Jul 10, 2017

Robo-cars will still require lots of human work

Eric Risberg / AP

"Self-driving cars prove to be labour-intensive for humans: Building the road to autonomous vehicles requires a lot of costly manual input," by Financial Times' Tim Bradshaw in S.F. (subscription):

  • "Most companies working on this technology employ hundreds or even thousands of people, often in offshore outsourcing centres in India or China, whose job it is to teach the robo-cars to recognise pedestrians, cyclists and other obstacles."
  • "The workers do this by manually marking up or 'labelling' thousands of hours of video footage, often frame by frame, taken from prototype vehicles driving around testbeds such as Silicon Valley, Pittsburgh and Phoenix."
  • "[H]umans will still be needed behind the scenes for many years to come, drawing boxes around trees and highlighting road signs, in order to keep these systems fresh."

Go deeper

Private companies cut 2.8 million jobs in May

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Private companies shed 2.8 million U.S. jobs last month, according to a report from payroll processor ADP and Moody’s Analytics.

Why it matters: It's way less than the nearly 9 million private sector jobs economists estimated would be lost in May, suggesting layoffs during the coronavirus crisis could be slowing sooner than Wall Street expected.

The growing focus on environmental justice could influence Biden's platform

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The killing of George Floyd in police custody and protests against systemic racism are prompting many green groups to declare their support for racial justice, and one thing to watch now is how this all might influence Joe Biden's platform.

Driving the news: Even before the recent mass upheaval in response to Floyd's death, Biden said he was expanding outreach and eyeing wider plans around environmental justice, or the disproportionate pollution burdens facing poor communities and people of color.

4 hours ago - Technology

The slippery slope of protest surveillance

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump's call to treat antifa supporters like terrorists could be a green light for high-tech surveillance of dissidents.

Why it matters: It's unlikely the Trump administration can designate antifa as a terrorist group in any legally meaningful way, but the declaration gives law enforcement tacit approval to use a plethora of tech tools to monitor protesters and left-leaning activists.