Latest Hosting and Tech News

April 29, 2024 / Technology News

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Catch up on this month’s round-up of the latest hosting and tech news. Here’s what we’ve uncovered since our last edition.

Grid Needs Upgrade

The National Grid is bracing itself for a huge rise in energy usage as AI becomes prevalent and quantum computing kicks off. With data centre energy consumption expected to increase by six times in the next ten years, the executives running the country’s ageing electricity network say it will need completely modernising to cope with expected demand. The rapid growth of data centres, which are essential for today’s digital services, represents a significant amount of UK energy consumption. The latest figures showed that UK data centres accounted for 2.5% of the country’s electricity use in 2022. In Ireland, the figure is nearer 20%.

Established more than 70 years ago in an age when there were far fewer electrical devices, the National Grid network is not only struggling to keep up with the growing demand for electricity from emerging technologies; it is also ill-equipped to integrate the renewable energy sources needed to achieve net zero by the deadline of 2050.

Self-Driving Car Tests

The University of Surrey has launched the Methods for Assurance of Self-Driving Vehicles project (aka Massdrive project), which aims to develop reliable methods for the approval and certification of self-driving cars. The initiative, which involves collaboration with the University of the West of England and the University of Bristol, is supported by Innovate UK funding.

The project, which has been timed to align with the government’s plans to allow automated vehicles on public roads, will ensure that all self-driving vehicles undergo mandatory and comprehensive safety testing. Aside from a focus on ensuring safety, the project also aims to improve public trust in automated vehicles through continuous engagement and workshops.

Civil Service Chatbot

The Cabinet Office is set to roll out its Redbox Copilot scheme, an AI system that will streamline civil service operations by automating the analysis and summarising of government documents. Named after the iconic red briefcases used by government ministers, Redbox Copilot will mean civil servants will have tools similar to ChatGPT with which they can analyse a variety of internal documents, such as letters, briefings and speech transcripts.

Domain Name

Following an earlier trial, the rollout will see Redbox Copilot deployed more widely throughout the Cabinet Office, as well as the public release of the project’s source code to encourage collaboration with external developers. Originally developed by the government’s AI experts, the system may expand to carry out other tasks, such as analysing and summarising official announcements and parliamentary proceedings. While enabling civil servants to work more efficiently, trade unions have urged that its deployment doesn’t result in job losses.

Google Search AI

Following trials in the US, Google is now testing AI-generated search answers in the UK. Available for a select group of logged-in UK users, those who receive the service will see a brief summary at the top of some of their search results. The trial, known as the ‘Search Generative Experience,’ aims to assess how effective and safe AI is in handling search queries, especially those that need short, concise answers. To reduce the risk that any of its AI responses are inappropriate or factually incorrect, the testing prioritises accuracy over fluency, so the wording, at least for the present, might not be as user-friendly.

While the feature has received positive feedback in the US, the danger for website owners is that, as AI becomes more integrated with browsers like Chrome, fewer people will need to visit websites to find the information they are looking for. There are also concerns about the massive energy consumption and environmental impact of resource-hungry AI systems like this being built into technologies that everyone uses on a daily basis.

Fraud Ring Caught

Law enforcement agencies from 17 different countries joined forces to take down a major criminal network, known as LabHost, arresting 37 suspects in the process. LabHost hosted a platform that was used for large-scale fraud and phishing scams and involved the selling of cybercrime services to gangs who lacked the technical know-how or equipment to do it themselves. For example, it set up fake websites and online payment systems for its clients and then sent out text messages directing victims to them. Agencies believe that LabHost was responsible for stealing over 480,000 card numbers and 64,000 PIN codes, earning the cybercriminals over £1m in profits.

In addition, UK authorities, in collaboration with international partners, seized data that included the email addresses of 800 criminals who used LabHost services, potentially enabling law enforcement agencies to track them down. At the same time, efforts are being made to contact the victims, around 25,000 of whom have already been identified and informed about the potential compromise of their financial information.

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