The European Commission unveiled its digital masterplan on Wednesday with its long-awaited EU data and Artificial intelligence (AI) strategies. And guess what? 🥁🥁🥁 It’s all about data. It is no secret, data is the new gold mine and the Commission has made it clear it will not wait in line. Pickaxes are being prepared to take full advantage of it as Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton trumpeted “the battle for industrial data has started” – “Europe as its battlefield”.
To win the battle the Commission aims to create a new arena, the European data space. Open to data across the world, it will provide an environment where personal data and non-personal data, including sensitive business data, are pulled together. Other key legislative initiatives such as a Data Act are also planned to incentivise data sharing. The motto is: instead of sitting on it, we should exploit it. Data gold will power new generation of data driven services such as AI. This would be done in a “European way”. The EU wishes to balance the data flow and availability fever with standards such as safety, security and ethics. A similar approach has been taken in the proposed human-centric AI framework. Winning should not come at any cost. A tricky balance as overregulating may minefield the race to innovation. Let’s watch this space. Legislation will be proposed at the end of the year.
But first, it is your time to act! 🖊️💻📝 The Commission is seeking your comments on both its AI and data strategies until 19 and 31 May 2020 respectively. For those who fear Skynet seeing the light of day, don’t worry. We’re not quite there yet. Sarah
For any questions on the upcoming EU tech milestones, feel free to reach out to Cambre’s tech team!
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(Deep) fakes in politics [The Washington Post]
Most of us have seen this incredible deepfake video going viral about Back to the Future (if not, you need to check it out! We’ll wait). And political campaigners are taking note. Fake videos – or at least edited videos – have been used by President Trump, mainstream media and pundits to make their points or tarnish their rivals. The Democrats joined the trend yesterday when Michael Bloomberg’s campaign staff posted a very different video of the democratic primary debates compared to what actually happened. Twitter is considering labelling the video as manipulated, as part of their new policy on anti-disinformation. I guess you should only trust what you see with your own eyes (not on a screen).
Foldable (& breakable!) tech which we don’t need [The Verge]
Ah the humble smartphone, perfect as is with its straightforward rectangular design – we wouldn’t want to change a thing, right? Well it seems phone manufacturers wish to keep testing the limits of engineering on our personal devices, and now we are raising the foldable (smart)phone back from the dead. Whether it’s cracked screens from the cold, dust entering the device or scratches on the ultra-thin, plastic-like glass, the first three foldable smartphones to hit the market from Samsung and Motorola seem to have run into a host of problems. Perhaps it shows that some basic designs are better left as is – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Educating Generation Z [The New York Times]
Learn a language through total immersion – i.e., in virtual reality. Generation Z may soon be using a whole range of tech options to spice up their classrooms, from avatar conversation partners to 3-D holographic models of architecture projects or AI teaching assistants. Sandbox ColLABorative, the innovation arm of Southern New Hampshire University, is one of several test labs using blockchain, computer simulations and more to bring education up to speed with the digital revolution. Matching skills with jobs, making education more effective while lowering costs? Winning combo.
Algorithms against antibiotic resistance [Financial Times]
Antibiotic resistance could have a higher death rate than cancer by 2050. Thankfully, MIT scientist Regina Barzilay has developed a deep-learning algorithm that was trained to scour a library of 100 million molecules to predict how effective each molecule would be against specific pathogens. One of the new antibiotics discovered can kill 35 powerful bacteria, some of which are currently deadly. The scientific promise is significant, but unfortunately even an algorithm can’t (yet) solve some of the economic issues that come with developing new drugs.
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In case you haven’t had enough…
RIP: Larry Tesler, inventor of copy & paste (ComputerWorld)
The ride-hail utopia that got stuck in traffic (The Wall Street Journal)
Five lessons from the Justice Department’s big debate over section 230 (The Verge)
How to make billions in e-sports (The New York Times)