Sony Corp. to launch an AI-based taxi-hailing service in Japan

 Sony Corporation said today that it will build an AI-based ride-hailing system in Japan in partnership with five taxi companies. The service will use artificial intelligence to manage taxi dispatches and forecast demand based on factors like weather, traffic and local events. Sony’s announcement came just before Uber chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi, who is currently visiting… Read More

Facebook will verify the location of U.S. election ad buyers by mailing them postcards

 Facebook’s global director of policy programs says it will start sending postcards by snail mail to verify buyers of ads related to United States elections. Katie Harbath, who described the plan at a conference held by the National Association of Secretaries of State this weekend, didn’t reveal when the program will start, but told Reuters that it would be before the… Read More

The Rise of the Rest seed fund announces its first group of investments

 The Rise of the Rest seed fund’s first round of startup investments cover eight states that are usually overlooked by tech investors, including Kentucky, South Carolina and Ohio. The $150 million fund was launched in December by Steve Case and J.D. Vance, with backing from many of America’s most influential businesspeople, to support tech ecosystems outside of Silicon Valley, New… Read More

Seattle says Facebook broke one of its campaign advertising laws

 Seattle’s election commission says Facebook broke a city law that requires it to disclose who paid for campaign ads. Reuters reports that the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission’s executive director, Wayne Barnett, said Facebook must reveal advertising spending information for last year’s city elections or potentially face fines of up to $5,000 per ad purchase. Read More

Leshi Internet says it must repay $890 million in debts by the end of 2018

 Leshi Internet, one of China’s largest video-streaming services, disclosed that it must pay back 5.62 billion RMB (about $890 million) by the end of this year. Leshi Internet’s (also known as Le.com) heavy debts stem from a financial crisis at its sister company LeEco, both of which were founded by Jia Yueting. Jia resigned as Leshi Internet’s chief executive officer last year.  Read More

Stripe will establish an engineering hub in Dublin

 Stripe will open its first engineering center outside the United States in Dublin, the company told Reuters today. Dublin isn’t a surprising choice. Though the online payment processing provider is based in San Francisco, its founders are Irish and Stripe’s European headquarters are already in the Irish capital, where it has about 100 employees. Reuters says Stripe will hire… Read More

Why inclusion in the Google Arts & Culture selfie feature matters

 When Google Arts & Culture’s new selfie-matching feature went viral earlier this week, many people of color found that their results were limited or skewed toward subservient and exoticized figures. In other words, it pretty much captured the experience of exploring most American or European art museums as a minority. Read More

AI voice assistant developer Rokid raises $100M Series B extension to build its US presence

 Rokid, a Chinese startup that makes an AI voice assistant and smart devices, just raised a Series B extension round led by Temasek Holdings, with participation from Credit Suisse, IDG Capital and CDIB Capital. The size of the round was not released, but a source familiar with the deal told TechCrunch that it is $100 million. Read More

Twitter hits back again at claims that its employees monitor direct messages

 Twitter is pushing back against claims made by conservative activist group Project Veritas that its employees monitor private user data, including direct messages. In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a Twitter representative said “we do not proactively review DMs. Period. A limited number of employees have access to such information, for legitimate work purposes, and we enforce strict… Read More