Washington D.C.’s new expressway tolls charged drivers $40 after its debut | Quartz


The idea behind demand-based toll pricing is simple: When a road is overcrowded by vehicles, increase the price of tolls to dissuade more drivers. When traffic eases up, ease the prices too.

Source: Washington D.C.’s new expressway tolls charged drivers $40 after its debut — Quartz

In China, a Three-Digit Score Could Dictate Your Place in Society | WIRED


Ant Financial wasn’t the only entity keen on using data to measure people’s worth. Coincidentally or not, in 2014 the Chinese government announced it was developing what it called a system of “social credit.”

In 2014, the State Council, China’s governing cabinet, publicly called for the establishment of a nationwide tracking system to rate the reputations of individuals, businesses, and even government officials.

The aim is for every Chinese citizen to be trailed by a file compiling data from public and private sources by 2020, and for those files to be searchable by fingerprints and other biometric characteristics. The State Council calls it a “credit system that covers the whole society.”

For the Chinese Communist Party, social credit is an attempt at a softer, more invisible authoritarianism. The goal is to nudge people toward behaviors ranging from energy conservation to obedience to the Party.

Source: In China, a Three-Digit Score Could Dictate Your Place in Society | WIRED

Peter Schiff: Bitcoin Ultimately Worthless | Payment Week


Schiff pegs his prediction behind a reasonably sound principle: market value.

Schiff asserts that bitcoin right now has value in the market because people are buying it. Once that buying stops, Schiff notes, the value will plummet accordingly.

Source: Peter Schiff: Bitcoin Ultimately Worthless | Payment Week

Microsoft vies with Amazon, Google for $100 billion digital transformation in India | The Hindu


In the battle to dominate cloud computing, Microsoft is taking on rivals Amazon and Google in India. The world’s largest software maker is eyeing digital transformation opportunity worth $100 billion in the country.

Anant Maheshwari, president, Microsoft India, said the narrative for digital transformation in India had changed from being just mobile and cloud first to ‘intelligent edge’ and ‘intelligent cloud’.

“We hear about artificial intelligence and all the cognitive capabilities inside the cloud….. You put all of that together and it starts becoming more than $100 billion dollar opportunity for all of us,” said Mr. Maheshwari, in his keynote address at an event conducted by the company on its Hyderabad campus.

Source: Microsoft vies with Amazon, Google for $100 billion digital transformation in India – The Hindu

Lockheed Martin may top Boeing in race to supply Canada jets


That would mark a reversal in Lockheed’s fortunes after Liberal leader Justin Trudeau campaigned in 2015 on a promise not to buy the firm’s F-35 stealth fighter.

Ottawa on Tuesday scrapped plans to buy 18 Boeing Super Hornets and made clear the company would not win a contract for 88 jets unless it dropped a trade challenge against Canadian planemaker Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO).

Officials estimate the cost of the jets at between C$15 billion ($11.7 billion) and C$19 billion and say it is the biggest investment in the air force in 30 years.

Last week Boeing made clear it would not back down in its fight against Bombardier, which it accuses of trying to dump airliners on the U.S. market.

The firm may not even launch a bid for the 88 jets, the first of which are due to be delivered in 2025.

Source: Lockheed Martin may top Boeing in race to supply Canada jets: experts

Google launching artificial intelligence research center in China


Chinese policy makers have voiced strong support for AI research and development in the country, but have imposed increasingly strict rules on foreign firms in the past year, including new censorship restrictions.

Google’s search engine is banned in the Chinese market along with its app store, email and cloud storage services. China’s cyber regulators say restrictions on foreign media and internet platforms are designed to block influences that contravene stability and socialist ideas.

Source: Google launching artificial intelligence research center in China

U.S.-Russia arms control was possible once—is it possible still?


Thirty years ago last week, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, resulting in the elimination of some 2,700 U.S. and Soviet ground-launched intermediate-range missiles.

Today, that agreement and others are unraveling. A brief look at how American and Russian negotiators managed to get to “yes” in 1987 can illuminate a path forward despite—or, more to the point, because of—current troubled U.S.-Russian relations.

Source: U.S.-Russia arms control was possible once—is it possible still?

A Knightscope security robot is being used to shoo away homeless people in San Francisco | Quartz


The robot, produced by Silicon Valley startup Knightscope, was used to ensure that homeless people didn’t set up camps outside of the nonprofit’s office. It autonomously patrols a set area using a combination of Lidar and other sensors, and can alert security services of potentially criminal activity.

Source: A Knightscope security robot is being used to shoo away homeless people in San Francisco — Quartz

Exxon climate U-turn deserves wary investor cheers


Exxon Mobil’s climate-change U-turn deserves some wary investor cheers. The $350 billion oil firm is finally planning to comply with shareholder demands – approved more than six months ago – to disclose how global warming will affect its business. That’s to be welcomed.

But Exxon’s reputation for fobbing off such concerns means investors need to not just trust, but verify.

Source: Breakingviews – Exxon climate U-turn deserves wary investor cheers

Behind bitcoin boom, Japanese retail investors pile in


Once skeptics, Japanese retail investors have been attracted by the digital currency’s volatility and inefficiencies in pricing that create opportunities to make money on arbitrage between exchanges.

“When I first heard about the bitcoin a few years ago, I thought it was a fraud,” said Yoshinori Kobayashi, 39, a former stock trader who took up bitcoin trading two-and-a-half years ago.

“But I tried it out after I had come to know some people making money on it. I bought it at 60,000 yen, which quickly become 80,000 yen and I started to regret I hadn’t started earlier,” said Kobayashi, who believes bitcoin is on a long uptrend but took some profits last week.

Source: Behind bitcoin boom, Japanese retail investors pile in