Grind for June 13th, 2018
“For changes to be of any true value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent.”
– Tony Robbins
On Again Off Again
Chinese phone company shells out $1 billion to stay in US
You’ve probably heard of ZTE – the Chinese telecom company that has been accused of using phones to spy on American citizens.
In April, ZTE was banned from working with US companies after it was found to have violated US sanctions by working with Iran and North Korea.
Without its US business partners, ZTE was forced to halt production.
President Trump in May said he was working on a deal to get ZTE back into the US. In early June, the Administration announced ZTE had paid a $1 billion fine to regain access to US businesses.
In addition to the fine, the new agreement forces ZTE to alter its management and establishes a US “compliance team” that will work within ZTE for the next decade.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross insists the agreement gives the US the power to ensure ZTE does nothing wrong. “We will closely monitor ZTE’s behavior,” said Ross. “If they commit any further violations, we would again be able to deny them access to US technology as well as collect the additional $400 million in escrow.”
Others are questioning why Trump would offer a deal to a company that broke US sanctions and allegedly spied on US citizens.
“The Trump Administration is giving ZTE and China the green light to spy on Americans and sell our technology to North Korea and Iran, as long as it pays a fine that amounts to a tiny fraction of its revenue,” argues Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).
Last week, Trump met with his trade advisers to discuss Beijing’s offer to import an extra $70 billion in American goods over the next year.
The offer follows massive tariffs on China including steel, aluminum, washing machines, and solar panel components.
New Uber program could block drunken passengers
Uber in recent years has emerged as a safe alternative to drunk driving, but it looks like Uber doesn’t want your business if you’ve been drinking.
According to a CNN Money report last week, Uber filed an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office for a machine learning system that predicts an Uber passengers “state.”
Uber says the program will identify “tired” passengers who “might have difficulty locating the provider’s vehicle,” but what the program actually does is predict when a user might be intoxicated.
The innovative program analyzes the following factors to identify whether a passenger is in an “unusual” state:
— How accurately/quickly the passenger types in his information
— The angle at which the passenger holds his phone
— Location and time of day
— Walking speed
— Passenger’s history with Uber
Based on this information, the program could give Uber drivers a head’s up about the passenger’s state, change the pick-up/drop-off location to a safer area, block the passenger from joining a carpool, match the passenger with a more experienced driver, or choose to block the passenger from accessing a ride.
In my opinion, the new program is a lawsuit waiting to happen (and Uber really doesn’t need any more lawsuits).
I understand that Uber drivers don’t want to deal with rowdy passengers or clean vomit from their cars, but these annoyances have always been part of the ride-sharing industry.
If you don’t want to deal with drunk people, don’t work for Uber.
GOOD TO THE LAST DROP:
Did you know… President George W. Bush and Playboy founder Hugh Hefner are cousins!