Well folks, that’s a wrap. Holiday pun intended.
It’s been a big year for the EU tech sector. Legislation on issues that will determine Europe’s digital future has been hotly debated ahead of the 2019 elections while public perception of tech’s role in society was rapidly evolving – and not always for the better.
2018 was also big for the technology team at Cambre. We have worked with our existing and new clients on issues ranging from data protection and digital trade to platforms and startups and everything in between. We’ve had a blast supporting initiatives that are truly at the core of Europe’s tech ecosystem.
If you’ve visited the technology sector page on the Cambre website recently, you might have noticed a change. As you know, Victoria took on the role of CEO earlier this year. I am stepping up to play a coordinating role for the tech practice. With new clients, a growing team, emerging technology issues to cover and EU elections around the corner, 2019 is going to be a big year!
#TechAways will be back in January. Have a happy holiday season and see you back here in the New Year.
Register for #TechAways here.
Are we heading to a four-speed internet? [Financial Times]
First a two-speed Europe, now a four-speed internet? Computer researchers are warning that the “splinternet” may extend beyond the US/China spheres of influence. In a recent paper, Wendy Hall and Kieron O’Hara explain that the internet is much more than the mix of hardware, software; protocols, networks and the other essential elements driving connection. It’s a tangled social web connecting the world. And we’d add – very political at that. They describe a division between the “open internet” of Silicon Valley, “bourgeois internet” of the EU, “commercial internet” of DC, and the “authoritarian internet” favored in China. If you’re interested in how these spheres intersect and collide, this is worth a read.
Another month, another hearing: Google’s CEO grilled in US Congress [Quartz]
Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified for three hours this week to the US House Judiciary Committee. The questions ranged from Google’s plans for a censored search engine in China to political bias in their algorithms and YouTube’s use as a social media platform to spread fake news. Compared to Facebook’s US and EU hearings, the house members seemed slightly more prepared, barring some silly questions. As long and gruelling as the hearing might have looked, it seems that tech and governments are developing a better understanding (day by day) of each other. Hopefully the trend towards more productive dialogue on tech issues continues.
Significant stumbling blocks for women in tech [FastCompany]
Here’s a good read for the European Commission officials working on initiatives to encourage women to play a more active role in the digital age. According to FastCompany, in reality women hold “less than a fifth of technical roles in the tech industry” but, even worse, they leave at 45% higher rate than men. Why? Mainly because of no clear career growth path, significant pay gaps and work-life imbalance. What was the most requested solution? A transparent hiring process with clear job descriptions and salaries.
Tech is already helping farmers to adapt to climate change [Financial Times]
If we don’t have enough time to reverse climate change, we might want to find ways to adapt before it’s too late. In the agricultural sector, many farmers rely on the whether to sow, plant and harvest. But what if they can’t rely on predictable climate patterns and the traditional farming calendar? Well, technology can offer solutions. A Taiwanese start-up designed a system that monitors rain, temperature and chemicals in the soils with sensors. Thanks to big data, it’s developing a new and evolving farming calendar. An added benefit for consumers, it will help with traceability in the supply chain. *DISCLAIMER: Don’t let tech progress prevent us from addressing climate change*
Futuristic high school lessons: math, history, fake news? [New York Times]
The organisation, Entre Les Lignes, which started out teaching students journalism in France, has grown to include lessons on how to spot misinformation on social media. Generally, training young people has been proven to help older adults grasp new ideas. But, with kids these days shunning Facebook for Snapchat and Instagram, platforms not known for their older audiences, there are questions about how effective the trickle-up process will be. While many would argue that it is the role of the platforms to police content, we probably all have a few Facebook friends who could benefit from a lesson or two.
In case you haven’t had enough…
‘Hi-tech robot’ at Russia forum turns out to be man in suit [Guardian]
Your apps know where you were last night, and they’re not keeping it secret [New York Times]
Artificial Intelligence has some explaining to do [Bloomberg]
Uber pushed for UK congestion charges that would hit poor hardest [Guardian]
What Sundar Pichai couldn’t explain to congress [Atlantic]
The messy political story of Bitcoin [Bloomberg]
At this new online banking platform, customers are the owners [FastCompany]
How Bird’s e-scooters take over the streets of a new city [Inc.]
Hospital beds get digital upgrade [WSJ]
Why coding is not the only route into tech jobs [Financial Times]
Experts predict the five big fintech trends of 2019 [Bloomberg]