tesla’s internal tracking system as recently as October." The news agency also reported that "people told Reuters of seeing problems as far back as 2012."

That was the year the Model S sedan went into production as the company's first all-Tesla vehicle (the original Tesla Roadster was built in a chassis supplied by Lotus).

Tesla pushed back against the report.

“Our goal is to produce perfect cars for every customer," a Tesla spokesperson said in a statement emailed to Business Insider. "Therefore, we review every vehicle for even the smallest refinement."

The statement went on to point out that Tesla strives to go over its vehicles with a fine-toothed comb, post-production.

"The number of labor hours needed to complete a vehicle has decreased 33% since early 2016," Tesla said.

"Of the 250,000 Tesla vehicles ever produced, more than half were built in the past 18 months. Whereas before, it took three shifts with considerable overtime to produce our target annual production of 100,000 Model S and X vehicles, now it can be done with only two shifts and minimal overtime."

Tesla says customers are very happy

Shares of CEO Elon Musk's all-electric carmaker were trading down over 3% on Wednesday, to $307. The stock has been sliding at the end of 2017 after a huge run-up to nearly $400 earlier.

So what are we to make of the Reuters report?

Not much, and I say this as someone who has made a hobby of studying nearly every Tesla vehicle I spot in the wild for quality control issues, chiefly large gaps between body panels. For the record, I've tested just about every trim level of every vehicle Tesla makes and for the most part, the quality has been quite good. I'm not sure how the cars would fare over the long haul, but Tesla owners seem to be a very happy bunch. 

According to Tesla, the company "has the highest customer satisfaction levels and the highest percentage of customers who say that their next car will be a Tesla in the entire global auto industry.”

It's also worth noting that demand for the Model S and Model X has been solid enough to bring 2017's projected deliveries tally to a record 100,000 vehicles.

Production problems are nothing new

Tesla Factory

Quality does matter on luxury vehicles that sell for $100,000 on average. But Tesla has always been iffy on the nuts and bolts of the business. That hasn't changed with the new Model 3, either, as Tesla is struggling to achieve its ambitious production targets with the car, a $35,000 mass-market effort.

People who want to buy a Tesla just don't care. They're invested enough in the brand — its snazziness and excitement, it transformational nature — to overlook stuff that would offend the owner of a used Honda Civic. But that's the crux of the matter: anybody can buy a Civic, but you have to commit to a vision of a gasoline-free future to buy a Tesla, so you're investing in something more than bulletproof build quality.

Tesla has also always had production challenges. The Model S had 'em in the beginning, as did the Model X and the obviously the Model 3 continues this theme

Tesla disputes quality issues 

Tesla does care, however — it knows that the patience of owners can't be taken for granted. The company disputed the 90% figure cited by Reuters, maintaining that vehicles can't leave the factory unless they have no problems whatsoever. So anything that doesn't pass muster is checked out and fixed. 

The company also contradicted Reuters' report that flawed vehicles are moved to a separate location for further work.

The Reuters story concerned the Model S and Model X, but as far as the Model 3 problems go, they could be easily solved by Tesla outsourcing some production to an experienced and capable contract manufacturer. But that would undermine the company's narrative of end-to-end control of the vehicle experience. An outside manufacturer also might not want to engage in the extensive examination of vehicles that Tesla says is what leads to smaller issues being caught before a car leaves the factory.

Arguably, the trade-off wouldn't be worth it, although if the Model 3 doesn't hit its mid-2018 targets, Tesla may have to consider this option.

Tesla is trying to get as many electric vehicles on the road as possible, and that master plan could set it up for headaches down the road, as it will likely have to eat the cost of fixing everything that goes wrong with Model 3s once they start rolling in bigger numbers. But it's probably better to have an infinite warranty tacitly in place than to miss a window to put, optimistically, a million EVs on the world's highways by 2020.

FOLLOW US : on Facebook for more car and transportation content!

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NOW WATCH: Watch Elon Musk show off Tesla's first electric semi — which can go from 0-60 mph in five seconds

Pinterest thinks it can challenge the Facebook-Google duopoly

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 01:30 PM PST


  • Pinterest thinks it can challenge the Facebook-Google duopoly.
  • Pinterest can lay a claim to the domain of marketing where people are still unsure of what they want, said president Tim Kendall.
  • Pinterest is doubling down on building products that aid the discovery process like recommendation feeds.

Google and Facebook have an absolute stranglehold on the digital ad business, and while some believe that Amazon is most likely to emerge as the third leg of the stool, Pinterest president Tim Kendall thinks that the visual search platform can "absolutely" break the so-called duopoly.

"What Google and Facebook have built are basically phenomenal engines for when people already know what they want — it is retargeting based on what you've already done, intent you've already declared," he said, speaking at Business Insider's IGNITION conference in New York on Wednesday. "But when you think about the domain of marketing where I don't quite know what I want, a lot of those dollars are still out there."

Kendall said that Pinterest could stake a claim to those ad dollars, given that people go to Pinterest for visual inspiration and discovery — when they don't know exactly what they want.

"We have a greater stake to those dollars given what we do."

Kendall also seemed unperturbed by the threat of bigger competitors playing catch-up and imitating its core functionality, as was the case with Instagram coming after Snapchat.

"This is a bit of a technology cliché, but you just have to keep innovating," he said. "We need to keep giving people great products, that are more personalized and help them discover stuff that they're excited about and love."

Among the other topics the Pinterest president hit on Wednesday:

  • Pinterest is doubling down on building products that aid the discovery process like recommendation feeds.
  • He also said that the company is building products that helped people actually use things once they found them. For example, the "Lens your Look" feature lets you take pictures of items in your closet and get ideas for how to wear them.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: What happens to your brain and body if you use Adderall recreationally

An ex-Tesla recruiter reveals what it's like to interview with Elon Musk

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 01:21 PM PST

Elon Musk

• Former Tesla recruiter Marissa Peretz described going to work for the automaker in 2010.

• She had to interview with cofounder and CEO Elon Musk in order to land the role.

• According to Peretz, the brief, "intense" interview lasted about 12 to 13 minutes.

When Marissa Peretz got a call from Tesla in 2010, she was thrilled.

The then-seven-year-old automaker was considering bringing her on as one of its first recruiters. But before she could join the team, Peretz had to get through an interview with Tesla cofounder and CEO Elon Musk.

Peretz, who has since gone on to found Silicon Beach Talent with fellow Tesla alum Max Brown, said she wasn't too nervous about the interview.

"I think ignorance is bliss, to some degree," she told Business Insider. "He had the personality and presence of somebody who commanded a lot. But because he wasn't a household name yet, I didn't realize I was interviewing with someone like Steve Jobs. I just was interviewing with this guy who was building a company."

Peretz met with Musk at SpaceX's office in Hawthorne, California, and she had been told that if she lasted more than five minutes in the interview, it was a sign she "was doing okay."

"I think I got 12 or 13 minutes or something like that," she said. "I was so excited. It was pretty intense for those minutes."

She said Musk tends to ask short questions, including, "Tell me about your most significant technical accomplishment, the project that you're most proud of."

Brown previously said this question is meant to vet a candidate's technical expertise.

"He gives you kind of an open opportunity to impress him," Peretz said.

In her case, Musk also asked her some recruiting-specific questions.

"He asked, 'What makes you the right person to build my company? Why should I trust you?'" she said.

Peretz had admired Tesla since college. She worked on a project in which she had to create a business model for a electric rental car company at the University of Arizona's Eller College of Management. One of the cars in her fictional fleet was a Tesla Roadster.

"That's what drew me to Tesla, being part of a movement that was going to change sustainability," she said. "I was not necessarily a car person at the beginning, though I have now converted."

Peretz said she doesn't remember her exact answers to Musk's interview questions, but said her long-held enthusiasm for the company ended up serving her well.

"When I had my interview with Elon in person, I actually brought my business plan to show him," she said. "He got a chuckle out of it and really enjoyed it. I just know that I cared so much about the mission that that's what closed the deal for me."

If you are a current or former Tesla employee with a story to share, email

SEE ALSO: A Tesla recruiter shares the interview question few candidates get right

DON'T MISS: 13 of the hardest questions you may have to answer in a job interview at Tesla

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How Elon Musk makes and spends his billions

The Fed has no plans for its own cryptocurrency — at least for now

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 01:19 PM PST

John Williams

  • Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams said the Fed is not working on its own digital currency, right now. 
  • Reuters reported Wednesday Williams said the Fed is paying attention to research on blockchain, the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

The Federal Reserve isn't planning on launching its own digital currency — at least for now. 

While speaking at an event at Arizona State University on Wednesday, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, John Williams, said the Fed is not working on its own digital currency, according to Reuters reporting.

But the Fed is paying attention to research on blockchain, the technology underpinning bitcoin, the news wire said. 

Earlier this year, Jerome Powell, a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, said a central bank digital currency would face privacy issues and competition from private enterprises, according to Bloomberg News

Other countries have appeared more open to the idea of a national cryptocurrency.

A group of Japanese banks are set to launch a new national digital currency in a bid to wean citizens off cash. As reported by Business Insider's Oscar Williams-Grut in September, a consortium led by Mizuho Financial Group and Japan Post Bank plans to launch the new digital currency called "J-coin" by 2020. The project has the support of Japan's central bank and regulators.

Estonia, a nation in eastern Europe, considered launching its own state-run digital currency. However, the so-called "estcoin" never got off the ground because the European Central Bank ultimately put the kabash on the idea, according to Quartz.


SEE ALSO: Bitcoin just hit an all-time high — here's how you buy and sell it

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NOW WATCH: This is what Bernie Madoff's life is like in prison

Goldman Sachs says bitcoin is a commodity

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 01:10 PM PST

Goldman Sachs

  • Bitcoin is more like gold than the US dollar, Jeff Currie, Goldman Sachs' head of commodities research, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.
  • Bitcoin doesn't have the same amount of liquidity as gold though, which is the primary difference between the two.
  • Watch bitcoin's price move in real time here.

Bitcoin is a commodity, just like gold, according to Goldman Sachs' Jeff Currie, global head of commodities research.

Currie laid out his simple thinking behind why he sees bitcoin as a commodity, instead of a security or a currency, in an interview with Bloomberg TV:

"It's a commodity. A security, by definition, has a liability attached to it. Take a dollar bill, it has a liability to the US government. Commodities do not have liabilities. They are bearer assets, and when you think about it in that context, you look at bitcoin, it's not that much different than gold. I don't see why there's all this hostility toward it."

Currie's argument is that bitcoin doesn't answer to anyone. The price is set by the market and isn't backed by a central government, public company or private entity, just like gold.

Bitcoin is much more volatile than gold, however, and Currie explains that liquidity is the main cause of this. There is $8.3 trillion worth of gold above ground, while bitcoin has a market cap closer to $165 billion, making it much more volatile and much less liquid. 

"Central banks control an enormous amount of the supply of gold, which does not make it a complete substitute between bitcoin and gold," Currie said.

Curries comments came as bitcoin crossed, then fell back below, $10,000 a coin for the first time. Other, smaller cryptocurrencies like ether and litecoin also touched all-time highs on Wednesday.

Goldman Sachs CEO Llyod Blankfein has stated previously that he is "still thinking" about bitcoin and hasn't come to any conclusions yet. The bank has said it is looking into how best to serve its clients interested in digital currencies, however.

Bitcoin's meteoric rise has grabbed the attention of more traditional players on Wall Street. Business Insider reported on Wednesday that Nasdaq, the exchange operator, plans to begin offering bitcoin futures next year. CME and Cboe, two exchange giants, have also announced plans to offer bitcoin futures, which could help with volatility in the market.

Read more about bitcoin's historic rise, and how it crossed $10,000 here.

bitcoin price chart

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin clears $10,000

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NOW WATCH: We talked to the bond chief at the $6 trillion fund giant BlackRock about the most important issue for markets right now

5G is set to take off in 2023

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 01:05 PM PST

5G Subscription Penetration

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5G networks are projected to reach 1 billion subscribers by 2023, accounting for approximately 20% of the global population, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report.

5G’s ability to transmit data roughly 10 times faster than 4G, the current standard, will enable consumers to conduct more standard mobile activities and more easily use data-heavy ones, like smartphone-based VR streaming and artificial intelligence assistants.      

Here are the key takeaways on the evolving 5G market, according to Ericsson:

  • North America, Northeast Asia, and Western Europe will spearhead 5G uptake.By 2023, roughly 37% of all mobile subscriptions in North America will be 5G, with 4G LTE largely making up the rest. Meanwhile, 5G will account for 34% of mobile subscriptions in Northeast Asia by 2023. Western Europe trails behind, with 5G accounting for 16% of its mobile subscriptions over the same period. North America’s advantage in 5G adoption will likely be a result of operators already running trials of 5G networks and devices, which will speed up deployment and adoption of the technology.
  • Global Voice over LTE (VoLTE) subscriptions are expected to jump 746% by 2023.VoLTE subscriptions are projected to hit 5.5 billion in 2023, up from the 650 million in 2017. Growth in VoLTE subscriptions is significant as it will become the groundwork for enabling voice calls over 5G access. VoLTE allows users to make calls over an LTE connection, rather than traditional cell networks, thereby supporting stronger, more reliable communications. It also supports richer engagement between users, such as high-definition voice, video calling, rich content sharing within calls, and multi-device compatibility.

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The 29 best games on the PlayStation 4

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 12:55 PM PST

uncharted 4

There are almost too many games on the PlayStation 4. If you're a new owner, or even an early adopter, it's hard to know where to start.That's why we put together the list below, full of only the greatest bangers worth spending your time and money on.

Of note: The list is not ranked. There is one exception, as "Horizon Zero Dawn" is clearly the best game on the PlayStation 4 — thus, it's in the first spot. Otherwise, these are the 29 best games on the PlayStation 4 (in no particular order).






SEE ALSO: The Nintendo Switch is the hottest game system of the year — here are its 15 best games

29. "Rocket League"

What is "Rocket League?" It's a madman's vision for future soccer. It's soccer with rocket cars, played three vs three or four vs four. Yes!

You can make your car jump, and flip, and you've got rockets that offer a massive speed boost for limited periods of time. It's simple to pick up and play, surprisingly deep to master, and always a tremendous amount of fun. Will you get to the ball fast enough to beat out the competition, and ultimately get the ball away from your goal and toward theirs? This is the basest level question you seek to answer at any given second in "Rocket League." Good luck!

Read our full review of "Rocket League" right here. 

28. "Final Fantasy XV"

If you've never played a massive Japanese role-playing game, this is a good place to start.

"Final Fantasy XV" is a gigantic, gorgeous, sprawling role-playing game set in a futuristic/fantasy world. It's kind of a road story, kind of a hero story, and entirely bizarre. When you're not rolling around in the sweet ride above, you're cavorting around on massive birds (chocobos) and defeating bizarre monsters. 

Read more about "Final Fantasy XV" right here.

27. "Grand Theft Auto V"

"Grand Theft Auto" has never been better than the latest entry: "Grand Theft Auto V". 

In "GTA V" you can play as one of three different main characters, carrying off major heists and doing all manner of other madness. Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you already know what you're getting into with "GTA V." It's a satire of modern American life set in an enormous open-world. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Uber's CEO acknowledged his workers' use of secretive messaging apps — and says he banned them

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 12:51 PM PST

dara khosrowshahi

  • On Tuesday, a former Uber employee testified in a trial that the company had a unit dedicated to spying on competitors.
  • This team hid their activities in part by using chat apps that encrypt and automatically delete messages, the employee said.
  • On Wednesday, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi acknowledged in a tweet that he was aware employees were using apps including Wickr and Telegram, but he banned them soon after he started at the company.

The revelation Tuesday that Uber employees were using encrypted chat apps to conduct company business may have been a surprise to the general public, but it wasn't a shock to company CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Khosrowshahi acknowledged he had known since about the time he took over as CEO in August that employees were using apps such as Wickr and Telegram. He banned the use of such apps for discussing company business within a month of becoming Uber's head, he said.

Khosrowshahi's comments followed a former Uber employee's bombshell trial testimony Tuesday in the company's lawsuit with Google spinoff Waymo. The employee testified that Uber had a unit dedicated to spying on its competitors and the unit used chat apps that delete and encrypt messages to hide discussions of such efforts. 

The revelation is only the latest controversy or setback with which Khosrowshahi, who has promised to change Uber's culture, has had to wrestle since taking the reins at Uber. In recent months, the company has been forced to cease operations in London; revealed that it had suffered a massive data breach last year, which it allegedly attempted to cover up with a $100,000 payment to hackers; and has had to contend with bickering among board members as it's been trying to close a $10 billion investment from Softbank.

SEE ALSO: Uber's loss reportedly widens to $1.6 billion in the third quarter

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NOW WATCH: Amazon has an oddly efficient way of storing stuff in its warehouses

Billionaire LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman says his political activism is guided by 'Spider-Man ethics'

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 12:42 PM PST

reid hoffman

  • LinkedIn cofounder and billionaire investor Reid Hoffman is one of the most influential people in Silicon Valley.
  • He has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on Democratic candidates and organizations, including the controversial "Win the Future" initiative.
  • He considers his activist role to be his obligation.

Like his close friend Peter Thiel, LinkedIn cofounder and Greylock Partners investor Reid Hoffman was invigorated by the election of President Donald Trump — but for the opposite reason.

He has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on Democratic candidates and organizations since Trump has taken office, and he told Business Insider he sees it as his obligation.

Hoffman has been a Democratic donor for a while, having donated $1 million to President Barack Obama's reelection campaign in 2012, but his hatred for Trump has led him to take a much more prominent role in politics.

This also included his participation in the $500,000 seed round of Zynga founder Marc Pincus' political initiative Win the Future (WTF), and his role as an adviser to Pincus. Critics on the left, including in outlets like the HuffPost and Vanity Fair, criticized the notion of two tech billionaires who think they know what's best for the Democrats.

In a recent interview for Business Insider's podcast "Success! How I Did It," we asked Hoffman why he thinks taking a more prominent role in politics is a good idea, especially in the context of growing suspicions around the influence of big money on campaigns.

"Well, just because it's money doesn't necessarily mean it's corrupting or challenging. I think with power comes responsibility — it's essentially Spider-Man ethics," he said, referencing the guiding principle of the comic book hero. "And money is essentially ... power. I try to do a set of investments and things that really enhance human potential, including within political or other arenas."

You can listen to the full episode here:

He invested $300,000 into the Democratic PAC Win Virginia ahead of election day this year, which was about a third of its funding, according to the Washington Post. The Virginia elections were seen as an experiment on how to run progressive campaigns under Trump, and Hoffman paid close attention. The Democrats ended up taking the governorship and 15 state delegate seats from Republicans.

Hoffman has said he doesn't want to be seen as the left's version of the billionaire conservative donors the Koch brothers, but rather approaches politics the same way he does tech startups.

"Overall, I would say that I kind of take a Silicon Valley investing approach to the whole thing, which is: I look for where I can invest money, time, support in a project [that] could make a really big difference in the world, including potentially a really big difference in providing the right sort of governance for the society that we all live in," he said.

SEE ALSO: LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman reveals what it was like building PayPal with Elon Musk and Peter Thiel and what it takes to make a $26.2 billion company

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NOW WATCH: LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman did not always identify as an entrepreneur – here's why

Tech VCs: Why it looks like Silicon Valley has become boring, and why that's wrong

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 12:39 PM PST

what silicon valley looked like in 1991

  • Business Insider polled tech investors about whether Silicon Valley, the birthplace of the iPhone and Google, has lost the innovation crown.
  • Most said the exciting startups are less consumer-focused than they once were.
  • Others said that consumer startups have left Silicon Valley for cities like New York and Los Angeles.

Pop quiz: What's the hottest consumer tech startup to come out of Silicon Valley this year?

If you struggled to come up with an immediate answer for the next Facebook or Uber, you've identified the current climate in America's longtime capital of innovation.

There's no shortage of money and ambitious entrepreneurs shuffling around San Francisco and its surrounding areas. But in a region constantly looking for the next big thing, the lack of a new breakout gadget or app can be deeply unsettling. Some even wonder if Silicon Valley has become ... boring.

We checked in with six veteran tech investors — inside the Valley and out — for an update on the state of innovation in Silicon Valley and for their thoughts on the merits of the "boring" charge.

One surprising takeaway: Silicon Valley no longer rules the roost when it comes to creating hot consumer tech products. But that's because it's already moved on to the next big cycle of innovation. If you're looking for the next viral camera app or social network as evidence of Silicon Valley innovation, you're missing the bigger picture.

The valley is still a hotbed of innovation, but innovation looks different now.

"The most interesting ideas are usually the non-obvious ones," Jerry Chen, a partner at Greylock Partners, told Business Insider. "By the time everyone is talking about a technology or a trend it’s usually too late!"

The era of consumer startups is over in Silicon Valley

SpaceXRocket 3   16x9

To get a glimpse of the next hot startup, lift your head up from your smartphone and gaze at the vast blue sky. From consumer space travel to artificial intelligence, Silicon Valley's techies are exploring new frontiers.

"It's not that it's less exciting, but the opportunities are in different areas," said Matthew Miller, a partner at Sequoia Capital.

Miller described what he sees as "two waves" in which a lot of similar companies were created. The first wave had a lot of companies being built on the cloud, which led to a lot of startups that replaced classic software. The second was a wave of mobile startups, "which woke us up to all of these opportunities like Uber and Airbnb," according to Miller.

"Now those markets are kind of saturated," he said.

Now Miller is looking to three out-of-sight sectors that he said are booming: outer space, artificial intelligence, and digital healthcare.

Miller thinks artificial intelligence will be the new cloud — a new group of companies that require a lot of work up front but ultimately develop tools that can be used in everyone else's product down the road.

Space startups — perhaps the "sexiest" group in the bunch — include a range, from companies like Orbital Insight, which uses data to predict what will happening geologically on Earth, to a company called Vector, which launches micro satellites.

"It's not quite as big as it was with 'the Uber of' wave, but SpaceX similarly has assumed this leadership position as a pioneer and inspired many other entrepreneurs to build space starts up," Miller said of Elon Musk's consumer space travel company (which is itself based in Southern California).

Finally, there's healthcare — a sector that's seen consumer attention with the uptick in wearables that track various body metrics, but also has a highly lucrative enterprise arm that is creating tech to make hospitals more successful and efficient.

Silicon Valley largely leads the US healthcare sector, holding 41% of the total market share for new deals. The Valley saw 49 funding deals totaling $1.3 billion in the third quarter of 2017, according to the "Q3 Healthcare MoneyTree" report from PwC and CB Insights.

Founders are getting older and working on more complex projects

silicon valley

Shows like HBO's "Silicon Valley" paint an entertaining image of the tech lifestyle, so it's no wonder that the California startup scene is often associated with gaggles of young men starting companies in dingy garages.

Scrappy founding stories make for good corporate folklore, but these days the exciting companies are often created by middle-age founders with many years working on complex pieces of tech, according to Miller.

"Now it's people in their late 40s, early 50s. There's a demographic change," Miller said, adding that the previous wave of cloud computing made it easy for anyone to build a mobile startup.

While Miller said that Sequoia still invests in many young founders, he believes that today's booming sectors require founders with experience, who have "lived through years of research."

Startups in the San Francisco Bay Area still see considerably more venture-capital funding than anywhere else in the US. In the third quarter, San Francisco and Silicon Valley combined saw 385 funding deals, totaling $6.4 billion, according to the "Q3 2017 MoneyTree Report" from PwC and CB Insights.

But the money is spreading to other regions.

The New York City area, which experienced an unusually fat quarter thanks to a mega funding round by the New York City-based company WeWork, saw a total of $4.2 billion across 162 deals, while companies in the Los Angeles area raised $1.1 billion across 93 deals.

Consumer tech has relocated to Los Angeles and New York

snapchat office

Although they might not get much respect in Silicon Valley these days, some of the most visible consumer startups are headquartered in Los Angeles and New York City.

Take Snapchat, which is based in Los Angeles. While the company may be struggling from a business perspective, it has never been more exciting in consumer's eyes — just ask any teenager.

New York City has its own fair share of buzzy companies like Glossier, Casper, and Blue Apron, all of which have set the stage for a startup scene filled with innovative and popular consumer products.

The days when consumer tech like Fitbits, Uber, and Smartwatches were Silicon Valley novelties is long gone. Now, everyone from grandma to Kim Kardashian talks and tweets about the technology they are using, buying, and wearing.

“Consumer tech has become popular culture, and in the US, popular culture is set in New York and Los Angeles, not in the Bay Area,” Jeremy Liew, a partner at Lightspeed Ventures, wrote in an email. “So I’d say that we’re seeing a lot more consumer tech companies there than here."

New York startups are playing to the city's strengths in media, retail, fashion and e-commerce.

“Artificial intelligence and virtual reality in shopping is probably one of the most exciting," said Sapna Shah, an angel investor and principal at Red Giraffe Advisors in New York City.

ordering bonobos

"[We're seeing] everything, from being able to visualize apparel on your body, shop a virtual store, or place furniture and decor objects in your home to see how they look before you buy,” she said.

Shah said she's also seeing a lot of growth around in retail around computer vision — tech that uses AI to help computers understand what's going on in an image.

"Many of these startups are at a very early stage, but there is a lot of promise here," Shah said.

In other words, don't be surprised to see more startup "rock stars" emerge from fashion and entertainment hubs like New York and Los Angeles.

Just keep in mind that the "boring" stuff Silicon Valley's engineers quietly toil on today will eventually become the building blocks for things like AI enabled robots and recreational space travel — and there's nothing boring about that.

SEE ALSO: WeWork just led a $32 million funding round for a female-run startup that's basically a social club for women

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29 signs your company is about to conduct mass layoffs

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 11:51 AM PST

lehman brothers

  • Mass layoffs often take people by surprise.
  • But if you look out for the signs, you may see them coming.
  • From perks that start disappearing to extra tissue boxes in conference rooms, we've rounded up 29 signs your company could be about to conduct mass layoffs.

In my career as a journalist, I've lived through two rounds of mass layoffs.

While I didn't see either of them coming, hindsight is always 20/20, and I now have a much better sense for when the tides are changing. I also appreciate how much even a little bit of notice can help in the transition.

To get a better understanding of the signs that layoffs are coming, I polled others who have been through them, scoured the news about high-profile mass layoffs, and crawled the depths of the internet.

If you notice a combination of these signs in your own company, it may be time to start looking for a new job.

SEE ALSO: 15 things you should do as soon as you get laid off

DON'T MISS: 38 things you should remove from your résumé before it ends up in the 'no' pile

The most obvious sign: Executives confirm layoffs are coming

Executives including Twitter's Jack DorseyESPN's John Skipper, and Sears' Eddie Lampert have sent memos to employees detailing imminent layoffs.

On Wednesday, Skipper sent a memo to employees informing them of ESPN's plan to terminate the employment of "approximately 150 people."

Executives hint at layoffs using other terms, like 'restructuring'

HP, which has been going through layoffs since 2008, proves there are many indirect ways of saying "layoffs."

CEO Meg Whitman and other HP executives have used terms like "downsizing," "restructuring," "reorganizing," "incremental synergies," "offshoring," and "streamlining."

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich used the term "headcount reductions" in an email he sent to employees about rumored layoffs.

And IBM has referred to layoffs as "workforce rebalancing."

If you hear or see these terms bandied about, it's time to brace yourself.

There's talk of 'pivoting'

In an adapt-or-die world and constantly evolving industry, pivoting is often a must. But it also means replacing one kind of work — and thereby worker — with another, which usually spells layoffs. "Pivoting" or "shifting focus" are simply other ways of saying "restructuring."

We recently saw this at media companies Mic, Vocativ, Vice, and MTV news, which are all placing heavy bets on video content and pivoting their efforts in that direction, and which all laid off written editorial staffers as a result.




See the rest of the story at Business Insider

American Airlines is facing a 'crisis' after computer glitch leaves thousands of Christmas week flights without a pilot (AA)

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 11:35 AM PST

American Airlines

  • Thousands of American Airlines flights may not have pilots during the last two weeks of December. 
  • The shortage is occurring because of a glitch in the company's scheduling system that allowed for too many pilots to take off at the same time. 
  • A spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association calls the incident a "crisis."

American Airlines is having its own nightmare before Christmas. 

More than 15,000 American flights between December 17-31 do not yet have pilots because the airline accidentally gave all of its pilots that time off, according to the Allied Pilots Association.

The issue stems from a glitch in the company's scheduling system, the union said. 

“Basically there’s a crisis at American for manning the cockpits,” Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the union, told Reuters

Pilots were told about the scheduling problem on Friday, the union said. 

"We are working diligently to address the issue and expect to avoid cancellations this holiday season," the airline said in a statement to Business Insider. 

"We have reserve pilots to help cover flying in December, and we are paying pilots who pick up certain open trips 150 percent of their hourly rate – as much as we are allowed to pay them per the contract. We will work with the APA to take care of our pilots and ensure we get our customers to where they need to go over the holidays."

But the APA has filed a grievance because it says that this actually violates its labor pact

SEE ALSO: This tiny design innovation has changed flying in economy class forever

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Bitcoin crashes 20% from its highs

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 11:30 AM PST

11 29 17 bitcoin COTD

Bitcoin fell below $10,000 for the first time on Wednesday, after crossing the milestone just a day earlier.

The cryptocurrency is now trading at $9,324.54 per coin, which is 20% below its peak of $11,413.03, according to data from Markets Insider.

Other currencies like Ethereum and litecoin also crossed major milestones in the past 24 hours. Ethereum traded above $500 for the first time, and litecoin above $100, but both have since fallen below those marks as well.

The currency has led some on Wall Street to call its rise a bubble, as it is up more than 858% this year, and was up more than $2,000 since the Thanksgiving holiday.

Watch bitcoin trade in real time on Markets Insider.

SEE ALSO: Nvidia is getting hit harder than the rest of the tech sector

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Nvidia is getting hit harder than the rest of the tech sector (NVDA)

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 10:57 AM PST

FILE PHOTO: Nvidia co-founder and CEO Jensen Huang attends an event during the annual Computex computer exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan May 30, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Shares of Nvidia are down 5.30% to $199.71 on Wednesday, as the tech sector at large sells off.

The slide on Wednesday continues Nvidia's fall from the previous day, which came after Mizuho analyst Vijay Rakesh called an end to the crypto boom for Nvidia and other graphics chip makers. Nvidia's graphics cards are often used by cryptocurrency "miners" to try and speed up their systems, and the company has seen increased demand as cryptocurrencies skyrocket in value.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have hit several major milestones this week, including bitcoin's crossing of $10,000 per coin for the first time ever on Tuesday.

Nvidia's declines are more than double many of the larger tech companies that also saw a decline on Wednesday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 index was down 1.57%, and the FANG stocks were all down around 3% as investors likely rolled their tech investments into other areas.

Nvidia is up 95.17% this year, despite the recent declines.

Read more about the end of the crypto boom for Nvidia and AMD.

nvidia stock price

SEE ALSO: MIZUHO: The crypto boom is over for AMD and Nvidia

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10 things you missed in the 'Avengers: Infinity War' trailer

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 10:43 AM PST

The long-awaited first official trailer for Marvel's "Avengers: Infinity War" is finally here. The Avengers will have to team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to have any hope of taking down Thanos and his Black Order. The film is scheduled for release in May. Here are 10 things you might have missed:

1. Hulk returns to Earth, and it looks like he crashes through Doctor Strange's house.

2. Vision has taken on a human form and he may be in a relationship with Scarlet Witch.

3. A lot of the action takes place in Black Panther's Wakanda. Thanos may be after the country's vibranium, the same material used to make Captain America's shield. He could also be looking for an Infinity Stone in Wakanda.

4. This is the first time we've seen Spider-Man's spider-sense.

5. Spider-Man has a new Stark-issued suit.

6. Proxima Midnight, a child of Thanos, is seen. She's a member of his villainous Black Order

7. Captain America is back and charging into battle without his shield. He's also wearing Wakandan armor on his forearms.

8. It looks like Black Panther is fighting a Chitauri, which means they weren't fully defeated in "Avengers".

9. Thanos is trying to take Vision's "Mind Stone". He already has the "Reality Stone," first seen in "Thor: The Dark World." He also has the "Space Stone," which may have been inside the Tesseract from "Avengers."

10. Thor winds up on the Guardians' ship, where Baby Groot has become a teenager!

"Avengers: Infinity War" will hit theaters May 2018.

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The 10 most Instagrammed cities in the world in 2017

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 10:40 AM PST

Eiffel Tower

After seven years in business, Instagram's global community of 800 million users are still snapping and posting away.

On Wednesday, the company released their 2017 Year in Review, which takes a look at what content floated above the rest, including the most-liked posts, top hashtags, and most-used filters.

Below, take a look at the cities that Instagram users were visiting — and geotagging — the most this year.

SEE ALSO: 50 stunning moments captured by the award-winning Reuters photography team in 2017

10. Barcelona, Spain

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9. Istanbul, Turkey

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8. Jakarta, Indonesia

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Bitcoin's price is collapsing and people can't trade because 2 big exchanges have crashed

Posted: 29 Nov 2017 10:36 AM PST

Brothers Cameron (L) and Tyler Winklevoss talk to each other as they attend a New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) virtual currency hearing in the Manhattan borough of New York January 28, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

  • Two of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbase and Gemini, crashed on Wednesday morning, making it impossible for many users to buy or sell digital currency.
  • Coinbase said it saw "all-time-high traffic" that contributed to system outages.
  • Bitcoin fell to about $9,000 on Wednesday after surging earlier to over $11,000.

Bitcoin on Wednesday dropped to about $9,200 from an all-time high of about $11,400 after many users found themselves locked out of two of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the US.

Coinbase error

The digital exchanges Coinbase and Gemini crashed on Wednesday after bitcoin prices surged above $11,000 a coin early in the morning.

People also reported being locked out of accounts on GDAX, Coinbase's professional trading platform, and Bitstamp, a bitcoin exchange based in Luxembourg.

Users of the digital exchanges saw slowed performance on the websites and in some cases still cannot log into their accounts.

Coinbase, which says it has exchanged over $50 billion in cryptocurrency since its launch in 2012, posted about a "partial system outage" early Wednesday, though many users found themselves locked out of their accounts by the afternoon.

Dave Farmer, the director of business operations at Coinbase, said the company experienced "all-time-high traffic" early Wednesday, causing some users to experience slowness.

"Should be fully resolved in the next couple of hours," Farmer said in prepared remarks.

Gemini, the exchange started by the Winklevoss twins in 2015, showed many users a "504 gateway time-out" message, which means its servers were not responding to requests. The company posted on its status page: "Systems are currently experiencing degraded performance."

As of 10:08 a.m. PT, Gemini's site says its system is under maintenance.

Gemini exchange issues

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin has been on a wild ride since crossing $10,000

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