Since COVID-19 became a part of our lives, businesses around Europe have been looking for ways to remind their customers to wear a face mask. One garden centre in West Yorkshire may have found the answer: artificial intelligence. It uses a system at its front entrance that watches people's faces and detects if they are wearing a mouth and nose covering. If it spots anyone without a mask, it can relay a message to the customer or notify staff. Jonathan Pratt, whose firm Videcon developed the system, says the idea is to "promote and increase mask-wearing so we can safeguard the safety of customers and staff."
In 2017, The Economist declared that data, rather than oil, had become the world's most valuable resource. The refrain has been repeated ever since. Organizations across every industry have been and continue to invest heavily in data and analytics. But like oil, data and analytics have their dark side. According to IDG's State of the CIO 2020 report, 37 percent of IT leaders say that data analytics will drive the most IT investment at their organization this year. Insights gained from analytics and actions driven by machine learning algorithms can give organizations a competitive advantage, but mistakes can be costly in terms of reputation, revenue, or even lives.
Armed militia stroll around London, picking fights where they please and shutting down small gatherings of masked protesters demanding their freedoms on street corners. In Watch Dogs Legion's future dystopian British capital, Brexit happened years ago, Scotland has seceded from the union, and the country has been overtaken by private, corporate interests who've wrested control from the government and framed a collective of hacker protesters, DeadSec, for a series of terrorist attacks. People are pissed off, and ready to rise up. You, the player, are the catalyst that makes that happen. Like Grand Theft Auto, Watch Dogs conjures a huge living city out of code, filled with thousands of individual characters who go about their lives, going to work, visiting their sister, driving around in the rain.
Amazon users in the UK can now try and answer questions that Alexa doesn't know. The US tech company has announced the general availability of Alexa Answers in the UK – a crowd-sourced method of making its Alexa digital assistant more intelligent. The online hub offers users the chance to answer questions that Amazon's smart assistant Alexa didn't know the answer to. Users just need to sign in to their Amazon account at the Alexa Answers webpage and start browsing unanswered questions that they think they can answer. The UK launch will help Alexa get smart on topics specific to the UK, including the Spice Girls and the two-pound coin, Amazon hopes. In return for their knowledge, Alexa Answers users can earn points and get onto leaderboards on the hub.
Despite a lot of hype and many promises, putting driverless cars on the roads, as it turns out, is a difficult undertaking. Self-driving hub organization Zenzic, which is a joint effort between government and industry, has taken an in-depth look into the challenges that need to be tackled in the UK to make sure that the next ten years see drivers safely removing their hands from the steering wheel, for good. The process, according to the organization's analysis, will require no less than 492 milestones to be achieved in the coming decade. On the other hand, driverless cars will enable smoother journeys, reducing pollution and saving time to boost overall productivity. Zenzic estimates that the technology has the potential to save up to 225 hours a year per driver.
A fleet of six self-driving Ford Mondeos will be navigating the streets of Oxford in all hours and all weathers to test the abilities of driverless cars as part of a new trial. Technology firm Oxbotica, spun out of an Oxford University project, has retrofitted the vehicles which are following a nine-mile round trip within the city. A dozen cameras, three Lidar sensors, two radar sensors are used to put the car at'level 4 autonomy', meaning it can handle almost all situations itself. A person needs to be in the driving seat by law, but they won't be touching the steering wheel or pedals, the driverless car will be'taking them for a ride'. The Oxford trial is part of the UK government-backed £12.3 million Endeavour project, set up to try deploying a fleet of self-driving cars in several cities.
The authority that administers A-Level college entrance exams in the UK, Ofqual, recently found itself mired in scandal. Unable to hold live exams because of Covid-19, it designed and employed an algorithm that based scores partly on the historical performance of the schools students attended. The outcry was immediate, as students who were already disadvantaged found themselves further penalized by artificially deflated scores, their efforts disregarded and their futures thrown into disarray. This is far from an isolated incident. Even the world's most sophisticated technology companies have faced similar problems.
Robots that analyse a defendant's body language to determine signs of guilt will replace judges by the year 2070, according to an artificial intelligence expert. Writer and speaker on AI Terence Mauri believes the machines will be able to detect physical and psychological signs of dishonesty with 99.9 per cent accuracy. He claims they will be polite, speak every known language fluently and will be able to detect signs of lying that couldn't be detected by a human. Robot judges will have cameras that capture and identify irregular speech patterns, unusually high increases in body temperature and hand and eye movements. Terence Mauri (pictured) is an AI expert, author and founder of Hack Future Lab, a global think tank.
"Ten years of transition in a month" is a common explanation of how the pandemic is driving the use of telemedicine. Before the virus, video appointments accounted for just 1% of the 350 m consultations that the UK National Health Service manages each year. Companies like Docly, eConsult, and AccuRx are changing this. The latter states that 90% of primary care clinics in England are now using their video-calling method. Remote surgery is the most dramatic type of telemedicine.