The Week in Tech: The buzz of drones

Commercial drones are the fastest-growing part of the market

110,000 drones were sold for commercial use last year, according to Gartner. Goldman Sachs say that drones are becoming “powerful business tools” and that this emerging market is helping to prove that they can be more than just “cheap toys or expensive weapons”. £100bn is predicted to be spent on drones between 2016 and 2020!

Google hopes to prevent robot uprising with new AI training techniques

Our saviours from a potential Terminator style robot apocalypse could be Google, as the firm hopes to encourage machines to work in certain ways. Using a technique called ‘reinforced learning’, Al researchers challenge software to complete tasks and reward it for doing so, just like when training a pet. Google’s DeepMind division, along with the research group Open AI, will ensure that human feedback can be used to guarantee machine-learning systems find solutions to issues the way researchers plan, without being a threat to the safety of humanity.

B2B applications of AI in marketing: two use cases that matter

AI Marketing is shaving hours off B2B marketing by tackling resource heavy functions. MarTech Today looks at two places to start when implementing AI: boosting lead generation and analysing sales calls. By automating the research behind lead data, sales teams can recover time they would have spent on manual searching. Leaving them to focus on closing deals. Analysis of sales calls through AI allows the tracking, studying and improving of sales calls through recording, transcribing and investigating calls en-masse. What the technology learns can be used to help sales teams develop deeper customer insights and improve on how they work.

This battery-free mobile phone is powered by radio waves

Scientists at the University of Washington have developed a low-power, battery-free mobile phone prototype. This significant technological breakthrough could have substantial implications. Researchers are insistent that the phone “is a major leap in the capability of battery-free devices and a step towards a fully functional battery-free cell phone”. The phone is currently unable to work more than a few metres away from the base station, but the use of licensed network frequencies could increase the range.

The robot revolution blurs the line between man and machine

Humanoid bots are a growing technological innovation, with bots already being deployed as guards, teachers and nursing assistants. And bots such as Sophia capable of lifelike facial expressions and responses to human questions. However, despite the practical uses, humanoid bots raise many philosophical and ethical questions. Are robots a “pathway of communication” that need to be moral and human like, or are they digital slaves that should not be caught up in “cutesy human stuff”?