Welcome to Silicon Pulse – your roundup of the latest tech news and developments impacting your business for the week ending 30/06/2023.
Welcome to Silicon UK Pulse
This is your weekly round-up of the top tech news stories.
Every Friday, Silicon UK surveys the week’s tech news.
Stay up-to-date with what’s happening in your industry or sector.
I’m James Marriott with all the big technology news from the last week.
An investigation has been launched after a UK-wide disruption to the 999 emergency call line last weekend.
On Sunday, people reported they couldn’t connect to the service.
Ofcom says it’ll investigate BT over the failure.
In 2017 it fined Three, the mobile operator, £1.9m for a similar issue.
Meanwhile – police are urging Android users to switch off a feature that automatically dials 999.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council said the Emergency SOS feature may be behind a sharp increase in “silent calls” to 999.
And it thinks a recent Android update might be the cause.
The body’s asking people to switch it off in their settings – but some devices don’t allow that.
If a user makes an accidental 999 call, the Council urges them to stay on the line rather than hanging up and to tell the operator no aid is needed.
It’s going to become easier to prosecute people for sharing so-called ‘revenge porn’ in England and Wales.
Amendments to the Online Safety Bill have been tabled.
They’d remove the need for prosecutors to prove someone intended to cause distress to secure a conviction.
Revenge porn was initially criminalised in 2015. Punishments include up to six months in prison.
TikTok’s Chief Operating Officer has quit the company.
Vanessa Pappas is resigning after five years working at the popular short-video platform.
She sent a memo to staff with her reasons, alongside a Twitter post announcing the news.
But Pappas said she will still stay at TikTok in an advisory role.
Her departure, though comes amid growing national security pressure in the US and elsewhere over its ownership by Beijing-based ByteDance.
Facebook’s parent company Meta has launched a new virtual reality subscription service.
It’s called Quest Plus and gives users access to two new VR games each month.
They’ll be picked by Meta – and users can choose whether they add them to their library to keep playing them or not.
It’ll cost $8 a month or $60 a year.
Meta already dominates the VR headset market.
Good news if you’re on EE.
The mobile operator revealed plans to upgrade its network ahead of the summer.
That’ll include temporary 4G and 5G masts at major music festivals, including Latitude, Kendal Calling, Creamfields and the Reading and Leeds Festivals.
EE has been providing extra mobile network capacity at summer events like Glastonbury for several years already.
The first electric Aston Martin supercars are on the way.
The British company’s reached a deal with the US electric vehicle firm Lucid.
It’ll mean “ultra-luxury high-performance electric vehicles” from 2025.
And Aston Martin said that by 2026 all its new models would include an electric version and that its core range would be fully electric by 2030.
A surgical robot has been performing its first operations this week.
It’s been installed at a hospital in Swindon to help with general surgery, urology and gynaecology.
It means operations can be less invasive, and people don’t have to travel as far for important surgery.
According to one of the doctors, the robot ‘looks a bit like an octopus’ – with several arms, it can use to perform intricate tasks.
The Government is being urged to drop the VAT on broadband bills for people on benefits to help them afford to get online.
A report by a Lords committee says people without internet access are at a disadvantage when they’re job hunting.
There are already special discounted broadband deals for people on low incomes.
It’s thought 1.7 million households in the UK don’t have the internet.
We might be able to ‘virtually’ taste a takeaway through our smartphones in the future, before we decide whether to order.
A report this week predicted some future tech trends.
Another possibility is hyper-personalised diets to cater to our individual nutritional needs within the next 20 years.
And how about using AI to trick us into thinking vegetables are chocolate?
It also predicts edible beauty products – like anti-ageing ice cream.
It’s the tech celebrity mega fight we didn’t know we needed until this week…
Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg… cage fighting.
Could it be happening?
It all kicked this week after Twitter owner Elon Musk tweeted he was ‘up for a cage match’ with Meta boss Zuckerberg… who soon afterwards accepted the challenge.
Whether they will REALLY get in the cage is probably doubtful.
It all stems from the news that Meta is working on a new Twitter rival platform.