What a busy tech week. From leaked emails to P2B voting, the holiday slow-down has definitely not kicked in yet in Brussels. And it seems there’s a threat on the horizon, with the US Commerce Department putting the tech sector in its crosshairs as the trade wars escalate.
We haven’t been sitting still here at Cambre. This week, Cambre published our annual analysis on the social media use of EU industry associations. The findings show that associations are clearly aware of their enormous potential, with many now active across a number of channels. We’ve been tracking how they use social media since 2015 and we see that there is still room to grow. A whopping 75% of EU industry associations are now using social media, up 8% from last year. Twitter and LinkedIn have remained on top with both showing a surprising 9% growth in 2018. While fewer associations have decided to open a YouTube channel, the ones who already had one stayed busy producing new videos. Has anything changed for Facebook or Instagram? Are the newcomers late to the party or is the music still going strong? Check out our #DigitalAssociations study for more.
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Beep, beep! Electric scooters are making us rethink urban planning [Vox]
Electric scooters are slowly becoming part of the urban landscape in European cities. They promise a quick and affordable way to move around, while keeping emissions low. However, their integration has been far from a smooth ride often because users are forced to compete with pedestrians and cars. That has led cities to start rethinking how they use their public space. Enter the ‘complete street’, a concept inspired by ‘early streets’ where different social uses and forms of transportation had to operate in the same space. Electromobility is the future, cities just need to figure out a way to manage their traffic space and give more room to pedestrians, bikes and scooters. In some cases, scooter companies are even offering to pay to build bike-scooter lines.
Your bike commute could burn calories while storing energy [Fast Company]
As part of the global Clean Energy Challenge, S-Park has designed a way for bike commuters in Amsterdam to store and distribute energy generated by their bicycles into their neighborhood’s grid. The organisation has designed a wheel, compatible with any bike, which stores kinetic energy that is produced by the bike’s motion in batteries. When the commuter returns home, the rider can park their bike in a special neighborhood rack that is connected to the grid, which distributes the stored energy. The best part is that users won’t have to alter their daily lives at all to make a positive impact on the electricity grid. With Amsterdam planning to invest almost €100 million in cycling infrastructure by 2020 – S-Park could be on to something.
AI might predict your midnight cravings before you [The Atlantic]
A software developer claims to have cracked the nut on our sense of taste. An app called Gastrograph can use metadata collected from human ‘tasters’ to model and predict taste and how changes might appeal to consumers. Think about food producers having a tool to predict how new demographics will like foods they haven’t tried, testing new flavors before production begins. As this new use of AI is rolled out, it could have a huge impact on the European food market. What happens when largescale producers can afford AI-powered food trend prediction services and local producers are left out? Food for thought as this new analytic software takes over the market.
Tech is (still) a man’s world [Financial Times]
The European tech community is dominated by men. Despite the efforts towards more gender balance in the tech sector, a recent study highlighted that 93% of tech investments in Europe go to startups with no female as part of the executive team. According to the report, Eastern European states dominate the top 10 countries in female representation. What does that mean for the market? The lack of gender diversity fosters discrimination at work, with 46% of women surveyed having experienced discrimination at work. Among them, nine out of ten reported it was gender related. It will still take a concerted effort to change mentalities in Europe, to empower women and to integrate them in all the sectors of the economy, especially the booming digital sphere.
Of competition, privacy, or lack thereof: how Facebook rules its global realm [The New York Times]
The Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed how Facebook’s key asset – its users’ data – was vulnerable to misuse by others, with dramatic consequences. A new leak now seems to show that The Social Network has not resisted the temptation to (ab)use its power position to fatten its bottom line. Emails of senior executives, including King Mark, show that the company sought to contour privacy rules to obtain data and did not hesitate to leverage it to reward friendly businesses with mutual benefits or cut off non-aligned ones. Facebook would not choose app developers who – as their slogan goes – brought people together around the world. It would choose those who contribute to its ‘ecosystem’, creating more data, more fuel for its machine. But if Spiderman (or Voltaire) taught us something about competition, is that with great power comes great responsibility.
In case you haven’t had enough…
France faces a typical Facebook revolution, [Bloomberg]
Hype about artificial intelligence brings policy benefits, [The Financial Times]
How software could help you grapple with legal code, [Wired]
Microsoft calls for laws to prevent bias in facial recognition AI, [Bloomberg]
Why are all of Spotify’s most-streamed artists men? [Vox]
The race is on to protect data from the next leap in computers. And China has the lead. [New York Times]