2022 in Review: April – June
Top article: Air capture tech and waste bots more effective at tackling carbon emissions than planting trees, claims Microsoft
Twitter’s largest stakeholder Elon Musk joins board, a day after news revealed that he now owns a 9.2% share in Twitter.
The Tesla and Space X founder and CEO Elon Musk joins the social media platforms board with promises to introduce an ‘edit’ feature for users’ tweets, and also promises to solve the problem of so-called crypto spam bots. The appointment also suggests that there will not be a complete takeover, as Musk’s ownership of Twitter will be capped at 14.9% during his time on the board, as set by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Africa’s first AI centre aims to pave way for ‘inclusive’ fourth industrial revolution. Rwanda has become the first country in Africa to launch a centre dedicated to artificial intelligence, machine learning and data governance aiming to support and accelerate industry 4.0 across the continent. The newly launched centre is in partnership between the Ministry of Information, Communication Technology and Innovation of Rwanda and the World Economic Forum.
In the same month, Musk has pulled out of Twitter’s board of directors. Just a week after he became the firm’s biggest shareholder alongside a nomination to join the board, Twitter’s CEO Parag Agrawal revealed: “Elon has decided not to join our board,”
“Elon’s appointment to the board was to become officially effect 4/9, but Elon shared that same morning he will no longer be joining the board,” Agrawal said. “I believe this is for the best.”
UK changes driving rules to accommodate autonomous vehicles. The UK government has unveiled plans to add new regulations to its road safety rulebook, The Highway Code, to ensure that self-driving cars are introduced safely on public roads. The changes focus on what motorists can and can’t do when the vehicle is in self-driving mode and is determined by how quickly drivers are able to resume control of the car when necessary. Therefore, while plans suggest a change in current regulations to allow drivers to view video content on built-in screens in self-driving mode, it will still be illegal to use a mobile phone.
Elon Musk agrees to $44 billion deal to buy Twitter. The deal brings an end to the running spat between the social media platform’s board and its biggest shareholder. Musk initially bid for the company earlier in the month, in which Twitter made clear it would take great care in it’s decision to accept the bid.
Editor’s pick: Designing a backbone for the digital pound
This week, and at the end of 2022, experts from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK’s financial regulator, and Bank of England will take part in a hearing that will discuss the risks of crypto and the positive and negative aspects of developing a digital pound.
Back in April, when things were looking much more positive, TechInformed’s Ann-Marie Corvin spoke to Paul Sisnett, the CEO of paywith.glass, a platform designed to support the architecture for central bank digital currencies (CBDC), cryptocurrencies, and stablecoins on just how a CBDC, like the digital pound, could be realised in the UK.
Top article: Vodafone reportedly in UK merger talks with Three-owner Hutch
Elon Musk hits pause on Twitter deal, citing concerns over the number of fake accounts on the social media platform. Despite Musk agreeing to a deal in April, the Tesla boss tweeted to say the deal is “temporarily on hold” while he investigates Twitter’s claims that fake profiles and bots make up less than 5% of its user base.
Should Musk end the bid, he may be liable to pay Twitter a $1 billion break cause, though Musk has said he is “still committed” to the deal.
IBM, Dell and OMG launch Responsible Computing Initiative. The new IBM and Dell-back consortium, which aims to restore trust in IT and help firms develop sustainable development goals, has been launched by enterprise tech standards body Object Management Computing.
The Responsible Computing Initiative claims to help firms navigate their way through everything from combating AI bias to improving sustainability in data centres.
Uber partners with Serve Robotics for automated delivery service, Los Angeles, California. Serve Robotics is a San-Francisco based company that has developed a four-wheel sidewalk delivery robot that can carry up to 50 pounds of merchandise for 25 miles on a single charge.
Hyundai to invest $10 billion in US towards mobility technology by 2025. The investment will go towards technology such as electric vehicle manufacturing, robotics, advanced air mobility, AI and self-driving vehicles. The announcement comes after the US President Joe Biden met with Hyundai’s chairman, Euisun Chung, during his visit to South Korea.
UK data watchdog settles on £7.5m fine for Clearview AI. The Information Commissioner’s Office fined the facial recognition firm for multiple privacy breaches. The US-based firm uses data scrapping technology to harvest picture of people taken from websites and social media platforms and has created an online database by collecting over 20 billion images of people’s faces and data.
Editors pick: Flower Power: Q&A with Bloom&Wild CTO Marta Jasinska
If you were looking for a deliverable pick-me-up to send to a friend or family over the pandemic, I don’t doubt a bunch of flowers packed away neatly in a letterbox-sized package was on your radar.
Online flower gifting company Bloom&Wild flourished during the pandemic with its online business blooming enough to acquire two other flower delivery businesses, Bloomon and Bergamotte. As such, with a business solely working with online orders, TI spoke with Bloom&Wild’s CTO Marta Jasinska on how it managed with rapid scaling up, using data, and how the firm managed during the pandemic.
Top article: Rishi Sunak announces UK’s new Digital Strategy, which aims to create jobs, strengthen skills, boost talent and infrastructure in the country’s tech market.
The UK Chancellor (and now Prime Minister) and (now ex) minister for DCMS Nadine Dorries took to the stage at London Tech Week to reveal the new framework, which was delayed from early 2020 following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Business lobby groups have been calling on the government for an overarching tech strategy for some time now, with tech bosses complaining of a lack of talented workers since Brexit. Current estimates suggest the skills gap is costing the UK economy as much as £63bn.
Hillary Clinton and June Sarpong launch EQL:Pledge at London Tech Week. Organised by non-profit organisation EQL:HER, and presentation platform Pitch, EQL:Pledge aims to increase funding for business founders from underrepresented backgrounds.
India to inject $30bn into tech sector and chip supply chain, to ensure it is not “held hostage” to international suppliers. The initiative is geared toward growing native manufacturing of semiconductors, shows, superior chemical substances, networking and telecom gear, as well as batteries and electronics.
Tech giants band together to form metaverse standards forum. Meta, Huawei, and Microsoft have partnered alongside other tech giants to launch a joint Metaverse Standards Forum aimed to set out industry guidelines to ensure immersive VR worlds are compatible. The companies will analyse how the coordination and implementation of interoperability standards could support an open and inclusive metaverse.
Amazon launches its first fully-autonomous Proteus robot, a full decade after the US e-commerce company bough robot coordination and fulfilment company Kiva. The company’s collection of robots has hit 200,000 across its 1,137 fulfilment centres but, up until now, they have never worked freely alongside human Amazon workers. The robot will work to move packages around throughout Amazon’s facilities.
Instagram trials AI for age verification to protect children. The Meta-owned company has been put under pressure from safety advocates to prevent teens from seeing harmful content and restricting underage use. It has already started practising child safety by requiring users to prove that they are over 13 and eligible to use the app by submitting their birth data, but has since turned to several tech solutions including running users’ video selfies through an artificial intelligence that can determine if they are adults.
Editors pick: How Orange is kicking off private 5G networks in France
With the football world cup in full play at the moment, I’ve been reminiscing on my time witnessing a match between Marseille and Strasbourg at the Orange Velodrome in Marseille. There, I had the chance to experience 5G-enabled technology first hand with Orange Business Services alongside it’s head of innovation Guillaume Chabas.
If the match itself wasn’t lively enough, as Marseille’s spot within the champions league lay on the line, the technology within the stadium made for an even more dynamic atmosphere – Robots drove around with computer screen heads that would allow for video calls with the players, meanwhile a video wall livestreamed what looked like a portal into the tunnel of the players walking in and out; and a VR headset gave an insight into what it looks like pitch-side. Additionally, within the stands, a mobile app called Augmented Match allowed fans to livestream the match and access real-time statistics and data by clicking on the players and the pitch.
Biggest moment of 2022
As earth completes another trip around the sun, its inhabitants, us, are starting to feel the heat from it more and more. With yet another year of record breaking temperatures, and yet another year of recycling, using paper straws, and practising good energy consumption within our own homes, people are looking at businesses and technology to step up in order to help the environment in 2022.
Over the course of this year, I have gotten knee deep into the exciting and new digital technologies that are coming into play to help the environment. In particular, I had the chance to chat with Shell on how it, as a big oil company, is using digital twins to help with its energy transition, and I also sat down with the UN Environmental Programme’s digital transformation co-lead to talk about what it is doing, and where businesses can start with using digital technologies to help with sustainability.
Ann-Marie Corvin, our deputy editor, also wrote an incredibly insightful deep dive into how digital technologies can help firms become more sustainable. Starting with carbon measuring and reporting, and then where firms can look to start investing in their own offsets, and other carbon removal technologies that may just save us all.
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