Week-in-Review: Googles never-ending autonomous road trip

Hello, weekend readers. This is Week-in-Review, where I give a heavy amount of analysis and/or rambling thoughts on one story while scouring the rest of the hundreds of stories that emerged on TechCrunch this week to surface my favorites for your reading pleasure. Last week, I talked about how Alexa wasn’t forgetting what you requested because that data was more valuable than one might think. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images The big story In thinking about what to highlight in this week’s newsletter, I was tempted to talk about Zoom and Apple and Superhuman and the idea that secure communications can get screwed up when consent is bypassed, and I’m sure that’s something I’ll dig into down the road, but …

Tech’s dangerous race to control our emotions

they make us feel anxiousIn a time when are suffering from stress, depression, and anxiety, the emergence of technology that can deal with negative emotions is arguably a positive development. However, as more and more companies aim to use AI-based technology to make us feel better, society is confronted with an extremely delicate ethical problem: Should we launch a concerted effort to resolve the underlying causes of stress, depression, and other negative states, or should we simply turn to emotional technology in order to palliate the increasingly precarious human condition? In October, it was revealed that Amazon had a version of its Alexa personal assistant that could detect the emotional states of its users and then suggest activities appropriate to …