Technology

Why it matters: From the Valley to D.C., Big Tech players like Facebook, Google and Amazon are under more scrutiny than ever as new technology develops and privacy and antitrust concerns grow in lockstep with companies’ ambitions.

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Bryan Walsh, author of Future
8 hours ago - Technology

The growth in patents for AI

Reproduced from a USPTO report; Chart: Axios Visuals

A report this week from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) found the number of AI-related patents filed each year more than doubled between 2002 and 2018.

Why it matters: The increase in patent applications is just one way to chart the growing role artificial intelligence is playing in the U.S. economy.

Trump's legacy is shaped by his narrow interests

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

President Trump's policy legacy is as much defined by what he's ignored as by what he's involved himself in.

The big picture: Over the past four years, Trump has interested himself in only a slim slice of the government he leads. Outside of trade, immigration, a personal war against the "Deep State" and the hot foreign policy issue of the moment, Trump has left many of his Cabinet secretaries to work without interruption, let alone direction.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
10 hours ago - Technology

AI and automation are creating a hybrid workforce

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

AI and automation are receiving a boost during the coronavirus pandemic that in the short term is creating a new hybrid workforce rather than destroying jobs outright.

The big picture: While the forces of automation and AI will eliminate some jobs and create some new ones, the vast majority will remain but be dramatically changed. The challenge for employers will be ensuring workforces are ready for the effects of technology.

23 hours ago - Technology

Twitter unlocks New York Post's account

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Twitter on Friday reinstated the New York Post's account after the social media platform faced backlash for limiting the circulation of the newspaper's reports about alleged Hunter Biden material earlier this month.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Ashley Gold: Twitter's latest move shows how fraught it is for social media companies to be making content moderation policy decisions on the fly just days before an election.

Acting DHS chief calls on Twitter to "commit to never" censoring content

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf. Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf sent a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Friday, calling on him to "commit to never again censoring content" on the platform.

Driving the news: U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said on Thursday the platform locked his account and removed a tweet about the effectiveness of the border wall.

Ina Fried, author of Login
23 hours ago - Technology

Federal judge halts Trump administration limit on TikTok

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A federal judge on Friday issued an injunction preventing the Trump administration from imposing limits on the distribution of TikTok, Bloomberg reports. The injunction request came as part of a suit brought by creators who make a living on the video service.

Why it matters: The administration has been seeking to force a sale of, or block, the Chinese-owned service. It also moved to ban the service from operating in the U.S. as of Nov. 12, a move which was put on hold by Friday's injunction.

Oct 30, 2020 - Technology

Knitting robotaxis into public transit

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Autonomous vehicle fleets won't likely replace buses and trains in major cities, but two mobility tech firms are exploring how self-driving taxis might improve access to public transit systems.

What's happening: Self-driving tech company Motional (a joint venture between Hyundai and Aptiv) this week announced a partnership with Via that the companies say will serve as a blueprint for an on-demand, shared robotaxi service.

Oct 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Instagram partners with ATTN: to encourage young people to vote

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Instagram is funding a slate of new memes, Reels, Stories and IGTV videos from ATTN:, the millennial-focused digital media company, to empower young people to vote.

Why it matters: Instagram and its parent Facebook are pushing to promote more civic engagement ahead of the election — and ATTN: is one of the top creators of social change-focused videos on the platform.

Airbnb sets stock aside for "host endowment"

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Airbnb is setting aside company stock for an endowment to fund various initiatives for its home-sharing hosts, the company said on Friday.

Why it matters: Airbnb is gearing up to go public later this year, and has been mulling over ways to spread some of its riches to customers.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 30, 2020 - Technology

Study: Facebook and dating apps grab the most personal user data

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A new study says Facebook and dating apps collect the most personal information about users, though a wide range of apps are collecting more data than one would expect.

Why it matters: It's not always intuitive which apps are grabbing data. And even when a site or app doesn't explicitly collect a piece of information, it can still infer that information from other data it does collect.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 30, 2020 - Economy & Business

The pandemic isn't slowing tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Thursday's deluge of Big Tech earnings reports showed one thing pretty clearly: COVID-19 may be bad in all sorts of ways, but it's not slowing down the largest tech companies. If anything, it's helping some companies, like Amazon and Apple.

Yes, but: With the pandemic once again worsening in the U.S. and Europe, it's not clear how long the tech industry's winning streak can last.

How California's ballot could reshape Silicon Valley

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Voters in San Francisco, the surrounding Bay Area, and California at large will vote Tuesday on key issues affecting Silicon Valley.

Why it matters: At stake are industry issues like gig workers' employment status and internet privacy, as well as broader measures on business taxes and the region's housing crisis, which many view as driven by tech wealth.

Oct 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

Oct 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Twitter labels tweet from RT implying voter fraud in U.S. elections

Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Twitter on Thursday labeled a tweet from Russian state media outlet RT (formerly Russia Today) that included a video implying widespread voter fraud is plaguing, and potentially delegitimizing, the U.S. election.

Why it matters: It's the first time Twitter has labeled RT's account with a civic integrity label, or a designation used to highlight efforts to manipulate or interfere in elections or other civic processes.

Amazon posts strong Q3 results despite ongoing pandemic costs

Photo: Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images

With the pandemic driving consumers to shop online, Amazon beat analyst expectations on Thursday with its Q3 results, though its stock price didn't see much of a bump.

Why it matters: Despite incurring what it estimates was about $2.5 billion in pandemic-related costs during the quarter, Amazon's revenue grew 37% year-over-year to $96.1 billion and its profits to $6.3 billion, up 197% year-over-year.

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