DLD is over, but I am still in Munich for another day and a half. As a West Coast lifer, I do like being ahead of the East Coast for a change.
View from the inside of a Tesla vehicle parked in a showroom and service center. Photo: Spencer Platt / Getty Images)
A string of Tesla crashes, where the drivers cited use of Autopilot as the culprit, is prompting renewed questions over whether humans can really be trusted with partially autonomous vehicles. In the most recent case, a Tesla slammed into a parked firetruck.
Driving the news: While many blamed the individual drivers for not paying attention, others have been making the case for some time that we need to go directly from driver control to full autonomy.
Bloomberg's Eric Newcomer put it smartly and succinctly in a Twitter post:
"The smart debate around Tesla’s autopilot is whether humans can reasonably be expected to pay attention if they’re offered something like autopilot. This is Google’s whole position. Just yelling that the driver should have been paying attention glosses over the actual debate."
The other side: While features like "Autopilot" (especially with that name) are clearly problematic, elements of autonomy are already preventing crashes and saving lives. Some examples are features that keep cars from veering into another lane, those that prevent a front-end crash and assist with parking.
Meanwhile: If you are in Atlanta and want to try fully autonomous cars, you are in luck. Alphabet's Waymo is expanding its testing to another city, following a pilot program in Phoenix.
With the latest version of Android, people can now see how fast a Wi-Fi network is before they connect to it. Starting with Oreo 8.1, Android will describe each network as "Slow," "OK," "Fast" or "Very Fast."
Here's what those labels mean, per Google:
My thought bubble: I'd like to see this feature on every mobile, computer and TV OS.
Digital publishers are fed up with Google and Facebook hosting their content without paying for it, Axios' Sara Fischer and Zachary Basu report. Several are calling for, or predicting, a relationship between web platforms and digital content providers that mimics the carriage relationships between TV networks and cable and satellite companies.
Why it matters: Platforms are looking to host more premium content, especially long-form video, as people migrate away from traditional TV. Their push for those ad dollars is empowering content creators with video expertise to demand premiums for the content they can provide.
My thought bubble: We’ve heard a lot of this before. The calls may be louder, but I’m not yet convinced they will be any more successful.
As the conversation around technology shifts from gadgets and services to impact and policy, it's time for tech conferences to change too. At least that's the take of John Battelle, who has been a part of tech mainstays like Wired, The Industry Standard and the Web 2.0 Summit.
What's happening: Battelle's NewCo Shift Forum, which will hold its second annual conference next month in San Francisco, hopes to be a relevant force while tech is both under attack and seeping into every industry, dramatically impacting elections, policy, jobs, medicine and kids.
"The internet is now the oxygen of business, and it’s the foundation of what’s changing the actual social contracts between business and society,” he tells Axios' Kim Hart. “It’s tech that’s been a significant factor — both positively and negatively — in getting us where we are. All these things are colliding and we have to have a conversation about it.”
Topics driving the conversation:
Who’ll be speaking:
Something you won’t see at most conferences: 50% of onstage speakers are women.
Facebook and Apple spent more on federal lobbying in 2017 than ever before, per new disclosures.
By the numbers: Tech giants are fighting more fights than ever before, from tax reform to election integrity.
If you aren't already inundated with blockchain mentions, a new Chrome plugin will add the phrase "on the blockchain" to everything you read.