Competition, Preparation and Computation


UK government calls for big tech to face greater competition

Technology market leaders like Facebook and Google have been accused in a recent report by the UK government of ‘bullying tactics’, and of limiting the amount of fair and open competition possible in the tech market.

In particular, the report commands tech giants to relax their grip on consumer data in order to allow consumers to have more choice when it comes to services and platforms. Social media companies are privy to vast quantities of information about users that smaller companies at present simply don’t have access to, and this has given these companies what many believe to be an unfair advantage in the technology space.

Although the report did not explicitly call for big tech companies to be broken up – an idea that has been floated elsewhere in the past – it does make a strong case for more effective regulation of these companies, as well as forcing big companies to share user data with their competitors, a move which would certainly drive up competition and make a major dent in the monopolistic state in which the tech industry currently finds itself.

UK financial markets prepare for Brexit

With a no-deal Brexit seemingly out of the question as of Wednesday, UK financial firms are looking at still more uncertainty as the original Brexit deadline looms.

According to Reuters, more than 275 firms are moving £925 billion in assets and funds – not to mention their staff – from Britain to the EU as part of their Brexit preparations. Dublin, Luxembourg, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam are so far the leading destinations for banks, asset managers and trading platforms/brokers looking to mitigate the costly effects of Brexit.

Although these relocations are intended to save huge sums of money in the long run by preparing companies for Brexit, the immediate cost of carrying them out is estimated to be somewhere in the region of £3-4 billion, which customers and shareholders will have to make up.

Data Science surpasses Big Data as a search term

According to an article by Forbes, as of January this year ‘data science’ has surpassed ‘big data’ in terms of total search volume on Google. This would indicate that rather than focusing on companies hoarding vast sums of data, people are now becoming increasingly interested in the processes behind how that data is used and how it is made sense of.

However, the article also showed a renewed increase in the number of searches for ‘artificial intelligence’, and a comparative reduction in the number of searches for ‘deep learning’. While this is a positive for AI professionals, Forbes also points out that this may be a sign that people are forgetting the mathematical realities of what we call AI, and instead getting carried away with thoughts of new forms of artificial ‘consciousness’ – something which is still largely rooted in fantasy.

Saragossa’s Jason Howlin commented ‘although Artificial Intelligence as a field is definitely something to be excited about, it can also be a term that’s banded around too much and used to refer to the wrong things. Working in AI isn’t just about designing robots or creating new forms of life, but rather about using new and interesting forms of technology – whether mathematical, statistical and/or computational – to solve problems, no matter how complex they are’.

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