Tech Digest daily round up: Joby Aviation to go public
A flying car maker is going public with a $6.6bn valuation in a deal with a company created by the founders of LinkedIn and Zynga. California-based Joby Aviation is a leader in the fast-growing world of electrically powered vertical takeoff and landing (EVTOL) aircraft that could transform air transport. Joby is combining with Reinvent Technology Partners, a special purpose acquisition company (Spac) created by entrepreneurs Reid Hoffman, creator of LinkedIn, and Mark Pincus of videogame company Zynga. Full story in The Telegraph.
Energy firm Npower has closed down its app following an attack that exposed some customers’ financial and personal information. Contact details, birth dates, addresses and partial bank account numbers are among the details believed to have been stolen. The firm did not say how many accounts were affected by the breach, which was first reported by MoneySavingExpert.com. However, affected accounts have been locked, Npower told the BBC. See story here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-56195631
Asian elephants at a British zoo are helping train thermal imaging cameras to accurately detect the endangered animals in the wild. The cameras have so far captured more than 30,000 images of elephants at Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire, led by Zoological Society of London (ZSL). The tech can detect the zoo’s Asian elephants 24 hours a day, even in total darkness, by identifying their unique heat signatures. Once positioned in the wild, the cameras will accurately confirm the presence of an elephant and send text messages to local communities or response teams in order to help to avoid conflict situations between humans and the endangered animals. See The Daily Mail for the full story.
GCHQ has said it believes it can use artificial intelligence (AI) to help expose disinformation attacks by hostile foreign states trying to undermine UK democracy. This includes, the agency said, uncovering “deepfake” videos and audio material spread online to mislead the public. AI could also be used to help tackle child sex abuse, trafficking and cyber-attacks because of its ability to analyse huge volumes of data at speed. Ahead of the publication of a new paper offering an “ethical framework” for the use of AI in its operations, Jeremy Fleming, the director of GCHQ, called the impact of AI on his agency “profound”. See full story on Sky News.
A budget electric vehicle (EV) selling in China for $4,500 (£3,200) – pictured above – is now outselling Tesla’s more upmarket cars. The compact car is proving a big hit for state-owned SAIC Motor, China’s top automaker. The Hong Guang Mini EV is being built as part of a joint venture with US car giant General Motors (GM). Last month sales of the budget electric car in China were around double those of Tesla. While the $4,500 Hong Guang Mini is the most popular model, there is an upgraded one with air conditioning for just over $5,000. The cars are being marketed as “the people’s commuting tool”. See story here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56178802
GameStop shares surged almost 60% in pre-market trading after more than doubling on Wednesday, as the trading mania that engulfed the videogame retailer’s stock last month returns. Its shares climbed nearly 104% on Wednesday in a turbulent session that temporarily halted trading in the stock twice as its price soared. The shares look set for another tumultuous day on Thursday, spiking more than 60% to $146 in pre-market trading before the opening bell on Wall Street. The latest rally has surprised analysts who thought stability had returned to the stock after the trading mania last month in the battle between online traders and Wall Street hedge funds. See full story in The Guardian.