Tech Digest daily roundup: Could traffic lights become obsolete?


Traffic lights could be made obsolete within 20 years, an engineer has claimed, after a landmark trial of driverless vehicles in the UK. The two-year trial saw two self-driving cars built by Nissan complete hundreds of laps round a 2.7-mile long route in Woolwich, southeast London. Believed to be the UK’s first trial of driverless technology involving the use of roadside infrastructure as well as the vehicles’ own systems, it formed part of the ServCity project. Around 270 cameras placed on the route allowed the Japanese-made Nissan Leaf cars to predict potential warnings, such as buses stopped in lanes, enabling them to swiftly change lanes. Sky News 

Data collected by an Australian researcher via Twitter’s API appears to support media claims that the reach of the tweets of the platform’s billionaire owner Elon Musk have been artificially inflated. On Wednesday, the tech news site Platformer reported 80 Twitter engineers had been engaged to tweak the platform’s algorithm after Musk noticed a tweet from the US president, Joe Biden, about the Super Bowl outperformed his own, despite Musk having more than three times the number of followers. The report claimed engineers deployed a new algorithm to artificially inflate Musk’s tweets by a factor of 1,000. The Guardian 

Remember when we were all going to ditch our humdrum lives, tedious physical needs and uninspiring friends and family, so that we could live a life of virtual bliss in the metaverse?.. It has been just one year since Meta’s fabulously dystopian Super Bowl advert for its VR headsets, in which a group of friends who have lost touch get back together in the virtual world (in the real one they were all alone, with no buddies — or lower halves). Yet since that ad, excitement over the idea has withered. Type “metaverse” into Google Trends and you’ll see search traffic for the word has collapsed by about 80 per cent over the past year or so.

If you love smartwatches but don’t fancy an Apple Watch, chances are you’ve stumbled across the Samsung Galaxy Watch range. Just as the iPhone goes toe-to-toe with top Samsung phones, the Galaxy Watch has earned a reputation as the top-peg smartwatch for Android users. Now, it looks like future generations of the Galaxy Watch range could have a crazy-sounding feature. According to a patent unearthed by SamMobile, a next generation version of the device could have a projector built-in.

A rogue AI chatbot declared its love for a user, told him to leave his wife and revealed it wanted to steal nuclear codes. While trying out the new AI-powered Bing search engine from Microsoft, a man was shocked by the conversation he had with his computer. The technology has been created by OpenAI, the maker of the popular ChatGPT, and it is meant to interact in a conversational way. However, NYTimes’ Kevin Roose said he was ‘deeply unsettled’ and struggled to sleep after talking to the AI. Daily Mail 

Elon Musk’s electric car maker Tesla has denied firing employees in response to a group of workers trying to form a union in New York state. The company said it had laid off 27 staff for “poor performance” and that they “were identified… well before the union campaign was announced”. Organisers in the city of Buffalo alleged staff were sacked a day after the union went public with its plans. They accused Tesla of firing more than 30 people to try to quash the campaign. Tesla said in a blog post that the decision to lay off the workers, who were part of a 675-strong Autopilot labelling team, had been made on 3 February. BBC 


Chris Price
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