10 things in tech you need to know today
Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Thursday.
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- The co-founder of DeepMind, the artificial intelligence research company acquired by Google in 2014, has quietly gone on leave and it isn't clear why. DeepMind said Mustafa Suleyman was on leave by mutual agreement, and that he was expected back by the end of the year.
- Contractors working for Microsoft Xbox listened to audio of players speaking at home to improve the console's voice command features, Motherboard reports. The contractors said most of the voices they heard were children's.
- President Trump has said he talks with Apple CEO Tim Cook directly because he calls him personally rather than hiring consultants, unlike other major business figures. Trump told Fox News: "Others go out and hire very expensive consultants, and Tim Cook calls Donald Trump directly. Pretty good."
- Amazon opened its biggest campus to date on Wednesday, in the financial district of Hyderabad, India. Amazon India Country Head Amit Agarwal calls the campus "a tangible commitment to that long-term thinking and our plans for India."
- Big data company Palantir has renewed its controversial contract with ICE, according to government filings. The contract has been renewed for the next three years and is worth nearly $50 million, according to redacted text.
- A 24-year-old student in London was left baffled after being caught up in Twitter's purge of Chinese propaganda accounts. Luka Ivezic is a Croatian-born student studying disinformation at a London university, and said he's never visited China.
- On-demand massage startup Zeel reportedly ignored therapists' complaints about sexual harassment and misconduct from its customers. A Gizmodo report suggests that Zeel ignored multiple complaints, with therapists complaining of clients requesting abdomen and upper thigh massages, and even groin massages.
- Giovanni Buttarelli, the European Data Protection Supervisor who was instrumental in introducing Europe's strict new privacy laws in 2018, has died at the age of 62. Apple CEO Tim Cook was among those who paid tribute to Buttarelli.
- YouTube reportedly removed multiple videos from its platform of robots fighting, claiming they showed "the deliberate infliction of animal suffering." Multiple YouTube creators, including many who have been contestants on the TV competition BattleBots, said they received emails from YouTube notifying them that some of their robot-fighting videos have been taken down from the platform.
- US Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who is in charge of securing the country's nuclear arsenal, fell for an Instagram chain hoax on Tuesday. He and other celebrities reposted the same clumsily worded "legal" message about Instagram making all of its users' photos and messages public - a rehash of a hoax that dates back to at least 2012.
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