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A Blurred Line: AV Capability and Human Responsibility

By Junko Yoshida 

We know that humans and machines can coexist. They’ve been doing it for centuries. But the key to this harmony is knowing what machines can—or can’t — do, and defining the human role in this equation.

In the world of autonomous driving, I see society teetering above a slippery slope. On the one hand, transparency about AV capabilities is decreasing. A California Superior Court ruling last week allows Waymo to treat certain safety-related crash data as trade secrets. On the other hand, human drivers are growing both more complacent and more confused about their responsibilities in highly but not fully automated vehicles.

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Data Center Alley in Virginia

The Data Center Boom is Unsustainable

By George Leopold

What’s at stake?
The number of new data centers being built is outpacing incremental efforts at energy efficiency. As big-data applications scale workloads, cloud service providers and other hyperscalers can barely keep up with pandemic-driven demand for computing, storage and analytics. In the last quarter alone, the cloud sector is estimated to have grown by more than $50 billion. The data center business model of seemingly endless construction of server farms consuming ever-greater amounts of power is unsustainable.

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Server racks in data centers

Data Center Energy Puzzle

By Ron Wilson

What’s at stake?
As use of the Web grows more intense — think of the difference between searching for a nice cat video vs. entering an immersive virtual-reality experience — and the demand spreads through the developing world, a rapid proliferation of huge cloud data centers is likely. But the energy consumption and environmental impacts of data centers could bring big and unwelcome changes to infrastructure, climate and quality of life as data centers spread into countries already challenged by power generation, water shortages and a warming climate.

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Rupert Baines

As RISC-V Catches Tailwinds, Codasip Refreshes Ambition

By Junko Yoshida

Refreshed by new blood on its senior executive team, Codasip, touting itself as “one of the top three, credible RISC-V companies,” is reintroducing itself. Spun out of its founder’s PhD thesis and decade-long research on how best to design new and better CPUs, Codasip is today a full-fledged RISC-V company, hot on the heels of RISC-V market leaders SiFive and Andes Technology. 

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Ford Semiconductors

Will Ford Build Ford Semiconductors?

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake?
The pendulum is swinging back to a vertical-integration business model among system companies in smartphone and datacenter markets. Carmakers, which have long depended on Tier Ones to design various ECU boxes for adding features, will be next. Do these OEMs have the will, capital, talent and corporate culture to design big, differentiated SoCs for their next-generation vehicles internally?

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Jensen Huang in Omniverse

Nvidia Bid for Arm: Was It Just a Lark?

By Bolaji Ojo

The collapse last week of Nvidia Corp.’s proposed acquisition of semiconductor IP vendor Arm Plc surprised very few, but it still left us with (too) many questions, most of them unanswerable.

How did Nvidia wobble into such a quagmire and how can the industry avoid such in future? Nvidia paid a hefty price for the unconsummated deal. The company lost its $1.25 billion deposit, drew the ire of competitors and some of its own OEM customers, and injected unnecessary controversy into its operations. Nvidia will recover from the negative impacts of the deal and may have reaped some benefits, but was the plan worth the wasted time and resources?

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Lisa Su, AMD CEO

Lisa Su: The Making of a Legend

By Bolaji Ojo

What’s at Stake?
Lisa Su has masterminded a Steve Jobs-like turnaround at chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices, cementing her iconic status in the technology world. At only 52 years old and almost one decade into her tenure as president and CEO at AMD, the questions come up: What will she do for an encore and where else can she make an even greater contribution in the electronics industry?

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Peter DeFazio

AV Hearing Sparks More Questions than Answers

 By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake?
Last week’s congressional hearing on autonomous vehicles (AV) exposed the limited knowledge among lawmakers on what automated vehicles are, let alone differences between AVs and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) — which look like disclaimers in the fine print for most people. The hearing could have used more discussion to clarify complex AV issues and elevate the debate beyond the talking points of special-interest groups.   

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