Week Ending: 20th December - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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Well its almost the end of the year, and that means it’s time for the last round up of 2019. This week has once again been a busy one in the world of I.T. and tech with more 5G problems for Huawei, the BBC embracing AI in its online reporting of the General Election and Instagram announcing plans to tackle bullying. If you have been too busy preparing for the coming festivities to see any of that, our trusty roundup is here to bring you up to date.

Germany to join US in Huawei 5G ban

In the ongoing tale of woe for Huawei, Germany is the latest country to threaten to exclude the Chinese telecoms giant from supplying 5G wireless equipment. The German leader, Angela Merkel, is coming under increasing pressure to impose a broad ban against any company that is deemed untrustworthy.

The Chinese government has hit back saying that if Germany imposes any ban there will be consequences. However, President Trump of the USA is seeking allies in his bid to squeeze out Huawei as a 5G supplier. The battle between the USA and Huawei has been raging throughout this year, with the company filing a lawsuit against the US’s Federal Communications Commission earlier this month.

The legislation in Germany doesn’t actually name Huawei, however, it does appear to be tailored to it, following months of debate about the security of 5G networks. Huawei has repeatedly denied all accusations, and this is a war that is likely to still be raging another 12 months from now. Read more here.

BBC uses AI to write 700 stories on Election night

This week the BBC revealed that it used machine-generated journalism to write almost 700 stories during last week’s election night. This meant that all bar one constituency received its own data-lead story. The BBC has said that was in no way meant to replace its human journalists but rather enhance its offering in a way that it would never have been able to do in the past.

This tech which was tested during the election can be used for any data-lead story, such as football scores, company financial reports and, yes, even a UK general election. Other news organisations are currently testing the new automated journalism technology to report on number focused stories.

Robert McKenzie, Editor of BBC Labs said: "Using machine assistance, we generated a story for every single constituency that declared [on election night] with the exception of the one... That would never have been possible [using humans]."

Instagram to tackle online bullying

Instagram has developed an AI system that will warn users when they are about to post any offensive caption with their image. The feature designed to combat online bullying has already been tested when people are commenting on other’s posts and the social media giant has said that this rollout follows the success of the earlier use of the technology.

Instagram is known for being the worst social media network for cyber-bullying and is hoping that this new feature will help to make people think before they post. The system will warn people that similar captions have been reported for being offensive and the hope is in addition to reducing bullying across the network the feature will help to educate people about the rules Instagram has on what is considered inappropriate content.

According to Author of ‘YouTubers’, Chris Stokel-Walker, the move is part of a wider strategy by the Facebook owned company to be more aware of the wellbeing of users. He said: "From cracking down on promoting images of self-harm, to hiding ‘likes’ so people outwardly are less likely to equate their self-worth with how many people press ‘like’ on their photos, the app has been making moves to try and roll back some of the more damaging changes it’s had on society,"

Well that’s it for 2019, but we will be back in 2020 with more of the top I.T. and tech stories. In the meantime if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels: