Confronting a Crisis? Now, Kim Jong-un Can Just Pick Up the Phone

Confronting a Crisis? Now, Kim Jong-un Can Just Pick Up the Phone Photo A South Korean official testing the hotline with a North Korean counterpart on Friday. Credit South Korean Presidential Blue House SEOUL, South Korea — North and South Korea on Friday installed what officials said was the first-ever hotline between their top leaders, another sign of improving relations on the divided Korean Peninsula.
President Moon Jae-in of South Korea was expected to use the hotline, which was installed in his office, to talk with the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, before the two leaders hold their summit meeting on the Korean border next Friday. But no date has been set for their first call.
The two Koreas have run a telephone hotline at the so-called truce village of Panmunjom — the venue for the inter-Korean summit — for years. Duty officers from both sides man their telephones at Panmunjom daily in case one side calls the other. The line has been cut off at times when bilateral relations have ..

Venture Capitalists Seek ‘Safe Harbor’ for Virtual Currencies

Venture Capitalists Seek ‘Safe Harbor’ for Virtual Currencies Photo A virtual currency mining site in Gondo, Switzerland. Some large virtual currencies are distributed on a daily basis to computers helping to maintain the network, while some are created through so-called initial coin offerings. Credit Fabrice Coffrini/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images SAN FRANCISCO — Venture capitalists and entrepreneurs have been lobbying federal regulators to protect at least some virtual currencies from being categorized as securities, a designation that would carry significantly more oversight.
The venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz helped assemble a group of investors and lawyers that met with the Securities and Exchange Commission in late March. They also proposed a “safe harbor” for some virtual currencies, according to a copy of the proposal reviewed by The New York Times and three people briefed on the effort who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity because the proceedings wer..

Audit Approved of Facebook Policies, Even After Cambridge Analytica Leak

Audit Approved of Facebook Policies, Even After Cambridge Analytica Leak Photo PwC, an auditing firm responsible for monitoring Facebook’s compliance with a federal decree, effectively gave the company a clean bill of health in a 2017 report on privacy controls. Credit Dado Ruvic/Reuters An auditing firm responsible for monitoring Facebook for federal regulators told them last year that the company had sufficient privacy protections in place, even after the social media giant lost control of a huge trove of user data that was improperly obtained by the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.
The assertion, by PwC, came in a report submitted to the Federal Trade Commission in early 2017. The report, a redacted copy of which is available on the commission’s website, is one of several periodic reviews of Facebook’s compliance with a 2011 federal consent decree, which required Facebook to take wide-ranging steps to prevent the abuse of users’ information and to inform them how it wa..

AT&T Chief Attacks Lawsuit to Block Time Warner Merger

AT&T Chief Attacks Lawsuit to Block Time Warner Merger Photo AT&T’s chief executive, Randall Stephenson, called the blockbuster merger with Time Warner a “vision deal” that would allow AT&T to better compete with Silicon Valley giants. Credit Carlos Barria/Reuters WASHINGTON — AT&T’s chief executive, Randall Stephenson, on Thursday attacked the Justice Department’s lawsuit to block its merger with Time Warner, saying that a combined company would be no different from the Silicon Valley giants that make and distribute video content.
As the last witness for the defense in the Justice Department’s legal battle against AT&T’s $85.4 billion deal to buy Time Warner, Mr. Stephenson portrayed the 140-year-old phone giant as being in an existential crisis and in need of the deal with Time Warner to compete against tech companies.
He called the blockbuster merger a “vision deal” that would allow AT&T to better match up against Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, which he referred to as ..

A.I. Researchers Are Making More Than $1 Million, Even at a Nonprofit

A.I. Researchers Are Making More Than $1 Million, Even at a Nonprofit SAN FRANCISCO — One of the poorest-kept secrets in Silicon Valley has been the huge salaries and bonuses that experts in artificial intelligence can command. Now, a little-noticed tax filing by a research lab called Open AI has made some of those eye-popping figures public.
OpenAI paid its top researcher, Ilya Sutskever, more than $1.9 million in 2016. It paid another leading researcher, Ian Goodfellow, more than $800,000 — even though he was not hired until March of that year. Both were recruited from Google.
A third big name in the field, the roboticist Pieter Abbeel, made $425,000, though he did not join until June 2016, after taking a leave from his job as a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Those figures all include signing bonuses.
The figures listed on the tax forms, which OpenAI is required to release publicly because it is a nonprofit, provide new insight into what organizations around the..

G.E. Makes a Sharp ‘Pivot’ on Digital

G.E. Makes a Sharp ‘Pivot’ on Digital No old-line company embraced the digital wave with more gusto than General Electric. The industrial giant spent billions, hired thousands of software engineers, and even created image-morphing television ads to recast itself as “a digital-industrial company.”
The scope of G.E.’s digital ambitions were put on full display in 2015, when the company set up GE Digital as its own business within the industrial conglomerate. Jeffrey R. Immelt, then chief executive, boldly declared G.E.’s goal to become a “top 10 software company” by 2020.
Today, there are no such ambitions. The spending at GE Digital is being slashed, amid layoffs and sharply narrowed aims at G.E. under John Flannery, who became chief executive last August.
Last November, Mr. Flannery told investors that expenses at GE Digital would be cut this year by more than 25 percent, or about $400 million. While he insisted the digital initiatives at G.E. are “very key” to the company, he added, “..

Comcast Bid 16% More Than Disney for 21st Century Fox, Filing Shows

Comcast Bid 16% More Than Disney for 21st Century Fox, Filing Shows Photo The 21st First Century Fox board accepted Disney’s bid after Comcast refused to agree to a breakup fee in case federal regulators rejected a deal, according to a filing on Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Credit Lucy Nicholson/Reuters LOS ANGELES — Rupert Murdoch sold most of 21st Century Fox to Disney in December for $52.4 billion, spurning a proposal from Comcast that was 16 percent higher on a per-share basis, in part because Comcast refused to offer protections in the event of regulatory rejection.
Although Comcast’s interest in 21st Century Fox was previously known, details of Comcast’s proposal — and Fox’s reasoning for rebuffing it — were disclosed for the first time on Wednesday as part of a 456-page filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The paperwork, required under securities law, also disclosed that senior Fox executives, including Mr. Murdoch and his two sons, James..