Today in Big Tech — November 30, 2020

Cyber Monday is an annoying reminder that it’s Monday again. And that means the news has come roaring back.

DeepMind’s improved protein-folding prediction AI could accelerate drug discovery by Kyle Wiggers

“‘We have been stuck on this one problem — how do proteins fold up — for nearly 50 years,’ University of Maryland professor John Moult, cofounder and chair of CASP, told reporters during a briefing last week. ‘To see DeepMind produce a solution for this, having worked personally on this problem for so long and after so many stops and starts, wondering if we’d ever get there, is a very special moment.’”

A good reminder that AI can make a good, positive difference. Protein folding has a ton of applications and Google’s DeepMind says it plans to make AlphaFold available “at scale.”

Facebook Buys Customer-Service Software Maker Kustomer by Kurt Wagner

“The social media giant made the deal to bolster efforts to monetize its messaging business, which is expanding to include customer-service products that help companies interact with people via chat apps, like WhatsApp and Messenger.”

This acquisition will be watched closely by the whole tech industry. Will regulators let this one through or send a message that Big Tech acquisitions are on pause?

Italy Fines Apple $12 Million for Misleading iPhone Water Resistance Claims by Tim Hardwick

“In marketing materials related to ‌iPhone‌ 8, ‌iPhone‌ 8 Plus, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, ‌iPhone XS‌ Max, iPhone 11, ‌iPhone 11‌ Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, Apple said its iPhones were water resistant at a depth of between one and four meters for up to 30 minutes, depending on the model. However, according to the country’s competition regulator, the messages did not clarify that the claims are only true under specific conditions, for example during controlled laboratory tests with the use of static and pure water, and not in the normal conditions of use by consumers.”

Companies should be held accountable more often for misleading claims like this, not because $12 million makes a difference to Apple, but because consumer advertising sorely needs a reset.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to Exit Commission After President-Elect Biden Takes Office by Todd Spangler

“The biggest controversy under Pai’s tenure at the FCC helm was the commission’s December 2017 vote along party lines to repeal net neutrality, the standard that barred internet service providers from creating “fast lanes” for certain content companies or blocking or throttling content. With Democrats taking control of the FCC, the agency’s net neutrality order is expected to be swiftly reinstated.”

Good riddance.

Bitcoin Price Sets New Record High Above $19,783 by Zack Voell

“Long-time bitcoin investors have weathered more than one bearish market cycle. But for newer participants, the record highs represent validation of their investment as the cryptocurrency continues to demonstrate resilience.”

Additionally, Coinbase users will be able to convert ETH into ETH2 starting in early 2021. Crypto is hot again.




Executive Editor @VentureBeat Formerly @TheNextWeb @ZDNet @CNET @TechSpot @ArsTechnica

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Emil Protalinski

Emil Protalinski

Executive Editor @VentureBeat Formerly @TheNextWeb @ZDNet @CNET @TechSpot @ArsTechnica

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