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.
AI Productivity Boost
New research indicates that companies adopting generative AI tools can expect a substantial boost in productivity, with staff reporting a 90% increase in performance. The State of Work report, conducted by Slack and based on a survey of over 18,000 desk workers worldwide, reveals a growing acceptance of generative AI tools in the workplace. A significant 77% of respondents expressed that automating repetitive tasks would have a profound impact on their productivity levels. The study also shows that current users of automation estimate that they save an average of 3.6 hours per week due to using the technology.
At the same time, research from Gartner shows that 45% of business leaders have ramped up their AI investments while 70% of executives say their companies are currently in the phase of investigating the integration of generative AI, with 19% already in pilot or production mode.
Edinburgh has become home to the UK’s first fleet of full-sized, single-decker, autonomous buses, which have commenced passenger operations in the city. Run by Stagecoach, they operate along the Forth Road Bridge, shuttling up to 10,000 passengers a week from the Ferrytoll park-and-ride in Fife to Edinburgh Park station.
While they are driverless, for safety reasons, each bus has two members of staff: one monitors the driving of the bus and can take over the driving if required, while the other looks after passengers and ticketing. The five single-decker buses in the new fleet are equipped with sensors that enable them to take pre-selected routes, spanning 14 miles, at speeds of up to 50mph. Their onboard technology allows them to carry out manoeuvres like navigating roundabouts, obeying traffic lights and changing lanes.
Flying on Waste
A massive Rolls-Royce jet engine that runs on sustainable jet engine fuel made primarily from used cooking oils, has successfully completed its initial tests. According to the manufacturer, the UltraFan technology surpasses all previous innovations in terms of fuel efficiency and noise reduction, delivering a 10% improvement in efficiency compared to the most fuel-efficient large jet engine currently in use.
The UltraFan project, backed by the UK government, has been in development for a decade since its public unveiling in 2014. However, company executives have hailed this latest breakthrough as a ‘game-changer’ in the industry and one that will help the aviation sector get closer to its goal of achieving net-zero flights by 2050. It is also hoped the development will spur new investment in the UK aerospace industry and contribute to economic growth.
Uber Hails the Cloud
Uber has made a strategic shift by abandoning its data centres and transitioning entirely to the cloud in a bid to streamline its operations. This move marks a departure from the company’s previous approach of managing its own infrastructure.
Currently, 95% of Uber’s IT operations are handled in its in-house data centres, a strategy that requires running a vast number of servers to meet the ever-changing demands of its dynamic supply and demand model. The decision to migrate comes as a result of the company’s software engineers recognising the need for improvement, especially around the complex and error-prone nature of host provisioning for on-premises hardware. Disruptions in the supply chain during the pandemic, which resulted in hardware delivery delays of over 12 months, were also cited as a reason for the move.
The project will see the company adopt a hybrid, multi-cloud environment; a shift that will provide Uber with the agile and scalable infrastructure it needs to support its future growth and operational efficiency.
Businesses should be cautious when using search engines to find software after a report by Netskope highlighted that nearly 10% of malware downloads in the first quarter of 2022 originated from search engines.
The Netskope study identified ‘weaponised data voids’ as a major contributor to this issue, as cybercriminals exploit specific search terms that appeal to business users. Data voids occur when reliable information is lacking for certain search terms on search engines. When this occurs, content related to these terms appears prominently in search results, making it easier for those pushing malware to have their content ranked highly.
The report also revealed that this malicious web content is being targeted mainly at the business, technology, retail, marketing and education sectors. This is done by developing professional-looking websites that trick users into downloading malware, some of which are counterfeit sites of well-known brands. As well as building deceptive sites, they also use malvertising to create fake ads that promote and link to malicious software.
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