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Roblox CEO: Human reviewers are key to keeping the metaverse safe

Roblox CEO David Baszucki says in an "Axios on HBO" interview that he is confident that his company can keep kids safe even as adults and children mix in increasingly complex digital worlds.

Why it matters: Roblox is among the companies trying to create a Ready Player One-like "metaverse," while trying to avoid the dystopian future often associated with such virtual environments.


Baszucki said he takes a decidedly optimistic view on the future, backed up by a mix of human reviewers and algorithms to ensure people aren't bullied or exploited.

  • "Everything is reviewed by over 2,000 real life humans, in addition to all the cool ML and AI stuff," Baszucki said in an interview with Axios on HBO. "We do a lot of filtering and screening with text and communication as well."

The big picture: The metaverse is where Roblox sees its future, with Baszucki saying he sees opportunities in education and even for the workplace in Roblox's future.

  • Roblox isn't alone. In addition to Fortnite and Microsoft's Minecraft, Facebook said Friday it was buying Unit 2 Games, the studio behind Crayta —a Roblox-like platform, which Facebook plans to integrate it into its own gaming effort.

Baszucki said he thinks he has all the tools he needs to keep Roblox safe and doesn't need any new government interventions.

  • "If the government means laws or regulations, I think we hold ourself to a much higher standard," he said. "So I think our moral, ethical values would go way above that."

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When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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