Five technology stories dominating newspapers in 2018
News coverage is more accessible and on demand than ever.
According to the National Readership Survey, 94% of adults in Great Britain read newsbrands and magazines in one way or another: If we don’t see the latest headlines on our phones, we read them in the daily newspapers, or watch them on news channels.
With that in mind, we have rounded up five of the key technology stories dominating readers’ news feeds, and which businesses should also be paying attention to:
As the deadline for the EU’s Government Data Protection Regulation draws closer (25th May), stories on the challenges and opportunities of GDPR are evermore present. The new legislation enforces individual data consent and clarity over how that data is used, which will modernise the ways businesses previously handled information. While this should strengthen the trust in business-consumer relationships, it has the potential for companies to make fatal errors. Companies risk enormous fines, as well as their customer loyalty, if they fail to meet GDPR requirements. Ultimately, the companies who provide the greatest security and transparency for their customers’ personal data will see long-term benefits for their brand and consumers.
2. Cybersecurity and Data centres
Cybersecurity has become one of the biggest concerns for modern society. 2017 showed us how children’s toys with WiFi or Bluetooth can be manipulated by hackers, and we saw the crippling impact of the global WannaCry attack on the NHS. The new year brought reports that the intel and ARM chips found in almost all modern computers were at major risk from vulnerabilities Meltdown and Spectre. The Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Pyeongchang more recently fell victim to a cyber-attack. These stories emphasise the urgent need for companies to regularly update their software and antivirus programmes, in the face of increasingly volatile computer viruses. Ensuring that data is protected properly is vital to business continuity and to its customer relationships.
3. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning and Augmented Reality: these are the digital trends du jour taking the spotlight in the media. The infinite possibilities of intelligent computers and how they might help, or hinder, the human race, has long been a source of fascination. Many of us are aware of what AI could do in the future. A better question might be, what is AI already doing for businesses? Many businesses are using AI to improve their services, whether its chatbots for e-commerce, algorithms that detect terrorist content on Facebook, AI to help police process masses of data, or algorithms which make faster medical diagnoses. AI has become influential in nearly every industry, and as Theresa May’s speech at Davos reiterated, AI is also a tool in the superpowers’ quest for dominance. As the AI fantasy blurs with reality, new concerns for the ethics of AI and how far technology can empathise with humans is topping the headlines.
4. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat
Amidst sexual harassment revelations, GDPR and Facebook’s data breach scandals, social media sites are being compelled to rethink the safety and security of their platforms. Instagram just became the latest social networking site to join Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in the EU’s scheme to combat hateful and offensive speech. A German court ruling in January found Facebook’s privacy settings and data use are not sufficiently clear enough to enable users to make informed decisions. The court ruling seems to have been a precursor for the Cambridge Analytica scandal which subsequently engulfed Facebook, and revealed that almost 90 million users' data had been unknowingly harvested. The emphasis on individual privacy and consent is at the heart of these stories, and without doubt content moderation is set to be the key word for online sites in 2018.
The precarious rise (and some say fall) of cryptocurrencies remains a hot news topic. Questions regarding the stability of Bitcoin’s value, the sustainability of cryptocurrency mining (it is suggested that mining will use more energy than Iceland’s home owners), and the extent to which cryptocurrencies facilitates criminal activity, remain to be answered. Confusion and fears around digital currencies are epitomised by two recent news stories: the announcement that Facebook has now banned adverts for cryptocurrencies, and a statement from the European Central Bank that it will not ban Bitcoin, causing its value to soar once more. These moral and ethical issues serve as a reminder of the fluctuating and unpredictable nature of new digital technology.