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Sony Corp. to launch an AI-based taxi-hailing service in Japan

Sony Corp. to launch an AI-based taxi-hailing service in Japan Sony Corporation said today that it will build an AI-based ride-hailing system in Japan in partnership with five taxi companies. The service will use artificial intelligence to manage taxi dispatches and forecast demand based on factors like weather, traffic and local events. Sony’s announcement came just before Uber chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi, who is currently visiting Asia, said the company wants to form more partnerships with Japanese taxi companies. According to Bloomberg, Khosrowshahi, who joined Uber last August, said…

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Facebook will verify the location of U.S. election ad buyers by mailing them postcards

Facebook will verify the location of U.S. election ad buyers by mailing them postcards Facebook’s global director of policy programs says it will start sending postcards by snail mail to verify buyers of ads related to United States elections. Katie Harbath, who described the plan at a conference held by the National Association of Secretaries of State this weekend, didn’t reveal when the program will start, but told Reuters that it would be before the Congressional midterm elections in November. The cards will be sent to people who want to…

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The Rise of the Rest seed fund announces its first group of investments

The Rise of the Rest seed fund announces its first group of investments The Rise of the Rest seed fund’s first round of startup investments cover eight states that are usually overlooked by tech investors, including Kentucky, South Carolina and Ohio. The $150 million fund was launched in December by Steve Case and J.D. Vance, with backing from many of America’s most influential businesspeople, to support tech ecosystems outside of Silicon Valley, New York City and other major hubs. The Rise of the Rest seed fund is part of Revolution,…

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Uber launches a new lower-priced service called Chap Chap in Nairobi

Uber launches a new lower-priced service called Chap Chap in Nairobi Uber has launched a new, lower-cost service in Nairobi called Uber Chap Chap. Made possible by using a fleet of fuel-efficient budget sedans, Uber Chap Chap (Swahili slang for “hurry, hurry”) is currently available in several areas of the Kenyan capital, including its central business district. Uber, which began testing the service at the end of January, may launch it throughout the rest of Nairobi and in the capital cities of Uganda and Tanzania if it proves successful, the…

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UJET, a startup that wants to speed up customer support, raises $25M led by GV

UJET, a startup that wants to speed up customer support, raises M led by GV UJET, a startup that makes software to improve customer support, said today that it’s raised a $25 million Series B led by GV (formerly known as Google Ventures). Other participants in the round include returning investors Kleiner Perkins and DCM Ventures and new backer Citi Ventures. The round brings UJET’s total raised so far to more than $45 million. The San Francisco-based startup (which is not to be confused with an electric scooter company of…

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nOCD gets $1M seed round to help people with obsessive-compulsive disorder

nOCD gets M seed round to help people with obsessive-compulsive disorder nOCD, an app created to help people treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, will launch an Android version and add more features after raising a $1 million seed round from early-stage healthcare investment firm 7wire Ventures. The free app guides patients through exposure and response prevention (ERP) exercises, a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that is especially effective for OCD. ERP carefully exposes suffers to stimuli, including images or situations, that trigger their symptoms and then guides them through exercises to help…

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Alibaba signs deal with Disney to stream its animated shows in China

Alibaba signs deal with Disney to stream its animated shows in China Alibaba Group’s entertainment unit has signed a major licensing deal to show many of Disney’s animated series and movies on Youku, its streaming video service, and other platforms it selects. The agreement covers more than 1,000 episodes from Disney series, as well as many of its films, and means Alibaba is now the largest distributor of Disney animations in China. The licensing deal was made between Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group and Buena Vista International, the Walt…

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Tronc starts its new digital strategy with a majority stake in product review site BestReviews

Tronc starts its new digital strategy with a majority stake in product review site BestReviews Tronc, the company formerly known as Tribune Publishing, announced today that it now owns a majority stake in BestReviews, which publishes in-depth reviews of consumer products. In another announcement today, Tronc said that it intends to use funds from the sale of its California News Group, which included the Los Angeles Times, to focus on a new digital growth strategy that includes investing in or acquiring more online companies like BestReviews. BestReviews’ current owners will…

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Seattle says Facebook broke one of its campaign advertising laws

Seattle says Facebook broke one of its campaign advertising laws Seattle’s election commission says Facebook broke a city law that requires it to disclose who paid for campaign ads. Reuters reports that the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission’s executive director, Wayne Barnett, said Facebook must reveal advertising spending information for last year’s city elections or potentially face fines of up to $5,000 per ad purchase. Facebook, Twitter and Google have been under scrutiny since being called to testify as part of a Senate investigation into how social media might have…

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Leshi Internet says it must repay $890 million in debts by the end of 2018

Leshi Internet says it must repay 0 million in debts by the end of 2018 LeEco founder Jia Yueting Leshi Internet, one of China’s largest video-streaming services, disclosed that it must pay back 5.62 billion RMB (about $890 million) by the end of this year. Leshi Internet’s (also known as Le.com) heavy debts stem from a financial crisis at its sister company LeEco, both of which were founded by Jia Yueting. Jia resigned as Leshi Internet’s chief executive officer last year. That amount represents about two-thirds of the total 9.29…

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