Catch up on this week’s round-up of the latest hosting and tech news. Here’s what we’ve uncovered since our last edition.
£14K robot housekeeper
If you thought the robot vacuum cleaner was hi-tech, then the new Stretch RE1 robot will make you seriously reconsider. The first robot from US start-up, Hello Robot, a company founded by former Google employees, Stretch RE1 can carry out an amazing variety of housekeeping tasks and do so with great dexterity.
In its promo video, the robot is seen to vacuum floors and sofas, clean surfaces, empty washing machines and put clothes into a basket, pick up items and put them in drawers and various other household chores.
Impressively, with its stretchable arms, sensors and dexterous tools, it can manoeuvre around furniture, work at different heights, clean around objects and carry delicate items like eggs. It can even pick up pens and write. At £14K ($18K US), it could cut the costs of hiring a cleaner over the long term.
University kept in the dark over data breach
When service provider Blackbaud was a victim of ransomware in May, data belonging to several of its clients, including the University of York, was stolen during the attack. Instead of notifying the university, the company hid the attack for a further two months during which time it paid the ransom and asked the cybercriminals to destroy the university’s stolen data.
The University is working with Blackbaud to establish why it wasn’t notified immediately and has informed the Information Commissioner’s Office which is investigating. While the stolen data has not been publicly released, the university has no way of knowing whether the criminals behind the attack have deleted it or not.
Goodbye Huawei, hello Nokia
While Huawei is on the way out of the UK as far as 5G is concerned, Nokia’s new commercial 5G standalone (5G SA) network may be the ideal replacement. The network is designed to offer corporate customers a high-performance, private, wireless networking solution while also offering 5G spectrum availability.
The low cost of the Nokia network means it is now being considered by the UK as an alternative to Huawei, though it will have to compete with Fujitsu, NEC and Ericsson for the contract.
According to Nokia, its standalone 5G network provides corporations with the private wireless communications necessary for accelerated digital transformation. It has particular benefits for businesses that rely on automotive manufacturing, where, for instance, robotics, cloud and autonomous operations have mission-critical requirements for high data rates and reliable low latency.
Fastest chip in the west
While everyone might be familiar with Intel, AMD and Nvidia, when it comes to processors designed to power artificial intelligence, lesser-known UK company, Graphcore, has established itself as a global leader.
Quick off the mark for a start-up, the Bristol-based firm has just released the world’s most transistor packed chip, the Colossus Mk2 GC200. This 7nm intelligence processing unit (IPU) contains a staggering 59.4 billion transistors, more than any other chip yet developed. With such awesome capacity, the chip can integrate over 1,400 cores and deliver a Petaflop of machine intelligence computation.
Aware that chips of this power need equally capable computers to work with, Graphcore has also developed its own range of servers: the IPU-M2000 1U blade system. With 448GB of exchange DRAM and capacity for four Colossus Mk2 GC200s, these extremely powerful machines offer a Petaflop of FP16.16/FP16.SR, enabling customers to take advantage of the Colossus’ computing abilities.
Uber drivers use GDPR to access app data
UK Uber drivers are taking the company to court for failure to meet its GDPR obligations. Under GDPR, the company is required to disclose how its algorithms use data from its Driver App to automate drivers’ workflows; however, the information provided by Uber is considered insufficient.
The UK drivers are concerned that Uber is using app data to monitor performance and that better workloads are allocated to those the algorithm computes as the best performing drivers. The union representing the drivers says performance-related electronic tags have been attached to driver profiles and these include categories for cancelled hires, lateness and inappropriate behaviour.
While it’s yet to be established whether the practices employed by Uber to allocate workloads are illegal or not, the union argues that the company is violating GDPR by not giving access to the performance-related data, nor has it explained the purpose for collecting and processing it. Only once the drivers have access to the data can further scrutiny of Uber’s working practices take place.
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