The last days of summer are upon us, as leaves start to fall and we sharpen our pencils for the return to school, and for some of us, back to the office.
August, traditionally a month for holidays and time off, has seen many of us staycationing around the UK, as we wait for the traffic lights to change green. Brits are looking to escape to the sand and the sea in particular; with Devon and Cornwall two of the most popular locations of choice. However, though many of us have enjoyed our holidays, the world of tech certainly hasn’t taken a break! Here’s our round up of our favourite and extraordinary tech stories from August.
The streaming revolution has completely changed the way we view shows and movies, as we flick through thousands of options on our devices, whether to binge our guilty pleasure reality TV shows or hard-hitting true crime series. Late to the game, industry player Disney+ has posted a higher than expected user jump with 12.4 million new subscribers between April and June alone, and is now boasting a total of 116 million subscribers. Still, there’s a way to go until it catches up to Netflix, which boasts a massive 209 million subscribers.
Talking entertainment, TikTok has officially been heralded the world’s most downloaded app in 2020 as it beat out the other top four apps, all owned by Facebook. TikTok’s algorithmic feed of videos (the For You page) on your phone, provides addicting, never-ending entertainment as it builds a customised model of your favourite content. No wonder then that it has 500 million users.
We have all turned to our devices for almost every day-to-day interaction; ordering drinks at the bar, making payments with the sharp decline of cash and even tracking our mood; but the question this month in the headlines: the privacy conundrum. We routinely input data into our phones – and it’s a treasure-trove of information. Every day we are asked to upload our name, email, payment details, address, age etc. in apps or on sites without always completely understanding where our personal information will be stored. Should we have to hand this all over, to grab drink at the pub or a coffee on our way to work?
One company also making headlines around privacy concerns is Apple. The company has pledged a new anti-child abuse safeguarding system through tech searches for matches of abuse material on images uploaded to iCloud storage, but some critics argue it could be a ‘backdoor’ to spy on people. WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart called Apple's system "very concerning", stating WhatsApp will not adopt the technique.
Finally, good news, a huge breakthrough in the possibility to diagnosis dementia with AI with just one brain scan, as researchers from the University of Cambridge start trials to test their approach. Algorithms within their AI system will detect patterns in brain scans to identify the disease far earlier, giving doctors greater confidence in interpreting scans. It’s in its early stages, but definitely gives us hope!
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