Wednesday's technology stories

Bryan Walsh
Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Nov 24, 2021 - Technology

Meet the robots that will help pick your Black Friday orders

Nimble Robotics machines picking goods at an e-commerce warehouse. Credit: Nimble Robotics

As more of our goods and gifts are being purchased online, robots are set to play a bigger role in e-commerce warehouses.

Why it matters: With retailers struggling to meet the demand for workers in a tight labor market, smarter robots that can adapt to the often chaotic conditions of a warehouse could help close the gap.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Nov 24, 2021 - Science

How to program biology like a computer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The growing synthetic biology industry is developing tools to allow companies to program living cells the way we program computers.

Why it matters: Turning cellular engineering from an art to an industry could open the door to more sustainable energy, food and materials, but it carries the risk of making it much easier to create the biological equivalent of malware.

"Battlefield 2042" has a lot of fixes coming

Image courtesy of EA DICE

"Battlefield 2042" will get at least two "major" updates in the weeks to come, with the first rolling out tomorrow.

Why it matters: The launch of "Battlefield 2042" has been bumpy, thanks to a mix of missing features, bugs and other performance problems.

Roblox sues YouTuber over “terrorist threats”

Photo Illustration by Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Roblox Corporation is suing a YouTuber for breach of contract and fraud.

Details: Social gaming platform Roblox is seeking $1,650,000 in damages against content creator Benjamin Robert Simon ("Ruben Sim"), alleging that he is the leader of a "cybermob" and "commits and encourages unlawful acts designed to injure Roblox and its users."

Nov 24, 2021 - Technology

Instagram head to testify before Congress

Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Adam Mosseri, head of Meta-owned Instagram, has agreed to testify before Congress in early December about Instagram's impact on young people, he said in a video posted to Twitter Wednesday.

Why it matters: Meta, formerly Facebook, is continuing to acknowledge mounting concern from the public and lawmakers over social media apps' effect on children and teens.

Nintendo executive calls Activision harassment allegations "disturbing"

Doug Bowser. Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Nintendo

Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser has joined the chorus of industry figures criticizing Activision Blizzard and its leadership over recent reports of company harassment and abuse.

Driving the news: Fanbyte first reported on the memo in which Bowser called the accusations "distressing and disturbing. They run counter to my values as well as Nintendo's beliefs, values and policies."

Nov 23, 2021 - Technology

Apple sues Israeli NSO Group over spyware use

Photo: Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Apple filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Israeli cyber intelligence companies NSO Group and its parent company to "hold it accountable for the surveillance and targeting of Apple users," the company announced.

Details: Apple is also seeking a permanent injunction to ban NSO Group from using Apple devices, software, or services, per a press release.

Updated Nov 23, 2021 - Technology

China's new privacy law leaves U.S. behind

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

While China's sweeping new data privacy laws have left tech companies confused about how to comply, they also put the U.S. even further behind in the global race to set digital standards.

What's happening: China enacted its Personal Information Privacy Law earlier this month, following Europe as the second major international player to have its own sweeping data privacy regulations.

Lawsuit against PlayStation alleges gender discrimination

Photo Illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A former IT security analyst at Sony PlayStation filed a lawsuit against the company in California on Monday, alleging gender discrimination and wrongful termination after speaking up “about discrimination against females” at the gaming giant.

Why it matters: Video game companies are under increased scrutiny for their treatment of women in an industry long dominated by men.

"Pokémon Go" maker Niantic now worth $9 billion

illustration a Pokémon Go logo. Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Niantic, an S.F.-based maker of augmented reality games like "Pokémon Go," raised $300 million from Coatue at a $9 billion valuation.

Why it matters: This is about the metaverse that Meta isn't interested in building.

Nov 23, 2021 - Technology

Washington Post taps its former CMO to lead tech division

Photo credit: Jackie Hicks, Photo courtesy of The Washington Post

The Washington Post has hired Miki King — the company's former chief marketing officer, who most recently served as the President of Genius Media Group — to run The Post's Arc XP software arm.

Why it matters: The hire underscores The Post's commitment to growing its software arm as a significant revenue stream to support its journalism.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Nov 23, 2021 - Technology

GM plunges into electric marine transport

Photo courtesy of Pure Watercraft

General Motors' expanding electric vehicles' business left dry land Monday when the auto giant announced it's acquiring a 25% stake in the electric boating company Pure Watercraft.

Why it matters: "The investment in Pure Watercraft represents the first time GM will commercialize all-electric marine products and applications," Mark Lubin, a GM spokesman, tells Axios.

Nov 23, 2021 - Technology

New social media trend: Old-fashioned links

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

After years of hoarding engagement, new startups — along with some tech giants — are finally making it easier for users to add external links to their profiles and content.

Why it matters: Linking out to personal web pages or online storefronts has traditionally been difficult to do on some social media platforms, since most firms want to keep users engaged on their own platforms as much as possible.

CISA and FBI issue holiday season ransomware warning

Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP via Getty Images

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are urging public and private sector organizations to remain vigilant and bolster protections against ransomware and other cyberattacks during the holidays.

Why it matters: Malicious cyber actors often take advantage of holidays and weekends to disrupt critical networks, the agencies said. Ahead of Thanksgiving, the federal government is warning organizations to be proactive about reducing vulnerability to cyberattacks.