The tech world had a busy six days. In order to kept you adept with all the important things that happened in the tech world this week, we bring to you the top 10 tech news.

1) Google Launches AI Studios To Nurture Machine Learning Startups; To Host Event In Bangalore

Tech giant Google is called a tech giant for a reason. After making its presence felt in almost all tech segments, the company is now focused on getting its AI game right and rule the segment in the coming years. It was only recently that the company had unveiled to the world its upcoming AI attraction Gradient Ventures, Google’s on-balance sheet AI investment vehicle. And now, Google’s Launchpad has announced a new hands-on Studio program that would help AI startups with resources that would help them kickstart their company’s journey to success and scale to new heights.

The idea behind having a separate AI studio is quite simple. Google understand that the anatomy of every type of startup is different from another and they cannot be fed with the same resources to achieve success. This especially makes sense when it comes to AI startups, who are heavily dependent on data and often struggle to get enough of it. Often these startups have to go to market in phases, making their way as new data comes into the picture. Also, it has been observed that AI startups all around the world boost of having highly technical teams but not enough product talent.

2) Qualcomm’s Mobile Chip Deep Learning Framework Is Now Open To All

American multinational semiconductor and telecommunications equipment company, Qualcomm, gave birth to the Neural Processing Engine (NPE) for its Snapdragon-series mobile processors with an aim of enabling deep learning-based software development on all kinds of devices. And now, the company, which is considered as a world leader in 3G and next-generation mobile technologies, has made the NPE software development kit finally available to the world via its Qualcomm Developer Network.

The latest development marks the first public release of the SDK. According to tech experts, the kit can open a lot of great opportunities for Artificial Intelligence (AI) computing on a range of devices, right from mobile phones to in-car platforms and many more. This means, it could serve as a key to unlock a whole new world altogether.

3) Autonomous Cars Will Not Be Allowed In India At The Cost Of Jobs, Says India’s Road Transport Minister

If you were expecting to ride a driverless car in India anytime soon, then your expectation is most likely to be never fulfilled, at least till the time the Modi government is at the centre. Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari recently addressed the media and made it clear that the government won’t be allowing driverless cars in the South Asian country as they’re not interested in promoting any technology or policy that has a potential of making a large number of hardworking people jobless.

He said, “No driverless cars will be allowed in India. The government is not going to promote any technology or policy that will make people jobless.”

Backing his statement with facts, Gadkari revealed that as of today India is running on a shortage of 2.2 million drivers. He further added that driving skills have a potential of creating employment for a whopping five million people in the second-largest population on Earth. Hence, the government isn’t in favour of erasing these high employment numbers by green lighting driverless cars.

4) Disappointed Indian Bitcoin Industry Poised For Self Regulation

Seeing Bitcoins increasing value and usage in the country, the government recently launched on a mission to regulate the cryptocurrency. But, according to latest updates, the talks have hit a standstill for now due to a difference of opinion between the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regarding the nature of categorisation of the cryptocurrency. The matter was uncovered during a finance ministry organised stakeholder meeting to discuss the regulatory framework of the virtual currency in the country.

While RBI considers Bitcoins as a security matter and wants SEBI to take charge to regulate it as commodity derivative in the same way as Gold and Silver, SEBI has conflicting views to offer and doesn’t agree with RBI’s interpretation of Bitcoins. According to SEBI, without the presence of any proper legal terminology and other legal gray areas surrounding the cryptocurrency, they
cannot consider it as a commodity.

While the government is still contemplating on the whole Bitcoin regulation debate, the Bitcoin industry in the country has made up its mind for a self-regulatory body. Talking to Bitcoinist, Zebpay co-founder Sandeep Goenka said that the creation of a self-regulatory body is not just the preference of the Indian Bitcoin Industry, but is also the best solution possible to tackle the problem of regulating virtual currencies in the Indian subcontinent. According to him, since the industry experiences constant evolution and changes, it might become a little difficult for the government to keep a track of all these adjustments and developments. Hence, a self-regulatory organization makes much more sense.

5) How IoT Will Improve Quality of Life in Indian Cities

The idea of smart cities have been fed into our minds for quite a long time now. So, this week, we at IndianWeb2 take a moment to analyse what exactly are the IoT centred initiatives that the Indian government has planned to improve the quality of life of its citizens and how far along are the Indian cities on their Smart cities trajectory.

The following data has been extracted from a Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HP) sponsored podcast carried out by Dana Gardner Principal analyst, Interarbor Solutions, where he interviewed VS Shridhar, senior vice president and head of the Internet of Things (IoT) business unit at Tata Communications in Chennai area, India and Nigel Upton, general manager of the Universal IoT Platform and global connectivity platform and communications solutions business at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).

According to Shridhar, the Indian government for now has decided to focus largely on the Smart Cities initiative to improve the quality of life of its citizens. Considering the famous saying that “sailing in two boats” never gets anyone anywhere, we’re glad that the government has managed to keep itself focused on just one aim when it comes to its urbanisation plans. The government considers that the Smart Cities initiative will not only help them in improving the quality of living for its citizens, but it will also help in generating employment and take the country as a whole a step forward towards accepting technology and incorporating it in various dimensions of their lives.

While Shridhar accepted that currently there is a whole lot of curiosity, excitement and action happening in the 100 Smart Cities project, but it is still a slow process for which we will have to wait a couple of more years to witness progress from our own eyes. Read More

6) OLX Scouts for India’s Top Talent In Machine Learning and AI

OLX, India’s largest online classifieds, has kicked off its “Code and the Curious” Hackathon to recruit India’s best coding talent, skilled in emerging and disruptive technologies across Machine learning, AI, and Data Science. The hackathon has already received more than 10,000 registrations so far.

Organized in partnership with leading online technology and programming platform HackerRank, the recruitment drive consists of two parts – an online assessment challenge from July 22nd to July 27th 2017 followed by a live two-day hackathon session in Gurugram and Bengaluru on 5th and 12th August respectively.

7) Facebook Acquires Startup Source3 to Fight Pirated Content

Social networking giant Facebook which recently celebrated having 2 billion monthly users has decided to take the matter of piracy on its platform very seriously. The Mark Zuckerberg led firm recently acquired US-based startup Source3 to help the tech giant in its battle against pirated content on its social networking platform.

The New York-headquartered startup claims to be the world’s first platform for end-to-end management of intellectual property in user-generated content (UGC). It provides IP recognition, licensing and rights administration services to connect creators, marketplaces and brands and enable monetization of user content across physical and digital products.

Reportedly, Facebook has decided to acquire both Source3’s technology and some of its core team members. A report in ReCode regarding the acquisition quoted a Facebook spokesperson, “We’re excited to work with the Source3 team and learn from the expertise they’ve built in intellectual property, trademarks and copyright. As always, we are focused on ensuring we serve our partners well.”

8) Karnataka, Nasscom To Setup Centre of Excellence Exclusively for AI; To Invest in Startups

The week saw the Karnataka government announcing the launch of a first-of-its kind initiative, an all exclusive Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Data Sciences and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Bengaluru.

Expected to go live early next month, industry body Nasscom has been assigned the duty of managing the programme. It will be bringing together industries, tech players, entrepreneurs, among others to work on the project. The funds for the projects are being provided by the Karnataka government, which has also taken the additional duty of getting some of the startups that it has already funded onboard for the project.

Speaking with Deccan Herald, Priyank Kharge, Karnataka Minister for IT and BT divulged that the CoE for AI will give a major push to the state government’s ambition of transforming Karnataka, particularly Bengaluru, into a hub of next-gen technologies such as AI, machine learning, robotics and neuroscience etc.

9) Scientists Just Made Food From Electricity- Solution To World Hunger?

Proving that nothing is impossible, researchers in Finland have successfully made food from electricity. Yes, you read that absolutely right. The discovery, which is being helmed as the future of food, saw Finnish researchers producing a single-cell protein using a system powered by renewable energy.

The synthetic food, which is nutritious enough to be served for dinner, was made as part of the Food From Electricity project, which is a collaboration between the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT). The entire food production process required only water, microbes, carbon dioxide and the most important ingredient, electricity.

The process entailed exposing the aforementioned raw materials to electrolysis in a bioreactor, which lead to formation of a powder that consists of more than 50 per cent protein and 25 per cent carbohydrates. According to the researchers, the texture of the powder can also be changed by doing some alterations in the microbes being used in the production process.

10) Revealed: Facebook’s Free Basics Violates Net Neutrality and Isn’t Even Helpful, Says Report

It’s been two years since Facebook’s Free Basics has been in the public domain and ever since then it has been at the centre of constant debate. While India has already banned the app stating its net neutrality defying nature, a recent report by activist group Global Voices has found out that not only does Facebook’s Free Basics violate net neutrality principles, it’s not proving that helpful to even those who are using it.

People using the Free Basics app have to survive with a basic Bing search engine, a Johnson & Johnson-sponsored baby advice app, and a number of other sponsored apps. In fact, Facebook is the only popular social media app accessible on the Free Basics app. The app in question here doesn’t even come with an email platform support.

The app also comes with certain language and content limitations that doesn’t make its case stronger either. For instance, if you access Free Basics in Pakistan, you would only be able to access it in English and Urdu. Thus, leaving out other major languages spoken in the country like Punjabi, Pashto etc. Further, most of the apps featured inside are US and UK-based, with only a few local options available.

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