Cyberwarfare is taking to the skies, aboard drones

Uber uses a master algorithm to determine how much money its drivers make—and women are ending up with less.

The gap: In a study released today of over 1.8 million drivers on the platform, women were found to earn $1.24 per hour less than men. Women also earned $130 less per week on average, in part because they tend to drive fewer hours.

The cause: The study, which was carried out by researchers at Stanford and Uber and has not undergone peer review, attributed the difference in pay to fact that male Uber drivers:

—Are more likely to drive in higher-paying locations

—Drive faster

—Take on trips with shorter distances to the rider

—Chose to drive longer trips

All of these are variables in the formula Uber uses to calculate driver wages, and the study showed they all tilted in men’s favor (the study claims men earn $21.28 an hour, on average). Women also have higher turnover on the platform, and more experienced drivers tend to get higher pay.

Though it wasn’t covered in the study, one reason women may avoid higher-paying areas is that they don’t feel safe—they may opt not to drive late at night in certain places, for instance, or stay away from neighborhoods that are considered dangerous.

Closing the gap: The study shows there’s a persistent disparity in pay by gender, and Uber may have a hard time fixing it. Stanford economist Rebecca Diamond, one of the paper’s coauthors, says the researchers considered recommending taking speed out of the equation, for example. But as she says, “both riders and drivers would prefer to arrive at the destination sooner.”

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North Korea’s Cyber Capability

It has been confirmed that North Korean hackers stole US-South Korea military plans last year.

Editor’s Remarks: A South Korean lawmaker announced that the cyber attack, which occurred last year, led to North Korea obtaining copies of a plan hatched by the US and South Korea to take out Kim Jong-un. While North Korea is commonly thought of as technologically backward, the fact that the rogue state was able to access highly-classified documents reveals that they have a strong capacity for cyber warfare. Recent North Korean hacks having included attacks on bitcoin exchanges following the recent imposition of fresh UN sanctions upon the nation. Evidently, North Korea’s cyber potential has significantly improved in the four short years since the infamous attack on Sony for its production of “The Interview”.

Madrid Demands Clarity from Catalonia

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy declared that the regional government must decide whether or not to declare independence.

Editor’s Remarks: After Catalan President Carles Puigdemont suspended the region’s declaration of independence on Tuesday, Madrid has stated it requires clarity on the matter. Article 155 of the Spanish constitution gives Madrid the power to remove Catalonian autonomy and seize control of the region, though this has never before been exercised. It appears that Puigdemont has deliberately obfuscated his government’s official position, preferring to speak in ambiguous terms about independence in recent days, in order to avoid Rajoy from triggering Article 155 and plunging the nation deeper into a constitutional crisis.

Childhood Obesity up 1000% in 40 Years

A study by the World Health Organisation and Imperial College examined the BMI data for 31.5m children.

Editor’s Remarks: As economies have grown more affluent, the number of obese children has increased to 124m worldwide, meaning that the number of overweight children in the world is about to overtake the number of underweight ones. The world’s highest child obesity rates are found in Polynesia and Micronesia, while in the US has around 20% of girls and boys are obese. Meanwhile, obesity levels are significantly lower in western Europe, where around 7-10% of children are classed as obese.

Uber Puts its Cards on the Table

The beleaguered ride-hailing giant said it would ‘exert more control’ over drivers if UK law changed.

Editor’s Remarks: Following Uber’s ban in London, company representatives said that if the UK required its drivers to be classed as employees with benefits, sweeping internal changes would be made. The comments have been interpreted as a sign that Uber may alter its labour model in the UK following the recent regulatory scrutiny. As such, Uber could become more akin to a private-hire car service, which dictate where and when drivers operate. However, since many of Uber’s UK drivers say that the main boon of working for the company is flexibility, they might not welcome the suggestions.

Alibaba Sets aside $15bn for “Moonshots”

The Chinese e-commerce giant will double R&D to double down on artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing.

Editor’s Remarks: The company’s R&D spend will increase to $15bn over the next three years in order to drive its business through the development of next-generation technology. The new plans will add 100 scientists housed in cutting-edge research laboratories, where they will focus help Alibaba keep up with its rivals Tencent and Amazon, to its existing network of 25,000 engineers. Furthermore, the company’s renewed efforts reflect Chinese state policy, which sets out the ambition that the country should aspire to become a world leader in AI.


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