Futurism:
this week

China's facial recognition tech can ID any citizen within seconds

China is building "the world’s most powerful facial recognition system" with the power to identify any one of its 1.3 billion citizens within three seconds. Apparently, the system will be able to connect to surveillance camera networks, but it is unclear when the system will be operational.

New technology promises 40TB hard drives by 2025

Western Digital recently announced a breakthrough in ultra-high capacity storage called microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR). According to the company, the technology will enable hard drives with 40TB of capacity by 2025 and will offer over four terabits-per-square-inch over time.

Source: Tech Spot

Oxford proposes plan to ban petrol and diesel vehicles from city centre

Petrol and diesel vehicles could be banned from Oxford city centre from 2020 under new proposals. A zero emission zone in the city is being backed by Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council to tackle air pollution, and could be extended to include the whole city by 2035.

Source: BBC

Scientists genetically boost the nutritional value of corn

By inserting a bacterial gene in corn that causes it to produce a key nutrient called methionine, which is normally found in meat, Rutgers scientists have found an efficient way to enhance the nutritional value of the world’s largest commodity crop.

Source: Rutgers Today

Toyota tests a hydrogen fuel cell truck that emits only water vapour

A concept version of Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell truck, which uses compressed hydrogen as its fuel and releases only water vapour as an emission, is running short-haul drayage routes at the Port of Los Angeles as part of a feasibility study.

Source: The Verge

Australian defence programme data stolen in 'extensive' hack

About 30GB of sensitive data, including details about new fighter planes and navy vessels, has been stolen in an "extensive" cyber hack. The Australian government has said that it doesn't know if the data was stolen by another nation.

Source: BBC

Wanted man captured thanks to facial recognition

A Chinese man who was wanted by police for “economic crimes” – which can include anything from tax evasion to the theft of public property – was arrested at a music concert in China after facial recognition technology spotted him inside the venue.

Source: Abacus News

SpaceX president commits to city-to-city rocket travel

SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell has reiterated the company’s plans to make city-to-city travel — on Earth — using a rocket that’s designed for outer space a reality. Shotwell says the tech will be operational “within a decade, for sure.”

Source: Recode

Businessman wins battle with Google over 'right to be forgotten'

A businessman fighting for the "right to be forgotten" has won a UK High Court action against Google.. The businessman served six months’ in prison for “conspiracy to carry out surveillance”, and the judge agreed to an “appropriate delisting order".

Source: Press Gazette

UK launched cyber attack on Islamic State

The UK has conducted a "major offensive cyber campaign" against the Islamic State group, the director of the intelligence agency GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, has revealed. The operation hindered the group's ability to co-ordinate attacks and suppressed its propaganda.

Source: BBC

Goldman Sachs consider whether curing patients is bad for business

Goldman Sachs analysts have attempted to tackle the question of whether pioneering "gene therapy" treatment will be bad for business in the long run. "Is curing patients a sustainable business model?" analysts ask in a report entitled "The Genome Revolution."

Source: CNBC

Four-armed robot performing surgery in the UK

A £1.5m "robotic" surgeon, controlled using a computer console, is being used to shorten the time patients spend recovering after operations. The da Vinci Xi machine is the only one in the country being used for upper gastrointestinal surgery.

Source: BBC

Virgin Galactic rocket planes go past the speed of sound

Virgin Galactic completed its first powered flight in nearly four years when Richard Branson's space company launched its Unity spacecraft, which reached supersonic speeds before safely landing. “We’ve been working towards this moment for a long time,” Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said in an email to Quartz.

Source: Quartz

Google employees protest being in "the business of war"

Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses AI to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes. The letter, which is circulating inside Google, has garnered more than 3,100 signatures

Source: New York Times

Computer system transcribes words users “speak silently”

MIT researchers have developed a computer interface that transcribes words that the user verbalises internally but does not actually speak aloud. The wearable device picks up neuromuscular signals in the jaw and face that are triggered by internal verbalisations — saying words “in your head” — but are undetectable to the human eye.

Source: MIT News

Drones could be used to penalise bad farming

A report by a coalition of environmental campaigners is arguing squadrons of drones should be deployed to locate and penalise farmers who let soil run off their fields. Their report says drones can help to spot bad farming, which is said to cost more than £1.2bn a year by clogging rivers and contributing to floods.

Source: BBC

Californian company unveil space hotel

Orion Span, a California company, has unveiled its Aurora Station, a commercial space station that would house a luxury hotel. The idea is to put the craft in low-earth orbit, about 200 miles up, with a stay at the hotel likely to cost $9.5 million for a 12-day trip, but you can reserve a spot now with an $80,000 deposit.

UK mobile operators pay close to £1.4bn for 5G

An auction of frequencies for the next generation of mobile phone networks has raised £1.36bn, says regulator Ofcom. Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three all won the bandwidth needed for the future 5G mobile internet services, which are not expected to be launched until 2020.

Source: BBC