Tech Digest daily roundup: Virgin Orbit pauses all operations


Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit
has admitted it is close to running out of money as it told staff they will stop getting paid within days. The rocket launch company, which in January led a botched mission to fire satellites into orbit from the UK, is racing to shore up its finances and said on Thursday that it was in discussions over potential sources of funding. “There can be no assurance that these discussions will result in any transaction,” the company said. The majority of staff are expected to go without pay from next week, although a small number will be kept on to handle critical functions, a source said. Virgin Orbit will cease operations until it finds funding. Daily Telegraph 

Google has discontinued its Glass AR glasses all over again. This time, it cancelled the Glass Enterprise Edition, a product that was unsurprisingly aimed squarely at the enterprise and used by people in vertical jobs that required hands-free connectivity. Google has updated its webpages to say that Glass Enterprise Edition will be discontinued as of 15 March 2023, adding that the company will continue to support the headset through 15 September 2023. However, no new software updates are expected. Pocket Lint

Just a few months after its integration into Bing, ChatGPT has made the leap to iOS as a third-party app exclusively for the Apple Watch. It’s called Petey – AI Assistant and it was created by developer Hidde van de Ploeg (listed as Modum B.V. on the App Store). Originally, it was known as watchGPT, but due to trademarking issues with the acronym “GPT”, the name had to be changed. Looking at a demo video posted by the developer on Twitter, Petey functions similarly to Siri. You open the app, ask it a question and it answers in just a few seconds via Text to Speech. Tech Radar

The UK government is to invest £900m in a cutting-edge supercomputer as part of an artificial intelligence strategy that includes ensuring the country can build its own “BritGPT”. The treasury outlined plans to spend around £900m on building an exascale computer, which would be several times more powerful than the UK’s biggest computers, and establishing a new AI research body. An exascale computer can be used for training complex AI models, but also have other uses across science, industry and defence, including modelling weather forecasts and climate projections. The Guardian

Chinese-owned social media app TikTok is set to be banned on phones and other devices used by government ministers and civil servants on security grounds. Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden will make a statement to MPs later. There has been no official comment – but Security Minister Tom Tugendhat had asked the National Cyber Security Centre to review the issue. TikTok has strongly denied allegations that it hands users’ data to the Chinese government. A number of government departments have TikTok accounts – and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) uploaded a video of a Challenger 2 tank to its account this morning. BBC 


Chris Price
For latest tech stories go to