Welcome to our latest round-up of news from the technology and hosting world. Here’s what we’ve discovered this month.
£375M UK Tech Fund
In a bid to help the UK become a world leader in developing new technologies, the government has launched the ‘Future Fund: Breakthrough’ initiative which will hand out £375 million in funding to help high-growth, research and development intensive startups. The areas the UK is particularly looking to fund are new medicines, green technologies that support a carbon-neutral economy and breakthrough technologies.
The fund is being managed by British Patient Capital, a subsidiary of the government’s UK’s British Business Bank. Businesses wishing to apply, need to be able to raise £30m in private funding, with the Future Fund: Breakthrough investment contributing up to 30% of total project costs.
700% rise in IoT attacks
As the number of IoT devices proliferates, attacks on them have risen seven-fold in the last two years according to the security firm, Zscaler. In a recent analysis of the IoT traffic, the firm found that its security products were blocking 150,000 malware related IoT transactions a week, seven times higher than in 2019.
The main devices attacked during the study were CCTVs, routers and digital video recorders, with models from over 70 different manufacturers being infected by malware. The main cause of attack or infection was a result of 76% of devices not encrypting data during transmission. While this is an incredibly high figure, there has been some recent improvement: in 2019, 91.5% of devices were transmitting unencrypted data. However, despite the moderate improvements, there are major differences across sectors; while 50% of healthcare devices use encryption, the figure in business is only 2.7%
IT spending to grow 8.6%
According to leading business analysts, Gartner, global IT spending in 2021 is expected to reach £3 trillion, which represents a growth of 8.6% since 2020 and is 3.4% higher than initial predictions. Following the pandemic downturn, the main spending focus for enterprises is on technology that helps business outcomes. As a result, there has already been a 13% increase in spending on hardware devices and enterprise software, as well as a 10% growth in IT services, particularly in cloud services with more companies investing in IaaS products.
Digital transformation continues to be a priority with businesses wanting to spend IT budgets to develop new technologies and services that can make them stand out from competitors in the market.
Fastest UK supercomputer
Built by microchip manufacturer, Nvidia, the newly launched Cambridge-1 is now the UK’s fastest supercomputer. Housed by Kao Data at its Essex data centre, the AI-enabled supercomputer has been created especially for use within medical research, with the purpose of discovering new and improved healthcare products.
Organisations already signed up to use Cambridge-1, which is being made available to researchers and scientists cost-free, include the NHS and King’s College London. Another, the pharmaceutical giant, AstraZeneca, which developed the UK’s most used coronavirus vaccine, will use the supercomputer to study up to a billion different chemical compounds.
The enormous power and performance of Cambridge-1 will enable these world-leading researchers to carry out pioneering work and find new treatments at unprecedented speed. It is hoped those discoveries will be able to help millions of people around the world.
Duran Duran’s AI Vid
Duran Duran has become the first music group in the world to create a music video in collaboration with AI. The video for their new single, Invisible, was conceived, constructed and created by an AI system called Huxley.
Huxley has been trained to be creative by learning to simulate how a human thinks. It does this by using a MEG scanner to map the electromagnetic signals that fire in the areas of the brain associated with creativity. This information is then translated into computer code, enabling the AI system to interpret other data that is fed into it, essentially, what it ‘hears and sees’, just like a human brain.
With this in place, the Duran Duran track was then fed into the system, together with the song’s lyrics and images and video of the band members and their instruments. The video which has emerged is, therefore, a collaboration between Duran Duran and Huxley. The result is a very imaginative and surreal piece of art that is not only ground breaking for Duran Duran and the music industry as a whole but offers yet another new way in which artificial intelligence can be used within the creative sector. Of course, whether you like it or not or appreciate its achievements is all down to personal taste.
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