Digital information technology is increasingly becoming entrenched into the fabric of our society, and it will not be long before we all permanently connect via the Internet. As the extensive digitisation of society is set to radically change practically all aspects of our lives, QUANTech (#QTech) aims at helping you stay in the know about the rapidly changing landscape of both organisations and society alike in the digital age.
Reading time: 5-6 minutes
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: €6.76b Google fine, 5G and China
After last year’s €2.42 billion fine from the European Commission to Google for breaching antitrust rules, the EU slapped Google again this week with a whopping €4.34 billion fine for illegal practices regarding Android mobile devices to strengthen dominance of Google’s search engine. €6.76 billion in one year: Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is everything but passive with tech giants’ practices. On Google side, the company’s chief executive Sundar Pichai replied, stating Android has created more choice, not less. They intend to appeal.
Qualcomm also announced a « major milestone for the mobile industry » this week. The company unveiled what it calls the world’s first fully-integrated 5G NR millimeter wave (mmWave) and sub-6 GHz RF modules for smartphones and other mobile devices. Technical aspect aside, this breakthrough makes « mobile 5G networks and devices, especially smartphones, ready for large scale commercialization. »
In this week’s stories, news from China about AI, mobility and social are worth mentioning, too.
QUANTech 17 focused on Softbank’s $100 billion Vision Fund. We have learned that the fund seeks investment in Chinese AI giant SenseTime, which is the world’s most valuable AI startup as I write these lines.
Short-form music-video based social network Douyin (known as Tik Tok in the West) announced that it has hit 500 million global monthly active users. It was the most download app worldwide in the App Store for Q1. We also learned that Google launched its first mini-program (AI drawing game) in China’s WeChat app, showing sign of another step into Chinese market.
IN SHORT (reading time)
• Microsoft and Walmart team up to take on Amazon. (2-3m)
• Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter will now let you transfer data between their services. (1-2m)
• Facebook is creating an internet satellite. (1-2m)
• Paying for a service doesn’t guarantee it won’t sell your data. (6-8m)
• Facebook suspends another analytics firm amid questions over surveillance. (6-7m)
• DeepMind, Elon Musk and others pledge not to make autonomous AI weapons (statement). (3-4m)
• This year’s Prime Day was the biggest global shopping event in Amazon history.
• Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is now the richest person in recent history. (2-3m)
• Alphabet is to deploy balloon Internet in Kenya with Telkom in 2019. (2-3m)
• Cuba is rolling out mobile internet nationwide. (4-5m)
• Huawei aims to launch world’s first foldable screen phone. (7-9m)
• Robots deliver snacks to your home in China. (4-5m)
• Chinese viewers surged during this year’s World Cup. (3-4m)
IN CONTEXT: CRISPR
I remember reading a long-form article from Scientific American’s website last year whose title was: « Mail-Order CRISPR Kits Allow Absolutely Anyone to Hack DNA » (must-read). The article was about popular human genome sequencing technology CRISPR-Cas9 better known as CRISPR.
In short, CRISPR is a DNA editing tool. DNA is your unique code, the essence of life. And altering DNA can both lead to curing diseases —look at how doctors reconstructed 80 Percent of a boy’s skin with genetically modified cells— as well as potentially designing babies or disrupt life in whole new forms, crime included.
Such technology is most likely as revolutionary as artificial intelligence (AI) for mankind but much less talked about in today’s mainstream media.
Given what transformative impact such a biotechnology could potentially have on society, this week’s « Creating Genetically Modified Babies Is “Morally Permissible,” Says Ethics Committee » article published at futurism.com got me thinking again. This « CRISPR » word is one to catch broad public attention within the next months and years as there are significant ethical issues at stake.