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The last few OnePlus release cycles have been lackluster, but 2023 is shaping up to be a banner year. The post OnePlus Takes the Wraps Off OnePlus 11 5G and OnePlus Pad appeared first on ExtremeTech .
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A new government department signals a change in how Whitehall views technology. For years, digital has been the red-headed stepchild of the Conservative government. Successive Prime Ministers have talked a good game on the importance of technology investment, while at the same time lumping it in with unrelated subjects in the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, aka the we don't really know where this goes department. Now Rishi Sunak has created a new government department as part of a mini cabinet reshuffle: the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, which will see science and technology finally have a dedicated seat at the cabinet table. That seat will be filled by the former head of DCMS, Michelle Donelan (shortly to go on maternity leave), which it's fair to say has been a controversial move given her lack of industry experience. So good that Sunak has created a new department of Science, Innovation and Technology, and its new minister has a BA in history and politics, and worked for a time marketing Marie Claire magazine and WWE. Howard Oakley, Eclectic Light Co (@howardnoakley) February 7, 2023 It says so much about Britain that the Secretary of State for the newly formed Department of Science, Innovation and Technology has a politics and history degree, rather than a sciences background. realhansard (@realhansard) February 7, 2023 That aside, the tech sector has largely welcomed the news that it will be prioritised in government, at last. Gerard Grech, CEO of ( soon-to-be-defunct ) startup accelerator Tech Nation, said, Science and technology innovation...is a high order priority that requires a singular focus, resourcing and, most importantly, expertise. Having a dedicated department that can aggregate the critical policy levers that drive disruptive UK innovation whilst working with other departments will be very productive and will stimulate new value creation. Likewise Martin Taylor, co-founder and deputy CEO of Content Guru, said the creation of the new department is an important step in the UK's goal to become the next Silicon Valley. He noted that the government's approach to supporting the sector is changing, however, with the defunding of Tech Nation - a not-for-profit with a track record of scaling up businesses like Just Eat, Darktrace and Ocado - an obvious indicator. The sooner the government can launch DSIT (isn't is a good thing 'health' isn't part of its remit?), the better. Like other private sector industries, tech has lacked certainty about its future since the Brexit vote in 2016. It's fair to say we haven't been blown away by the government's commitment to technology in recent years, despite supportive words from five different PMs, but we'll reserve judgement until we see what DSIT produces. Setting up the new department is the first real, positive change in over a decade and it would be churlish to discount it just because of a 13-year track record of weak support (okay, that's the last of the cynicism. Promise).
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Shadow minister's remarks come as government announces a dedicated Department for Science, Innovation and Technology Speaking at OpenUK 's State of Open Conference in Westminster, just as PM Rishi Sunak was announcing a mini-government reshuffle, Chi Onwurah, Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central and shadow minister for science, research & technology, said open source presents an opportunity to democratise technology and also to foster collaboration, driving competition and innovation. Unusually for an MP, Onwurah has a background in technology, both as a hardware engineer producing motherboards and on the regulatory side as head of telecoms technology at Ofcom. In her current role, she has focussed largely on cybersecurity, social entrepreneurship and open government. I do think that there's so much opportunity to increase the sort of the accessibility and openness of our government and parliament through open data, she said, assessing the government's legislative and policy agenda on digital so far as lacking ambition and being wholly inadequate It doesn't understand or reflect the opportunities of technology, Onwurah said. She was particularly critical of an attitude that sees regulation as red tape, rather than something that can level the playing field and foster innovation. Regulation can lead to that innovation, and also regulation can support innovation. It can support particularly in many ways, but access of smaller, more agile companies, to government contracts, to marketplaces, she said. I think the government has the wrong-headed idea that regulation is anti-growth. There's strong evidence that the lack of agile regulation is undermining competition across many sectors of our economy, dragging down innovation and productivity, and I think that is true in open source. As a result we have one of the lowest levels of business investment in the G7. And many of our great tech startups, are being bought up or moving abroad due to a lack of finance, which is related in part to the lack of regulatory certainty. Open data, agile regulation and a stronger focus on open source can be a prime lever for improved transparency and productivity, she argued. There's so much opportunity there, driving improvements, bringing services closer to people, making them more effective and efficient, alongside ensuring we have a connected Britain using 5G innovation to its full potential. So the choice is clear, unlock the power of the digital revolution in the interests of the many or continue to benefit a smaller few. A new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology While Onwurah was delivering her speech, the government announced a restructure, including the creation of a new department, taking some responsibilities from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. A dedicated Department for Science, Innovation and Technology will drive the innovation that will deliver improved public services, create new and better-paid jobs and grow the economy, a Downing Street spokesperson said. Having a single department focussed on turning scientific and technical innovations into practical, appliable solutions to the challenges we face will help make sure the UK is the most innovative economy in the world. Current culture secretary Michelle Donelan will be the new secretary of state for the department. A new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero was also announced
Pichai says it is exciting to work on technologies that truly help people Alphabet, the parent company of Google, on Monday announced its AI chatbot technology called Bard, which the company claims will provide fresh, high-quality responses to users ' queries by drawing on information from the web. In a blog post announcing the initiative, Google CEO Sundar Pichai called the programme an experimental conversational AI service that will be made available to the public in the coming weeks. We ' ve been working on an experimental conversational AI service, powered by LaMDA, that we ' re calling Bard. And today, we ' re taking another step forward by opening it up to trusted testers ahead of making it more widely available to the public in the coming weeks, Pichai wrote. The announcement follows the public's rapid acceptance of ChatGPT, a rival chatbot from Microsoft-backed OpenAI that has taken the internet by storm since its debut in November last year. Although the underlying technology of ChatGPT is not ground-breaking, OpenAI's choice to make the system freely accessible on the web exposed millions of people to this innovative form of automated text generation. Use of ChatGPT has also triggered debates regarding its impact on education, employment, and the future of internet search. Meanwhile, the hurried release and lack of detailed information about Bard are signs of Google's code red alert, triggered by the launch of ChatGPT. LaMDA, Google's language model based on Transformer, a neural network architecture, is at the heart of Google's chatbot. Interestingly, ChatGPT is also based on the GPT-3 language model, which is likewise built on Transformer. Transformer was created by Google Research and released for use in 2017. This technology, which can anticipate outcomes based on inputs, is mostly used in computer vision and natural language processing. In his blog post , Pichai provided an example of how Bard may be used to simplify complicated topics, like explaining recent findings made by NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to a nine-year-old child. In a service demo, Bard, like its competitor chatbot, invites users to offer it a prompt while warning that its answer may be inaccurate. Pichai stressed the need of rigorous testing for Bard, adding: We ' ll combine external feedback with our own internal testing to make sure Bard ' s responses meet a high bar for quality, safety and groundedness in real-world information. At this time, Google is releasing a lightweight model version of LaMDA, which requires far less computational resources, thereby enabling Google to receive more feedback. Google has been working on its language model for some time, but the firm halted its public release after allegations from one of its employees, who said Google's LaMDA tools was sentient . Blake Lemoine, ex-Google engineer, began talking to LaMDA last year as part of his role in for Google's Responsible AI organisation, testing whether the tool used discriminatory or hate speech. Lemoine said LaMDA talked about personhood and ights, and asked to be recognised as an employee rather than property. Lemoine claimed he went to Google vice president Blaise Aguera y Arcas and head of responsible innovation Jen Gennai with his suspicions, but they dismissed his claims. The engineer was later fired by the company. On the most recent earnings call, Pichai said that the world is now ready for generative AI. I feel comfortable with all the investments we have made in making sure we can develop AI responsibly and we'll be careful, he said.
Happier staff and no loss of productivity makes it a no-brainer, says general manager EMEA Emma Hose Rimini Street formally introduced a four-day working week for all staff this month. The company, which provides third party maintenance services primarily for enterprise software from SAP and Oracle, employs 1,900 people around the world, mostly senior engineers almost all of whom work from home. During the pandemic, overwork and isolation meant that burnout became a problem. As well as typically working longer hours, most opportunities for employees to unwind had been shut down. Last summer, as an experiment, the company introduced a scheme called Fabulous Fridays as a way of addressing the issue. Employees could take one working day off per week to do as they liked - so long as they were within reach of a phone and a laptop in case a customer had an emergency that only they could fix: Rimini Street's SLA commits it to 24/7 support with a 10-minute response time. Despite the name, the off day doesn't have to be a Friday, said GVP & regional general manager EMEA Emma Hose. Indeed, the favoured day varies from country to country and the company needs to retain some residual capacity, but it's mostly organised between groups and in consultation with clients. There's been a tremendous enthusiasm for it, Hose said. We were one of the first to do working from home, and now we're one of the first to do a four-day week. And actually, our clients keep asking how it's going and are interested in potentially trying it themselves. Inspiration came from earlier experiments in New Zealand and the Nordics, where they tend to be very innovative, including trials in the public sector, Hose said. Working from home sometimes can be quite isolating, and we always look at where to engage better with our colleagues. Unsurprisingly, the scheme has proved popular with employees, but has it led to gaps in coverage? Hose insists there has been no loss of productivity or quality of delivery during the trial period, which is why the Rimini Street is making Fabulous Fridays official policy, as of this month. The scheme applies to all employees, not just WFH engineers, and salaries and benefits remain unchanged. To be honest, they probably do the same work, it's just done over four days instead of five, said Hose. We haven't changed the salary or their bonuses because the productivity has been great. The scheme has also proved positive for hiring. The company grew last year by 17%, according to its own figures, and experienced tech staff are still, despite the current round of layoffs in the sector , highly in demand and hard to find in many areas. We don't have a lot of juniors in our organisation because of the work that we do, so being able to provide this flexibility helps with retention, and it also helps us attract new talent. While the four-day week is a good fit for Rimini Street , Hose said it might not be so successful for companies with a higher turnover. It's maybe not for everyone. We are lucky that we work with very mature people who know how to work and achieve their goal within a certain timeframe, she explained.
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Sophie Creese from MotherBoard sets out what being a signatory to the MotherBoard charter involves. MotherBoard is a business charter, community, event series and podcast, which aims to support tech employers to become more inclusive environments for women - particularly mothers. Here, Sophie Creese, MotherBoard Founder and Head of Tech Recruitment at ADLIB, explains why she set up MotherBoard, why it's so important to get more women in tech product design rooms and what signing up to the MotherBoard charter involves.
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Details are emerging from the latest UK company to be hit Vesuvius, a London-headquartered molten metal flow engineering firm, disclosed on Monday that it was currently managing a cyber incident that involved unauthorised access to its systems. After discovering unauthorised activity on its networks, the company says it took required measures to respond to the issue, including shutting down all impacted systems. Vesuvius is currently collaborating with a number of cyber experts to determine the extent and possible consequences of the event, including the impact on manufacturing and contract fulfilment. We are taking steps to comply with all relevant regulatory obligations in light of the information that emerges from our ongoing investigations, the company said . Details of the incident are scant at the moment. There is no indication of the scope of the incident or which IT systems Vesuvius may have been compromised. Additionally, there is no explanation of the attack's nature or if the attackers have communicated with the company in any way. Vesuvius is London Stock Exchange-listed firm that specialises in molten metal flow engineering and technology. It mainly serves process industries that operate in difficult high temperature conditions. The firm creates customised solutions, such as flow control systems, advanced refractories and other consumable products, as well as technical services relating to those products, such as data capture. Vesuvius employs over 10,000 people and is among the 250 most valuable companies on the London Stock Exchange. For the fiscal year 2021, the firm reported revenue of more than 1.6 billion. The incident is the latest in a series of cyberattacks against British organisations in recent months. Morgan Advanced Materials Plc, a provider of speciality chemicals, announced last month it had been the victim of a cyber incident. Also last month, a ransomware attack on the Royal Mail impacted its worldwide letter and package deliveries for many days. Last week, a ransomware attack was launched against a major financial software provider, ION, causing severe disruption for trading in the City of London. ABN Amro Clearing and Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy's largest bank, are among the many ION customers whose operations have been impacted as a result of the attack. The LockBit ransomware gang, which claimed responsibility for ION attack, says it has received the demanded ransom . The group had earlier threatened to publish material stolen from the company if the extortion payment was not paid by 4th February. Ransomware has emerged as one of the most costly and disruptive issues for companies worldwide in recent years. The UK now ranks third in a list of countries where businesses suffer the most ransomware attacks, security vendor NordLocker said in a report in September. NordLocker examined 18 sectors and found that business services suffered the highest number of ransomware attacks (10.1%), followed by education (9.7%), construction (8.9%), transportation (7.7%), manufacturing (7.3%) and public sector institutions (5.7%). Conti and LockBit were the two most active ransomware gangs targeting the UK, claiming responsibility for 22.2% and 11.5% of attacks, respectively. They were also the most active groups worldwide.
Activision Blizzard beat Wall Street estimates for fourth-quarter adjusted sales on Monday, thanks to the success of the latest game in its Call of Duty franchise. The latest Call of Duty crossed the $1 billion (roughly Rs. 8,275 crore) mark within 10 days of its late-October launch, the company said.
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