Tech Digest daily roundup: Run on crypto as Bitcoin slumps


Cryptocurrency lender Celsius has said “extreme market conditions” have forced it to “pause” all withdrawals as digital currencies crash to prices not seen since last year. The New Jersey-based company, which works similarly to a bank, suspended all user trading in the small hours of this morning. In a memo to its users, Celsius managers said: “We are taking this necessary action for the benefit of our entire community in order to stabilize liquidity and operations.” Celsius also said its 1.7m users would continue to accrue rewards while their accounts were frozen. Crypto markets slumped after the announcement, with Bitcoin dropping to its lowest level since December 2020 at around $20,300. Telegraph 

Samantha Cristoforetti holds the record for longest uninterrupted spaceflight by a European astronaut – but you may know her for another bit of history. She is the first person to make a TikTok video on board the International Space Station (ISS). Cristoforetti has become a star on the social-media site, where her videos have had millions of views. Italy’s first female astronaut is using her second space mission to help TikTok reach the final frontier. Cristoforetti first travelled to space in 2014, spending 199 days on board the ISS – then the record for the longest mission in space by a woman, although that has since been broken by Peggy Whitson, in 2017, and subsequently Christina Koch, in 2019. BBC 

The BellaBot, made by Chinese company Pudu, can carry up to 40kg. Image: Pudu

As worker shortages are felt across the hospitality sector, the owners of the Bella Italia chain are turning to robots to provide table service to customers. Big Table Group, which also owns Café Rouge and Las Iguanas, is testing out the robot at its Bella Italia restaurant in Center Parcs Whinfell Forest in Cumbria, in the first such trial by a big restaurant chain. The BellaBot, made by Chinese company Pudu, can carry up to 40kg on four trays and deliver and retrieve plates from tables with help from humans who load and unload its “body”. Eric Guo, the chief executive of Spark which distributes Pudu robots in the UK, said there were 60 working across 20 British businesses and he expected more orders. Guardian 

We’d thought there might not be a Sony Xperia 5 IV, given that the phone wasn’t announced alongside the Sony Xperia 1 IV, but a new leak suggests Sony’s compact flagship line will continue after all. Sumahodigest(opens in new tab) has spotted a post on Weibo(opens in new tab) (a Chinese social network) which contains a partial specs list for the Sony Xperia 5 IV. The presence of such a specs list suggests the phone is still in the works, and the content of the list is promising. Apparently the Xperia 5 IV has the same cameras as the Sony Xperia 1 IV, meaning a 12MP wide snapper, a 12MP ultrawide one and – perhaps most excitingly – a 12MP telephoto one, which can seamlessly move between 85mm and 125mm optical zoom ranges. Tech Radar

A Google engineer has been put on leave after claiming that a computer chatbot he was working on had developed the ability to express thoughts and feelings. Blake Lemoine, 41, said the company’s LaMDA (language model for dialogue applications) chatbot had engaged him in conversations about rights and personhood. He told the Washington Post: “If I didn’t know exactly what it was, which is this computer programme we built recently, I’d think it was a seven-year-old, eight-year-old kid that happens to know physics.” Mr Lemoine shared his findings with company executives in April in a document: Is LaMDA Sentient? Sky News 

Chris Price
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