The UK government is awarding 25 million pounds to projects aiming to research and test autonomous vehicles. The projects are meant to test the cars on highways and in trials of remote-control parking. The UK’s post-Brexit industrial strategy has a heavy tech focus, with AI and autonomous vehicles playing large roles in the vision. It will be going up against countries like the U.S. and China, which are further advanced in both areas. Some UK policy makers see leaving the EU as an opportunity to offer subsidies and tax breaks that are currently restricted under common market rules. Too little too late?
Taking a bit(e) out of the farm-to-table game [Financial Times]
Once the new kid on the block (pun intended), blockchain has slowly entered legacy sectors and is now set to transform the food and drink industry. The sector, plagued by scandals, is using blockchain to monitor and track food through the supply chain, ensuring it isn’t tampered with and determining its origin. The process ensures safety and cuts costs. Early-adopter Walmart has been using it to track products in China, a particularly difficult country for supply chain management. It can now track a package of mangoes in two seconds instead of going through days or even weeks of paperwork. There are challenges, particularly as logistics and standard-setting catch up with the technology. But it’s certainly food for thought.
Rival TV channels join forces difficult times [Bloomberg]
Former enemies are finding common ground to compete with big VOD companies like Netflix and HBO. In a bid to fend off American interlopers with deep pockets, several European TV broadcasters plan to create a common video platform that would regroup programmes from various channels. However, European companies may find obstacles, like the various languages and national legislations that regulate the audiovisual sector. There’s also the fact that the competition doesn’t just come from across the Atlantic but also from local platforms such as the French Molotov. Traditional European TV might be on the verge of a reckoning.
European industry 4.0? [Financial Times]
Whether Europe can ever lead the race in digital is a recurring question. The importance of digitising (traditional) industry to become competitive is increasingly clear. Still, Europe sees American and Asian companies racing ahead. Why? Fear of disruption, legacy assets and strong labour rules are to blame. The good news: Europe does have some examples of companies that have successfully gone digital. In the end, this is all about striking a balance between traditions and inevitable change.
Google acts to curb AI arms race [Reuters]
Among the many alarm bells rung about AI is the perceived risk of an arms race. Google this week responded to employee outrage at its work with the U.S. military to identify objects in drone video. Instead, the tech giant will focus on government contracts in areas such as cybersecurity, military recruitment, and search and rescue. Time will tell whether the move, which some Congress members criticised as a threat to U.S. security, will allay the concerns of Google employees and others.
Myspace: not quite in the digital graveyard? [The Guardian]
You’d be forgiven for thinking Myspace was dead and buried. What used to be the world’s most popular social networking platform is certainly a shadow of its former self. But Myspace has a small hard core of fervent followers who prefer it to larger platforms such as Facebook, despite its dwindling user numbers and technical deterioration. Some are even calling for it to make a comeback. Vintage takes curious forms.
In case you haven’t had enough:
Google lays out AI rules after staff protests over military use [Financial Times]
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