Dear TechAways readers,
I’m Lise and I’m thrilled to be the guest editor of this week’s TechAways newsletter by SEC Newgate EU!
I write to you in extremely challenging times. Ukraine, one of our closest European neighbours, is enduring a devastating attack on its people, on its cities and on its infrastructure.
Communications are important in times of crisis. I write to you as the proud Director General of ETNO, the association representing Europe’s top telecom operators. Our members know better than anyone that access to communications is even more essential these days, and especially to those most affected by the conflict.
I am proud of the swift humanitarian mobilisation within our industry since the early days of the conflict. Telcos have taken voluntary measures across Europe to facilitate lifesaving communications among Ukrainians fleeing the conflict, those living abroad and those staying in the country.
Among others, Telcos are offering free or reduced tariffs for international calls and roaming to Ukraine, but they also started the distribution of SIM cards to refugees or set up free WiFi in arrival camps. More examples from our internal survey available here. We will continue working with EU policymakers and regulators to ensure these measures are sustainable and that we continue helping those in need.
Digital infrastructure is critically important to all of us. The road is still uphill, as even in Europe we must further up our game on 5G and fibre: today, 62% Europeans have access to a 5G connection, while 52% to an FTTH (Fibre to the Home) connection. Digital connectivity and services empower our daily lives, creating new opportunities for growth and inclusion, and we will continue partnering with EU institutions to ensure Europe – and its global partners – to bring these services to all Europeans.
Last but not least, as a woman in tech, I believe it is my responsibility to represent women leaders in STEM and to tell our story in order to uplift all the women who work in our sector, or who aspire to!
Now over to the news wrap-up below on the most important TechAways of a packed news agenda.
With tech love,
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#TechAways is brought to you by Lise Fuhr and SEC Newgate EU’s colourful team featuring Adrian Blazquez Lacunza, Alice Antoine-Grégoire, Katarina Oja, Kristin Tsenkova and Josef Cutajar.
- Grief technologies: a morally charged topic [Wired]
While social media has been saturated with hourly updates about the sensational ex-couple Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, one birthday gift broke the Internet and made us question our relationship with grief. A hologram of Kim’s late father, gifted by Kanye for her birthday in 2020, stunned social media. Using deepfake tools to reanimate the dead has turned into a morally charged debate – for some, this is a chance to grieve loved ones, while for others, it is a “creepy” and “disturbing” technology. Memorializing loved ones is not a new practice. However, with the advancements in machine learning, companies and individual should consider the complex implications of their use by being clear about their artificial nature and respecting the wish of the dead,
- Team meeting in the metaverse anyone? [Digital Trends]
A Microsoft commissioned report found that many people are open to the idea of using the metaverse for work meetings and team activities! The Work Trend Index report says that about 51% of Gen Z and 48% of Millennial workers are interested in using the metaverse. Some respondents (16%) don’t want anything to do with it and another 13% have no idea what the metaverse even is. As work is slowly returning to normal, the metaverse can become a reality for workplaces. Maybe even a good tool that bridges the gap between managers and employees.
- Talking points to talking heads [PCWorld]
PowerPoint is part of our everyday lives and Microsoft is making sure things stay like this by continuously improving their software. In a few months Microsoft is merging Cameo and Recording Studio to integrate video for live and on-demand presentations. It captures a small live feed of you talking through your slides and integrates that with the presentation. All Recording Studio does is simply add the capability to pre-record that video, so you’ll have the option of presenting live or pre-recording the video so others can review it on their own time.
- Successful collaboration 🤝 [Wired)
Google DeepMind has developed an AI tool, Ithaca, which uses deep neural networks to help historians decipher damaged ancient Greek texts. The main challenge with damaged writings is that they are often illegible. Ithaca is able to provide 62% accuracy in restoring damaged texts, compared to 25% accuracy of human historians. Ithaca even had the chance to prove its usefulness in a test case involving a set of Athenian decrees. Ithaca does not want to replace humans, but combines AI with the work of specialists to increase accuracy of recovered text by up to 72% – demonstrating the potential of human-machine cooperation.
- 3D emojis and live interpretations? 🤩 [Digital Trends]
Love it or hate it Microsoft Teams has become a daily go-to software in this new dawn of ‘hybrid working’. And of course, it gets exciting when new features are available! Microsoft is adding personality to conversations on their app by adding 3D emojis, and Speaker Coach. While the 3D emojis are straightforward, the Speaker Coach is an AI-based private guide that helps pace meetings and provides reminders to check in with your audience. The coolest feature of the Coach is language interpretations, which translate speakers in near real time. Talk about breaking barriers!
About this week’s editor, Lise Fuhr
I am a passionate tech advocate in Brussels and beyond, leading a high performing Team at ETNO, Europe’s leading telecom association. Beyond ETNO, I am a board member of the European Cybersecurity Organisation (ECSO). At the international level, I am the chairwoman of the Board of the company managing .org domain names and chairwoman of PTI, the organization for the root server of the internet. I aim to inspire young women to join the tech sector and make a difference in shaping its future. In my private time I love nature, going hiking all over the world and reading crappy crime novels. In a nutshell, I am a strong believer that digital technologies can empower us to be stronger, greener, better.
In case you haven’t had enough:
- Block will use a fingerprint sensor for its bitcoin wallet [Protocol]
- The Batman‘s Gotham Takes Inspiration From a City That No Longer Exists [GIZMODO]
- Google Doodle Celebrates French Artist Rosa Bonheur’s 200th Birthday [CNet]
- SNL star Pete Davidson is heading to space with crew of five on next Blue Origin flight [The Verge]