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Technology

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Have you ever noticed something most virtual assistants have in common? They all started out female.

One of the most famous, Amazon's Alexa, got her name because of CEO Jeff Bezos' preference. "The idea was creating the Star Trek computer. The Star Trek computer was a woman," says Alex Spinelli, who ran the team that created the software for Alexa.

Spinelli is now the chief technology officer of LivePerson. His boss, CEO Robert LoCascio, is bothered by that story about Alexa.

Animator, director, screenwriter, producer, songwriter — Rebecca Sugar is a true Renaissance woman.

The 30-year-old Maryland native is the force behind “Steven Universe,” the first Cartoon Network show created independently by a woman. The show is now in its fifth season and has become something of an empire.

This piece combines and updates two posts from spring 2018.

During the summer, it's safe to assume children are using technology more than usual.

On the floor of a Zen Buddhist worship space in an apartment building in Washington, D.C., about 15 people recently sat on meditation cushions. They chant sutras and meditate, in complete silence, for a full 30 minutes.

And then one of the lay leaders of the All Beings Zen Sangha, or congregation, conducted a "little exercise."

"It's very simple," said Mark Stone. "If you could take out your screens, stay on them for 12 minutes, doing what you usually do."

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

We have talked lots about Uber drivers and their work status. Our next guest says that is only part of the story of how apps are changing the gig economy.

The Value Of Local Journalism

Jul 2, 2018

When you think of local journalism, maybe the first thought that occurs to you is that local newsrooms are struggling.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is celebrating the company having reached its goal of producing 5,000 Model 3 electric cars a week by the end of June.

"We did it!" Musk wrote in an email to the company, as reported on the website Electrek, which follows Tesla closely. "What an incredible job by an amazing team."

A law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday gives Californians sweeping new data privacy rights and could reverberate nationwide — all because a wealthy voter named Alastair Mactaggart leveraged the state's ballot initiative process to bring the American tech industry to its knees.

Mactaggart, who earned a fortune in Bay Area real estate but is nowhere near as wealthy as political megadonors like George Soros or the Koch brothers, started worrying about data privacy after talking with a Google engineer.

President Trump travels to Wisconsin on Thursday, for the groundbreaking of an enormous Foxconn electronics plant that state officials hope will help turn the region into the next Silicon Valley.

But the $10 billion plant faces continuing skepticism over the nearly $4 billion package of incentives that state and local officials paid out to lure the Taiwan-based company to the area a half hour south of Milwaukee.

Marines Adapt To New Technology

Jun 27, 2018

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FEC Takes On Online Political Ads

Jun 27, 2018

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Girls Who Code: Is There A Wave Coming?

Jun 26, 2018

Ten large tech companies did not employ a single black woman in 2016, according to a new report from The Center for Investigative Reporting.

Even after “Lean In,” written by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, Silicon Valley can still be hostile to women, and women are still diverted from STEM careers. Why?

The city of Orlando, Fla., says it has ended a pilot program in which its police force used Amazon's real-time facial recognition — a system called "Rekognition" that had triggered complaints from rights and privacy groups when its use was revealed earlier this year.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In a ruling seen as a major victory for privacy rights in the digital age, the U.S. Supreme Court this morning has ruled that police need a search warrant to track people's cellphone locations. For more on what this means, we're joined by NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg. Nina, thanks for being here.

NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: My pleasure.

MARTIN: On its face, this seems like a highly consequential ruling.

Updated at 5:32 p.m. ET

In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday that police must obtain a search warrant to access an individual's cellphone location information. The 5-4 decision imposes new limits on law enforcement's ability to get at the increasing amount of data that private companies amass in the modern technological age.

Each World Cup, the sportswear giant Adidas designs an official ball to be used in the tournament.

Federal prosecutors have charged a former CIA software engineer with stealing secret material from the agency and passing it along to "an organization that purports to publicly disseminate classified, sensitive, and confidential information."

Screen time is often considered the enemy when it comes to teaching kids to be active and well-behaved. But should all forms of media be considered equal?

Research being presented Tuesday finds that for 9- and 10-year-old children taking part in a study of brain development, greater social media use, such as scrolling through Instagram and texting, was associated with some positive effects, including increased physical activity, less family conflict and fewer sleep problems.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

If you've heard any of rapper Cardi B's recent string of hits, you know the woman has expensive taste. The Bronx-born star loves Balenciaga, Prada and Gucci. But true fans know that for years she's been one of the most visible spokespeople for a brand that's far more affordable: Fashion Nova, a popular retailer known for being sexy, cheap, and worn by celebrities.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The World Health Organization has added gaming disorders, as in video gaming, to addictive disorders. But this idea of technology addiction is still controversial, as Anya Kamenetz reports.

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Our Take A Number series is exploring problems around the world through the lens of a single number.

Some high school students think of applying to colleges as a full-time job. There are essays and tests, loads of financial documents to assemble and calculations to make. After all that comes a big decision — one of the biggest of their young lives.

For top students who come from low-income families, the challenge is particularly difficult.

This Apple Update Could Prove To Be A True Lifesaver

Jun 18, 2018

With about 80 percent of 911 calls made from mobile devices, it's sometimes difficult for emergency responders to pinpoint the location of those callers.

German police arrested the CEO of Audi, Rupert Stadler, on Monday in connection with the ongoing investigation into Volkswagen's diesel emissions scandal.

Munich prosecutors ordered a search of Stadler's home last week, and officials told the BBC that "they had acted because of a risk that Mr Stadler might seek to suppress evidence."

When Congress approved giving $380 million to states to bolster the security of their elections, state officials were caught off guard but extremely grateful. Elections are notoriously underfunded and haven't seen a windfall like this from the federal government in more than a decade.

But getting that money out to all the states, and then into the hands of localities that run the elections, with enough time to have a meaningful effect on the 2018 midterm elections is a difficult proposition.

Ben Zimmerman lives in a suburb of Chicago. Like a lot of 9-year-olds, he's fond of YouTube, Roblox, and Minecraft.

And, like a lot of parents, his mom and dad wanted to make sure Ben wasn't spending too much time on those activities. They tried to use Google's "Family Link" parental control software to limit screen time for Ben and his older sister, Claudia.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Chicago is famous for its L, the transit system of mostly elevated trains. Soon it might have the X, a high-speed transit system some are calling Tesla in a tunnel. NPR's David Schaper has more.

The U.S. Senate is set to vote as early as next week on whether to reinstate crippling trade sanctions against Chinese telecommunications company ZTE. With that move in sight, a number of U.S. senators are taking aim at a much bigger Chinese target: Huawei — the world's third-largest seller of smartphones, behind Samsung and Apple.

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