Week Ending: 30th April - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

Back to Blog


Today is our last weekly roundup of April. But before you head off to enjoy the bank holiday, here are a few news stories from the I.T. and tech world you may have missed.

This week we explore the cameras and AI technology behind the news smart pedestrian crossing, the impact the new EU regulations will have on AI and why we’re all on our way to a digital burnout.

Let’s get you up to date.

Smart Pedestrian Crossing Uses Camera and AI to Control Traffic

Smart traffic lights have been around for a while, but this week, Now Wireless, has revealed a new invention which will help make pedestrian crossings as convenient as possible. This new system uses the latest-generation technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), cameras and machine learning to control traffic lights and determine priority of the road accordingly.

So, how does this work?

The cameras can detect pedestrians up to 15 metres away. Once approaching pedestrians are detected, the AI-based system will receive a signal triggering the machine learning to determine the intentions of people heading towards the crossing. If pedestrians are going to cross, the system will then send a series of rules to change the traffic lights.

Now Wireless commented

“We can assist traffic managers program their traffic lights to change accordingly to pre-set requirements. A number of parameters can be put in place to best meet specific requirements for individual crossings. For example, the lights can change when a specific amount of time elapses, if the camera identifies a single person is waiting or to change in a shorter time if a large number of people are standing.”

The installation of these new smart pedestrian crossings doesn’t require any road works and can therefore be installed at any junction without disrupting the public.

Not only will this type of smart technology help create a smoother journey for pedestrians, but it will also help lower the spread of coronavirus as pedestrians will no longer need to press a button to trigger a red light.

Discover more here.

The EU Is Proposing Regulations On AI – The Impact On Healthcare Could Be Significant

The EU has put forth it’s Proposal for a Regulation on a European approach for Artificial Intelligence this week. The proposal creates the first ever legal framework on AI which will address its associated risks.

The development of artificial intelligence (AI) has grown significantly in the past 12 months, with the technology reaching nearly every industry in some form. The healthcare industry in particular has embraced this new technology, but given the sector is inherently innovation heavy, will this new proposal have an impact?

In the proposal, the EU outline new risks and negative consequences of AI to society. It states:

“the same elements and techniques that power the socio-economic benefits of AI can also bring about new risks or negative consequences for individuals or the society. In light of the speed of technological change and possible challenges, the EU is committed to strive for a balanced approach. Rules for AI available in the Union market or otherwise affecting people in the Union should therefore be human centric, so that people can trust that the technology is used in a way that is safe and compliant with the law, including the respect of fundamental rights.”

Although we don’t yet know what affect this proposal we will have on the healthcare sector it will definitely create a precedent going forward. We doubt this is the last time we’ll hear about AI restrictions. Watch this space.

Read more here.

Is there an antidote to ‘digital intensity’?

We are a nation of second screeners, sometimes even using three screens at once. Since the start of the pandemic, many people have been using more digital tools to work longer hours, which if we’re not careful could lead to digital overload.

Not only do we use our screens for remote working (or in the office), but we have been relying on digital tools to keep in touch with each other, binge watch Netflix in the evenings or even have virtual parties with friends. This all-virtual-all-the-time nature of our ‘new normal’ has led to an increased spike in digital intensity.

Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice-President at Microsoft commented:

“People spend 148% more minutes in weekly Teams meetings. An average user is sending 42% more chats after hours, and 200% more chats on weekends. Our customers received 40 billion more emails in February of 2021 than in February of 2020.”

All this screen-time is creating a cognitive load that is tough on our brains. We’re not built to be looking at a flat image of a person on a grid, we rely on body cues and other subtle body languages that help us communicate. During a Zoom meeting, with multiple colleagues, our brains try to process each participant individually, so before you even start focusing on the meeting’s agenda your brain is working overtime.

There are thankfully some simple tasks we can do to relieve some of the digital intensity, taking a 10-minute break being one of them. Break up a long stretch of meetings or on-screen work by getting up and walking around. This can help with beta wave build-up. Taking just 10 minutes to do something such as meditation, making a cup of tea or even drawing will help ease the stress of the screen.

Explore more here.

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