Sundar Pichai of Google: ‘Technology doesn’t solve humanity’s problems’

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Growing up in India, he slept on the floor of a house without a refrigerator. Today, the chief executive is steering Google through the most turbulent period in its history.

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, last week.CreditCreditErik Tanner for The New York Times

Google is facing more challenges today than at any time in its 20-year history. Employees are outraged over sexual harassment. Executives are under scrutiny for an effort to secretly make a censored version of its search product for China. Google will shut down its social network next year after a security vulnerability was discovered. Political and social debates, including one over building military-grade artificial intelligence, are roiling the work force.

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We need Elon Musk much more than he needs us

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Heroes are not created equal. Most people recognize the name Sully Sullenberger, but far fewer can tell you what Alan Turing did during World War II.

Fewer still could tell you that Turing was chemically castrated because he was gay, and committed suicide shortly thereafter. But thanks for bringing one of the most horrifying wars in history to an abrupt end, I guess?

Society isn’t always kind to its heroes. We ask for an ill-defined yet idealized sort of perfection, and when our heroes fall short, we make sure they fall twice as hard.

Some might write this phenomenon off as a minor inconvenience for the rich, successful or famous, but times have changed. The human costs of war pale in comparison to the battles humanity will face in the years to come.

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How a team of innovators overcame the odds to create water from thin air

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Today, 790 million people — 11 percent of the world’s population — live without access to clean water.

Two years ago, XPrize, an international nonprofit organization, announced a global competition enticing innovators to find a sustainable and affordable way to bring potable water to those who aren’t privileged enough to have it now.

Skeptics told the competition organizers that it was impossible.

Nearly 100 submissions later, and XPrize found precisely what they were looking for — entrepreneurs who could design a minimalistic device that could reliably extract 2,000 liters of water from the atmosphere per day for no more than two cents per liter all using 100 percent renewable energy.

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Amazing solar panel device is now open source

Anyone who has wanted to generate their own energy and filter their own water can now do so with an amazing open source device.

Speaking on stage at Inspirefest 2018, Chinese-Canadian mechanical and electrical engineer Eden Full Goh described what inspired her to develop a cheap, easy-to-build solar panel device called the SunSaluter.

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A new way to think about solving the world’s biggest problems

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How to build global cooperation. It’s SIMPOL!

A while back I received a book in the mail titled “The SIMPOL Solution: A New Way to Think About Solving the World’s Biggest Problems” by John Bunzl and Nick Duffell, who were unknown to me. I get sent a lot of books with grandiose titles and don’t get around to reading most of them. But something about this one intrigued me, along with an endorsement by Noam Chomsky, who wrote “It’s ambitious and provocative: Can it work? Certainly worth a serious try”.

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The web had failed to serve humanity: Tim Berners-Lee was crushed when Russia used Facebook to meddle in U.S. elections

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World wide web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee said he was “devastated” by recent abuses of the web, in an interview with Vanity Fair.

He is working on a new platform, named Solid, to re-decentralise the internet and take power away from monopolies like Google and Facebook.

He still has hope that the internet can become a something that serves humanity well.

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Toronto pay-what-you-can store aims to tackle landfills and hunger

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Initiative aims to reduce dumping of ‘waste’ and sell it at prices set by buyers.

In a bright, airy Toronto market, the shelves are laden with everything from organic produce to pre-made meals and pet food. What shoppers won’t find, however, is price tags. In what is believed to be a North American first, everything in this grocery store is pay-what-you-can.

The new store aims to tackle food insecurity and wastage by pitting the two issues against each other, said Jagger Gordon, the Toronto chef who launched the venture earlier this month.

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Amazon is recruiting people to start delivery businesses. Here’s why I think some people could get rich

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There’s risk in any business. But if you asked me to invest in a business with these built-in advantages, I’d certainly listen.

I know a lot of people who have made a ton of money on Amazon.

Now, Amazon says it wants to recruit entrepreneurs to build a national network of small, independent delivery companies–driving leased vans with Amazon branding. If you’ve aspired to start your own business, and you have leadership ability and access to a relatively small amount of capital, it could be well worth looking at.

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How data scientists are using AI for suicide prevention

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The Crisis Text Line uses machine learning to figure out who’s at risk and when to intervene.

When horrible news — like the deaths by suicide of chef, author, and TV star Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade, or the 2015 Paris attacks — breaks, crisis counseling services often get deluged with calls from people in despair. Deciding whom to help first can be a life-or-death decision.

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How the world’s first loneliness minister will tackle the sad reality of modern life

Loneliness Report Launched In Memory of Murdered MP Jo Cox

A woman holds the report of the Jo Cox Commission on December 15, 2017 in Batley, England. The report has highlighted that the UK should appoint a “minister for loneliness.”

Tracey Crouch knows what it’s like to feel frighteningly alone. After giving birth to her first child, Freddie, in 2016, the British lawmaker says that despite having a “network of friends, family and a wonderful partner,” she began feeling cut off from the world. It wasn’t a new sensation; Crouch says she also suffered from depression six years earlier, when she first became a member of parliament. It felt like she was “in a very dark place, a very lonely place” she recalls.

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Life… UNLIMITED: Beating ageing is set to become the biggest business in the world, say tycoons

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Silicon Valley billionaires are investing in slowing the ageing process

They include PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos

Investor Jim Mellon is leading the anti-ageing race on this side of the Atlantic

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XPRIZE Founder Peter Diamandis: ‘We’re Living at a Time When Individual Entrepreneurs Are More Powerful Than Governments’

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Peter Diamandis is the founder and executive chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation, which designs and operates large-scale incentive competitions to, in essence, change the world.

In the words of its own criteria, an Xprize must be bold, audacious, and achievable. It must target market failure, drive investment, and give birth to a new industry. And, of course, it must give other innovators hope.

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