BBC News


Brexit: 'Horrified' firms warn time is running out

BBC News

British businesses have criticised politicians for focusing on in-fighting rather than preparing for Brexit, warning that there is not enough time to prepare for a no-deal scenario. With 100 days to go before the UK leaves the EU, the groups say firms have been "watching in horror" at the ongoing rows within Westminster. The cabinet met on Tuesday to ramp up preparations for a no-deal departure. But the groups say the idea that "no-deal" can be managed is not credible. In a joint statement, the British Chambers of Commerce, the Confederation of British Industry, manufacturers' organisation the EEF, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Directors said: "Businesses have been watching in horror as politicians have focused on factional disputes rather than practical steps that business needs to move forward. "The lack of progress in Westminster means that the risk of a no-deal Brexit is rising." The government said on Tuesday that it had sent letters to 140,000 businesses, urging them to trigger their no-deal contingency plans as appropriate. It will also distribute 100-page information packs on Friday. The five business groups, which represent hundreds of thousands of UK firms, said that because of a lack of progress, the government "is understandably now in a place where it must step up no-deal planning". But they say: "It is clear there is simply not enough time to prevent severe dislocation and disruption in just 100 days.


Is this the secret to spotting an Oscar winner?

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On the surface, The Godfather, The Sixth Sense and Little Miss Sunshine appear to have little in common. But even though these films belong to different genres and have very different plots, technically they have the same "emotional arc" - a journey of highs and lows. Using artificial intelligence, we analysed more than 6,000 scripts from the past 80 years and discovered all films fall within six emotional arcs. These include the emotional rise of "rags to riches" films such as The Shawshank Redemption and the rise and fall of "man in a hole" films such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit. But which of these are the most successful, critically and commercially?


Kiwibot delivery robot catches fire after 'human error'

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A food delivery robot was destroyed after it caught fire because of "human error", its creator has confirmed. Kiwibot autonomous delivery robots have been rolling around the University of California, Berkeley campus for two years. On Friday, students found one of the robots in flames and shared photos on social media. Kiwi said the cause was a "defective battery" that had been accidentally installed in the robot. "One of the batteries for our robot that was idling started smouldering, eventually leading to some smoke and minor flames," the company said in a statement.


Shazam reveals 2018's most-searched songs

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In a world full of smart devices, self-driving cars and voice assistants, Shazam is the closest technology comes to actual magic. The software allows you to hold your phone up to a speaker and answer the age-old question, "what is this song and who's it by?" without the humiliation of having to ask the DJ. And in 2018 the answer, most frequently, was "Solo by Clean Bandit". The song, which features US star Demi Lovato, was tagged 9.1 million times. British artists performed five of Shazam's top 10 songs, with Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa and newcomer Tom Walker all making the chart.


Drone 50ft from hitting plane at Stansted

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A drone flying more than 20 times the allowed height came within 15m (50ft) of a Boeing 737 approaching a runway at Stansted Airport in Essex. The plane was flying at 10,000ft (3km) and coming in to land on 17 August when the captain spotted the drone. The first officer then saw "a dark-coloured square or rectangle-shaped object pass down the right side of the aircraft with minimal separation". The UK Airprox Board rated the risk of collision as the highest possible. After the incident, which happened at 16:36 BST, the plane was inspected on the ground and found no evidence of contact or damage.


Talking horses and perfect faces: The rise of virtual celebrities

BBC News

A different kind of internet celebrity is emerging; virtual characters that talk on YouTube or pose on Instagram like living, breathing people. Is this the dawn of a new breed of star? Kizuna AI has 2.3 million YouTube followers. But she is also a CGI construct; a fictional character made to look like a young woman, voiced by an actor, claiming to be an advanced artificial intelligence. Her channel is part of a growing trend in Japan for so called virtual YouTubers, or VTubers.


Why your pizza may never be delivered by drone

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For years tech companies such as Amazon, Alphabet and Uber have promised us delivery drones bringing goods to our doorsteps in a matter of minutes. So why are they taking so long to arrive? If our skies are to become as crowded as our streets, airspace rules need updating to prevent accidents, terrorist attacks, and related problems, such as noise pollution. But that's easier said than done. According to a recent study by Nasa, the noise made by road traffic was "systematically judged to be less annoying" than the high-pitched buzzing made by drones.


Robot turns out to be man in suit

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A robot on show at a Russian state-sponsored event has turned out to be a man dressed in a costume. Robot Boris featured on Russian TV and was apparently able to walk, talk and dance. But soon after its appearance journalists began to question the bot's authenticity. In a picture published afterwards on social media, the neck of a person was clearly visible. The robot is in fact a 250,000 rouble (£2,975) costume called Alyosha the Robot, made by a company called Show Robots.


The child advice chatbots failing sex abuse test

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Two mental health chatbot apps have required updates after struggling to handle reports of child sexual abuse. In tests, neither Wysa nor Woebot told an apparent victim to seek emergency help. The BBC also found the apps had problems dealing with eating disorders and drug use. The Children's Commissioner for England said the flaws meant the chatbots were not currently "fit for purpose" for use by youngsters. "They should be able to recognise and flag for human intervention a clear breach of law or safeguarding of children," said Anne Longfield.


Bionic 3D-printed arm 'gives confidence' to young amputees

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A Bristol-based robotics company, Open Bionics, has developed the world's first medically-certified 3D-printed artificial arm for amputees. The Hero Arm, with its artificial hand, can fit children as young as nine years old. Its motor is controlled by muscles on the residual limb, allowing the user to carry out many tasks as if the hand was real. Open Bionics hope the £5,000 bionic arm could be made available on the NHS. BBC Click's Kathleen Hawkins went to meet Raimi, who says the arm has given her a new confidence.