Code/red: Elon Musk, Rise of the Machines
// HAPPENING TODAY
- Amazon will unveil its first smartphone in Seattle.
- T-Mobile is also holding an event in Seattle.
- President Obama is hosting the first-ever White House Maker Faire.
Tesla CEO Taking Terminator Franchise a Bit Too Seriously
That Tesla founder Elon Musk has been investing in artificial intelligence research is hardly surprising. But his rationale for making those investments might be. Musk, an early investor in AI firm DeepMind (acquired by Google), recently invested in Vicarious, a company trying to build a “computer that thinks like a person.” He did so not because he’s looking for a big return, but because he worries about killer robots. “I like to just keep an eye on what’s going on with artificial intelligence,” Musk told CNBC. “I think there is potentially a dangerous outcome there … I mean, there have been movies about this, you know, like ‘Terminator.’ … In the movie ‘Terminator’ … they didn’t expect, you know, some sort of Terminator-like outcome. It is sort of like the Monty Python thing: Nobody expects the Spanish inquisition.”
That Is All Ye Know at Yahoo, and All Ye Need to Know
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer: “Art is advertising and advertising is art.”
Did I Mention T-Mobile Is Also Holding a Launch Event Today?
T-Mobile CEO John Legere: “Amazon doesn’t know what they just signed up for. Remember the Facebook phone?… When #big (@ATT) and #bigger (@Amazon) get together, the industry feels a whole lot smaller. … Exclusivity sucks for customers. Exclusivity on AT&T sucks for the industry.”
New iMac Not Exactly a Desktop Powerhouse
Apple made the iMac a little more affordable Wednesday, adding an entry-level offering to its all-in-one desktop computer line-up. The new machine starts at $1,099 — $200 less than the entry-level model that preceded it. But that downward shift in price comes at a cost — a slower 1.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor, the same chip Apple uses in its MacBook Airs.
Dreadful BlackBerry App Store Soon to Be Less So
BlackBerry users will soon have access to apps like Netflix and Minecraft — without having to sideload them onto their devices. Today, BlackBerry announced plans to license the entire Amazon Appstore for BlackBerry 10 handsets. So when the BlackBerry 10.3 operating system debuts this fall, the 240,000 apps the Amazon Appstore offers for Android-powered phones will be available to BlackBerry users as well. “I do not have to spend time, energy and money [to develop the consumer apps Amazon offers],” BlackBerry CEO John Chen told The Wall Street Journal. “Given I want to financially turn around the company and focus on the enterprise space, this is perfect for us.”
“Google” and “Anti-Competitive Practices” Spotted in Same Sentence Again
Google has been slapped with another antitrust complaint overseas, this time for using its market dominance to kill off rivals to its Google Play app marketplace. In a complaint lodged with the European Commission, Portuguese app store Aptoide argues that Google has purposely undermined third-party Android app markets. Said Aptoide CEO Paulo Trezentos, “Aptoide is the world’s largest independent App Store for Android phones, but we are struggling to grow, even to survive, in the face of Google systematically setting up obstacles for users to install third-party App Stores in the Android platform and blocking competition in their Google Play store.”
Of Course There’s Now a Bitcoin College Football Bowl Game
Remember the first dot-com bubble, when putative companies would raise money via IPO, then spend the money telling people that they existed? Here we go again: Bitpay, a bitcoin processing company that recently raised $30 million from Richard Branson and Jerry Yang, will spend money attaching itself to a college bowl game. Good-bye, Beef O’Brady’s Bowl — hello, Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl, at least through 2016.
First Person to Say “Disruption 2.0” Gets Punched in the Face
Kevin Roose, New York: “… When everything is disruptive, nothing is. Which is exactly why it might be time to kill the word disruption altogether.”
Point/Counterpoint: I Don’t Believe Robots Will Eat All the Jobs vs. What the Hell Are You Talking About?
Marc Andreessen: “This is probably a good time to say that I don’t believe robots will eat all the jobs. … Robots and AI are not nearly as powerful and sophisticated as I think people are starting to fear. … There are enormous gaps between what we want them to do, and what they can do.”
Alex Payne: “You seem to think everyone’s worried about robots. But what everyone’s worried about is you, Marc. Not just you, but people like you. Robots aren’t at the levers of financial and political influence today, but folks like you sure are. People are scared of so much wealth and control being in so few hands.”
Kanye West: I Have a Stupid Apple-Beats Theory, Also
Kanye West: “There would have been no Beats deal without the Samsung deal [with JayZ]. It showed the No. 1 company the importance of connecting with culture … Apple was so profound at making great products in great design language. And yet they found themselves culturally susceptible to another brand whose products weren’t necessarily as great at that time. Samsung used culture as a way to get into the conversation. And that’s why the Apple/Beats deal makes sense.”
And a Third Group Is Focused Exclusively on New Ways to Annoy Hachette
Brad Stone, Bloomberg Businessweek: “One group at [Amazon’s] Lab126 … is working on a device that projects a computer image onto any surface. A second is developing a wireless speaker that responds to voice commands. Apparently there are many more. Lab126 insiders whisper about a credit-card reading device similar to Square, which could help propel Amazon’s fledgling payments business, plus a remarkably thin upcoming version of the Kindle Paperwhite, code-named Ice Wine.”
ClearChannel’s iheartradio has 50 million registered users, not active users as I reported Tuesday.