Tech

Autonomous Trains Are Ready to Roll

If all goes as planned in August, a freight train will chug down a track near Pueblo, Colo.—entirely controlled by computers. Humans in the locomotive will merely observe, as the latest in artificial intelligence and sensor technology puts thousands of tons of steel through its paces.  The experiment, on 48 miles of track at the railroad industry’s advanced testing ground, is a big step in the push for autonomous train technology. The outcome could fundamentally alter the railroad industry. While still a huge, highly profitable business, railroads move less freight than they did 10 years ago, and their biggest customer—the coal industry—is in long-term decline. Almost $700 billion in cargo moved by train in 2017, the latest government figures show, but trucks carried far more, ov...

Fortnite World Cup has handed out $30 million in prizes, and cemented its spot in the culture

The Fortnite phenomenon — the wildly popular battle royale game from Epic Games — has manifested itself in concerned articles, cultural shoutouts and now has sealed its place in the cultural firmament by wrapping up its first “World Cup” which saw the company give away $30 million in prizes. Congrats to all of our winners this weekend at the #FortniteWorldCup Finals Solo Champion: @bughaDuos Champions: @nyhrox @aquaaProAM: @Airwaks @RLGRIMECreative: #FishFam @cizzorz @hiimtylerh @suezhoo @zandOfficial pic.twitter.com/ilBs7RTeTv — Fortnite (@FortniteGame) July 28, 2019 The big winner in today’s solo challenge was sixteen year-old Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, who won $3 million for beating out the competition in the solo tournament. And, as sports w...

Last-mile training and the future of work in an expanding gig economy

Ryan Craig Contributor Ryan Craig is managing director of University Ventures. More posts by this contributor Existential education error: Failing to train students on software Facebook is going back to college The future of work is so uncertain that perhaps the only possible job security exists for the person who can credibly claim to be an expert on the future of work. Nevertheless, there are two trends purported experts are reasonably certain about: (1) continued growth in the number of jobs requiring substantive and sustained interaction with technology; and (2) continued rapid expansion of the gig economy. This first future of work trend is evident today in America’s skills gap with 7 million unfilled jobs — many mid- or high-skill position requiring a range of digital and techn...

Reports claims all three new iPhones planned for 2020 will support 5G

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo — sometimes described as “the most accurate Apple analyst in the world” — has written a new note to investors saying that the three iPhones expected to launch in 2020 will feature support for 5G. In previous Kuo reports, it’s said the 2020 iPhones could be available in new sizes: a 5.4 and 6.7-inch high-end iPhones with OLED displays, along with a 6.1-inch model with an OLED display. Previously, he predicted that only two of the three new iPhones slated for 2020 would support 5G. But with well-spec’d Androids flooding the market, he says it looks like Apple will offer 5G in all models in order to better compete. He’s also confirmed the view that Apple will be able to throw more resources into developing the 5G iPhone now that it has acquired Intel’s smartph...

Original Content podcast: Our love for ‘Queer Eye’ isn’t quite as strong

It’s been barely more than a year since the “Queer Eye” revival premiered on Netflix, but the series is already back for its fourth season. This time around, the Fab Five finds new makeover subjects in Kansas City (with a detour to Quincy, Illinois, where hairstylist Jonathan Van Ness grew up), offering their custom mix of lifestyle tips and intense emotional conversations. In many ways, the new season serves as a reminder that “Queer Eye” remains one of the most compelling titles in Netflix’s reality TV lineup. At the same time, some of our excitement is wearing off. That’s not to say that the show is weaker, exactly — but the formula is becoming more familiar, and the contrivance of whirlwind life changes all taking place in a handful of days fee...

Original Content podcast: Our love for ‘Queer Eye’ isn’t quite as strong

It’s been barely more than a year since the “Queer Eye” revival premiered on Netflix, but the series is already back for its fourth season. This time around, the Fab Five finds new makeover subjects in Kansas City (with a detour to Quincy, Illinois, where hairstylist Jonathan Van Ness grew up), offering their custom mix of lifestyle tips and intense emotional conversations. In many ways, the new season serves as a reminder that “Queer Eye” remains one of the most compelling titles in Netflix’s reality TV lineup. At the same time, some of our excitement is wearing off. That’s not to say that the show is weaker, exactly — but the formula is becoming more familiar, and the contrivance of whirlwind life changes all taking place in a handful of days fee...

What will happen when the bad times come?

Here in America we are now in the longest economic expansion in history. That doesn’t mean it’s about to end. But it does raise the question: what happens when it does? When the economic cycle finally inverts into recession, perhaps unexpectedly and with no obvious cause, perhaps because of some geopolitical crisis? We know what happens to the overall economy — but what happens to the tech sector? Last time around, the answer was: “surprisingly little.” Late 2008 saw widespread expectations that tech was about to crater along with all other sectors. This was the era of Sequoia Capital’s infamous “R.I.P. Good Times” deck. They could hardly have been more wrong. Instead the Great Recession everywhere else was more of a speed bump in Silicon Val...

What will happen when the bad times come?

Here in America we are now in the longest economic expansion in history. That doesn’t mean it’s about to end. But it does raise the question: what happens when it does? When the economic cycle finally inverts into recession, perhaps unexpectedly and with no obvious cause, perhaps because of some geopolitical crisis? We know what happens to the overall economy — but what happens to the tech sector? Last time around, the answer was: “surprisingly little.” Late 2008 saw widespread expectations that tech was about to crater along with all other sectors. This was the era of Sequoia Capital’s infamous “R.I.P. Good Times” deck. They could hardly have been more wrong. Instead the Great Recession everywhere else was more of a speed bump in Silicon Val...

What will happen when the bad times come?

Here in America we are now in the longest economic expansion in history. That doesn’t mean it’s about to end. But it does raise the question: what happens when it does? When the economic cycle finally inverts into recession, perhaps unexpectedly and with no obvious cause, perhaps because of some geopolitical crisis? We know what happens to the overall economy — but what happens to the tech sector? Last time around, the answer was: “surprisingly little.” Late 2008 saw widespread expectations that tech was about to crater along with all other sectors. This was the era of Sequoia Capital’s infamous “R.I.P. Good Times” deck. They could hardly have been more wrong. Instead the Great Recession everywhere else was more of a speed bump in Silicon Val...

Week in Review: Regulation boogaloo

Hello, weekenders. This is Week-in-Review, where I give a heavy amount of analysis and/or rambling thoughts on one story while scouring the rest of the hundreds of stories that emerged on TechCrunch this week to surface my favorites for your reading pleasure. Last week, I talked about how services like Instagram had moved beyond letting their algorithms take over the curation process as they tested minimizing key user metrics such as “like” counts on the platform. John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images The big story The big news stories this week intimately involved the government poking its head into the tech industry. What was clear between the two biggest stories, the DoJ approving the Sprint/T -Mobile merger and the FTC giving Facebook a $5 billion slap on the wrist, is th...

Week in Review: Regulation boogaloo

Hello, weekenders. This is Week-in-Review, where I give a heavy amount of analysis and/or rambling thoughts on one story while scouring the rest of the hundreds of stories that emerged on TechCrunch this week to surface my favorites for your reading pleasure. Last week, I talked about how services like Instagram had moved beyond letting their algorithms take over the curation process as they tested minimizing key user metrics such as “like” counts on the platform. John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images The big story The big news stories this week intimately involved the government poking its head into the tech industry. What was clear between the two biggest stories, the DoJ approving the Sprint/T -Mobile merger and the FTC giving Facebook a $5 billion slap on the wrist, is th...

The Knight Foundation launches $750,000 initiative for immersive technology for the arts

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is looking for pitches on how to enhance and augment traditional creative arts through immersive technologies. Through a partnership with Microsoft the foundation is offering a share of a $750,00 pool of cash and the option of technical support from Microsoft, including mentoring in mixed-reality technologies and access to the company’s suite of mixed reality technologies. “We’ve seen how immersive technologies can reach new audiences and engage existing audiences in new ways,” said Chris Barr, director for arts and technology innovation at Knight Foundation, in a statement. “But arts institutions need more knowledge to move beyond just experimenting with these technologies to becoming proficient in leveraging their full potential.” Specific...