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Over-hyped AI, data security worries and an e-commerce boom: Tech research round-up

From emerging technologies to consumer confidence and onto remote-working tech, here's the charts that matter from the past month in news.
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1 of 10 Gartner

Interpretable machine learning reaches the peak of inflated expectations

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are helping automate an ever-increasing array of tasks, with ever-increasing accuracy. They are supported by the growing volume of data used to feed them, and the growing sophistication in algorithms. Gartner's newly released 2020 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies suggests explainable AI - meaning interpretable machine learning - is placed at the peak of inflated expectations. In other words, we have reached peak hype for explainable AI.

For more see: Explainable AI: From the peak of inflated expectations to the pitfalls of interpreting machine learning models

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2 of 10 Tractica

AI in the Middle East - a fast-growing sector

Will the Middle East and North Africa become more than simply a consumer of artificial intelligence? Certainly, a number of countries in the region are investing more widely in this area as they seek to shift their economies away from a dependency on petrochemicals. "In absolute terms, the largest gains are expected to accrue to Saudi Arabia where AI is expected to contribute over $135.2bn in 2030 to the economy, equivalent to 12.4% of GDP," PwC says.

For more see: AI in the Middle East: Here's what you need to know

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3 of 10 OpenAI

GPT-3 offers a breakthrough in AI - and it needs a lot of compute power

GPT-3 is a computer program created by the privately held San Francisco startup OpenAI. It is a gigantic neural network. With the arrival of GPT-1, 2, and 3, the scale of computing has become an essential ingredient for progress. The models use more and more computer power when they are being trained to achieve better results. With GPT-3, the number of parameters has swelled to 175 billion, making GPT-3 the biggest neural network the world has ever seen. 

For more see: What is GPT-3? Everything your business needs to know about OpenAI's breakthrough AI language program

Nine in ten Americans view data privacy as a human right according to new report zdnet
4 of 10 KPMG

Nine in ten Americans view data privacy as a human right

Consultant KPMG surveyed 1,000 Americans in May 2020. The research reveals that nine out of ten respondents think that companies should be held responsible for corporate data breaches (91%), take corporate data responsibility seriously (91%), and take the lead in establishing corporate data responsibility (91%). More than four out of five (84%) said that they are open to state legislation giving consumers more control over their data.

For more see: Nine in ten Americans view data privacy as a human right, according to new report

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5 of 10 McKinsey

Online commerce booms during lockdown

Research from McKinsey highlights a shift in consumer behavior due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the research, most spend categories saw more than 10% growth in their online customer base during the pandemic. Many consumers plan to continue to shop online, even when stores open safely. In the US, e-commerce is growing across all categories. The pace of adoption, scale and change is unlike any other time in history - the number of hours and transactions online have massively increased. 

For more see: McKinsey: 75% of Americans have changed brands during the pandemic

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6 of 10 Salesforce

One-third of customers do not trust businesses to do the right thing

How do people feel about business actions during the pandemic? Salesforce research identified huge opportunities for human-to-human engagement. When asked if they expected businesses to do the right thing, one-third of customers said they do not trust businesses. More than one-third don't believe that businesses are doing enough to support employees or their communities. In fact, 36% said that social initiatives by businesses were superficial. And almost half (42%) believe that businesses are taking self-interested actions in these times. 

For more see: When digital transformation fails, focus on the why and how of change, not just technology and transactions

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7 of 10 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

How to optimise your network for remote work and learning

In our new pandemic-driven normal, it's all about the video. Bandwidth is generally measured in megabits per second (Mbps), which is millions of bits per second. Netflix says the absolute minimum bandwidth it needs is 0.5Mbps. That will be for heavily buffered, very low resolution video. By contrast, to watch a movie streamed in glorious 4K, your connection will need 20Mbps. That means your pipe needs to be able to send 20 million bits in one second. And that's an issue while you whole family wants to be online.

For more see: Speed up your home office: How to optimise your network for remote work and learning

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8 of 10 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

Work-from-home tech prices have surged in the pandemic

Back in March, we ran a series of articles that contained 34 recommendations for work-at-home gear. We recently went through all 34 items and published both the March price and the August price. Pricing went up by a total of 17%. If you were to buy everything on all the lists, your cost would balloon from about $8,400 to $10,200. While you're unlikely to buy all the items listed, a nearly $2,000 jump in just over four months isn't inconsiderable.

For more see: It's not your imagination: Work-from-home tech prices have surged in the pandemic

Pandemic back-to-school shoppers plan to spend more on tech zdnet
9 of 10 Finance Buzz

Pandemic back-to-school shoppers plan to spend more on tech

Back-to-school shopping is in full swing - and research by Delray Beach shows that Americans have their eyes set on electronics. The finance website asked 1,000 US respondents in July 2020 about their shopping plans and how this year's budget compares to previous years. The firm found that COVID-19 protective items are top of mind for shoppers. And with at-home learning programmes on the rise, headphones, earbuds and speakers are in demand for 30% of shoppers, and laptops, computers or tablets will be purchased by 29.5% of shoppers.

For more see: Pandemic back-to-school shoppers plan to spend more on tech

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10 of 10 Charles McLellan/ZDNet

TCL 5G smartphone hits the crowded mid-market

Until recently, TCL was best known in the smartphone market for making BlackBerry and Alcatel phones under licence. But the Chinese manufacturer has now struck out under its own brand with the TCL 10 series. We took a look at TCL's first 5G phone, the TCL 10 5G. The PCMark for Android Work 2.0 suite provides a good comparison for both the OnePlus 8 and the TCL 10 5G's Pro stablemate. The two mid-range TCL handsets deliver similar overall results, with the 5G model slightly ahead - but the better-specified OnePlus 8 is well ahead.

For more see: TCL 10 5G review: Excellent specs, build and performance for the price

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