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Unlocking the lockdown, Cookies and pharmaceutical delivery by Drone

The week that was in tech….

Coronavirus continues to dominate the tech world with Ai, Marketing and the startup world are in sharp focus this week. And could drone delivery become a reality in the wake of the pandemic cutting off large sections of society.

Fragile Startup Ecosystem under threat

The outlook for 2020 may look bleak for many industries, yet startups in the month ending 27 April raised £663m in investment, despite the uncertainty that lies ahead. A survey conducted by Beauhurst and Plexal surveyed 30,000 UK Startups between 23 March to 27 April compared to last year, and saw investment up 34% for the same period last year. However,the number of deals were down by 39%, pointing to the fragility of the startup world as we edge closer to a global recession.

The apparent uplift in investments could be as a result of a surge in uptake of “digital” as many industries have adopted new technology to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. However, many analysts suggest that it points to VC’s retreating back into their portfolios to firm up existing investments.

Sectors such as medtech, healthcare and online shopping are amongst those that are seeing an uplift in deal flow and closed funding rounds. The UK’s Future Fund announced last week may also provide a vital lifeline for other startups but the fear is that the eligibility criteria may limit its potential impact, especially for startups in Northern Ireland.

Could AI provide the key to unlock the lockdown

AI may be billed as a threat to many jobs and industries but could it’s deployment be the key to unlocking the lockdown? This week TechRepublic reported how AI is being used to predict future coronavirus hot spots in the US. However, big AI firms like DeepMind, Open AI and Facebook AI have remained fairly subdued during the pandemic despite the potential of the technology.

A US startup has developed AI to analyse workplace CCTV to ensure workers are adhering to social distancing measures. However, like many other social distancing monitoring tools, privacy advocates are still concerned about what happens to this technology when the pandemic passes.

Verena Rieser, a computer science professor at Heriot-Watt University, has suggested that AI isn’t the silver bullet we are all looking for, “It’s kind of indicating how hyped AI was,” said Lawrence, who is now a professor of machine learning at the University of Cambridge. “The maturity of techniques is equivalent to the noughties internet.”

Time to rethink marketing?

The rise of user generated content is on the rise. Companies like Tesco, BT, Virgin and even Microsoft have reverted to UGC as expensive studio shoots are off limits for the foreseeable future.

The death of the cookie is coming with Google announcing it will phase out cookies from it’s Chrome browser. This heralds the dawn of a new era for marketers who will have to rethink their targeting methods with some suggesting greater levels of personalization could help brands stand out from the crowd.

Drone deliveries offer a lifeline for rural communities

Drone delivery has long been lauded as the future of final mile delivery ever since Jeff Bezos announced plans to commercialise the delivery mode as far back as 2010. In Ireland, a drone startup has switched it’s fast-food drone delivery service to provide much needed prescriptions to the rural brown on Moneygall. If successful, the trial could be extended to the UK with the UK Space Agency looking at possible air corridors for drone delivery.

Meanwhile in China, an ingenious system using 5G, AI and suspended cables are delivering goods to rural villages. The system can carry deliveries upto 100kg in a cable car style system with the developers suggesting final mile deliveries will be more reliable than traditional delivery models.

Something for the weekend…

Want to create some funny memes? Checkout IMPLIG’s Ai Meme creator to see how it’s done.

Or why not track Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites which are blinding astronomers around the world.

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