Shane Richmond is a freelance technology writer and former Technology Editor of The Daily Telegraph. You can follow him at @shanerichmond
With the deadline for the UK's Brexit decision now put back to October 31, businesses might well view Halloween 2019 with terror. With data processing and storage so vital for many sectors, the question of how Brexit will affect data movement across borders is a significant one.
A Google search for the words "Brexit" and "Uncertainty" delivers more than 27 million results. On the other hand, you'll find just seven million results for "Brexit" and "Clarity" and a quick scan of those finds that they concern "lack of clarity". If there's one iron rule of Brexit it's that nobody knows anything.
Business historians might one day see 2018 as a pivotal year. We are in the midst of an AI revolution, with more and more data being processed by algorithms that will help us to make better decisions or simply make the decisions for us. But the collection and exploitation of this data is not without costs and historians might view this year as the year when society began to realise that.
SC18 gets underway in Dallas, Texas, today, kicking off a week of panels, workshops and tutorials. This is the 30th year of the conference, which is properly known as the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis. It's an exhausting schedule to navigate and even experienced attendees will have to do some diligent research to pick out the highlights. Here are mine...
Amazon's AI made the news early in October after it was revealed that the company had scrapped a recruitment engine because it was 'sexist'. Private Eye, the UK's satirical news magazine, described it as "a reminder to take an extra big pinch of salt whenever you hear that AI will improve the world". However, the reality is more complicated...
Formula 1 seems to crop up quite often in my work. I’ve been given a tour of McLaren’s headquarters, discussed wheel-nut troubles with the CIO of Williams and even interviewed the people responsible for making the batteries that store brake energy in the cars. I’m a technology writer, not a sport or motoring journalist but F1 is perhaps the most tech-enabled sport in the world so it comes up frequently. And even to someone like me, who has little interest in what happens on the track, the sport is fascinating off the circuit.
The impact of AI on the lives of consumers and the operation of businesses is slowly growing. Whether it’s the increasing visibility of autonomous vehicles or the small conveniences of a voice assistant such as Amazon’s Alexa, we’re beginning to get a sense of what AI can do. However, we’re still at the beginning. The truly significant changes are yet to come.
Speaking at a conference in November last year, Bernd Mohr, general chair of the Juelich Supercomputing Center, described HPC as “a new gold rush” . He said: “We are the modern pioneers, pushing the bounds of science for the betterment of society.” That’s a pretty grandiose claim but much of the work being done in HPC does have groundbreaking potential. It’s use in the discovery of new medicines, for example, has allowed pharmaceutical firms to massively accelerate their research.
The noise around 5G is growing. The new mobile data standard is not only faster than 4G but also capable of handling many more devices, which promises a huge boom for the Internet of Things (IoT), smart cities and all kinds of connectivity. However, there is still plenty of work to be done.
G-Cloud 10 launched at the beginning of July, once again giving suppliers the chance to reach local authorities, government bodies and research institutes with their services. The G-Cloud initiative was announced in 2011 and launched in 2012, as part of a plan to open up government and public sector IT to small and medium enterprise (SME) suppliers, and move local and national government in the UK to a ‘cloud first’ approach and cut costs for IT procurement.
At the end of March, Donald Trump signed into law a $1.3 trillion spending bill that covered a vast range of policy areas. The 2,232-page bill ensured that the US Government would not shut down – at least until September – but it also provided an excellent opportunity for legislators to add other measures to the ‘omnibus’ bill, which, according to Senator Rand Paul, was passed without anyone having read the whole thing.
Readers of a certain age will remember buying much-loved albums on multiple formats. Perhaps first you had the vinyl version, then maybe a cassette for playing in the car and later a CD for added digital clarity. How about the DNA version? Earlier this year, Massive Attack, the British band, encoded their 1998 album Mezzanine into DNA to celebrate its 20th birthday.
The conversation about blockchain is presently dominated by cryptocurrencies, with a certain amount of attention spilling into Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). There is no shortage of scepticism about the technology in these circumstances; cryptocurrencies look more like investment opportunities – and very risky ones at that – than actual currencies, and it’s no exaggeration to say that the majority of ICOs are scams. A recent study found that almost 80 percent are scams and just eight percent reach the trading stage.
Such is the hype around Bitcoin and blockchain technologies that numerous companies have seen their share prices rise simply by changing their names to include one of those words. In their rush to invest in the hot new thing, some investors don't check whether the companies actually have anything to do with blockchain.
“There is no such thing as the cloud, only other people’s computers.” I’ve hosted seminars with senior IT professionals for several years now and whenever the subject is ‘the cloud’, someone always delivers this line. I don’t know who said it first, but it’s become a cliché.
The digital technology era has brought us adtech, fintech, fittech, medtech and many more buzzwords. A new one has grown in popularity over the last year or so: Regtech.