Blog | Weekly round-up

What we're reading: quantum supremacy, 5G in the America's Cup & more


This week started with some exciting local news: Emma Naji has been appointed the new Executive Director of the AI Forum, and Spark is going to trial a 5G service on the water for Emirates Team New Zealand. Dan Bernasconi, Head of Design for the team, says “the America’s Cup is as much a technology race as a yacht race… in order to win the Cup we need to win the innovation race.” 

Here are some more stories that have been keeping Team Qrious talking this week:
  • Closer to home, Qrious is officially ISO27001 certified, the international gold standard for Information Security Management Systems (ISMS). Our Technology Director, Stephen Ponsford says, that although Qrious has always prided itself on industry-leading security management systems, this certification provides “independent, audited third-party validation and gives us the global stamp of approval.” 

  • At the end of October, Google announced it has achieved quantum supremacy, saying that their device did a calculation in 3 minutes and 20 seconds that a normal supercomputer could not complete in 10,000 years. Why is this a big deal? Over on Recode’s Reset podcast, Kevin Hartnett says this is huge because, “If we build a working quantum computer, it demonstrates that we have achieved a kind of physical mastery over matter in the universe. At the most fundamental level, we are controlling it. We’re manipulating it to our own ends and we’re performing calculations with it and we’re performing calculations with it. That’s kind of stunning. And the fact that engineers are now actually pulling this off is kind of amazing.”  

  • Some light AI news: the MIT Technology Review reports that machine learning might be able to help us understand why some songs just make us feel so good. Researchers from the University of Southern California say that as well as several AI for good applications like, helping patients with mental health and challenges stimulate specific parts of their brain, this could also be used to generate excellent playlists, and help create “evocative movie soundtracks.”

  • Over in marketing land, the Drum has released their list of the top 100 digital marketers in the world (no kiwis this year), Stoppress asks if digital humans like Lil Miquela are the next influencers, and Thorin Klosowski of the New York Times opines that “curation by algorithm hasn’t lived up to expectations”.

Why? Klosowski thinks personalised recommendations we are served by platforms like Spotify and Netflix are ultimately failing to push any boundaries – and trusting discovery to algorithms can often go hilariously and annoyingly off the rails: “If you go too off course and listen to a jazz playlist followed by some metal, the whole thing breaks down and you’re served up a nonsensical playlist for a week.” Let's face it: we've all been there. 

And on that note, we’re going to hit play on the Qrious Spotify playlist

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