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10 Things in Tech You Need To Know Today [02 – 07 October]

The world of tech had a busy week. From new announcements, to updates on the emerging technologies to brand new launches, a lot happened this week. In order to keep you updated, we at IndianWeb2 bring to you the top 10 things that happened in the tech world this week.

1) Here’s First Beer Named By Artificial Intelligence

When Brewers at Old Nation Brewing Company couldn’t find the right name for their new double dry hopped saison, they decided to turn to neural networks for help and well, they succeeded. Introducing The Fine Stranger: World’s very first beer named by a neural network.
According to the Michigan Brewery, considering the drink is a “blend of Old World and New” and combines a “strong, peppery, fruity Belgian Saison yeast strain with the low-bitterness/high-flavor hop goodness of the New England style,” the name The Fine Stranger suits the beer quite well.

The neural network naming method was introduced to the brewery by research scientist Janelle Shane, who makes use of the char-rnn neural network framework to train the computer to “speak” using only beer words, then turns on the creativity and makes it think.

For Old Nation Brewing Company, Shane only trained the neural network on a constrained list, including beers with the brewers’ keywords: Juice, haze, New England, Vermont, citra, Belgium, spicy, clove, saison, farmhouse, and “all these trendy new hazy IPA names.”

2) Facebook Launches ‘Context’ Button In a Bid To Fight Fake News

Social networking giant Facebook is not ready to drop its tame the fake news mission anytime soon. The Mark Zuckerberg-led company is currently testing out a new ‘Context’ button that will allow its more than 2 billion users get a little more context about the source of the news that they’re reading on the platform.

With the context button, Facebook users reading news on the platform will be able to get context on the source of a news article with just a single click without having to leave Facebook and their news feed.

The additional contextual information about a news piece will be gathered from across Facebook and other sources, such as information from the publisher’s Wikipedia entry. In cases where information is unavailable, the social networking company “will let people know, which can also be helpful context.”

3) IBM Partners With Banks For A Blockchain-Powered Trade Finance Platform

Global technology and innovation company, IBM has joined hands with five banks – UBS, Bank of Montreal, CaixaBank, Commerzbank and Erste Group – to launch a blockchain-based trade finance platform called Batavia.

To be accessed by organisations of all sizes anywhere in the world, the platform aims to
support trade finance transactions by helping banks and their clients automate the trade finance process, something which still majorly remains manual and paper-based. The platform will be powered by the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain framework.

According to IBM, Batavia will be supporting trade finance for transactions across all modes of trade, whether it be by land, sea or air. The software firm has decided to take the responsibility of acting as a consultant alongside transportation industry experts as well as the banks’ customers so as to ensure that the platform always remains flexible and intuitive.

4) Introducing ’emCash’ – Dubai’s Own Official Cryptocurrency

While several countries around the world are still making their stance on whether to legalise digital currency or not, Dubai is on its way to unveil its very first official state cryptocurrency.

The government of Dubai has decided to develop an encrypted blockchain-powered digital currency called emCash, which will enable the citizens of the city to pay for both government and non-government services alike.

To be developed in partnership between UK-based blockchain startup Object Tech and Emcredit, a subsidiary of Dubai Economy, emCash will be based on the currently in trend blockchain technology and would require users to download a mobile wallet called emPay on their smartphones.

5) Bias, Not Robots, Is The Real AI Danger

Tech magnate Elon Musk recently termed Artificial Intelligence (AI) as “the greatest risk we face as a civilisation.” But, Google’s AI chief, John Giannandrea, has different point of view to offer on the issue.

According to Giannandrea, it isn’t the robots that we have to worry about, it is the danger that might be lurking inside these machine-learning algorithms used to make millions of decisions every minute.

Speaking before a recent Google conference on the relationship between humans and AI systems, Giannandrea said, “The real safety question, if you want to call it that, is that if we give these systems biased data, they will be biased.”

Considering the fact that AI is currently spreading like wild fire, the problem of bias in machine learning has the potential of becoming more significant as the technology enters into more critical spheres of life such as law and medicine, and people without a deeper technical understanding of the technology are given the task of deploying it.

6) Stolen Data From Over 6,000 Indian Businesses Available On Darknet, Claims Quickheal

A forum on DarkNet is reportedly selling data stolen from over 6,000 Indian businesses that includes Internet Service Providers (ISPs), some of the key government organisations, banks and enterprises. The advertisement was recently spotted by global IT security firm Quick Heal’s Enterprise Security brand Seqrite.

In a company statement, Seqrite shared further details about the advertisement they discovered along with its partner seQtree InfoServices. According to the statement, the mastermind hacker behind the advertisement is demanding 15 Bitcoins (nearly INR 42 lakh) for the information and is offering network takedown of affected organisations for an unspecified amount.

The security firm believes that if the information falls into wrong hands, it has the potential of becoming a major tool of mass disruption.

7) BSNL To Offer Low-Cost Smartphones Bundled With Low Tariff Plans

Indian state-owned telecommunications company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) after completing 17 years of its services has plans to offer low cost smartphones to its customers in the form bundled offers. Although in 2014 too BSNL had launched low cost smartphones and tablets called BSNL Penta Bharat, however, it didn’t succeed and failed miserably in front of other private low cost smartphone manufacturers such as Micromax and Spice.

This time, the news from The Hindu reveals that BSNL has tied up with Micromax and Lava, two local smartphone manufacturers that will offer some low cost handsets to the operator.The nationwide launch will follow shortly as the operator is in the process of signing the deals with Micromax and Lava from whom BSNL will source smartphones.

While the pricing of the devices have not been fixed, the operator expects the devices to be priced in the range of “Rs 2,500 or less.” Principal general manager- Hyderabad telecom district, K, Ramchand told The Hindu that the final cost is still being worked out, but the devices will be affordable.

8) IoT Alone Make 15 Million Jobs in India

In a future optimistic announcement made by India’s telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan recently in an interview, she stated that new technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) have the latent potential of giving birth to 10–15 million jobs in the country even though currently the IT services sector is finding it hard to open any new job avenues for the Indian workforce.

Speaking at the recently held IoT India Congress 2017, Sundararajan took the podium and said, “In other places including Bengaluru, there have been worries about how IT sector in India will deal with new technologies and new challenges. We think, or rather it is guessed, that India can receive 10–15 Million new jobs made in IoT alone.”

She further backed his claims by explaining, “IoT has major possibility for job creation and most of these will not be made by large firms but by small companies.” Sundararajan highlights that it is the startups that are the innovative ones as they have been able to conceive solutions in sports wearable, diagnostics, and water managements. These areas which were once considered problematic have turned out to be great opportunities for the Indian startup industry.

IoT is one of the few technologies that has the real potential of changing the way the entire world works. Gartner predicts that there will be about 8.4 billion connected devices by the end of this year, a figure which has increased by a whopping 31% from 2016.

9) ISRO Will Make SpaceTech As New Frontier for Indian Entrepreneurs and Startups

In the near future, we might see space technology opening new frontier for Indian entrepreneurs and startups, according to a statement made by ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar.

Speaking at the recently concluded IIMA’s Red Brick Summit (RBS), Kumar said that there are tremendous opportunities opening up with the fast-evolving technology, and there is growing scope for collaboration between public and private sectors.

Kumar further revealed that currently there is a huge demand for location-based services and geospatial technology for various applications such as vehicle tracking.

Space technology is a technology developed by space science or the aerospace industry for use in spaceflight, satellites, or space exploration. Space technology includes spacecraft, satellites, space stations, and support infrastructure, equipment, and procedures.

10) Despite Talent, Tools India Can’t Handle Big Cyber Attacks – Report

India is a land of abundant talent. We all know that by now, but despite of having such talented workforce, the country is still unprepared to protect itself if a cyberattack to the scale of ‘WannaCrypt’ or ‘Petya’ ever hits home turf.

According to a recent IBM study conducted by Ponemon Institute, while the average cost of a data breach in 2017 decreased by 10 per cent globally when compared to the 2016 figure, but for the Indian enterprises, it grew by 12.3 percent from Rs 97.3 million in 2016 to Rs 110 million in 2017.

Elaborating on the findings of the report, John Shier, Senior Security Expert at the Abingdon, UK-headquartered Sophos, did an interview with IANS and said, “India has well-trained, well-educated and capable IT people. The country has got access to all the tools it needs to secure its systems. Yet, in the case of a big cyber attack, India is still unprepared.”

Giving solution to the problem he mentions, Shier said that the country needs to do just three simple things to fix the issue to a certain extent, he said, “It is the time to look at the procedures and make sure they are implemented to secure the data. Firstly, it is needed to see that the things are done. Secondly, it needs to be checked if the things are done correctly and thirdly, test it repeatedly to make sure what has been done is done right.”

Sher believes that by doing the basics right, the companies can helps cybersecurity firms in staying one step ahead of the criminals.

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