Tech Digest daily roundup: Microsoft takeover of Nuance under scrutiny


Microsoft’s $19.7bn (£14.5bn) acquisition of an artificial intelligence company used by the NHS is being scrutinised by the competition regulator. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMAis understood to have raised questions with Microsoft and quizzed customers and rivals about its takeover of Nuance Communications.  Microsoft is yet to file with the regulator, which would have 40 working days to consider whether to launch an in-depth investigation. The deal has been cleared by US and Australian authorities while the European Commission has also been hearing from rivals – it is expected to give the green light in the coming days. Nuance is best known for providing the original speech recognition system behind Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant. Telegraph

A major security flaw has been discovered in a piece of software called Log4j, which is used by millions of web servers. The bug leaves them vulnerable to attack, and teams around the world are scrambling to patch affected systems before hackers can exploit them. “The internet’s on fire right now,” said Adam Meyers at security company Crowdstrike. The problem with Log4j was first noticed in the video game Minecraft but it quickly became apparent that its impact was far larger. The software is used in millions of web applications, including Apple’s iCloud. Attacks exploiting the bug, known as Log4Shell attacks have been happening in the wild since 9 December, says Crowstrike. New Scientist

A train-cleaning robot, designed by the National Robotarium, is set to keep seating spotless for the travelling public. The device, which looks a bit like Dr Who’s famous K9 robotic dog, is mounted on four small wheels with flip-out brushes and will complement humans by cleaning the hard-to-reach places between and under the seats in carriages. A National Robotarium spokesperson said: “To find waste it has a static camera in front and a stereo vision camera, mounted above, with a 180 degree field of vision.” Supported by UK and Scottish Government funding of £21 million and £1.4m respectively, scientists from Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh University, at the Robotarium, have spent two years working on the robot’s design and operating system. Yahoo!

Dr Dre has released a snippet of a song he’s produced for GTA Online, along with Eminem. The game will receive new content called The Contract on 15th December that sees GTA V character Franklin attempting to lure in Dr Dre to his “celebrity solutions agency”. The rapper and producer has written brand new music for the expansion, featuring Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Anderson .Paak and DJ Pooh. You can listen to the snippet, seemingly titled The Goats, in the video below.

An in-demand non-fungible token (NFT) has been accidentally sold for a little more than $3,000 (£2,270) – one-hundredth of its market price. The Bored Ape Yacht Club is limited run of 10,000 pieces of digital art, each with minor variations. But the owner of Bored Ape number 3,547 made a “fat fingered” typing error when listing the item for sale online. The NFT was instantly snapped up by an automated account – and put back on sale at nearly $250,000. The seller, maxnaut, told CNet he had meant to list Bored Ape number 3,547 for sale at 75 ethereum (ETH), the crypto-currency used for many NFT trades. But a “lapse of concentration” – during one of the many trades he lists online every day – had caused him to instead type in “0.75 ETH” ($2,989). BBC 


Chris Price
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