Longtime Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley is our Copilot on this week’s GeekWire Podcast

It was a big week for Microsoft, with the unveiling of the company’s latest Windows and AI features and new Surface devices at a special event in New York City. This was preceded, by only a few days, by the surprise resignation of Panos Panay, the chief product officer in charge of the company’s Windows and Devices division. Shortly after that announcement, Bloomberg News reported that Panay was set to join Amazon as the new leader of its Devices & Services division, a surprise twist that has yet to be confirmed as of publication time. To help sort it all… Read More

First Lady Jill Biden visits Seattle, stops at Fred Hutch to boost Cancer Moonshot program

First Lady Jill Biden visited Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center on Friday in Seattle, where she met with researchers and spoke about cancer prevention and the need to mitigate side effects and reduce recurrence. She also touched on what it’s like for families and individuals to navigate the complexities of cancer and the healthcare system. “It just feels like you’re walking under water,” said Biden during a listening session with Fred Hutch researchers and a breast cancer patient. President Biden’s son Beau Biden died from brain cancer in 2015. Jill Biden’s visit came after her Sept. 13 announcement with President Biden… Read More

Interview: UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt visits Amazon and Microsoft; talks AI, China, economy

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, the United Kingdom’s chief financial minister, visited Seattle on Friday as part of a West Coast tour to promote the expansion of the UK’s tech sector, and lay the groundwork for an upcoming global artificial intelligence safety summit organized by the British government. He spoke with GeekWire following meetings in Seattle with tech and business leaders including Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan, and Alphabet/Google CFO Ruth Porat. Continue reading for an edited transcript of the interview. GeekWire: How would you describe the substance of your meetings with Microsoft, Google, and… Read More

Construction software company Procore acquires Seattle mapping startup Unearth

Unearth Technologies, a Seattle startup that develops mapping software for the construction industry, announced Friday it was acquired by Procore Technologies, a publicly traded company based in Southern California. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Founded in 2016, Unearth sells mobile software called OnePlace, which aims to bring together construction project data within comprehensive maps by using geographic information system (GIS) technology. Customers include contractors, utilities, and Fortune 500 companies. “Over the years, Unearth has helped our customers manage thousands of miles of buried utilities — we’ve seen our product deployed at dams, air bases, across swaths of rugged… Read More

Unity’s Marc Whitten shares apology note following backlash to controversial licensing policies

After more than a week of controversy, Unity Technologies posted an apology letter to its community and promised to undo or roll back many of the changes it had planned to make to the licensing agreements for its game engine Unity. San Francisco-based Unity is the most commonly used engine in modern video game production, particularly in the mobile and indie spaces. Roughly 70% of all currently and recently developed games used Unity’s tool set, including roughly 80% of mobile games. Unity, which has an office in Bellevue, Wash., last week announced that it planned to make several updates to… Read More

Shift AI Podcast: Riding the wave of AI startup innovation with Pioneer Square Labs’ T.A. McCann

“I think any pitch that doesn’t have AI in it is just not going to get a look unless the team is incredible… but it’d be unlikely that an incredible team wouldn’t be at least thinking about leveraging the newest, coolest technology. It’s just that important.” That’s one of the observations from T.A. McCann, managing director at Seattle-based Pioneer Square Labs, on this episode of Shift AI, a show that explores what it takes to thrive and adapt to the changing workplace in the digital age of remote work and AI. We discuss TA’s background and experience building fast-growing venture backed… Read More

Where’s Astro? Amazon addresses home robot’s absence from annual devices event

Amazon’s Astro home robot was introduced at the company’s fall Devices & Services event two years ago. Last year, Astro’s name was mentioned no less than 25 times during the annual event. This year: zero mentions. Combined with the earlier departure of Amazon’s VP of consumer robotics, Ken Washington, the absence of the 17-inch tall Alexa-enabled robot earlier this week left us wondering if Astro (or at least the project) was still alive. “As we mentioned when we announced Astro, this will be a long journey,” an Amazon spokesperson said in response to GeekWire’s inquiry earlier this week. The statement… Read More

Amazon to add commercial breaks to Prime Video shows and movies

Amazon is ready to interrupt Prime Video programming to bring commercial breaks to its streaming shows and movies, the company announced Friday. Amazon joins a growing list of streamers giving in to the need for revenue beyond subscriptions in order to compete for content. “We aim to have meaningfully fewer ads than linear TV and other streaming TV providers,” the company said in a blog post about its plans, which will start early next year. Ads will be introduced in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Canada at first, followed by France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, and Australia later in 2024. The… Read More

Science and Technology | AP

A sign marks a roadside rest stop that has been made to look like the historic security gate that a...
Associated Press

Birthplace of the atomic bomb braces for its biggest mission since the top-secret Manhattan Project

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — Los Alamos was the perfect spot for the U.S. government’s top-secret Manhattan Project. Almost overnight, the ranching enclave on a remote plateau in northern New Mexico was transformed into a makeshift home for scientists, engineers and young soldiers racing to develop the world’s first atomic bomb. Dirt roads were hastily […]
9 hours ago
Associated Press

California bill to have humans drivers ride in autonomous trucks is vetoed by governor

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom has vetoed a bill to require human drivers on board self-driving trucks, a measure that union leaders and truck drivers said would save hundreds of thousands of jobs in the state. The legislation vetoed Friday night would have banned self-driving trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds (4,536 […]
10 hours ago
A man holds an iPhone next to an Amazon Echo, center, and a Google Home, right, in New York on June...
Associated Press

Amazon unveils a ‘smarter and more conversational’ Alexa amid AI race among tech companies

Amazon has unveiled a slew of gadgets and an update to its popular voice assistant Alexa, infusing it with more generative AI features to better compete with other tech companies who’ve rolled out flashy chatbots.
2 days ago
Associated Press

Pennsylvania state government will prepare to start using AI in its operations

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania state government will prepare to use artificial intelligence in its operations, Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro said Wednesday, as states are increasingly trying to gauge the impact of AI and how to regulate it. Shapiro, speaking at a news conference at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, said his administration is convening […]
3 days ago
Associated Press

California law restricting companies’ use of information from kids online is halted by federal judge

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge has halted implementation of a California law intended to restrict companies’ use of information gathered from young internet users in order to protect the privacy of minors. U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman on Monday granted a preliminary injunction, saying the legislation interferes with firms’ use of […]
4 days ago
FILE - The Amazon Prime logo appears on the side of a delivery van as it departs an Amazon Warehous...
Associated Press

Amazon plans to hire 250,000 workers for holiday season

Amazon said on Tuesday that it will hire 250,000 full- and part-time workers for the holiday season, a 67% jump compared to last year.
4 days ago
FILE - Various Google logos are displayed on a Google search, Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, in New York. ...
Associated Press

Google brings its AI chatbot, Bard, into its inner circle

Google is introducing Bard, its artificially intelligent chatbot, to other members of its digital family — including Gmail, Maps and YouTube — as it seeks ward off competitive threats posed by similar technology run by Open AI and Microsoft.
5 days ago
Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer Panos Panay holds a Surface Duo, left, and Surface Neo at an ev...
Associated Press

Microsoft chief product exec behind Surface devices and Windows 11 steps down

A top product executive at Microsoft who launched its Surface line of computers and Windows 11 is leaving the company.
5 days ago
Associated Press

A railroad worker was crushed to death in Ohio by a remote-controlled train. Unions have concerns

A railroad worker was crushed to death between two railcars over the weekend by a remote-controlled train in a CSX railyard in Ohio, raising concerns among unions about such technology. The death highlights the need for an in-depth review of the use of remote-controlled locomotives, the Transportation Communications Union and Brotherhood of Railway Carmen said […]
5 days ago
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., takes question from reporters after a closed-door Dem...
Associated Press

Tech industry leaders endorse regulating artificial intelligence at rare summit in DC

The nation's biggest technology executives on Wednesday loosely endorsed the idea of government regulations for artificial intelligence at an unusual closed-door meeting in the U.S. Senate.
6 days ago
In this 2022 photo provided by Joby Aviation is Joby’s pre-production prototype aircraft at the c...
Associated Press

Hundreds of flying taxis to be made in Ohio, home of the Wright brothers and astronaut legends

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The same Ohio river valley where the Wright brothers pioneered human flight will soon be manufacturing cutting-edge electric planes that take off and land vertically, under an agreement announced Monday between the state and Joby Aviation Inc. “When you’re talking about air taxis, that’s the future,” Republican Gov. Mike DeWine told […]
6 days ago
President Joe Biden speaks about the auto workers strike from the Roosevelt Room of the White House...
Associated Press

Auto worker strike creates test of Biden’s goals on labor and climate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two of President Joe Biden ‘s top goals — fighting climate change and expanding the middle class by supporting unions — are colliding in the key battleground state of Michigan as the United Auto Workers go on strike against the country’s biggest car companies. The strike involves 13,000 workers so far, less […]
8 days ago
Driver Milton Barnes poses for a photo with customer David Bunn in front of his RIDE van in Wilson,...
Associated Press

What if public transit was like Uber? A small city ended its bus service to find out

When a small city abruptly parked all its buses to launch a publicly subsidized van service offering $1.50 trips anywhere in town, only one of its bus drivers — a big-city transplant — went along for the ride. Milton Barnes used to oversee packed subway stations in Washington, D.C., a far cry from the sparsely […]
8 days ago
An error message is displayed on a machine at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023. MGM ...
Associated Press

Two Vegas casinos fell victim to cyberattacks, shattering the image of impenetrable casino security

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A persistent error message greeted Dulce Martinez on Monday as she tried to access her casino rewards account to book accommodations for an upcoming business trip. That’s odd, she thought, then toggled over to Facebook to search for clues about the issue on a group for MGM Resorts International loyalty members. […]
8 days ago
Image: A 2020 Nissan Leaf is on display at the 2020 Pittsburgh International Auto Show on Feb. 13, ...
Micki Gamez

We’re open books on the open road: Car brands are awful at privacy, security

"Cars are the worst product category we have ever reviewed for privacy," according to one group.
9 days ago