Tech Digest daily roundup: Facial recognition tool to help Ukraine


A system that searches a database of billions of facial images could help Ukraine uncover Russian infiltrators, fight misinformation and identify the dead, a company has said. Facial recognition firm Clearview AI has offered its services to Ukraine’s government. The company says it has a searchable database of 10 billion faces sourced from the web. But the technology has previously attracted fines from data regulators. “I’m pleased to confirm that Clearview AI has provided its groundbreaking facial recognition technology to Ukrainian officials for their use during the crisis they are facing,” chief executive Hoan Ton-That told the BBC in a statement. BBC

If you don’t like spoilers, look away now: a large outpouring of information has occurred around the forthcoming iPhone 14 line-up. 9to5Mac is reporting (and the site has a pretty good track record with Apple insights, given it predicted the Mac Studio with a high degree of accuracy) that its sources within Apple have confirmed a number of things about the forthcoming phones, such as the iPhone 14 mini not making an appearance at this year’s iPhone launch event. The sources say that we’ll instead see a 6.1- and 6.7-inch ’base’ model of iPhone (so that would be the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max, then) and the expected iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max to make their debut too. Tech Radar

At the bottom of a retired quarry in the Scottish county of Midlothian, the UK’s largest rocket engine testing facility has today opened for business. Edinburgh-based rocket company Skyrora aims to be the first company to launch an orbital mission from British soil later this year. Back in May 2020 the company completed a vertical static fire test of its Skylark L rocket, which is only capable of sub-orbital flight and can carry a payload of just 60kg. That’s less than the average adult male weighs, even without a spacesuit, but enough for a very small satellite. Sky News 

Arm, one of Britain’s biggest technology companies, is cutting hundreds of staff weeks after a $40bn (£31bn) deal to sell the company to Nvidia fell apart. Rene Haas, Arm’s newly-installed chief executive, told staff on Monday that the redundancies would affect 12 to 15pc of its global workforce. The Cambridge-based business has 6,400 staff and around 3,500 in the UK, meaning the cuts could affect up to 1,000 employees. Arm designs the microchips in billions of electronic devices such as smartphones around the world. It is planning to go public within the next year after the business’s owner, Japanese investor Softbank, called off the sale to Nvidia amid opposition from regulators. Telegraph 

Russia’s space agency has said it would return US astronaut Mark Vande Hei from the International Space Station on board Russia’s space capsule vehicle as scheduled amid tensions between the two countries over the situation in Ukraine. After spending nearly a year aboard the ISS, Nasa astronaut Mr Vande Hei – along with Russian cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov – is scheduled to return to Earth on 30 March on a Russian capsule. Critics wondered if Russia’s space agency Roscosmos would agree to bring the American astronaut back to Earth amid the sanctions imposed by the US. Independent 

Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson will be blasted off into space in a Blue Origin rocket. The American stand-up comedian, 28, will be part of the crew flying on Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ fourth manned space flight later this month. He will be joined on the New Shepard’s NS-20 flight by Marty Allen, Sharon and Marc Hagle, Jim Kitchen and Dr George Nield. Each person will take a postcard with them to space on behalf of Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, it said in a statement. Evening Standard 

Chris Price
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