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The week’s AI focus switched to Facebook, as they announced plans for a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) program called ‘Talk the Walk’, which will be able to give walking directions without actually knowing your location. In a ploy which may well threaten the likes of Google Maps the program will have access to a map and know the destination, but would not be able to tell where the tourist is. While still in its infancy, tests are being carried out using small maps of New York City neighbourhoods (each a couple of blocks wide), 360-degree photos of the same locations, and sample dialogues of humans guiding one another around these neighbourhoods.

This week PWC published a new study stating that AI could soon become the largest contributor to the global economy with a potential contribution of $15.7tr by 2030. AI proponents believe it is already proving beneficial to various industries growth and productivity. With Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Home, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana all using AI-based algorithms to “make life better” could there be a valid argument that AI technology is ready to play a prominent role in our future? Read more here –

News in Brief:

Around Whitehall:

Following a string of resignations caused by disagreements over the direction of Brexit, Matt Hancock former Culture Secretary has been appointed Health Secretary. As part of the reshuffle Jeremy Wright will assume the position of Culture secretary following four years as attorney general, legal adviser to the government.

The initial reaction to the appointment has been met with some hostility as opponents were quick to mock his non-existing digital footprint, with shadow culture secretary Tom Watson highlighting his lack of presence on Twitter.

Theresa May was forced into a cabinet reshuffle following the departures of senior cabinet members Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary and David Davis, Brexit Secretary, which led to the appointments. Davis resigned late on Sunday evening, and was joined by Brexit Minister, Steve Baker. Davis stated that his resignation was over his belief that the position ‘gave too much away’. Dominic Raab – a Leaver – was appointed to replace Davis, however this move was followed by the resignation of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who warned that the Brexit “dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt”. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt replaced Mr Johnson at the FCO.

New Culture Secretary Wright will need to get up to speed quickly with matters currently in the DCMS in-tray, including the acquisition of Sky by Fox, Channel 4’s move to the regions, and an independent review into the future of high-quality journalism as well as building the UK Tech City programme.

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