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O2 expands its 5G coverage in the UK to more than 150 locations

Daily Mail - Science & tech

O2 has rolled out its 5G network in 53 new towns and cities across the UK, pulling ahead of its rival EE to become the nation's biggest provider of ultra-fast mobile internet. The new locations include Birmingham, Durham and Portsmouth, bringing O2's total number of locations with 5G to 150. The network also allows for larger amounts of data to be transferred at once, which could one day help power technologies such as fully autonomous cars. O2 has rolled out its 5G network in 53 new towns and cities across the UK, taking it ahead of its rival EE to become the nation's biggest provider of the ultra-fast internet The network also allow for larger amounts of data to be transferred at once, which could one day help power technologies such as fully autonomous cars. For most consumers, 5G will allow you to carry out tasks on your smartphone more quickly and efficiently.


Global Big Data Conference

#artificialintelligence

According to the AI Council, the biggest barrier to AI deployment is skills - and it starts as early as school. With artificial intelligence estimated to have the potential to deliver as much as a 10% increase to the UK's GDP before 2030, the challenge remains to unlock the technology's potential – and to do so, a panel of AI experts recommends placing a bet on young brains. A new report from the AI Council, an independent committee that provides advice to the UK government on all algorithmic matters, finds that steps need to be taken from the very start of children's education for artificial intelligence to flourish across the country. The goal, for the next ten years, should be no less ambitious than to ensure that every child leaves school with a basic sense of how AI works. This is not only about understanding the basics of coding and ethics, but about knowing enough to be a confident user of AI products, to look out for potential risks and to engage with the opportunities that the technology presents.


To make AI a success, every child needs to understand the risk and potential of algorithms

ZDNet

With artificial intelligence estimated to have the potential to deliver as much as a 10% increase to the UK's GDP before 2030, the challenge remains to unlock the technology's potential – and to do so, a panel of AI experts recommends placing a bet on young brains. A new report from the AI Council, an independent committee that provides advice to the UK government on all algorithmic matters, finds that steps need to be taken from the very start of children's education for artificial intelligence to flourish across the country. The goal, for the next ten years, should be no less ambitious than to ensure that every child leaves school with a basic sense of how AI works. This is not only about understanding the basics of coding and ethics, but about knowing enough to be a confident user of AI products, to look out for potential risks and to engage with the opportunities that the technology presents. "Without basic literacy in AI specifically, the UK will miss out on opportunities created by AI applications, and will be vulnerable to poor consumer and public decision-making, and the dangers of over-persuasive hype or misplaced fear," argues the report.


Science: UK labs get £213 million government investment to help tackle infectious diseases and more

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Labs across the UK are to be upgraded to help tackle infectious diseases, cut greenhouse emissions and more -- thanks to a £213 million government investment. The support -- part of the British government's wider'Research & Development Roadmap' -- was announced yesterday by Science Minister Amanda Solloway. It will give British scientists access to facilities including super computers in Cardiff to track infectious diseases and a floating offshore wind testing lab in Plymouth. The government's roadmap aims to make the UK'the best place in the world for scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs to live and work.' The new investment will not only provide support for the sciences, however, but will also be used to promote research in the arts and humanities.


Computer vision app allows easier monitoring of glucose levels

AIHub

A computer vision technology developed by University of Cambridge engineers has now been integrated into a free mobile phone app for regular monitoring of glucose levels in people with diabetes. The app uses computer vision techniques to read and record the glucose levels, time and date displayed on a typical glucose test via the camera on a mobile phone. The technology, which doesn't require an internet or Bluetooth connection, works for any type of glucose meter, in any orientation and in a variety of light levels. It also reduces waste by eliminating the need to replace high-quality non-Bluetooth meters, making it a cost-effective solution. Working with UK glucose testing company GlucoRx, the Cambridge researchers have developed the technology into a free mobile phone app, called GlucoRx Vision.


What Buddhism can do for AI ethics

MIT Technology Review

The explosive growth of artificial intelligence has fostered hope that it will help us solve many of the world's most intractable problems. However, there's also much concern about the power of AI, and growing agreement that its use should be guided to avoid infringing upon our rights. Many groups have discussed and proposed ethical guidelines for how AI should be developed or deployed: IEEE, a global professional organization for engineers, has issued a 280-page document on the subject (to which I contributed), and the European Union has published its own framework. The AI Ethics Guidelines Global Inventory has compiled more than 160 such guidelines from around the world. Unfortunately, most of these guidelines are developed by groups or organizations concentrated in North America and Europe: a survey published by social scientist Anna Jobin and her colleagues found 21 in the US, 19 in the EU, 13 in the UK, four in Japan, and one each from the United Arab Emirates, India, Singapore, and South Korea.


'Peak hype': why the driverless car revolution has stalled

The Guardian

By 2021, according to various Silicon Valley luminaries, bandwagoning politicians and leading cab firms in recent years, self-driving cars would have long been crossing the US, started filing along Britain's motorways and be all set to provide robotaxis in London. Indeed in the last weeks of 2020 Uber, one of the biggest players and supposed beneficiaries, decided to park its plans for self-driving taxis, selling off its autonomous division to Aurora in a deal worth about $4bn (£3bn) – roughly half what it was valued at in 2019. The decision did not, Uber's chief executive protested, mean the company no longer believed in self-driving vehicles. "Few technologies hold as much promise to improve people's lives with safe, accessible, and environmentally friendly transportation," Dara Khosrowshahi said. But more people might now take that promise with a pinch of salt.


UK broadband usage more than doubled in 2020 and peaked on Boxing Day

Daily Mail - Science & tech

UK broadband usage more than doubled in 2020, largely due to home working in lockdown, live-streamed sport and updates to video games such as Call of Duty, a new report reveals. One petabyte equals one million gigabytes (GB). On average a 4K film stream uses about 7.2GB per hour. Boxing Day was named the busiest day of the year for broadband – when a record 210PB was consumed across Openreach's networks – due to a combination of video calls to catch up with family and the lure of online entertainment. This year, network usage on Christmas Day was nearly double that of last year – 181PB compared with 96PB.


Holiday reading roundup: How the future looked, before the pandemic

ZDNet

As far back as mid-March, people were suggesting that the best thing to do with 2020 was hit the fast-forward button and move on swiftly to 2021. In the long slog since, endless Zoom calls and panels have explored the kind of future we might want to build, as and when we can. This year's book reviews wrap-up therefore focuses on futurist titles, even though all of them were written before SARS-CoV-2 reared its ugly protein spikes. The countries that have done best in this crisis have been those that benefited from recent epidemic experience. Their prompt response may be what David Weinberger, co-author of the well-known The Cluetrain Manifesto, means when he writes in Everyday Chaos about a "normal chaos" that looks positively restful compared to our present situation.


James Bruton focus series #3: Virtual Reality combat with a real robot

Robohub

It's Saturday, it's the turn of another post of the James Bruton focus series, and it's Boxing Day in the UK and most of the Commonwealth countries. Even if this holiday has nothing to do with boxing, I didn't want to miss the opportunity to take it literally and bring you a project in which James teamed up with final year degree students in Computer Games Technology at Portsmouth University to build a robot that fights a human in a Virtual Reality (VR) game. For this project, the students Michael (Coding & VR Hardware), Stephen (Character Design & Animation), George (Environment Art) and Boyan (Character Design & Animation) designed a VR combat game in which you fight another character. James' addition was to design a real robot that fights the player, so that when they get hit in the game, they also get hit in real life by the robot. The robot and the player's costume are tracked using Vive trackers so the VR system knows where to position each of them in the 3D virtual environment.