News That Matters

Technology

Workers banned from using USB sticks at IBM

Workers banned from using USB sticks at IBM

Technology
Staff at IBM have been banned from using removable memory devices such as USB sticks, SD cards and flash drives.The possibility of "financial and reputational" damage if staff lost or misused the devices prompted the decision, reported The Register.Instead, IBM staff who need to move data around will be encouraged to do so via an internal network.The decree banning removable storage acknowledges that complying with it could be "disruptive".Losing dataIBM staff were told about the policy in an advisory from Shamla Naidoo, the company's global chief security officer.Some IBM departments had been banned from using removable portable media for some time, said Ms Naidoo, but now the decree was being implemented worldwide. IBM staff ar...
Medics to assess 999 calls by video before ambulance sent

Medics to assess 999 calls by video before ambulance sent

Technology
New technology is allowing emergency services to see patients via a smartphone camera before paramedics are able to arrive at the scene.The feature works by sending a text message to 999 callers which gives doctors access to their phone camera in order to assess a patient and better deploy the appropriate resources.The service requires no app to be downloaded, and a live picture and map location is transmitted in just seconds.It is part of the GoodSam platform, which already links up nearby first responders to 999 call outs.Image:The technology is being used by Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air AmbulanceThe technology is being used by the Great North and the Kent, Surrey and Sussex air ambulances, with other services in talks to use the facility.It is hoped the system will cut down on the deploy...
Global warming 'led to the start of the human race'

Global warming 'led to the start of the human race'

Technology
Global warming during a "greenhouse interval" ultimately led to the start of the human race, scientists believe.New research suggests that sea temperatures of around 25C (77F) and a lack of permanent polar ice sheets fuelled an explosion of species diversity that eventually led to the human race.Scientists made the discovery while looking for clues in tiny fossil shells in blocks of Shropshire limestone thought to be around 510 million years old.The timeframe is referred to as the Cambrian explosion, when representatives of all the major animal groups first appeared.The surge in diversity allowed life to evolve into a multitude of complex forms, including fish, reptiles, birds and mammals.Scientists previously thought the Cambrian explosion must have been fuelled by warm temperatures, but ...
Google Assistant to make phone calls for owners

Google Assistant to make phone calls for owners

Technology
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceGoogle has unveiled artificial intelligence software that books appointments over the phone on behalf of users by conducting voice-based conversations on their behalf.Chief executive Sundar Pichai said that Google Duplex would launch as an "experiment" over the coming weeks.The facility was unveiled at the firm's annual IO developers conference.Experts have said that if it works it could give the firm a major advantage over rival virtual assistants.Pre-recorded demonstrations played back to the audience featured the software first booking a haircut and then making a restaurant reservation by speaking to two human employees.One of the cases involved Google Assistant coping with a worker who seemed confused by straightforward questions. The compute...
Google News to use AI in personalisation revamp

Google News to use AI in personalisation revamp

Technology
Google News is being reworked to function as a personalised news aggregator amid ongoing concerns about its effects on journalism.The changes were announced in a blog post published on Tuesday as the company opens its annual Google I/O developer festival.It will tailor the news that people see to their preferences, despite fears of such technologies creating a "filter bubble" where users only see stories that conform to their views.For news stories that users want a deeper insight into, a "Full Coverage" feature will provide a range of headlines from different sources, as well as videos, local reports, FAQs, social commentary and a timeline if the stories are ongoing.While the regular news feature will be increasingly tailored, Full Coverage is designed to be the same for everyone."It's an...