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UK's competition regulator demands tougher action on Google and Facebook


The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has called on the UK government to create "a new pro-competition regulatory regime" that can control Facebook, Google and other technology companies that are primarily funded by digital advertising. The non-ministerial department has completed a study announced last July and concluded that "existing laws are not suitable for effective regulation." To combat the problem, it's recommending that a new Digital Markets Unit be set up with major oversight and powers. The Unit was first proposed in a report published by the Digital Competition Expert Panel (DCEP) -- a group chaired by Professor Jason Furman, a former chief economist when Barack Obama was president -- in March 2019. The CMA believes it should have a code of conduct that ensures Facebook and Google don't veer into "exploitative or exclusionary practices," or do anything that is likely to reduce public trust and transparency.

Lack of UK testing data is impeding our understanding of the outbreak

New Scientist

The UK government won't say when it will resume reporting the number of people outside of hospitals and care homes being tested for covid-19, after more than two weeks of suspending publication because of double counting. The lack of these figures, and issues with how test numbers are reported, mean researchers are unable to analyse many aspects of the outbreak. When the UK government stopped saying how many people are tested daily in the community, it initially cited difficulties with data collection on 23 May, before later saying the suspension was because it had been counting some people who had more than one test. This problem means data corrections have regularly been made recently – on some days, more than 1000 tests have been removed from the cumulative total. Asked when the publishing hiatus and data clean-up would end, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) didn't say and referred New Scientist back to its website. The quality and transparency of official statistics on coronavirus testing have been called into question over the past two months.

Artificial Intelligence and the Integrated Review: The Need for Strategic Prioritisation


The government's Integrated Review comes at a time of considerable technological change. The UK has entered a'Fourth Industrial Revolution' (4IR), which promises to'fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another'. This new era will be characterised by scientific breakthroughs in fields such as the Internet of Things, Blockchain, quantum computing, fifth-generation wireless technologies (5G), robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI), which together are expected to deliver transformational changes across almost every sector of the economy. Of particular note are recent developments in AI, specifically advances in the sub-field of machine learning. Progress over the last decade has been driven by an exponential growth in computing power, coupled with increased availability of vast datasets with which to train machine learning algorithms.

Experiments in sustainable mobility


Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few years, you will be well aware of the trend towards more conscious consumption. In part recently, this is because of the Greta Thunberg effect, the rise Elon Musk's Tesla electric vehicles and more sustainable forms of transportation such as Bird and Uber JUMP. The future of our planet is very much front of mind for Gen-Z, and our cities (especially our large ones) are some of the most polluted places on earth. Just a few days ago, the UK government announced that the petrol and diesel ban will be brought forward 5 years to 2035 rather than 2040. To add to this, the UK government announced that to accelerate the shift to zero emission cars, all company cars will pay no company car tax in 2020–2021.

'Enormous' growth prospects for 5G in enterprises


A study by recently launched research firm Omdia has revealed the huge shift for communications service providers (CSPs) and the wider tech ecosystem that will be created by the wider adoption of 5G products and services. The analyst says that the report, 5G and beyond: Connecting the dots at MWC20, aims to "connect the dots" between the strategies, technologies, companies and market trends that are impacting industries as they transition to 5G, providing an overview of the interrelated opportunities and challenges. As well as predicting that 5G will take the consumer market by storm, with 5G-enabled smartphone shipments expected to grow eight-fold by 2021, Omdia believes the growth prospects for 5G in enterprises are "enormous", with global 5G enterprise mobile subscriptions set to rise from 500,000 in 2019 to 175 million by 2024. It predicts that the global 5G smartphone market will surge to 231 million units shipped by the end of 2020, up from 29 million in 2019, and will double again in 2021. Omdia says this growth will be driven by declining device costs, which will be in the $700-$800 range in the next two years, making them more affordable.

The Global AI Index - Tortoise


Artificial intelligence is poised to transform the way we work, learn and live. Across the globe, businesses, governments and the public at large are already having to adapt to the rapid development of these technologies. The Global AI Index analyses how 54 countries are driving and adapting to AI's accelerating development through three pillars; investment, innovation and implementation. Here is the Index in full. Use the toggle to switch between our Index's ranks – where countries stand – or score – how far or close they are to each other.

UK government funds 18 projects to develop anti-drone technologies ZDNet


The UK government has approved £2 million ($2.57 million) worth of funding for 18 projects that will develop anti-drone and drone detection technologies. The funding comes part of a competition held by the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) program under the UK's Ministry of Defence (MOD). MOD officials approved funding earlier this year, in April, after a series of amateur drone incursions froze air travel at several airports across the UK. Infamous is a three-day incident at the Gatwick Airport in London just before Christmas last year, and another day of flight cancellations in January, at Heathrow, London, one of the world's largest airports. In April, MOD, through DASA, asked the private sector for solutions to detect and neutralize "small UAS (unmanned aerial system) threats."

Mimicking a Cybersecurity Analyst's Intuition with AI


With years of cybersecurity experience under his belt, security expert Mike Beck investigated whether he could teach AI to think like a cybersecurity analyst--and helped to transform the fight for online security in the process. Few people know what it's like to battle cyberattacks in a high-stakes environment better than Mike Beck. Without his expertise, London's biggest event in 2012 could have gone dark. Beck, a cybersecurity expert with a background in UK intelligence, joined the UK's MI5 domestic security service shortly before the 2012 Summer Games opened. When the UK government learned of a serious threat to the electricity infrastructure supporting the Games, they looked to one of their newest hires.

DWP tests AI system to judge whether benefit claims are TRUE


Benefits claimants could soon be using robots to claim cash as the Government speeds up the development of an AI system by working with a billionaire tech boss who declared recently: 'I want a bot for every person'. The Department for Work and Pensions has employed more than 1,000 new IT staff and created an £8million-a-year'intelligent automation garage' to develop up to 100 new robots to help support Britain's welfare system - used by 7million people each year. The UK government is working with New York-based UiPath, co-founded by billionaire Daniel Dines, whose £7billion company is viewed as a future Google of robotics and Artificial Intelligence. Mr Dines' software is already used by Walmart, Toyota and many banks and now will help the DWP develop systems to check benefits claims with tech giants IBM, Tata Consultancy and Capgemini also involved. Developers believe a'virtual workforce' could handle simpler welfare cases and payments faster and with fewer mistakes than today - while more complicated cases would still be dealt with by human staff.

UK government to test AI procurement guidelines – Government & civil service news


The UK will be the first government to test a new set of artificial intelligence (AI) procurement guidelines, which have been developed by global public-private cooperation body the World Economic Forum (WEF). AI Procurement Guidelines for Governments sets out the requirements civil servants should address before acquiring and deploying AI software and services; provides questions they should ask companies about their products, and how they use and process data; and makes recommendations for the implementation of AI. According to WEF – which co-designed the guidelines as part of its Unlocking Public Sector AI project – civil servants often lack experience in acquiring emerging technologies, and many public institutions are cautious about harnessing AI at a time when "we are only beginning to understand the risks as well as the opportunities". It said growing public concerns around bias, privacy, accountability and transparency in the use of AI have added an extra layer of complexity to its roll-out at a national level, and that the guidelines have been designed to help civil servants keep up with the rapidly-developing technology and mitigate the associated risks. The aim is to help governments make efficiencies through the responsible use of AI and prepare for future risks, while enabling established companies and start-ups to compete on a level playing field for government contracts.