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.
VR job interviews
While technology has slowly been creeping into the recruitment process for several years, it’s always been with the purpose of choosing the right candidates for interview. Now, by combining AI and virtual reality, technology might be at a stage where it can carry out interviews too.
UK company, Bodyswap, has developed a system aimed at helping students learn how to practice for a human-to-human interview by letting them take part in a virtual one in which their avatar is questioned by an AI avatar. In the virtual setting, students are asked a series of interview questions, after which the technology is able to give them feedback not just about their answers, but about how they speak and how they use non-verbal communication, like eye contact.
Bodyswap hopes that students will improve their interview skills and feel more confident going to real interviews. However, with the growth in VR technology, it is quite possible that this could one day be the way real interviews take place. It’s also proved to be a hit with students who feel more relaxed being interviewed by an AI avatar than a company boss.
Metaverse land grab
On the subject of virtual reality, it looks like brands everywhere are flocking to the different metaverses to stake their claim to virtual real estate. Over the last 12 months, there has been a £1.75 billion land grab, with businesses buying plots to create virtual spaces for their customers to visit. These include big brands like Samsung, Adidas, and Gucci, as well as thousands of smaller companies hoping the metaverses will work out profitable in the future.
The spaces being created by brands are not just for retail, many are designed to offer virtual experiences, including virtual concerts, exhibitions, and places for visitors to meet up. While products are available, including virtual products for people’s avatars, they generally have to be paid for in cryptocurrency.
While the term metaverse gives the impression that it is a single entity, it’s not yet reached that point of development. It’s more like a series of separate platforms, like Roblox, Decentraland, and Sandbox, each with its own preferred cryptocurrencies, rules, avatars, and cultures. Hopping from one to another, within an overarching virtual reality, is not yet possible.
A Gloucestershire-based waste management company, Grundon, has begun making use of a Finnish-developed robot from Zen Robotics that can identify and sort recyclable materials from rubbish. The Faster Picker arm, as the robot is called, uses AI to learn to identify different recyclable materials, including plastic, cardboard, cans, and paper.
The robot works by scanning waste as it travels along a conveyor belt and uses its learned intelligence to spot items that can be recycled. Its arm, then picks the items up and places them in separate containers depending on what material the items are made from. Able to work at the equivalent speed as a human picker, but around the clock, Grundon hopes that its deployment will increase the amount of recyclable material it can salvage from the waste it collects. Currently, it is estimated that the UK will generate 220 million tonnes of waste this year, with just under half being recycled. About 50 million tonnes, however, will end up in landfill.
Cloud growth 2023
Despite the global economic downturn, Gartner predicts that spending on cloud technology will grow by around 20% next year, rising from $490 billion to $590 billion. The biggest growth is forecast to be in infrastructure as a service (IaaS), which Gartner estimates will grow by around 30%. Platform as a service (PaaS) spending, meanwhile, is likely to rise by 23% and software as a service (SaaS) by 16%.
In its explanation, Gartner said the attraction of the cloud lies in it being a “bastion of safety and innovation.” It can help cut overall IT spending compared to operating systems in-house, while supporting growth, even in a difficult market, by helping companies become more agile.
The development of quantum computing has taken another leap forward with the unveiling of the IBM Osprey, a 433-quantum bit (qubit) processor. With three times the number of qubits as the 2021 IBM Eagle processor, the computing giant has made a major advancement in quantum computing in little over a year.
The Osprey is designed to enhance supercomputer and will be able to run complex quantum computations far beyond the abilities of standard computers. To put this into perspective, the number of bits that would be needed to represent a state on the Osprey processor would be more than all the atoms in the universe put together.
If that’s not enough of an advancement, IBM is also developing Quantum System Two, which will enable its quantum processors to work together in a single system. This will be used to create a 4000-qubit system by 2025.
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