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Eating the Crappy Stuff

19 February Subscribe
Tech news, HAT-slanted 
Issue 122


I think the world may be divided into believers and non-believers when it comes to autonomous cars. 

A CTO I respect believes (pretty forcefully!) that cars that drive on roads and avoid pedestrians in every scenario are an impossible dream. Elon Musk thinks they'll be here replacing taxis in two years. I'm not saying one's right and the other's wrong but it seems a damnably hard challenge and I desperately want it to be overcome.

The race to autonomous vehicles is about all of the fun stuff in computing technology these days: chips that break Moore's law, deep learning and other AI, networked transportation-as-a-service ideas.

And it's about data. We trot out the "why is Tesla worth more than GM" line all the time in Warwick when we're talking to entrepreneurship students. It's because they're collecting terabytes of valuable journey and car data, and delivering critical car updates over the air. They're more rolling personal mobility computers than electronically-empowered vehicles.

That's the whole world, next. Everything will be an empowered computer version of the old practically-mechanical version of what it used to be. That's why we need you to be at the hub of all things.

Yours in HAT, 

Leila Trilby, Editor-in-chief

The doghouse

TikTok banned in India for fears of Child Pornography. There's a bigger story here (that we've covered before) about whether we want end-to-end encryption / privacy if it opens the door to nasty stuff.

Because it wasn't really fair to have our first mention of them be about porn, here's another TikTok story. It is the most valuable startup in the world, worth USD $75bn with 500m users and a younger audience than Facebook. The company is Chinese but says none of its data is stored in China and the government does not have access, and has been cited before for violating kids' privacy. (Ever wondered what a Facebook founded in 2019 in China would look like?)

The present

Even if cars are hard, Google is showing us how much it can do with AI.

Really interestingly, we all seem to care about contactless. I never thought we would but there you go.

The future

We're a week late on the Uber-bashing, but that's never stopped us before. The company-that-will-never-be-profitable just raised another $1b before it spins out into its own new "will-never-be-profitable" business. 

Similarly, I'm not sure why we're listening to this guy anymore since he's continually missing targets, but Elon Musk has projected less than two years before "we're probably building cars without steering wheels and pedals." Oooook then.

HAT News

Waves. Hellos to friendly investors newly in our network: Notion, Kindred, Cambridge Angels, CCG, and CIC. Nice to be talking to you about the future of data.

Moar funding. Many HAT-friendly companies are raising at the same time we are. Goog luck to Good-Loop, Padoq, Feral Horses, Sentient Machines, and Quensus on their Angel and Seed rounds.

Bring them to England. Warm welcome to the team from TODAQ who are in the UK sponsoring hackathons and other fun. 

Jonathan Holtby, HAT Community Manager

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