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Years of Mark Zuckerberg's Old Facebook Posts Have Vanished. The Company Says it 'Mistakenly Deleted' Them.
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '19 at 08:30 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's oops department:
Old Facebook posts by Mark Zuckerberg have disappeared -- obscuring details about core moments in Facebook's history. An anonymous reader shares a report: On multiple occassions, years-old public posts made by the 34-year-old billionaire chief executive that were previously public and reported on by news outlets at the time have since vanished, Business Insider has found. That includes all of the posts he made during 2007 and 2008. Reached for comment, a Facebook spokesperson said the posts were "mistakenly deleted" due to "technical errors." "A few years ago some of Mark's posts were mistakenly deleted due to technical errors. The work required to restore them would have been extensive and not guaranteed to be successful so we didn't do it," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"We agree people should be able to find information about past announcements and major company news, which is why for years we've shared and archived this information publicly - first on our blog and in recent years on our Newsroom." The total number of vanished posts could be significantly higher, as the very nature of the issue makes it extremely difficult to make a full accounting of what exactly what has gone missing over the years. The spokesperson said they didn't know how many posts in total were deleted.

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On its 10th Anniversary, Grammarly Looks Way Beyond Grammar
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '19 at 07:10 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's interesting-moves department:
The service that began by checking prose for glaring mistakes increasingly wants to help its nearly 20 million daily users do more than simply avoid errors. From a report: Plenty of technology companies give away stickers of the sort their fans can slap on the back of a laptop. But the ones available for the taking in the reception area at Grammarly's San Francisco office are distinctly its own -- willfully low-key and thoughtful rather than brash and boastful. Being low-key and thoughtful is a logical tone for a company that is in the business of helping people fine-tune their written words, whether they're meant for a business document, school paper, or social media post. That is what Grammarly has been doing for a decade, since its founding on April 1, 2009, under its soon-abandoned original name of Sentenceworks. But it's also how it wants to run its business, which -- rather than moving fast and breaking things -- waited six years before offering a free version and another two before taking on outside funding.

[...] Grammarly is celebrating its 10th birthday by announcing that it's on the cusp of reaching 20 million daily active users, including both users of the free version and those who pay $30 a month (or $140 a year) for Grammarly Premium or $15 per user per month for Grammarly Business. That's up from 15 million last October and just 1 million at the end of 2015, the year it introduced its free version. The company is an uncommonly effective direct marketer; even if you've never tried its service yourself, there's a pretty good chance you've been exposed to it on YouTube. And even if you hit the "Skip Ad" button as fast as you could, enough viewers have paid attention that YouTube rated Grammarly's spot as the most effective "TrueView for Action" ad of 2018, based on reach, clicks, and engagement.

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Gmail Turns 15, Gets Smart Compose Improvements and Email Scheduling
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '19 at 07:10 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's moving-forward department:
Today, to celebrate its fifteenth birthday, the Gmail team announced a couple of a new and useful Gmail features, including improvements to Smart Compose and the ability to schedule emails to be sent in the future. From a report: Smart Compose, which tries to autocomplete your emails as you type them, will now be able to adapt to the way you write the greetings in your emails. If you prefer 'Hey' over 'Hi,' then Smart Compose will learn that. If you often fret over which subject to use for your emails, then there's some relief here for you, too, because Smart Compose can now suggest a subject line based on the content of your email. With this update, Smart Compose is now also available on all Android devices.

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New Male Birth Control Pill Succeeds In Preliminary Testing
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '19 at 04:30 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's planned-parenthood department:
"A second male birth control pill succeeded in preliminary testing, suggesting that a new form of contraception may eventually exist," reports Time:

The new pill, which works similarly to female contraception, passed initial safety tests and produced hormone responses consistent with effective birth control in 30 men, according to research presented by the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute and the University of Washington at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting. (The study has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.) It's early days for the drug -- which has not yet been submitted for approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) -- but co-principal investigator Dr. Christina Wang, lead researcher at LA BioMed, says it's an important step toward effective, reversible male hormonal contraception....
Unlike a 2016 male birth control trial that famously stopped enrolling volunteers early because so many men complained of side effects, none of the men experienced serious problems, and no one stopped taking the drug because of side effects.

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More Colleges Try Forgoing Tuition For A Percentage of Future Income
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '19 at 01:50 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's investing-in-your-future department:
"Some innovative colleges, in partnership with private investors and a small number of philanthropies, are experimenting with a new financing model called 'income share agreements' or 'ISAs,'" reports Yahoo Finance:

With an ISA, instead of assuming a fixed debt obligation, students simply agree to pay an affordable percentage of their future income over a set time period, subject to an overall cap. High earners will have larger payments than low earners, but all will have an affordable payment, based on what they will actually be making. Importantly, when the college is providing some or all of the funding for the ISA, its return will be aligned with its students' post-college earnings, giving it economic incentives to make sure its students both graduate and find jobs. The college is, literally, invested in its students' success...

With ISAs, there is no principal or interest. Thus, they are much better suited for low income students as their financial obligations never exceed their ability to pay... In a recent paper commissioned by the Manhattan Institute, we looked at the small but growing number of colleges and universities offering ISA programs. Indiana's Purdue University launched the first such program in 2016. About a dozen other institutions have now followed suit, including Lackawanna College in Pennsylvania, Clarkson University in New York, and the University of Utah. Most of these pioneers offer ISAs to students as an alternative to non-subsidized federal loans, though a few are offering them as a complete substitute for borrowing... A common feature of all these ISA programs is that they require payments only when the graduate meets a certain income threshold. All impose time limits and caps on the total amount that needs to be repaid, though they differ widely in where they set those caps and limits.

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OS/2 Warp Community Announces It's Merging With the Flat Earth Society
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '19 at 12:30 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's here-be-dragons department:
"From now on our communities will merge to became one single point of contact for OS/2 users and people investigating the truth about our planet earth," OS2World announced today.
OS2World's news master martiniturbide, also a Slashdot reader, writes: The OS/2 community expects that this action will benefit the platform by getting the funds to finally create an open source clone of OS/2. OS2World asks every OS/2 user to start believing that the earth is flat to get the "big bucks" that will finally turn the operating system into a Windows 10, Ubuntu, MacOS X and Android competitor in the final OS Wars of all ages.

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Why Hasn't The Gig Economy Killed Traditional Work?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '19 at 09:50 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's side-hustles department:
An anonymous reader quotes NPR:

In recent months, a slew of studies has debunked predictions that we're witnessing the dawn of a new "gig economy." The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that there was actually a decline in the categories of jobs associated with the gig economy between 2005 and 2017. Larry Katz and the late Alan Krueger then revised their influential study that had originally found gig work was exploding. Instead, they found it had only grown modestly. Other economists ended up finding the same -- and now writers are declaring the gig economy is "a big nothingburger."

Arun Sundararajan, a professor at the NYU Stern School of Business and the author of The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism, remains a true believer in the gig revolution.... When asked about the onslaught of data contradicting his thesis, Sundararajan said the Bureau of Labor Statistics continues "to underestimate the size of the gig economy and in particular of the platform-based gig economy." The best BLS estimate of the number of gig workers employed through digital platforms -- whether full-time, part-time or occasionally -- is one percent of the total U.S. workforce, or about 1.6 million workers, as of mid-2017. Sundararajan argues that the survey questions the BLS used to gather this data were clunky and don't quite capture what's going on.... He believes work done through gig platforms can be more efficient than work done in a traditional company -- and that will spell the company's doom...
< article continued at Slashdot's side-hustles department >

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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Feel About the End Of Google+ ?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '19 at 07:10 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's eve-of-destruction department:
"On April 2nd, your Google+ account and any Google+ pages you created will be shut down and we will begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts," Google has been warning since January.
Long-time Slashdot reader shanen writes "it's been grating on me for a while," asking "But is there any real harm here? Do you feel damaged?"
On the one hand, my trust in the Google has certainly been damaged by profit-driven directional changes. On such grounds you could argue that the people who most trusted the Google may feel most victimized....
What is the value of IP? Do you feel you expressed or even created any interesting ideas through your use of Google+ as a discussion channel? If so, maybe you feel damaged because it's going away? (Yes, the Archive team wants to preserve it, but IP has to grow to be alive, and the archives aren't easy to search, to boot...)
I'm pretty sure that I started using Google+ a long time ago, back when my own sentiments towards the Google were much more positive. My negative framing of the question could be projection, so maybe your response may explain why it's really a good thing when the Google kills certain ideas?
The original submission also includes the bitter observation that "Innovation is supposed to be important to the Google. Isn't the Google giving us mixed signals here?" But how do Slashdot's readers feel? Leave your own thoughts in the comments. How do you feel about the end of Google+ ?

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Elon Musk Continues To Amuse Himself On Twitter, Sharing Song, Duck Emoji
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '19 at 04:30 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's March-madness department:
Yesterday Billboard magazine reported that Elon Musk had dropped a rap song on SoundCloud -- an auto-tuned song called "RIP Harambe."
Posted under the handle Emo G Records, the two-minute track pays tribute to the Cincinnati Zoo gorilla who was killed in 2016 after a 3-year-old climbed into its living area. It's unclear if Musk stumbled upon the track, which has his name on it, or if he released the track himself...
"RIP Harambe" had more than 200,000 plays as of Sunday afternoon.
Some Twitter users left bemused replies, like "Dude, sober up by Thursday's contempt hearing." But the song appears to be part of a longer series of tweets. An anonymous reader writes:
On Friday Musk had shared a blank tweet containing nothing but an emoji of a duck with his 25.5 million followers. It drew over 24,000 re-tweets, and 4,300 comments -- far more than the Harambe song (which drew only 14,000 retweets and 1,600 comments.) "Duck emoji FTW," Musk tweeted triumphantly on Sunday, following up on his earlier observation that "Duck emoji defeats Emo G Records. Crushing victory."
In its comments there was also a joke about X.com (the original online banking site Musk launched in 1999, which was eventually merged into PayPal). In 2017 Musk repurchased the domain because "it has great sentimental value" -- but replaced it with an entirely blank page with one lowercase x. In response to the duck emoji, someone tweeted that next Musk needed to update X.com.

Musk promptly replied by tweeting the URL x.com/x -- which (due to the site's error-handling) pulls up a web page with a single lowercase y.

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Tenants Outraged Over New York Landlord's Plan To Install Facial Recognition Technology
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '19 at 03:10 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's face-time department:
A Brooklyn landlord plans to install facial recognition technology at the entrance of a 700-unit building, according to Gothamist, "raising alarm among tenants and housing rights attorneys about what they say is a far-reaching and egregious form of digital surveillance."
[Last] Sunday, several tenants told Gothamist that, unbeknownst to them, their landlord, Nelson Management, had sought state approval in July 2018 to install a facial recognition system known as StoneLock. Under state rules, landlords of rent-regulated apartments built before 1974 must seek permission from the state's Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) for any "modification in service." Tenants at the two buildings, located at 249 Thomas S. Boyland Street and 216 Rockaway Avenue, said they began receiving notices about the system in the fall. According to its website, Kansas-based company StoneLock offers a "frictionless" entry system that collects biometric data based on facial features. "We don't want to be tracked," said Icemae Downes, a longtime tenant. "We are not animals. This is like tagging us through our faces because they can't implant us with a chip."
< article continued at Slashdot's face-time department >

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Devuan.org Now Points To 'Pwned' Page With Gopher URLs
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '19 at 01:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's old-school-TCP/IP department:
"DEVUAN.ORG HAS BEEN PWNED" reads a new message at the home page for Devuan (a fork of Debian without systemd) -- which re-redirects to a new page named pwned.html, reports Slashdot reader DevNull127:
In all capital letters, its carefully-indented message (complete with an ascii-art logo) now informs visitors that "the web sucks -- JavaScript sucks -- browsers suck." Posting the URLs to several gopher sites, it adds that "Gopher is the way -- gopher is the future."
"Kiss port 80 goodbye. Join the revolution on port 70."

The attackers identify themselves as "Green Hat Hackers," a term generally understood to mean ambitious newbie hackers who want to improve their skills. "Stop the madness," continues their message, which appeared just hours before the first day of April.
"Get yourself a gopher client."

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Prosecutors Were Already Investigating Whether Boeing Provided 'Incomplete or Misleading' 737 Information
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '19 at 01:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's hindsight department:
Fox Business News reports:

- "Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Boeing provided incomplete or misleading information about its best-selling 737 Max aircraft to U.S. air safety regulators and customers, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal."
- That investigation began five months ago -- after the first crash that killed 189 people, but before the second one.
Nine days after that November 7 crash, America's Federal Aviation Administration had issued an international emergency order "warning that Boeing had discovered an 'unsafe condition' that is 'likely to exist or develop' in other planes," reports the Washington Post:

The FAA directive said if erroneous data is received by the 737 Max jet's flight control system, the plane's nose could be pushed down repeatedly. Failing to address that "could cause the flight crew to have difficulty controlling the airplane," push the nose down and lead to "significant altitude loss, and possible impact with terrain," according to the notice. The notice told pilots that, if bad data causes problems to appear, they should "disengage autopilot" and use other controls and adjust other switches to fly the plane....
Investigators scouring black box data believe an automatic anti-stalling feature was engaged before a Boeing 737 Max jet crashed and killed 157 people in EthiÂoÂpia, an administration official said Friday. The feature, known as MCAS, also was a factor in the October crash in Indonesia, according to investigators. The investigators said inaccurate information from an outside sensor led MCAS to force the nose of the plane down over and over again.
That explanation is also supported by the positioning of equipment on the aircraft's tail "in a way that would push the plane's nose downward, consistent with the black box finding," reports the Washington Post.
Fox Business also reports that Boeing currently has over 4,600 "unfilled" orders for its 737 Max jets.

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US Lawmakers Propose Allowing Prisons To Jam Signals From Smuggled Cellphones
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '19 at 12:30 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's only-entitled-to-one-phone-call department:
An anonymous reader quotes the Associated Press:
Federal legislation proposed Thursday would give state prison officials the ability they have long sought to jam the signals of cellphones smuggled to inmates within their walls... The legislation could help provide a solution to a problem prison officials have said represents the top security threat to their institutions.
Corrections chiefs across the country have long argued for the ability to jam the signals, saying the phones -- smuggled into their institutions by the thousands, by visitors, errant employees, and even delivered by drone -- are dangerous because inmates use them to carry out crimes and plot violence both inside and outside prison.

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Tinder Announces New 'Height Verification' Feature. But They May Be Lying
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '19 at 11:10 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's tall-tales department:
"The Tinder dating app will soon be asking men to submit photos in order to verify their height," writes long-time Slashdot reader SonicSpike, sharing a post made Friday (March 29th) on the official Tinder blog.
Let's be real, when it comes to online dating -- honesty is the best policy. Yes, your height matters as long as every other shallow aspect of physical attraction does. Please try not to take it to heart...
Height-lying ends here. To require everyone under 6' to own up to their real height, we're bringing truthfulness back into the world of online dating. Introducing Tinder's Height Verification Badge (HVB), because yes -- sometimes it matters. It's the tool we've had in our back-pockets for years, but we were hoping your honesty would allow us to keep it there... Simply input your true, accurate height with a screenshot of you standing next to any commercial building. We'll do some state-of-the-art verifying and you'll receive your badge directly on your profile.
Oh, and by the way? Only 14.5% of the U.S. male population is actually 6' and beyond. So, we're expecting to see a huge decline in the 80% of males on Tinder who are claiming that they are well over 6 feet.

The post concludes that "Tinder's HVB is coming soon to a phone near you," and Tinder's official Twitter account described the feature as "the thing you never asked for, but definitely always wanted," with a short video showing their app displaying errors for incorrect heights. (The second error message reads "Seriously... Please enter your correct height.") The video has been viewed 2.78 million times. Its tagline? "Let's bring honesty back to dating."
"It's unknown at this point if this is a real feature that the company is adding to its dating app," reported one local news site, "or an early April Fool's joke."

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In Massive Breach, Ex-NSA Contractor Pleads Guilty to Hoarding Highly Classified Secrets
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '19 at 09:50 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's insecure-facilities department:
"A former National Security Agency contractor on Thursday pleaded guilty to stealing secret defense information over two decades in what legal experts have described as the biggest breach of classified information in U.S. history."
Long-time Slashdot reader mencik quotes USA Today:

In his plea deal in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Harold Thomas Martin III admitted to removing highly classified digital and hard copy documents, then storing them in his home and car from the late 1990s through 2016. Prosecutors say there is no indication Martin ever shared the stolen secrets. His defense attorneys say he simply hoarded the information... One of his lawyers previously described Martin as a "compulsive hoarder" who took home work documents...
Martin, who held multiple security clearances while working at government agencies as a private contractor, said he knew stealing the documents risked the country's security. He pleaded guilty on Thursday to one felony count of willful retention of national defense information. He could be sentenced to nine years in prison.
Martin also told a federal judge that he'd been diagnosed with ADHD. "His actions were the product of mental illness," his federal defenders' statement said. "Not treason."

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Scientists Find 66-Million-Year-Old Fossils From The Day The Dinosaurs Died
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '19 at 09:50 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's land-of-the-lost department:
"It's like a time capsule of the end of the world," reports USA Today:

66 million years ago, in what's now North Dakota, a group of animals died together, only a few minutes after a huge asteroid smashed into the Earth near present-day Mexico. Scientists Friday announced the discovery of the jumbled, fossilized remains of the animals, all killed when a tsunami-like wave and a torrent of rocks, sand and glass buried them alive.

This graveyard of fish, mammals, insects and a dinosaur is a unique, first-of-its-kind discovery from the exact day that life on Earth changed forever, according to the study lead author Robert DePalma, a curator at the Palm Beach Museum of Natural History... DePalma added that the find provides spectacular new detail to what is perhaps the most important event to ever affect life on Earth... The asteroid impact and resulting mass extinction, which scientists call the K-T boundary, marked the end of the Cretaceous Era. The aftereffects of that infamous asteroid collision killed 75 percent of all species on Earth, including the dinosaurs. It's the planet's most recent mass extinction.

Scientists believe the asteroid was 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) wide, the BBC reports, and that it "hurled billions of tonnes of molten and vaporised rock into the sky in all directions - and across thousands of kilometres." DePalma argues that moment "is tied directly to all of us -- to every mammal on Earth, in fact. Because this is essentially where we inherited the planet.

"Nothing was the same after that impact. It became a planet of mammals rather than a planet of dinosaurs."

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Microsoft's Collaboration On Google's Chromium Brings a New Feature To Chrome
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '19 at 08:30 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's borrowing-browsers department:
Remember when Microsoft announced they'd be switching to Google's open source Chromium browser for developing their own Edge browser? At the time Google announced "We look forward to working with Microsoft and the web standards community to advance the open web, support user choice, and deliver great browsing experiences."
Now MSPoweruser reports Microsoft has indeed started collaborating on Chromium -- making suggestions like caret browsing and a native high-contrast mode -- and at least one of Microsoft's suggestions is already coming to Chrome.
it looks like there is one feature that Chromium approved which will be making its way to Chrome soon. According to a new bug (via Techdows) filing on Chromium, Google is working on bringing text suggestions for hardware keyboard to Chrome soon. The feature will allow users to get suggestions as they type which is currently available on Windows 10 and on Microsoft Edge.

Google has just started working on the feature and has set the priority to 2 which suggests that the feature should be available sooner than later.

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Alexa Scientists Claim Audio Watermarking Technique Nearing 100% Accuracy
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '19 at 07:10 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's audio-identifiers department:
georgecarlyle76 brought our attention to Amazon's claim of an algorithm that "solves the 'second-screen problem' in real-time."
"Ever hear (no pun intended) of audio watermarking?" asks VentureBeat.
It's the process of adding distinctive sound patterns identifiable to PCs, and it's a major way web video hosts, set-top boxes, and media players spot copyrighted tracks. But watermarking schemes aren't particularly reliable in noisy environments, like when the audio in question is broadcasted over a loudspeaker. The resulting noise and interference -- referred to in academic literature as the "second-screen" problem -- severely distorts watermarks, and introduces delays that detectors often struggle to reconcile. Researchers at Amazon, though, believe they've pioneered a novel workaround, which they describe in a paper newly published on the preprint server Arxiv ("Audio Watermarking over the Air with Modulated Self-Correlation") and an accompanying blog post. The team claims their method -- which they'll detail at the International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing in May -- can detect watermarks added to about two seconds of audio with "almost perfect accuracy," even when the distance between the speaker and detector is greater than 20 feet...
< article continued at Slashdot's audio-identifiers department >

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Revisiting the Jobs Artificial Intelligence Will Create
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '19 at 05:50 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Singularity-re-visited department:
Long-time Slashdot reader occidental shares a link to the audio of a new interview with the authors of the 2017 article "The Jobs That Artificial Intelligence Will Create" Authors Paul Daugherty and H. James Wilson show that four soft skills are becoming much more valuable as human-machine collaboration advances. These skills include complex reasoning, creativity, social and emotional intelligence, and sensory perception.

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Can Marc Andreessen Stop Technology From Eating Our Jobs?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '19 at 03:10 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's udacious-ideas department:
Technology writer Tom Chanter explores the life story of venture capitalist Marc Andreessen to ask whether software will not only eat the world, but also the jobs of what one historian predicts will be a "massive new unworking class: people devoid of any economic, political or even artistic value." Can Marc Andreessen prevent a so-called "useless class" who "will not merely be unemployed -- it will be unemployable"?

Andreessen grew up in New Lisbon, Wisconsin (population: 1,500), and taught himself the BASIC programming language at age 8. He co-developed the original Mosaic web browser before he'd graduated from college, went on to co-found Netscape, and by age 23 was worth $53 million. He then transformed into a "super angel" investor in companies like Twitter, Airbnb, Lyft, Facebook, Skype, and GitHub. "Having been an innovator in the tech start-up game, Andreessen is now an innovator in the tech venture capital game," writes Chanter. "He is a jedi that has become the master."

In 2011, Marc Andreessen published an article in the Wall Street Journal titled, Why Software Is Eating The World. He wrote, "Over the next 10 years, the battles between incumbents and software-powered insurgents will be epic...." 7 years later, it's clear Andreessen was correct. Lyft has destroyed taxi jobs. Airbnb has destroyed hotel jobs. Amazon destroyed independent bookstores. How does Andreessen feel about that? "Screw the independent bookstores," he said in his New Yorker profile. "There weren't any near where I grew up. There were only ones in college towns. The rest of us could go pound sand."
< article continued at Slashdot's udacious-ideas department >

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