Technology this winter is leaving us amazed with possibility, and also maybe a little bit terrified of what it is capable of! We’ll spend this article diving in to the latest technology updates for this month, and we’ll let you decide how scary or amazing they are.
The mobile phone giant, Huawei, has been making headlines all over the world, as usual. The company founded in 1987 in China, and has swiftly become one of the most popular mobile phone provider in China, and has also spread out over the world. Lately, Huawei has made headlines from their 5G offerings, specifically in the United Kingdom. With new offices being built up all over the UK, Huawei is breaking into a massive market and will be a strong contender in the mobile phone world by helping build the 5G network throughout the UK. Keep in mind that the UK has not fully allowed Huawei to build the network, but has actually banned them from certain core parts of the network. You can read more about this, here.
On the flipside of this, the headlines for Huawei have also been negative, specifically with other countries like the United States and Australia banning Huawei from working on networks in the countries, due to security concerns. Britain has gone ahead with allowing limited resourcing from Huawei because of their alleged good track record with security.
Other negative press has been around issues with Huawei potentially using its network and phones to spy on other countries and companies. For this reason, the USA banned them from using networking equipment like broadband providers in the US and the mobile phones are rarely found in the country. The US has gone even farther in taking down the giant by requesting the arrest of a Huawei CFO, located in Canada. The reason behind this is due to accusations of her helping Huawei cover up Iran’s violations on sanctions.
Changes to Instagram
In less world politics news and more down to our day to day, let’s switch over to updates on the Instagram social media platform. Instagram is currently testing a feature that would remove likes from the platform. For example, your Instagram feed would show photos posted by people you follow as usual, but instead of showing the amount of likes the photo has received, it would simply say it had been liked by someone’s username that you are friends with, and others. You would still have the option of double clicking the photo to “like” it, and the user who posted the photo would still have access to see who and how many people had liked their photo.
Part of the reason behind this new feature is to get people away from only liking popular things, or having preconceived ideas about photos because of the number of likes. There has even been research into excessive anxiety, depression and loneliness linked to social media platforms, and how “likes” can influence how good we feel about ourselves. This is an excellent report completed recently about these issues facing young people and their mental health and wellbeing.
A possible issue with this new feature is with the Influencer users. Many influencers use the platform to their advantage with the Instagram algorithms. For example, the number of likes a post receives may currently help them get ranked higher than others on the feed. With the new feature, Instagram would have to reconfigure the algorithms for these users considering the change. For example, if an influencer was promoting TV aerials and TV installation, they would need to not only show interest in the products via likes, but also the number of followers they have and the shared interests. The UHF aerial installation companies would use influencers who had more shared interests in TV aerials with their followers rather than just simply relying on the number of likes an influencer gets on a post.
Google held its annual I/O developer conference in early May, and there’s some exciting announcements that have come out of it. Much of the focus was on artificial intelligence updates, such as on their Google Assistant device or mobile phones. We’re seeing increased usability with these devices, and easier access, like being able to pull up directions to a restaurant via a reservation, rather than pulling each up individually.
Privacy and data protection was another focus on the conference, as it will be for most technology platforms going forward. Google announced a greater transparency around data, with giving users a more clear picture of how their data is being used and options to change that. We can likely expect to see changes in IT support departments around the safekeeping of data and user privacy.
Google also announced a few new mobile phones which clock in as mid-tier phones, meaning the devices are high quality phones at a mid-level price rather than some of the more expensive options, clocking in at more than $1,000 USD.
We know, a robot suit sounds either like something your four year old child came up with, or something out of the far, far future. But this technology is here, and we’re using it to hopefully enhance our bodies in positive ways. Using our thoughts, the suit would take that brain signal and send them to a robotic suit, such as an exoskeleton, to take a step or move an arm where we might not have been able to before. This could be amazing technology for someone with a paralysed limb and hasn’t been able to walk or use a limb in years. This YouTube series is an interesting look into these suits and more technology heading our way soon.
That wraps up our technology update for this month.