Backchannel

Presumably, Robin Li wanted attention last summer when he decided to launch Baidu’s bid for the future of self-driving cars from the front seat of a car that was driving itself. He wanted to draw attention to Apollo, the company’s new set of artificial intelligence-driven tools, which Li hopes will…

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The other week, Facebook chose a curious moment to give me a survey. I had just deleted the app from my phone, likely because of some fresh horror about ad targeting, and when I next pulled up the site in my browser, I got this message: “Please agree or disagree…

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As a company, Meetup has long embraced its position as a small, mission-driven operation. While other social software companies from the Web 2.0 era, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, focused on keeping their users on their sites for as long as possible, Meetup’s purpose was always to get people off…

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There’s truth in the stereotype that immigrants often get handed jobs others would avoid like the plague. For most of his career, Dara Khosrowshahi, who came to the United States from Iran when he was nine, didn’t fit that category. Then came his most recent job: On August 28, 2017,…

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The immigrant entrepreneur’s road to Silicon Valley is paved with visas. And every one tells a tale. In the case of Purva Gupta, who is now the 29-year-old founder of Lily, a Palo Alto-based startup that’s building an AI-driven fashion app, the precious US government documents weave a kind of…

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The video “‘70 youths of African appearance’ rampage through Fair etc etc etc” opens with a graphic of a bearded man in sunglasses with a cigar hanging out of his mouth. A name flashes on screen: Colin Flaherty. Flaherty is a prolific YouTuber and writer who chronicles violence by African…

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Lancelot Braithwaite cannot get through my visit without bursting forth a mantra that once served him and thousands of consumers well: “Read the frickin’ instruction manual!” he bellows. “And don’t throw it out unless you’re pretty good at memorizing it!” Never mind that products—from iPhones to Facebook—have made manuals into…

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