Video The driver of the autonomous Uber was distracted before fatal crash

The Tempe, Arizona police department have released a video showing the moments before the fatal crash that involved Uber’s self-driving car. The video includes the view of the street from the Uber and a view of minder behind the wheel of the autonomous Uber.

Warning: This video is disturbing.

Tempe Police Vehicular Crimes Unit is actively investigating
the details of this incident that occurred on March 18th. We will provide updated information regarding the investigation once it is available.

— Tempe Police (@TempePolice) March 21, 2018

The video shows the victim crossing a dark street when an Uber self-driving Volvo XC90 strikes her at 40 mph. It also shows the person who is supposed to be babysitting the autonomous vehicle looking down moments before the crash. It’s unclear what is distracting the minder. It’s also unclear why Uber’s systems did not detect and react to the victim who was clearly moving across its range of sensors at walking speeds.

Uber provided the following statement regarding the incident to TechCrunch:

Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident.

Since the crash on March 19, Uber has pulled all its vehicles from the roads operating in Pittsburgh, Tempe, San Francisco and Toronto. This is the first time an autonomous vehicle operating in self-driving mode has resulted in a human death. In a statement to TechCrunch, the NHTSA said it has sent over its “Special Crash Investigation” team to Tempe. This is “consistent with NHTSA’s vigilant oversight and authority over the safety of all motor vehicles and equipment, including automated technologies,” a spokesperson for the agency told TechCrunch.

“NHTSA is also in contact with Uber, Volvo, Federal, State and local authorities regarding the incident,” the spokesperson said. “The agency will review the information and proceed as warranted.”

Toyota also paused its self-driving testing in the US following the accident.

This tragic accident is the sort of situation self-driving vehicles are supposed to address. After all, these systems are supposed to be able to see through the dark and cannot get distracted by Twitter.

Get the latest TC stories read to you over the phone with BrailleVoice

For the visually impaired, there are lots of accessibility options if you want to browse the web — screen readers, podcast versions of articles and so on. But it can still be a pain to keep up with your favorite publications the way sighted app users do. BrailleVoice is a project that puts the news in a touch-tone phone interface, reading you the latest news from your favorite publications (like this one) easily from anywhere you get a signal.

It’s from SpaceNext, AKA Shan, who has a variety of useful little apps he’s developed over the years on his page — John wrote up one back in 2011. Several of them have an accessibility aspect to them, something that always piques my interest.

“Visually challenged users will find it difficult to navigate using apps,” he wrote in an email. “I thought with text to speech readily available… they would be able to make a call to a toll free number to listen to latest news from any site.”

All you do is dial 1-888-666-4013, then listen to the options on the menu. TechCrunch is the first outlet listed, so hit 1# and it’ll read out the headlines. Select one (of mine) and it’ll jump right in. That’s it! There are a couple of dozen sites listed right now, from LifeHacker (hit 15#) to the Times of India (hit 26#). You can also suggest new sites to add, presumably as long as they have some kind of RSS feed. (This should be a reminder why you should keep your website or news service accessible in some like manner.)

“More importantly,” he continued, “this works even without internet even in the remotest of places. You can listen to your favorite news site without having to spend a dime or worry about internet.”

Assuming you can get a voice signal and you’ve got minutes, anyway. I quite like the idea of someone walking into the nearest town, pulling out their old Nokia, dialing this up and keeping up to date with the most news-addicted of us.

The text to speech engine is pretty rudimentary, but it’s better than what we all had a few years back, and it’ll only get better as improved engines like Google’s and Apple’s trickle down for general purpose use. I’m going to ask them about that, actually.

It’s quite a basic service, but what more does it need to have, really? Shan is planning to integrate voice controls into the likes of Google Home and Al

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AI game trainer Gosuai raises 19M to give gamers a virtual assistant

If you play hardcore and competitive games, you want to win, so it would be useful to have someone leaning over your shoulder giving you tips on how to play better. Someone who knows all your moves and behaviors, for instance.

That’s the thinking behind, which has developed an AI assistant to help gamers play smarter and improve their skills. It’s now raised a $1.9M funding round led by Runa Capital, with participation from Ventech and existing investor, Sistema_VC. Previously, the startup was backed by Gagarin Capital, a new Silicon Valley-based early-stage VC firm focusing on AI investments, which invested in Prisma and MSQRD, which exited to Facebook and Google, respectively. provides tools and guidance for users to improve their skills in competitive games. It analyzes their matches and makes personal recommendations. It also helps players prep, suggesting gear sets, starting items and offering ideas on how to take on a particular opponent. The platform currently works with Dota 2, with plans to support CS:GO and PUBG in the near future.

The company was founded by Alisa Chumachenko (pictured), who was the creator and former CEO of Game Insight, a big gaming world player. She says: “There are 2 billion gamers in the world now and 600 million of them play hardcore games, such as MOBAs, Shooters and MMOs. We can help those players reach their full potential with our AI assistants.”’s main competitors are Mobalytics, Dojomadness and Moremmr. But the main difference is that these competitors make analytics of raw statistics, and find the generalized weak spots in comparison with other players, giving general recommendations. analyzes the specific actions of each player, down to the movement of their mouse, to cater direct recommendations for the player. So it’s more like a virtual assistant than a training platform.

In addition, Gosu works in the B2B field, as well, by offering gaming companies a variety of AI tools, for example a predictive analytics.

Now would be a good time for Mark Zuckerberg to resign

Facebook is at the center of a dozen controversies, and outrage is peaking. The social network has failed again and again at expanding beyond a handful of core features. Doubts of its usefulness, and assertions of its uselessness, are multiplying. A crisis of confidence at multiple levels threatens the company’s structure and mission. Now is the time for Mark Zuckerberg to spare himself the infamy and resign — for Facebook’s sake and his own.

I’m not calling for his resignation, and I don’t say this out of any animus toward Zuckerberg; I personally believe him to be genuine and driven in his stated desire to connect the world — but likely increasingly frustrated by the unexpected consequences of this naive ambition and the haste with which he has pursued it. I just think that it has come to the point where the best way for him to advance that ambition is to leave.

There are three major reasons why.

Facebook has failed

Of course, it’s also true that Facebook has succeeded beyond every expectation. But its success arrived early and remains essentially a simple thing: being a broadly accessible, functioning social network. A single network of friends, a basic news feed from them and a few adjunct capabilities were industry-defining ideas and to a certain point were executed quite well. Beyond that admittedly towering success, Facebook has accomplished remarkably little.

Attempts to make Facebook a ubiquitous social graph layer connecting all apps and services failed because consumers found it creepy, companies found it threatening to rely completely on the company for demographic data and tech was moving too quickly for the data Facebook had to be universally applicable. (Except, of course, in advertising, where it is evergreen.)

Attempts to make Facebook a gaming platform failed partly because the social aspect of gaming is radioactive, and partly because the attention economy produces really bad games. Repurposing an established community into a gaming one was a non-starter, and what’s left of the brief Facebook gaming flash in the pan is just an oily residue clinging to the side of the news feed.

Attempts to make Facebook a VR/AR powerhouse are ongoing, but that entire segment of tech has proven incredibly disappointing and eye-wateringly expensive for everyone involved. So far they’re a market leader in a m

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Twitter’s chief information security officer is reportedly quitting

Twitter Chief Information Security Officer Michael Coates is leaving the company, The Verge first reported. Word on the street is that Coates is leaving to start his own company.

Coates has reportedly been replaced on an interim basis by Joseph Camileri, a senior manager for information security and risk.

This comes following the impending and rumored departures of other high-level security officers at Google and Facebook.

Yesterday, Google Director of Information Security Engineering Michael Zelewski announced his upcoming departure on Twitter. With Facebook, there were reports that CSO Alex Stamos was leaving his role, but that seems to not be true. Instead, Stamos said his role is simply changing to focus more on election security and emerging security risks.

I’ve reached out to Twitter and will update this story if I hear back.

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