Google now using AI to put job listings right in your search results - Axios

Google now using AI to put job listings right in your search results


As of today, certain job-related search-queries will yield job postings culled from different job boards — and they'll show up right in your search results. Those postings will be augmented, in some cases, by the time it would take to commute from your house and by the employer's ratings on sites like Glassdoor.

Why it matters: The project is part of a larger initiative called Google for Jobs that the company talked about at its annual Google I/O conference. It's also part of a larger trend of Google putting information directly in search results in an attempt to help people get more information without leaving Google's site.

Worth noting: While the program doesn't personalize results based on user data, it can rank job postings higher based on a user's location.

Addressing possible issues: We asked what the company was doing to deal with the possibility of discriminatory, socio-economic assumptions affecting its ranking of jobs. "If you wanted to be location agnostic, that's a very easy setting that you can change on Google," said product manager Nick Zakrasek. "But of course we're going to pay very close attention to unintended effects that might occur."


Zuckerberg: “The last few days have been hard to process”

Eric Risberg / AP

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that his company has taken steps to curb hate speech on its platform after a white nationalist protest that led to violence. Zuckerberg said that the site has "always taken down any post that promotes or celebrates hate crimes or acts of terrorism — including what happened in Charlottesville."

He added: "With the potential for more rallies, we're watching the situation closely and will take down threats of physical harm. We won't always be perfect, but you have my commitment that we'll keep working to make Facebook a place where everyone can feel safe."

Key context: Zuckerberg's statement — which included a broader condemnation of bigotry — comes as tech firms are under new pressure to deal with extremist content. Facebook has been criticized for how long it took to delete an event page associated with the Charlottesville protests. It has since banned an account associated with white nationalism.

Our thought bubble: These are Zuckerberg's first comments on the weekend's events in Virginia. That's notable because he has spent the better part of this year working to better understand what binds American communities. He's weighed in on the president's efforts to bar trans service members and remove the U.S. from the Paris accords, but he was silent for days on some of the tensest 72 hours in America since the week of the election.


GM reportedly plans to compete with Uber and Lyft

Paul Sancya/AP

General Motors' Maven unit, which has been experimenting with short-term car rentals and car sharing, is reportedly planning to debut ride-hailing and delivery services that would compete with Uber and Lyft, according to a report by Reuters citing anonymous sources.

Awkward: Maven's plans are mostly notable because of GM's relationships with Uber and Lyft. While its a partner to Uber, providing its drivers with short term car rentals, it has a deep relationship with Lyft, in which it invested $500 million in early 2016. The two have also said they're working on self-driving cars together.

But: This shouldn't come as a surprise. Though many interpreted their original partnership as an attempt from GM to stay with the transportation trends, it was never indicated that GM couldn't replicate Lyft's service on its own.

Brewing competition: The Maven unit has been steadily expanding its services, and ride-hailing is a natural next step. Lyft's recent announcement that it will begin developing self-driving car technology on its own should have been a clue that the partnership has evolved. Still, Lyft executives recently told Axios that the two companies still plan to roll out a pilot test of self-driving cars, as previously announced.


Trump administration to make ACA insurer payments for August

AP file photo

Looks like the Trump administration isn’t cutting off the Affordable Care Act insurer payments just yet. It’s going to make the August payment for cost-sharing reduction subsidies for low-income people, according to a White House spokesman.

Why it matters: President Trump threatened on Twitter last month to stop the payments, calling them “bailouts” for health insurance companies. But the administration quickly cooled that talk and has apparently backed off for one more month. But it still doesn’t want to make any long-term commitments, since Congress didn’t fund the payments — and the uncertainty could still lead insurers to announce bigger ACA premium increases.


This robot can heal its own cuts like a human

Credit: Terryn et al., Sci. Robot. (2017)

Scientists in Brussels have engineered soft robots that can use heat to heal their own wounds, barely leaving "scars." The key is rubbery material called elastomers that can change shape when exposed to mild heat.

Why it matters: "The lifespan of the robot is increased," Bram Vanderborght, one of the researchers, told Axios. Soft robots are unique in their adaptability — they're malleable and can navigate unknown environments. Most recently, Stanford researchers developed a vine-like soft robot that can "grow" like a plant and could potentially guide a patient's catheter in the future. These new self-healing properties could make robots resilient in potentially destructive environments.

How it works:

  • When exposed to temperatures around 80 degrees Celsius for 20 to 40 minutes, the elastomers loosen enough that they can move to fill the gaps created by cuts.
  • After they cool down to about 25 degrees Celsius, the robots are as good as new.
  • This healing process can be repeated indefinitely. But, it's not just melting and re-forming the robots, Vanderborght says. The heat changes the elastomer so it can move, but melting the material would destroy it, he says.
What's next: The goal, according to Vanderborght, is to create robots that are able to sense when they are hurt. For example, a robot might detect increased exposure to air through the gap created by a cut. This sensory ability combined with engineering that allows scientists to place self-activating heat sources within the robots could be used to build soft robots that can detect their injuries and start the healing cycle by themselves.

Jeff Sessions goes after Chicago in sanctuary cities speech

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks about sanctuary cities yesterday at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia (AP's Matt Rourke)

Today, Jeff Sessions gave a speech from Miami on the administration's sanctuary cities crackdown and he focused largely on Chicago: "Respect for the rule of law has broken down. In Chicago, the so-called sanctuary policies are one sad example of that."

But administration officials told Axios Sessions' speech was "not a personal issue, it's not like you seek retribution against [Mayor] Emanuel. ... We're simply saying you should put the safety of your people first."

Chicago Mayor Emanuel announced his lawsuit last week, arguing the admin's requirements for cities to receive federal funding are unconstitutional. Administration officials said they're "totally confident that the policy is constitutional."

Bottom line: "Trump sent me an executive order and it was pretty simple: reduce crime in America. And that's what we intend to do. But these grants that we have can help in crime reduction — we want all cities to have them, but we can't keep giving taxpayer money to [sanctuary cities]."

Miami Dade is a sanctuary cities "success story," administration officials said, and they wanted to point to it as an example for other cities, like Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. "Work with us," Sessions said. "Please help us enforce a lawful system of immigration that keeps us safe."

Sessions didn't name any other city besides Chicago when pointing to example of "lawless" sanctuary cities. He cited various violent crime stats about the city of Chicago and Cook County, all involving illegal immigrants who were repeat violent crime offenders. "How can politicians hear these stories and do nothing?" he asked, before adding: "This is happening all over the country. These policies do far greater damage to our country than many understand and it's a rejection of our immigration laws."

Highlights from Sessions' speech:

  • Sanctuary cities are "a trafficker, smuggler, or a predator's best friend."
  • "Crime is not a force of nature like a tide coming in. It can be dealt with effectively."
  • "Chicago has chosen to sue the federal government. It complains our focus on enforcing the law would require 'a reordering of law enforcement practice in the city.' But that's exactly the point. Chicago's leaders need to recommit to policies that punish criminals instead of protecting them."
  • "These lawless policies do more than shield illegal aliens; they also shield and protect gangs and criminal organizations. These predators thrive when crime is not met with consequences."
  • "This state of lawlessness allows gangs to smuggle drugs and even humans across communities."
  • "Violent crime is surging. Miami Dade is an example of what is possible through hard work, policing and dedication to the rule of law. It's an example all of us can do better throughout this country."


Facebook bans account of white nationalist for hate speech

Noah Berger / AP

Facebook has banned the Facebook and Instagram accounts of a white nationalist user, the AP reports. A Facebook spokeswoman says Christopher Cantwell's page and a page linking to his podcast have been removed. Facebook says they have removed eight accounts in total connected to the white nationalist movement. Cantwell is an active member of the movement.

Why it matters: Facebook was criticized for not acting quickly enough to take down the event pages promoting the Charlottesville rally this weekend. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has condemned the attack, but Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has yet to publicly comment.


Pence cutting short international trip

Natacha Pisarenko / AP

Vice President Mike Pence announced that he will cut short his trip to Central and South America — originally scheduled to run through Friday — and head back to Washington tomorrow for a national security meeting.

What he's missing: Nothing seemed amiss as Pence tweeted a photo of the Andes from Air Force Two earlier this morning on his way to meet with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, but it looks like he'll be cutting short the Panama portion of his trip.

The reason: It's not Charlottesville. On that front, Pence told reporters in Chile today that he "[stands] with the president." Instead, Trump and Pence are holding a meeting with their national security team at Camp David on Friday "to discuss the South Asia strategy."


Why the most popular drug in the Middle East is so potent

Associated Press

Scientists reported today that they have figured out how the popular illicit stimulant Captagon works and that they may have a way to combat its effects.

  • Captagon or fenethylline is popular in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Gulf (where counterfeit pills also abound).
  • There have been reports of the "Jihadi pill" being used by ISIS fighters as a performance stimulator—though that has been questioned.
  • The drug was first used in the 1960s to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy but became illegal in most countries, including the U.S., in the 1980s after its addictiveness became apparent.

How it works: When ingested, fenethylline is broken down to the stimulant amphetamine and theophylline (a caffeine-like substance that relaxes the muscles around the lungs and is used to treat respiratory diseases). It was unclear how exactly the drug works in the body. Kim Janda and his colleagues from Scripps Research Institute found the combination of theophylline and amphetamine greatly enhances amphetamine's psychoactive properties.

"This drug is much more dangerous than was previously thought in terms of its overall psychoactive properties. We need greater awareness of the issues and its abuse effects" Janda said in a press conference.

What they did: The researchers made fenethylline in the lab (producing it is relatively easy and it's believed to be a revenue source for ISIS). They then vaccinated mice against the different components of fenethylline, administered the drug and determined how each substance affected their vigilance and movement, as well as the drug's uptake by the brain and body.

"The two drugs act synergistically and individually to hit their targets at the same time and it boosts the overall stimulant effect. What we see with the combination of these two drugs is we get a faster onset of the amphetamine properties and much stronger than what you would [normally] see — that was completely unexpected and unknown. It really explains why this drug is being so heavily abused," says Janda.

Janda, who is working on a vaccine for heroin, says the initial intent of the study wasn't a vaccine for fenethylline but that the study vaccine's components could be adjusted if there was interest in developing a vaccine for humans.

A term to know: Pharmacoterrorism refers to drugs originally produced for therapeutic benefit being abused in terror attacks for morale building or hypervigilance or to therapeutic drugs being weaponized.

Important side note: The researchers say their vaccine approach could be used to better understand how other drugs affect the brain. "[Natural products, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, anti-seizure and other complex drugs] typically have multiple targets and figuring out how they interact with those targets is challenging. This approach can be used to figure out what effects are useful and helpful, and which are toxic or potentially link with abuse liabilities," says Janda.


Report: Civil unrest is making U.S. cities "less livable"

Police wait after tear gas was used on a crowd during a protest for Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, August 17, 2014. Brown was fatally shot that year by a white officer, Darren Wilson. Charlie Riedel / AP

U.S. cities are becoming less livable due to civil unrest linked to Trump's proposed policies and police officers' shootings of black people, according to the Global Liveability Index report from The Economist Intelligence Unit. The index also shows this unrest in the U.S. is due to terrorism-related violence and an increase in mass shootings.

  • Cities from the U.S. didn't make it into the top 10 globally
  • Melbourne, Australia, is the most livable city (for the seventh consecutive year)
  • Honolulu is the most livable city in the U.S., (17th most livable globally), followed by Washington, D.C., Boston, and Chicago.

What makes a top city: "Mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density" with recreational activities, low crime levels, and infrastructure that is not overburdened.

The study compared 140 cities based on several metrics that can present challenges to a resident's lifestyle — stability (crime), healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure — which is important to note, since it's not just about crime and civil unrest.

Top 10 most livable U.S. cities

  1. Honolulu
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. Boston
  4. Chicago
  5. Miami
  6. Pittsburgh
  7. Minneapolis
  8. Seattle
  9. Atlanta
  10. Los Angeles

Top 10 most livable cities worldwide

  1. Melbourne, Australia
  2. Vienna, Austria
  3. Vancouver, Canada
  4. Toronto, Canada
  5. Calgary, Canada
  6. Adelaide, Australia
  7. Perth, Australia
  8. Auckland, New Zealand
  9. Helsinki, Finland
  10. Hamburg, Germany

3M CEO resigns from Trump's council

AP Photo / Mark Lennihan

Inge Thulin, CEO of 3M, said he is stepping down from the president's Manufacturing Council because it is "no longer an effective vehicle" to advance the goals of "sustainability, diversity and inclusion."

Thulin is the 7th CEO to leave the council and the 6th to do so after Trump's Saturday remarks referencing violence "on many sides" in Charlottesville.