Time to rest up, developers. Facebook's F8 may be over, but Microsoft's Build conference and Google I/O are both next week.
Schroepfer shows next-generation VR avatars created with the help of AI. Photo: Facebook
In outlining Facebook's 10-year plan, CTO Mike Schroepfer said Wednesday that artificial intelligence is the key to nearly everything the company wants to do, from photorealistic virtual reality avatars to blocking offensive content.
What they're saying: The company touted a bunch of ways it is already using AI, including for image recognition, where it has used billions of hashtagged Instagram photos to better understand what's in a photograph.
In discussing AI, though, Facebook spent as much time talking about how it approaches the ethics of what it's doing as it did about the results it's seeing.
Why it matters: The focus on ethics is probably a good thing given all the concern over Facebook's current decision making and accountability, and the broader pressure for the tech industry to act responsibly when it comes to AI.
Open source: One of Facebook's other big messages — and a popular one with the developer crowd — was that it's freely offering many of its tools to the world.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Europe’s goal with its strict new privacy regulations is to give consumers more control over their personal information, but some security and privacy experts worry the rules could put the squeeze on some kinds of businesses.
Background: GDPR requires businesses to receive explicit consent to store the personal data of any European citizen and provide a mechanism for users to delete any stored information.
Where the problems begin: Personal information can be anything from the obvious (names, addresses, credit card information) to some more obscure pieces of data (users' internet addresses). Plus, the law didn't foresee many of the instances where public interest might be served by technology that doesn't follow its privacy rules.
Among the businesses that could be caught up in the privacy net are all manner of blockchain-related efforts, as well as things like the internet's WHOIS database, which lists a name, email and physical address for each website domain.
Nokia largely got out of the direct consumer business when it sold its mobile phone business to Microsoft, but had kept a small Nokia Technologies unit focused on pursuing a few emerging technology efforts.
What's happening now: Nokia said Wednesday it's in talks to sell back the Nokia Health products business to its original owner, Éric Carreel, the co-founder of Withings.
Nokia already shut down its virtual reality camera effort, known as Ozo. The company had said in February it was reviewing strategic options for the health business, which includes fitness watches, Wi-Fi scales and a sleep tracking pad.
Why it matters: With the moves, Nokia will be entirely focused on its network equipment business as well as brand and patent licensing efforts. Phones bearing the Nokia name are still sold under a brand licensing deal.
Flashback: Several years ago, CEO Rajeev Suri told me that finding its way back to the consumer business was part of his 10-year plan to make Nokia great again. "We almost owe it to ourselves to go experiment in the consumer area,” he said at the time.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Tesla CEO Elon Musk had quite the earnings conference call Wednesday, eagerly telling analysts he's on the right path, refusing to answer questions he called "boring," and telling off a broker whose clients, he said, can't tolerate market volatility.
Meanwhile, Musk touted several accomplishments:
That's not all: In addition to his brusqueness toward the analysts, Musk lashed out at press coverage of a fatal March accident in California involving a Tesla Model S.
The bottom line: Steve LeVine has more here, but by the time Tesla's first-quarter earnings call was over Wednesday evening, its share price had dropped more than 4%.
Visiting Australia? Beware of carrot-addicted kangaroos.