This Week In Tech And Telco: The First 3D Printed Village

Welcome back to this week in tech and telco – is Friday the 13th going to be unlucky for you?

Did you know that the superstition was inspired by the Bible? Judas, who betrayed Jesus, is believed to have been the 13th guest to sit down to the Last Supper.

Even in Norse mythology, a dinner party of the gods was ruined by the 13th guest Loki, who I’m sure we’re all familiar with thanks to Marvel comics and films.

And despite ritual social media posts hailing “FriYAY”, Friday has been thought of as the unluckiest day of the week. In the UK, it was once referred to as Hangman's Day because it was when people given the death penalty would be hanged.

But remember that you make your own luck. 🍀

Enough history, anyway, and back news. If you’re in the UK, you probably woke up this morning to the news of Boris Johnson’s “landslide victory” in yesterday’s election. Here’s what it means for businesses.

And here’s the rest:

AWS announces cluster of new product and features

Amazon’s re:Invent conference took place last week, meaning tonnes of Amazon and AWS news for you sink your teeth into.

There’s far too much for us to go through in this blog, including news about:

  • AWS Wavelength
  • AWS Local Zones
  • AWS Outposts Generally Available
  • New AWS Transit Gateway Features

So head over to the re:Invent page for all keynotes and announcements, or watch CTO Werner Vogels’ keynote below.

FFC launches $9 Billion 5G Fund rural America

The US’ Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced a goal of a 5G fund, which would make up to $9 billion available to carriers to introduce 5G mobile wireless in rural America.

This major investment and would be allocated through a reverse auction and would target hard-to-serve areas with sparse populations and/or rugged terrain.

The $9 billion fund would also set aside at least $1 billion specifically for deployments facilitating precision agriculture needs.

United States seen from orbit - tech
More money for rural America. Photographer: NASA | Source: Unsplash

Tech companies becoming unpopular places to work

Tech workplaces are less popular this year on Glassdoor’s annual "best companies to work for", but MarTech platform Hubspot took number one.

Facebook’s ranking fell from No. 7 to No. 23 – the first time since 2015 the company didn't make the top ten. Google, landing at No. 11, dropped three spots, while Apple, at No. 84, dropped 13.

Microsoft, however, rose 13 places to rank No. 21.

While big tech may be dropping places, overall, the number of tech companies on the list rose by two, from 29 to 31.

China wanted the World Bank to fund facial recognition

China tried to get the World Bank to fund facial recognition surveillance – specifically in the northwest region of Xinjiang, where more than one million Uighurs are being held in detention camps.

Chinese recipients of the World Bank’s loan program requested tens of thousands of dollars to buy facial recognition cameras and software, night-vision cameras, and other surveillance technology for use in Xinjiang schools. The funds were not approved.

One World Bank-funded school requested a video management and facial recognition software system that can create a “blacklist face database that can be set and armed” so that “blacklist alarms can be performed when blacklisted individuals pass through” and the resulting images sent directly to Chinese police.

The news highlights how dangerous technology like facial recognition can be, especially in the hands of oppressive regimes. If you’re a start-up or innovator, considering the negative implications of the technology you build is essential.

The world’s first 3D printed village

The world’s first 3D printed village in Tabasco, Mexico, will consist of 50 dwellings with green spaces, parks, amenities, and basic utilities, and here’s a first look at one house.

A family has been shown around their new 3D-printed home, which includes two bedrooms, one bath, a wraparound cement patio, and an awning over the front porch.

Each family selected to live in the village will be one in great need, living below the poverty line. This home is one of two that are currently fully furnished, taking about 24 hours to print.

What other tech news we’re reading:

  • What does NASA think about C? Here’s NASA’s rules on eliminating certain C coding bad practices to help you review or statically analyze code. (Better Programming)
  • China offers a full-stack of internet control options for “autocracy as a service” to other countries, including policies and laws, communications service providers with full internet shutdown options pre-installed, technical standards, satellites, cables, and infrastructure. (One Zero)
  • A genetic dating app that ensures “you never meet the wrong person” has been subject to controversy this week due to its focus on avoiding the birth of people with serious diseases. (MIT)
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