Weekend Takeaway: 10 stories to keep you at pace with the fast-moving sci-tech world

23 Nov 2018

Image: © Iuliia Sokolovska/Stock.adobe.com

Another week of sci-tech stories has whizzed by. Here’s what you may have missed.

What can we expect as the 5G revolution begins in Ireland?

Woman with blonde hair stands before a holographic screen communicating to a man on the screen.

From left: Vodafone Ireland interim CTO Max Gasparroni in Germany connecting via a 5G holographic call with Vodafone Ireland CEO Anne O’Leary in Dublin. Image: Naoise Culhane

If our editor John Kennedy told you that the revolution in fifth-generation (5G) mobile technology began in Ireland on a day so rainy at Silicon Docks that even the ducks and swans took cover, would you believe him? Check out the full story of how Vodafone’s first standardised 5G site launched this week with a holographic phone call and see for yourself.

Brexit is boosting the Irish jobs market

Two torn pieces of paper, one showing the UK flag, the other showing the EU flag on a wooden table, representing Brexit.

Image: © nito/Stock.adobe.com

News this week (and for the foreseeable future) was understandably Brexit-obsessed. As well as dominating the media (and discussion at the Deloitte and Enterprise Ireland CEO Forum), Brexit is impacting the Irish jobs market according to the latest Morgan McKinley Employment Monitor. Our Careers editor Jenny Darmody checked the figures.

Six of Ireland’s leaders in AI revealed at major awards showcase

AI Award winners holding one of the trophies against a black and green striped background.

From left: Cathriona Hallahan, Brian Murphy, Oksana Semenova, Mark Kelly and Andriy Temko. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

If you were seeking to know who’s at the forefront of artificial intelligence (AI) in Ireland, the inaugural AI Awards provided some answers. Organised by the not-for-profit group AI Ireland, these awards highlighted the impressive work going on in the country when it comes to AI, machine learning and data science.

SFI releases data on gender balance in funding after hard questions raised

A see-saw balanced equally with one large white ceramic piggy bank on one end and four smaller piggy banks on the other.

Image: © pogonici/Stock.adobe.com

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) also delivered answers this week on questions related to the gender breakdown of its funding. The SFI report concludes that there’s no issue in funding success rates between men and women, but the agency acknowledged that there is still significant work to be done in achieving gender parity in Irish science.

‘Any conference about blockchain is 95pc white, male Silicon Valley types’

Aid:Tech co-founder Niall Dennehy speaking on stage in a blue blazer and white shirt.

Niall Dennehy, co-founder and COO of Aid:Tech, speaking in 2018. Image: Katie O’Neill/TEDx Trinity College Dublin/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Getting back to the business of emerging technology innovators, Colm Gorey spoke to upcoming Inspirefest speaker Niall Dennehy about building an Irish blockchain start-up with major global ambition in a sector filled with hype and theory.

You’re going to work in blockchain whether you want to or not

A sharply dressed brown-haired man in a navy suit jacket raising his hand while speaking, looking off into the distance.

David Wachsman. Image: Wachsman

Speaking of blockchain, are you planning to work with this technology? Eva Short spoke to Wachsman founder, CEO and namesake David Wachsman about this being an inevitability.

How one company is developing ‘Google for predictive analytics’

Yaniv Altshuler, smiling wearing glasses and a black suit jacket with a grey shirt.

Endor CEO and co-founder Dr Yaniv Altshuler. Image: Wachsman

Meanwhile, Ellen Tannam spoke to Dr Yaniv Altshuler, co-founder of MIT spin-out Endor. Altshuler is also CEO of the company, which uses AI based on the principles of social physics to provide swift and automated predictions on complex human behaviour.

Are loot boxes gambling? Regulators tool up for new game industry battleground

A slim hinged box opened wide to reveal five dice set in purple velvet casing.

Image: © Chodyra Mike/Stock.adobe.com

Exploring another new world of tech and regulation, we got expert insight from the legal team at William Fry on how lawmakers around the world are handling loot boxes and in-game purchases, a lucrative new revenue stream for the gaming industry with some questionable characteristics.

What are the fastest-growing freelancer skills right now?

Beautiful young woman working on laptop and smiling while sitting inside looking at the top freelancer skills.

Image: © bnenin/Stock.adobe.com

Yes, it’s a fast-paced, ever-changing world of sci-tech out there and, for tech freelancers, there has been a dramatic change in what can be considered the hottest skills they need on their CV. Thankfully, Darmody is on the case.

Here is how to watch the InSight Mars landing live

Engineers in white jumpsuits working on the InSight lander with solar arrays open.

The solar arrays on NASA’s InSight lander are deployed in this test inside a clean room at Lockheed Martin Space Systems. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin

Last but not least, get ready to watch a Mars lander go where no Mars lander has gone before on Monday 26 November with this handy guide.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.