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Killer robots have been a staple of TV and movies for decades, from Westworld to The Terminator series. But in the real world, killer robots are officially known as "autonomous weapons."

At the Pentagon, Paul Scharre helped create the U.S. policy for such weapons. In his new book, Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War, Scharre discusses the state of these weapons today.

Since long before anyone can remember, the big, fertile slopes of the Alazani Valley in eastern Georgia have been planted with grapevines. It's the heartland of winemaking in the country that invented it 8,000 years ago. But in recent months, the valley has been going through a new kind of ferment, because of bitcoin.

Amazon has been one of President Trump's favorite targets on Twitter.

He has accused the company of not collecting taxes (which it does), charged it with putting retailers out of business — and focused his attacks on the tech company's relationship with the Postal Service.

So the president might be surprised to learn that one of Amazon's biggest customers is, in fact, the federal government. Amazon's relationship with the government goes well beyond delivering packages — to playing a vital role in protecting America's national security secrets.

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A startup company in California is using machine learning and artificial intelligence to advise fire departments about how to plan for earthquakes and respond to them.

The company, One Concern, hopes its algorithms can take a lot of the guesswork out of the planning process for disaster response by making accurate predictions about earthquake damage. It's one of a handful of companies rolling out artificial intelligence and machine learning systems that could help predict and respond to floods, cyber-attacks and other large-scale disasters.

Tuesday's tax day computer glitch at the IRS prevented the agency from accepting millions of tax returns and forced the IRS to extend the filing deadline for another day.

We now have a better idea of what happened to cause the snafu.

According to an IRS official, the problem arose at 4 a.m. EDT Tuesday, which was the day tax returns were due and the busiest day of the tax year for the IRS.

The joint alert from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security last month warning that Russia was hacking into critical U.S. energy infrastructure may have shaken some Americans. But it came as no surprise to the country's largest grid operator, PJM Interconnection.

Robot Puts Together IKEA Chair

Apr 19, 2018

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Updated at 11 a.m. ET Friday

Facebook on Wednesday announced it is introducing "new privacy experiences" aimed at complying with European Union regulations that will give users worldwide a chance to opt out of some features that could expose their personal data.

"Everyone – no matter where they live – will be asked to review important information about how Facebook uses data and make choices about their privacy on Facebook," said Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer and Ashlie Beringer, deputy general counsel.

Netflix blew past Wall Street expectations this week and added 7.4 million new subscribers between January and March — giving it a total of 125 million paying subscribers worldwide. Its popularity is leaving rivals Amazon and Hulu in the dust as it continues to add new content.

But can the service that made binge watching popular keep it up as a big rival gears up to take it on?

Updated at 8:05 p.m. ET

Tax filers have little longer to get their paperwork in to the Internal Revenue Service.

In a statement, the IRS announced it is giving taxpayers an additional day to file and pay their taxes after technical issues on the agency's website made it impossible for people to view their tax record or make payments for much of the day on Tuesday.

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Updated at 6:55 a.m. ET

The Trump administration's cybersecurity coordinator, Rob Joyce, said Monday that he will leave his post — an announcement that comes just a week after the exit of his boss, Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert.

The European Union is preparing to implement sweeping privacy rules next month, but these new protections of individuals' information may set a new standard around the world — including in the U.S.

Beginning May 25, under the new General Data Protection Regulation, companies that collect or mine personal data must ask users for consent. No longer will firms be able to bury disclosures about pervasive tracking in hard-to-read legal disclaimers.

Activists Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms have noticed that as the world changes, the idea of power is shifting. They argue that the forces behind this shift are either “wildly romanticized or dangerously underestimated.”

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

Where might you find a city that uses only renewable energy?

Try Georgetown, Texas — a red town in a red state that’s going green.

Georgetown’s power company is owned by the city. And that allowed Mayor Dale Ross, who is described as “something of a libertarian at heart,” to make the move away from fossil fuels.

As Smithsonian Magazine reports:

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Lawmakers who want to protect online privacy are looking overseas for models. Here are some of the comments that came out of last week's hearings with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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Chinese social media giant Sina Weibo has reversed its ban on publishing homosexual content, days after announcing the policy. The service, which has nearly 400 million users, drew outrage for lumping gay-themed content in with violent and pornographic material.

"There followed a storm of online criticism of the site," NPR's Rob Schmitz reports from Shanghai.

Billy Mitchell has broken his silence.

Mark Zuckerberg left Capitol Hill last week with his primary mission complete.

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Facebook has started letting around 87 million of its users know that their data may have been scooped up by the political data firm Cambridge Analytica. NPR's Laura Sydell talked to some Facebook users who got the notification.

Updated at 3 a.m. ET

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is looking into the fatal crash last month of an SUV using Tesla's Autopilot system, said it is removing the high-tech automaker from the probe for improperly disclosing details of the investigation.

Tesla says it withdrew from the investigation.

The NTSB is examining last month's crash of a 2017 Tesla Model X near Mountain View, Calif. The vehicle crashed into a concrete lane divider, killing the driver, Walter Huang.

After Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress Tuesday and Wednesday, Facebook users — among many — are still wondering if online privacy still exists.

At the hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday, Rep. Ben Luján (D-N.M.) asked Zuckerberg if Facebook had detailed profiles on even those who had never signed up for the social networking site.

He replied, "In general, we collect data of people who have not signed up for Facebook for security purposes."

Updated at 1:11 p.m. ET Friday

Facebook announced on Wednesday that it will no longer channel funds into an effort that opposed giving social media users more control over their personal data.

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Regulating Facebook

Apr 12, 2018

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