The Apple Car crash | The Vergecast

The Apple Car crash | The Vergecast

Intro (00:00:00)

  • The Vergecast is a podcast about the Apple Car project.
  • David Pierce and Nilay Patel are the hosts of the podcast.
  • Alex Cranz is absent from this week's episode due to illness.
  • Lauren Goode, a new policy reporter, will join the hosts in the second segment to discuss the Supreme Court hearing on free speech on the internet.
  • Apple's self-driving car project has been in development for over a decade.
  • Despite the significant investment, Apple has yet to release a production-ready car.
  • Recent reports indicate that Apple's car project has encountered challenges, including a crash involving one of its test vehicles.
  • The crash occurred in California and resulted in minor injuries to the occupants of the other vehicle involved.
  • Apple is investigating the cause of the crash and has not released any further details.
  • Nilay and David discuss the implications of the Apple Car crash.
  • They speculate on the potential causes of the crash, including human error, software issues, or hardware malfunctions.
  • They also discuss the broader challenges facing Apple's car project, such as competition from other automakers and the regulatory environment.
  • They conclude that the Apple Car project is still in its early stages and that it is too early to say whether it will be a success or a failure.
  • Nilay and David wrap up the podcast by thanking their listeners and inviting them to join them for next week's episode.

RIP Apple Car (00:01:10)

  • Apple canceled its car project after nearly a decade of development, shifting its focus to developing software for other car companies.
  • The project faced challenges, including the complexity of self-driving technology and the changing automotive landscape.
  • Apple's approach involved questioning fundamental aspects of car design, leading to impractical ideas limited by industry regulations and economies of scale.
  • The company considered a minivan-like design inspired by the Fiat Multipla 600, featuring a curving roof, multiple windows, and no steering wheel, controlled by Apple's virtual assistant.
  • Apple's recent shift towards practicality and functionality suggests a move away from its previous fashion-oriented design philosophy.

SCOTUS hears online speech arguments (00:27:38)

  • The Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of two laws in Texas and Florida that aim to regulate how large platforms moderate content, particularly in response to concerns about conservative censorship on social media.
  • The case arose due to a circuit split, with different appeals courts disagreeing on the laws' constitutionality.
  • The laws are seen as government speech regulations, which conservatives usually oppose, and were passed in response to Donald Trump's removal from major platforms after the January 6th incident.
  • The Supreme Court hearing focused on the First Amendment implications of regulating tech companies' speech, with justices grappling with defining the boundaries of what constitutes a website and how to regulate speech on platforms without violating the First Amendment.
  • The justices considered the broader implications of their ruling, including the potential impact on companies like Etsy and Uber, which also engage in some forms of speech.
  • The discussion highlighted concerns about potential overreach by the government in regulating algorithms and the potential impact on freedom of speech.
  • Tech companies argue that it's impractical to have a person manually review every post and that algorithms are necessary for efficient content moderation.
  • The political divide on content moderation is evident, with conservatives advocating for regulated monopolies and liberals pushing for more competition and speech regulations.

Sundar would like to apologize (01:04:50)

  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai addressed the racially diverse Nazi images generated by Google's Gemini AI in an internal memo.
  • The incident sparked discussions about the potential consequences of rushing AI development and the need for responsible AI practices.
  • Some individuals criticized Google for being "too woke" and advocated for fewer restrictions on AI development.
  • The situation highlights the challenges in balancing diversity and historical accuracy in AI-generated content.
  • Google, despite developing the technology behind language models like GPT, was slow in its implementation compared to competitors like OpenAI.
  • Sundar Pichai may adopt a more aggressive approach in response to the competition, potentially leading to significant changes in Google's strategy.

Lightning Round (Sponsored by Christopher, not SMEG) (01:11:01)

  • Christopher sponsored this week's lightning round with a hilarious tip about Smeg.
  • Smeg is a quirky refrigerator company known for its retro designs.
  • Smeg collaborated with Fiat to create the Fiat 500 with a refrigerator, called the Smeg 500.
  • The Smeg 500 is described as an extraordinary item that merges form and function.
  • The Fiat 500 has a refrigerator in the trunk, making it an "iconic place for food."
  • Smeg CEO Victorio Berardi considered creating the Smeg 500 a matter of personal honor and a tribute to his grandfather's legacy.

Humane AI Pin demo (01:13:49)

  • The Vergecast discussed the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona and highlighted the Humane AI Pin, a mysterious gadget that projects information and identifies individuals.
  • Allison Johnson had a hands-on demo of the Humane AI Pin and was impressed by its technology, including a projector and image recognition capabilities, but questioned its purpose and practicality due to its slow performance and the overbearing seriousness of the company presenting it.
  • The Vergecast compared the Humane AI Pin to the Rabbit R1, another AI gadget, and noted the contrasting approaches of their respective CEOs in promoting their products.
  • Tech companies are adopting a serious and intense demeanor in their presentations, contrasting with the more relaxed and humorous style of Steve Jobs.
  • The Humane AI Pin, priced at $700, is expected to ship by the end of March and is capable of making phone calls using a projector and describing the user's surroundings with medium accuracy after a 19-second delay.

Google Docs adds handwriting support (01:19:15)

  • Lauren dreams of editing David's stories with a red pen and moving printed magazine pages around a conference room.
  • Google Docs on Android tablets now allows users to mark up documents with a pen through Project Inkwell.
  • The Verge team plans to demonstrate the markup feature on an Android tablet during the show.
  • The success of this feature depends on several factors, including the quality of Android tablets, the Google Docs app, and the stylus.
  • Samsung's S Pen stylus may not fully support Google Docs markup on Android, requiring users to import and export documents through Samsung's proprietary document viewer.

TikTok v Music Industry update (01:22:00)

  • Universal Music Group (UMG), representing artists like Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber, is in a dispute with TikTok over music licensing rates, with UMG accusing TikTok of being a bully.
  • As a result, UMG has begun removing its music from TikTok, causing many videos to become silent.
  • TikTok believes it has the upper hand as a significant portion of its videos feature music.
  • Up-and-coming artists who rely on TikTok for promotion are facing challenges due to the lack of music.
  • YouTube, which has a better relationship with UMG, is promoting its short-form video platform, Shorts, as an alternative for creators.
  • Cohen, who runs YouTube Music, believes Instagram has better deals with the music industry compared to YouTube.
  • Universal Music Group is considering pulling its music from TikTok, which could further hinder artists' promotion.
  • The Vergecast team speculates that if Universal Music Group pulls out further, it could prolong the resolution of the situation.

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