Shiny Shiny daily round up: Google fires head of AI ethics unit

Google has fired the founder and co-head of its artificial intelligence ethics unit, claiming she violated the company’s code of conduct. In a statement, Google said an investigation found Margaret Mitchell had moved files outside the company. The ethics unit has been under scrutiny since December, following the departure of another senior figure, Timnit Gebru. Both women had campaigned for more diversity at Google and both had raised concerns about censorship within the company. See story here:

Fashion brand Covalent, which was created to showcase the potential of a biomaterial called AirCarbon, has started communicating with its customers using blockchain software from IBM. This tracks and discloses carbon impact data related to the production of its carbon-negative products. By entering a 12 digit ‘Carbon Date’ into the Covalent website, customers can check the footprint information of a particular product such as a wallet, provided by carbon accounting firm Carbon Trust. See story here:

Australia’s prime minister says Facebook is back at the negotiating table after the tech giant this week blocked news on its site in the country. However, despite Scott Morrison saying Facebook has “tentatively friended us again”, the company has publicly indicated no change in its opposition to the proposed law requiring social media platforms to pay for links to news content. See story here:

Having a lie-in at the weekend when you are used to getting up early all week can affect your mood and increase the risk of depression, according to a new study. Experts from Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan’s academic medical centre, used sleep and mood data from 2,1000 early career doctors taken over a year. An irregular sleep schedule can increase the risk of depression just as much as getting fewer hours of sleep overall or staying up late regularly, they found. See full story here:

First seen at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, Yamaha is expected to start producing its E01 and EC-05 electric scooters very soon. The E01 scooter will have power equivalent to a 125cc combustion engine, and offer the typical electric benefits of recharging at home and simple maintenance and upkeep, while the EC-05 will feature an exchangeable battery unit. See story here:

The US Army is building a laser weapon more than a million times more powerful than any used before. Existing laser weapons produce a continuous beam that is held on a target, such as a drone or missile until it melts – the first was deployed by the US Navy in 2014. The new weapon, known as the Tactical Ultrashort Pulsed Laser for Army Platforms, would be more like science-fiction movie lasers, firing bullet-like pulses of light. Read more:

Chris Price