The Cambre tech team would like to kick off 2019 by wishing everyone a happy New Year with our cool non-Christmas card. Looking ahead, it is sure to be a big year for tech in the EU as important files that could impact the entire sector are still pending and the upcoming EU elections appear full of security risks and political uncertainty.
We have some exciting projects coming your way in 2019, so stay tuned! The first exciting news is that our award-winning #BrusselsCalling media series opens the year with a panel discussion on EU competition policy and the changes brought on by the data economy. Senior competition practitioner Claire Harris will moderate the debate with leading EU correspondents on what to expect in the countdown to the end of the European Commission’s mandate. Register to join us Wednesday 6 February, 9:00 – 10:00 am.
As always, feel free to reach out (it is still early enough to celebrate New Year’s) to me or the rest of the Cambre Tech team if you’d like to catch up.
Register for #TechAways here.
Some are cool and useful: rolling televisions, suitcases that follow you around, or self-cleaning litterboxes. Some are a bit odd: walking cars, an ECG band that monitors unborn babies, or cuddly pear-shaped robots. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is closing its doors today and the 200,000 participants will go home having witnessed the latest in robotics, AI, voice activation, VR, and self-everything. While 5G is the key to power most of this connected tech, we may need to hold on to our horses for a little longer before it becomes a reality. One CES story not to be missed: in a tech world filled with sex robots and VR porn targeting a male audience, a robotic female vibrator was stripped of its innovation award and prohibited from exhibiting at the event.
Apple announced a forecast drop in revenue citing their lagging sales in China. With rising tensions on US-China trade relations, people are seeing an obvious link between Trump’s ‘art of the deal’ trade negotiations with the Chinese and Apple adapting their revenue expectations. Apple doesn’t have any trade barriers (yet) against its products in China, but it is affecting the Chinese view on US products and their buying power. Trump’s trade policy does not have many industry supporters, least of all in the tech sector and Silicon Valley. The opposition isn’t strong enough to make the White House change course, but might market share declines push them to change their minds?
Can you spot a fake? [New York Magazine]
Check out this piece for the superlative writing of Max Read alone. He dives into all that is fake on the internet and the very real impact that it has on us. Just how much of the internet is fake you might be wondering? Well, some studies today show less than 60% of web traffic is from humans. From fake videos to fake news, fake metrics to fake businesses, Max, like others, is afraid we will soon reach “the Inversion”, the point when humans produce less than 50% of online traffic.
Internet wisdom does not come with age [Guardian]
Researchers from NYU and Princeton found that American Facebook users over 65 shared nearly seven times as many articles from fake news domains as those in the 18-29 age group. In 2016, 18% of Republican users shared at least one link to a fake news site, compared to less than 4% of Democrats. The “good” news? Above 90% of American adults covered by the research did not share any articles from fake news domains in 2016. According to the researchers, over-65s’ higher tendency to share fake news may be explained by a lack of reflex and skills to determine whether online news is real or not.
AI is still only as good as the humans using it [The Atlantic]
When the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, broke out, a group of volunteer scientists stepped in to help the city determine which houses had lead pipes. They created a “lead-probability score” using any data they could find in city records, combined with houses’ location, age, and price. It was a huge success with the original small team having an 80% accuracy rate by the end of 2017. However, the city brought in an engineering firm to take over – they ditched the algorithm strategy and data from the scientist, setting the whole process back. The biggest takeaway – algorithms can be impactful, if trusted.
2019 might be the year when Facebook will have to pass go and not collect $200. Why? Because the tech company might face huge fines in Ireland (thank you, GDPR!) and even in the US where its Federal Trade Commission is looking into Facebook’s conduct in relation to the “consent decree” agreement. Dark clouds are ahead as well when it comes to its number of users: even if social media keeps growing, the trend is reversed in areas where there have been scandals. And with the EU elections just around the corner, fear of fake news paints a giant target on Facebook’s back. Some are speculating that problems will continue well into 2019 for the social media giant.
In case you haven’t had enough…
Can a man ever build a mind? [Financial Times]