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DIGIT Tech News Roundup: 18th of October 2019

Ross Kelly



In this edition of DIGIT’s Tech News Roundup column, we highlight some of the top-trending tech and business news stories of the week.

DIGIT’s Top-trending

Scientists unveil robotic inspectors for offshore windfarms

A team of scientists, led by two Scottish universities, has created fully autonomous drones that can inspect wind farms for damage.

It is hoped that using the drones will mean technicians no longer have to undergo the “dangerous and expensive” process of abseiling down turbines to inspect the integrity of wind turbines and conduct repairs.

Dr Mirko Kovac, director of the aerial robotics laboratory at Imperial College London, which has been involved in the work, said: “Drones are currently used to visually inspect offshore wind turbines, but these inspections are remotely controlled by people on-site at the offshore location.

“Should an area of concern be found, technicians are required to carry out further inspection, maintenance or repair, often at great heights and, therefore, in high-risk environments.

“Our drones are fully autonomous. As well as visually inspecting a turbine for integrity concerns, ours make contact, placing sensors on the infrastructure, or acting as a sensor itself, to assess the health of each asset.”

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

Could artificial intelligence help police predict hate crimes?

Artificial intelligence could help British police forces predict and prevent hate crimes before they happen, a new study claims.

Researchers from Cardiff University’s HateLab project have developed artificial intelligence which they say is capable of anticipating violent hate crimes based on Twitter posts and comments.

Over a period of eight months, researchers at HateLab monitored Twitter and crime data from London to establish whether a link between social media activity and real-world violence existed.

Nearly 300,000 “hateful” Twitter posts were trawled as part of the study while some 6,500 racially and religiously aggravated crimes were also filtered out of police data. These figures, combined with census data, were placed into one of 4,720 geographical areas throughout London to enable researchers to pinpoint trends and flashpoints within the city.

The research determined that, as the number of “hate tweets” – which are those deemed antagonistic in regards to race, ethnicity or religion – made from one location increased, so did the number of racially and religiously aggravated crimes.

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

JP Morgan partners with Digital Xtra Fund to close digital skills gap

Financial services giant JP Morgan has teamed up with Digital Xtra Fund to help tackle the technology skills gap in Scotland.

The company has signed up as a Gigabyte Partner with the charity, which funds extracurricular digital activities such as coding and robotics clubs for youngsters across Scotland.

There are more than 13,000 tech job opportunities available in Scotland every year, according to research from by Skills Development Scotland in 2019 – marking an increase of 16% on previous forecasts.

However, with only around 6,600 people entering the Scottish job market each year with relevant tech skills, there is not enough talent to fill this many positions. This difference in supply and demand means that some organisations face inhibited growth while others may need to search for more talent abroad.

Robbie Robinson, global co-lead of Tech for Social Good Youth Programmes at JP Morgan, said: “There is currently a huge IT skills gap in Scotland, and the only long-term solution is to encourage more youngsters to become interested in computer science and STEM subjects in school so they will consider a career in technology when they leave.

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

Care Sourcer completes acquisition of leading social care websites

Edinburgh-based healthtech startup Care Sourcer has acquired two leading social care consumer websites as it looks to further expand its services.

The two websites, Good Care Guide and Care Home Advisor, will complement and enhance Care Sourcer’s current offering. The firm provides the UK’s first comparison and matching site for elderly care – enabling users to make enquiries and receive offers from care providers who have immediate availability.

Good Care Guide is a website that helps users to find, rate and review services for older people in care homes and those looking for care at home across England, Scotland and Wales.

Similarly, Care Home Advisor uses real-time data from a range of sources to enable people to find the best-quality care home for their needs.

This acquisition from healthcare business intelligence provider, LaingBuisson, comes amid an expansion period at Care Sourcer. In August, the Edinburgh company announced the creation of 70 new high-value jobs after securing £1.5 million in RSA funding from Scottish Enterprise.

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

The Data Lab appointed to lead Scottish Government AI Strategy

The Data Lab has been selected by the Scottish Government to lead the development of a new national strategy on artificial intelligence (AI).

The strategy aims to unlock an additional £13 billion in economic output and drive the use of AI to improve citizens wellbeing across Scotland.

Development will be “open and transparent” so as to ensure that as many people as possible can contribute, The Data Lab said. Additionally, benefits to individual citizens will form a “core guiding principle” of the strategy.

A commitment by the Scottish Government to develop an AI Strategy was set out in ‘Protecting Scotland’s Future: the Government’s Programme for Scotland 2019-2020′, published on the 3rd of September.

As an impartial convener, The Data Lab will oversee the development process. This will include the coordination of a recently-appointed steering committee, chaired by digital economy minister Kate Forbes, as well as a number of working groups.

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

Arrests made in 38 countries as police shut down Dark Web child abuse site

An investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) into one of the UK’s worst-ever child sex offenders has led to the arrest of 337 suspects globally.

A series of multi-agency operations led to arrests being made in 38 countries, including the UK, Ireland, USA, South Korea, Germany, Spain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the Czech Republic and Canada.

The dark web child abuse site, known as ‘Welcome To Video’, was taken down by an international task force set up by the NCA, including Homeland Security Investigations and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation in America, the South Korean National Police and Germany’s Federal Criminal Police.

Run from South Korea, the site contained more than 250,000 videos, and users had made more than one million downloads. According to the NCA, the website monetised the sexual abuse of children and was one of the first to offer “sickening videos” for sale using the cryptocurrency bitcoin.

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

In Case you Missed It…

Home DNA kits misleading customers

Do-it-yourself DNA tests could be misleading customers over future health risks, a genetics professor has warned.

Many genetic testing kits are available over-the-counter or online and provide customers with insights into their ancestry. Additionally, these kits also claim to provide information on health risks, child talent or even details on personality traits.

A professor from the University of Southampton, however, said that the results from such kits can be “easily misinterpreted” and misleading.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, Anneke Lucassen, professor of clinical genetics, said that false positives are common in genetic testing kits. False positives are where particularl results may suggest a person has a high risk of developing diseases or conditions when, in fact, they do not.

Similarly, false negatives are also misleading customers and wrongly reassuring them that they are low risk.

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

Recruitment sites expose 250k users’ data

More than 250,000 job seekers have had their personal details exposed due to poor security standards at two online recruitment companies.

Users in both the UK and US have been affected by the incident, which saw two firms, Authentic Jobs and Sonic Jobs, fail to set their cloud storage folders as private.

Personal details exposed in the blunder include names, addresses, career histories and contact information. Job applicant CVs were kept on file in cloud storage folders known as ‘buckets’ provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Data was exposed when both recruitment firms wrongly set their privacy settings to public, instead of private. For UK-based Sonic Jobs, more than 29,000 CVs are believed to have been publicly accessible, while more than 200,000 held by Authentic Jobs were exposed.

The two companies boast several high-profile clients, including EY, the New York Times, Marriott and InterContinental.

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

Competition watchdog opens investigation into Amazon’s Deliveroo deal

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a formal investigation into Amazon’s investment in online food delivery service, Deliveroo.

The regulator said it will examine whether the tech giant’s investment in the firm will have a negative impact on competition in UK markets.

A deadline of the 11th of December has been set for a decision on the initial phase of the probe, the CMA confirmed. If the watchdog rules that the deal will result in a “substantial lessening of competition” it could lead to the companies being forced into making changes to their business – or agreeing not to merge operations.

Deliveroo told The Guardian that it is “cooperating fully” with the CMA on its investigation.

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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