Welcome to #TechAways, where our talented tech team – full of voracious readers – introduces you to our selection of the top stories we’ve read each week. We’re here to help you keep up with the hottest developments in the tech world and their implications for Europe.
How energy is produced, stored and shared has radically changed. Now the energy market is about to change with it. Europe-based WePower is creating a blockchain-fuelled P2P network so power generators can sell power not only to utility companies, but also to one another. They’re creating initial coin offerings (ICO), a type of cryptocurrency that represents one kilowatt-hour of power produced. These coins are tradeable on the platform. As more individual producers of energy emerge, this is an innovative European model for democratising the grid.
Crossing the line with sex robots [The Guardian]
Much is said about how far robots will intrude in our daily lives. They’re predicted to take over jobs, help with household chores, act as carers for the elderly and more. Channel 4 takes a bare-all look at their role in the bedroom in The Sex Robots Are Coming – All 4, an investigation into animatronic, AI-enabled silicone sexbots and part of C4’s Rise of the Robots season. Too much information? Definitely sick and scary.
Healthcare is an area with great potential for applications of AI. Yet privacy issues and the sensitivity of healthcare data make it a hotly debated one. The collaboration between DeepMind, owned by Alphabet, and the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is no exception. So far, controversy (and huge financial losses) have not stopped DeepMind’s work and investments in the healthcare sector. A promising future and first results showing vastly improved patient care are encouraging. But with success comes the question of who is entitled to the profit. The NHS as provider of the data or DeepMind, which converts the data into meaningful results?
Is our love affair with social media ending in tears? [Vanity Fair]
We’ve all become so addicted to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snap and the like that it’s hard to imagine life without social media. But this article says many are kicking the social-media habit as ‘the promise of connection has become a reality of division’. Could this mean a return to real as opposed to virtual human interaction? Let’s ask Tweeter-in-Chief Donald Trump.
AI in 2018: 51 predictions [Forbes]
Check out not 10 or 20, but a whopping 51 predictions of AI developments to come in 2018. Greater personalisation of marketing and sales tools, smart automation, semi and full automation of driving, accountable care and drug discovery are just around the corner. AI is like water or the air around us – it’s not a category per se. It’s everywhere and will be embedded in most of the software we use. One fundamental question however remains: since AI has the potential to create new causalities which are not predetermined by the creator, who bears the responsibility?
Robots are expected to play a bigger role in our working lives. A study released by McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), shows that by 2030, between 400-800 million workers worldwide could lose their jobs because of the rise of automation and robots. In that scenario, MGI believes fast-food workers, machine operators and back-office employees will be the most impacted. Do they see a rise in unemployment? Well, maybe not. History shows us that human beings adapt to changes in the labour market and that technology also creates new jobs. Will this time be the same?
In case you haven’t had enough:
- Big Tech May Create New Need For Antitrust Legislation: Strauss [Bloomberg]
- Do we really want Mark Zuckerberg to run the world? [The Guardian]
- Robots vs. Minimum Wage: What Would Aristotle Say? [Wall Street Journal]
- Take the Office Computer Out for a Beer After Work [Bloomberg]
- Africa’s internet economy needs more data servers on the continent [Quartz]
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