Neuralink Announces Plans for Clinical Trials of Brain Chip Implants in Humans
Neuralink, a company founded by Elon Musk, is planning to conduct clinical trials of its brain chip implants in humans within the next six months, pending approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. The brain-computer interface technology, called a BCI, will be inserted into a section of the skull that will be surgically removed from the patient. According to Musk, the implants have the potential to allow people with disabilities to regain mobility and communication abilities, and may even restore vision.
Airbus and Renault Partner to Develop Next-Generation Electric Batteries for Planes and Cars
Airbus, the European planemaker, has announced that it is partnering with Renault, a French carmaker, to create a new generation of electric batteries for both planes and cars. The collaboration will focus on overcoming the main roadblock to the development of long-range electric vehicles, which is improving energy storage technologies. Renault has said that this partnership will be complementary to the company’s alliance with Nissan, as both firms are currently in talks about their electric vehicle plans for the future. The partnership will also aim to optimize energy management and reduce battery weight, as well as assess the full life cycle and carbon footprint of future batteries.
Tesla Delivers First Production Model of Electric Tractor Trailer to Pepsi
At an event held at the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada, the company delivered its first production model of the Tesla Semi, an electric tractor trailer. The vehicle was delivered to Pepsi, which has placed an order for 100 of these vehicles. The Tesla Semi was first introduced by CEO Elon Musk in 2017 and is expected to be 20% more efficient than traditional diesel cabs.
Rokt Valuation Reaches $2.4 Billion Ahead of Planned IPO
Tech startup Rokt recently raised its valuation to $2.4 billion during a funding round led by Square Peg and Wellington Management, and announced plans for an initial public offering (IPO). The demand for marketing software companies like Rokt has increased due to the growth in e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rokt uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze online shoppers and their interactions with products and services. In December of last year, the company was valued at $1.95 billion after a Series E funding round led by Tiger Global, which also included participation from Wellington Management, Whale Rock Capital Management, Pavilion Capital, and Square Peg. Rokt, which was founded in Australia in 2012 and later expanded to 19 countries, counts GoDaddy, Expedia, and Wells Fargo among its customers. The company plans to open a second North American product development center on the West Coast in 2023.
Tech Giants Selected as Cloud Service Providers for US Department of Defense Project
The US Department of Defense (DOD) has chosen Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle as its new cloud service providers for the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC) project. This follows the cancellation of the DOD’s previous IT modernization project, the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), which was intended to connect the department’s different divisions using a single cloud service provider. Microsoft had been awarded the $10 billion JEDI contract in 2019, but the award was challenged by Amazon in court, alleging “clear deficiencies, errors and unmistakable bias” in the evaluation process. The JWCC project, which has a shared budget ceiling of $9 billion and will run until 2028, will provide the DOD with access to centralized management, global accessibility, advanced data analytics, and fortified security, among other capabilities.
EU Sets December 2024 Deadline for Universal Charging Cable Adoption by Phone Manufacturers
The European Union (EU) has set a deadline of December 28, 2024 for phone manufacturers to adopt a common charging cable for portable electronic devices. The EU had previously agreed that these devices must use a USB Type-C charger by Autumn 2024, but the law has now entered the EU’s Official Journal and includes an exact date for the requirement. This means that companies like Apple, whose iPhones use a proprietary charger, will not be able to sell new devices in the EU after this date unless they use a universal cable. The new rule will cover a range of small and medium-sized portable electronics, such as phones, tablets, headphones, and handheld game consoles. The EU’s deadline has also created a potential Brexit tension point, as the EU regulation may also apply to Northern Ireland.
Apple to Allow Alternative App Stores on iPhones and iPads to Comply with EU Regulations
Apple is reportedly preparing to allow alternative app stores on its iPhones and iPads in order to comply with EU regulations that are set to go into effect in 2024. These changes will allow users to download third-party software onto their iPhones and iPads without using Apple’s App Store, bypassing the company’s restrictions and the up-to-30% commission it charges for payments. This move is being made in response to stricter EU requirements.
Collaboration for Improved Browser Benchmarking: Google, Apple, and Mozilla Unveil Speedometer 3
Google, Apple, and Mozilla are collaborating on a new browser benchmark called Speedometer 3. The tool will be a “cross-industry collaborative effort” developed by the makers of Chrome, Safari, and Firefox in order to create a model that balances the companies’ different visions for measuring browser responsiveness. The benchmark will be governed by a consent system that allows for different levels of approval based on the potential impact of changes. The project is still in its early stages and is currently unstable, with the groups recommending the use of Speedometer 2.1 until development is further along. It is unclear when Speedometer 3 will be ready.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai announces record traffic on World Cup final day
Google Search experienced its highest traffic ever on the day of the FIFA World Cup final, according to a tweet from Google CEO Sundar Pichai. The final, which is likely to be the most watched in history, was aided by Google’s updated Search features that made it easier for users to keep track of the action. Google Search also benefited from the exciting and dramatic match, which featured a late comeback by France and a nail-biting shootout.
TikTok Proposes Increased Independence and Scrutiny to Keep ByteDance Ownership
TikTok is reportedly offering to run more of its business independently and subject it to outside scrutiny, in an effort to persuade the US government to allow it to remain under the ownership of Chinese technology firm ByteDance. According to sources familiar with the matter, the social media app has expanded the role of Database in reviewing its code, and has proposed forming a “proxy” board to operate the US Data Security division independently of ByteDance. However, some officials in the US Department of Defense, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency remain opposed to a security deal.