Week Ending: 28th June - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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Missed what’s been happening in the world of Tech and I.T. this week? Don’t worry here comes our round-up of the biggest stories of the week.

The robots are coming

With manufacturing companies becoming increasingly reliant on automation, a recent report by Oxford Economics, claiming that around 20 million manufacturing jobs will be replaced by robots by 2030, comes as no surprise. It went on to say that the worst affected countries will be those where more people have lower skills such as China and Korea. More worryingly, people who leave manufacturing jobs tend to look for jobs in transport, construction, maintenance, and office and administration work - which in turn are vulnerable to automation.

There has, of course, been a huge amount of scaremongering around job losses due to automation, however, the report seems to take a more nuanced view, claiming that automation will boost growth and will create as many jobs as those that are lost. It stressed that the more creative a job is, the less likely it is to be automated. Governments, then need to address the lack of highly skilled individuals to avoid creating even larger social divisions.

Apple buys self-driving car start-up

There have been rumours of Apple acquiring struggling self-driving car start-up, Drive.ia. for a while now and this week the tech giant has confirmed the acquisition. Drive.a.i. had been running test shuttles in Texas and recently announced that it was laying off 90 people in a permanent closure.

The move will allow Apple to bring engineering talent from Drive.a.i. into its own self-driving production attempts. The company is going up against rivals in the race to create autonomous vehicles and has recently stepped up its efforts with the appointment of former Tesla chief engineer, Doug Field. Field is overseeing production involving 5,000 staff. It is believed that Apple is also working on key components such as sensors, and holding talks with potential suppliers.

In recent years enthusiasm for autonomous vehicles has waned. The idea took a huge hit when a pedestrian was killed by an autonomous car in Arizona, USA, last year. However, with more companies appearing to take an interest in the technology, it looks as though self-driving vehicles will inevitably become part of modern society, not just sci-fi films. Read more here.

Big Brother is watching

A report published this week by a cyber security firm, found that a group of government backed US cyber-hackers may have been burrowing into telecommunications companies, targeting high-profile individuals around the globe. The hackers were able to access call records, location data and device information, in effect turning people’s cellular networks against them. The hackers have turned the affected telecoms into “a global surveillance system.” In targeting the company rather than the customer, the individuals involved will be unaware of the situation. The firm’s chief executive, Lior Div, said, “Those individuals don’t know they were hacked – because they weren’t.”

Div would not say who the targets were, but he did reveal there were around 20 individuals, mainly coming from the world of politics and the military. The report claimed that hackers were not only targeting mobile phones but also, smart watches and even cars. It is thought that the US cyberespionage group APT 10 are the most likely to be behind the attack, however, the clues left behind were so obvious, some have questioned whether the group were framed.

We’re listening

Have you ever been having a conversation about something and then an ad appears on your Facebook or Instagram feed? Were your first thoughts, my smart phone is listening to me? You’re not alone. Thousands of people around the globe believe they are, however, in an interview with Gayle King, anchor on US morning show CBS This Morning, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram denied that the social media channels are listening. Mosseri put this down to one of two reasons, dumb luck or more likely it being at the front of your mind because you have recently interacted with a similar post.

In the interview Mosseri said, "You might be talking about something because it’s top of mind, because you’ve been interacting with that type of content more recently. So maybe you’re really into food and restaurants. You saw a restaurant on Facebook or on Instagram and maybe like the thing. It’s top of mind. Maybe that’s subconscious, then it bubbles up later. I think this happens often in ways that are really subtle." Needless to say, King didn’t buy into this, but it’s unlikely that we will ever completely get to the bottom of the tactics social media platforms use.

Those were some of this week’s top stories but if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels: