Emerging Tech Roundup — October 8
The Quantious team’s top picks for timely trending news in the tech world.
This week in tech: Google pushes clean energy usage with Nest Renew and invests $1B in Africa, Microsoft adds precision to weather predictions, Twenty One Pilots performs on Roblox, GraphWear develops a glucose-monitoring wristband, China implements ethical guidelines for AI, and Pinterest rolls out new features.
Support Clean Energy Right from Home with Nest Renew
(Google, October 6)
Google has developed Nest Renew, a service for their Nest thermostat which is capable of efficiently heating and cooling from clean sources of energy. The service pulls energy from cleaner sources whenever possible, such as solar and wind farms rather than gas or coal. It also adds efficiency by sourcing energy at times of the day when it costs less. Users can track their consumption online and overall, practice cleaner energy usage.
Google to Invest $1B in Africa
(Google, October 6)
Google plans to invest $1 billion in Africa over 5 years, supporting digital transformation. Google will be using the money to train young Africans in digital skills, support nonprofits, offer low-interest loans to and invest in small businesses, lay subsea internet cables for faster connectivity, and more. This investment will fuel Google’s mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.”
Microsoft Predicts Weather for Individual Farms
(IEEE, October 4)
Inaccurate weather predictions are detrimental to farmers’ crops, and Microsoft has developed DeepMC to prevent this by precisely monitoring conditions. The device uses on-site sensors and local forecasts to fuel its machine learning, which is only expected to get smarter with time. In addition, it analyzes short-term and long-term weather trends to add precision. The device is deemed to be 90% accurate in its predictions, and eventually the technology is anticipated to be used for more than just forecasting.
Twenty One Pilots in Concert — As Roblox Avatars
(WSJ, October 3)
As the pandemic continues and safety precautions remain in place, performers are finding new ways to entertain. Twenty One Pilots performed a concert on Roblox, each member embodying their own avatar. The performance drove millions of fans to log on and enjoy the unconventional, virtual performance.
GraphWear Develops a Wearable, Needle-free, Nanotech-powered Glucose Monitor
(TechCrunch, October 4)
GraphWear has received a vote of confidence by investors for their glucose-monitoring wristband, totaling $20.5 million. The monitor is about 1–2 inches in size and is made of graphene, which drags molecules closer to the surface of the skin using its electric field. The device is capable of “tasting” such molecules and uses bluetooth to display glucose levels.
Chinese AI gets Ethical Guidelines for the First Time
(SCMP, October 3)
China is protecting user rights by implementing a set of AI ethical guidelines. As long-term social transformations take place with AI in the picture, China wants to be sure that above all else, humans are still in control. The new set of guidelines will help prevent risks and vulnerabilities, and hold entities accountable for their AI use.
Pinterest Introduces New Features, Including Merchant Verification
(Pinterest Business, October 6)
Pinterest is rolling out a handful of new features, including slideshows for collections, Idea Ads with paid partnerships, and updates to merchant details within the app. The merchant details feature will allow sellers on the app to tag their products with brand values, such as “locally sourced,” or “Black-owned.” The new Verified Merchant Program will offer heightened distribution and a profile badge for verified merchants to convey trust and high-quality products.