Welcome to our latest round-up of news from the technology and hosting world. Here’s what we’ve discovered this week.
Apple’s ambitious carbon neutral target
Following previous announcements by Amazon and Microsoft, Apple has now set itself the ambitious target of becoming carbon-neutral by 2030. What’s more, its carbon-neutral aim extends to its entire supply chain, meaning its suppliers will also have to commit to using 100% renewable energy within the next ten years.
Although this is a significant target, it doesn’t go quite as far as Microsoft which plans to be carbon negative by 2030 and to have completely negated its entire lifetime carbon emissions by 2050. Microsoft is also collaborating with other leading enterprises, including Mercedes-Benz, Nike and Starbucks, to help develop and deploy technologies that reduce carbon emissions.
Google, meanwhile, is already ahead in the race. Its use of renewable energy, together with its offsetting programs, means the company has been carbon-neutral since 2007. Like Apple, it also plans to extend this to its supply chain.
That burger’s flipping good
Non-contact, socially distanced fast food is one step closer thanks to Miso Robotics, a US company that has invented Flippy, a robot that is something of an expert at flipping burgers and preparing French fries.
Fitted under the hood of a frying station, this one-armed burger bandit not only improves kitchen efficiency; it also reduces human food contact and makes social distancing much easier in often cramped fast-food kitchens.
Ideal for post-pandemic fast food joints, it’s already being used throughout the US. Expect to see Flippy becoming a feature of your local Burger King and McDonald’s in the not too distant future.
Technology and internet bring jobs hope
The impact of the pandemic has been forecast to cause the worst economic downturn in 300 years. However, a recent report from CV-Library shows that while the number of UK jobs being advertised has decreased by over 60% in the three months to June, some sectors are much more buoyant. Those areas include technology, internet retail and associated industries.
The push for digital transformation in order to help companies recover from the pandemic has seen a 15% rise in the number of vacancies for web developers, software engineers and IT security experts.
Online shopping, which was increasing well before the lockdown, seems likely to maintain its popularity. As a result, there’s been a surge in demand for warehouse staff. Amazon, alone, has created 15,000 new UK jobs and fulfilment centres around the country are looking for new staff. Getting internet retail goods to the warehouse and from there to customers’ doorsteps has also resulted in more HGV driver and local delivery vacancies. German shipping outfit, Hermes, has just announced plans to increase its UK workforce by 10,500 to cope with rising demand.
Chinese tech a global threat
The issues surrounding the removal of Huawei from the UK’s 5G network is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to China’s technological threat according to a report by the US Democratic Party. The report is highly critical of China’s use of technology to monitor and control its own population and to flex its muscles in other nations.
The use of surveillance technology is particularly worrying. Heavily deployed throughout China, it is now being exported to other repressive governments like Venezuela and Zimbabwe, and there are fears that the communist state can access their data for its own use.
Elsewhere, there is concern over commercial technologies harvesting user data, social media being used to interfere and influence, and state-sponsored cyberattacks disrupting infrastructure and stealing corporate, government and military data. The report concludes that if unstopped, China is likely to dominate global technology and increase its authoritarian influence.
Accessibility: LED facemasks for lip readers
While compulsory facemasks may be required for reducing the risk of COVID-19, they don’t help the deaf community when it comes to lip reading. However, Hull-based disability campaigner, Dan Watts, has come up with a possible solution: a voice-activated LED that fits inside a facemask and mimics the shape of the mouth when the wearer speaks.
After seeing US games designer, James Glaiel, come up with an idea for a novelty, voice-activated, LED facemask, Watts sought to redesign it for helping people who relied on lip reading and facial gestures for communication. Aside from making mouth movements when the user speaks, the mask can also make facial gestures through sound, for example, smiling when the user makes a click sound.
At the moment, the masks are not available for sale, however, there are online instructions on how to make them.
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