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Huawei’s new tech can detect COVID-19 in just seconds

Distributed to designated hospitals for free

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Since its birth, the new coronavirus has baffled the world. How do we test for it? How do we cure it? How do we vaccinate against it? As with all new diseases, no one knows yet. And it might take a while before anyone can accurately solve the pandemic problem.

At the very least, scientists are working on solutions for all three problems, especially testing. From an arduous hours-long testing time, new testing techniques have reduced this to just a few minutes. Joining this effort, Huawei has developed a solution to be distributed for free in certain hospitals.

Currently, hospitals use CT scans as one method of coronavirus identification. The method images the patient’s respiratory system to identify certain landmarks of the disease. Unfortunately, CT scans are still imperfect and tedious.

Huawei has developed an AI-assisted version of the CT scan, churning out more accurate results in less time and less manpower. Called the Huawei Cloud, the AI technology can automatically scan for lesions without needing as much legwork and in only a matter of seconds. Further, it can scan images multiple times to increase diagnosis efficiency. According to Huawei, Huawei Cloud uses Ascend AI chips to accomplish this task. The company is releasing the technology freely to designated hospitals.

The new method is designed to combat the shortage of qualified doctors. With the world’s healthcare system stretched thin, we are all in dire need for assistance in one form or another.

SEE ALSO: How to disinfect your tech from the coronavirus


As general rules, the CDC or The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed these to help with preventing the spread of COVID-19:

  • Stay home when sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces

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Enterprise

Philippines wants to tax Netflix, Spotify to increase coronavirus relief funds

Might add 12 percent to current prices

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After two months of community lockdowns, the Philippines’s response to the pandemic remains controversial at best. At the time of publishing, the country has 14,035 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 868 deaths.

Recently, Congressman Joey Salceda, currently chairing the Committee on Ways and Means, has proposed a new tax aimed against the country’s biggest social media and entertainment platforms: Facebook, Google, Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify.

Currently, the globally recognized companies are not taxed for putting up ads for goods on online marketplaces in the Philippines. Meanwhile, other entities still pay the 12 percent value-added tax.

As reported by Reuters, the proposed tax will siphon more funds into the country’s pandemic response, including a “national broadband project and digital learning [programs].” However, the bill’s provisions are not available to the public yet.

According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the tax is against both currently untaxed advertising and services. For merchants selling goods and advertising online, “only 50 percent… pay VAT.” Further, Salceda proposes that digital advertising, especially those done by foreign companies, must course through an official country representative.

For services, Salceda suggest an additional 12-percent tax on entertainment subscriptions. However, a big question lies on who will ultimately carry the blow of the new tax. Is it the company itself or the consumers through higher subscription fees? Right now, Netflix and Spotify subscriptions are slightly lower than their American counterparts. Netflix Philippines has declined to comment.

However, as a bill is still just a bill, no one knows if and when the new tax will push through.

SEE ALSO: Netflix is raising $1 billion to create more original content

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UK changes mind, starts phasing out Huawei from country

Will eliminate Huawei by 2023

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For years, the Huawei saga has always hinged on America’s antagonism towards Huawei’s supposedly pro-China stance on technology. The headlines have all proclaimed the American government’s banning of the Chinese company’s hardware. However, on the other side of the Atlantic, the UK has traditionally adopted for a more open stance, allowing Huawei to build the country’s 5G technology.

However, in a surprise move, UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly phasing Huawei’s hardware out of his country’s 5G networks soon. As reported by The Telegraph, the country’s Conservative Party has started voicing their dissent over Huawei’s potential as a national security risk. The UK will hopefully eliminate the company from its telecom networks by 2023.

Prior to the move, the UK has allowed Huawei to build 5G infrastructure on British soil, citing the need for the best available technology for 5G to happen. Of course, despite the initial agreement, the country still prioritized national security, practicing vigilance amidst the adoption. Even then, Huawei has always enjoyed the UK as a stalwart for consumer support in the European region.

Notably, Johnson’s turnaround decision comes soon after US President Donald Trump’s extension of Huawei’s ban on American soil. The US has started becoming more hostile towards the Chinese company, potentially targeting Huawei’s HiSilicon chip production.

SEE ALSO: US wants to work with Huawei for 5G tech

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Apple and Google release contact tracing software all over the world

Here’s how it works

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Last month, Apple and Google announced a monumental partnership to mutually develop contact tracing software critical to today’s pandemic. When released, the APIs will aid public health officials to detect the potential spread of the virus and to contain it before getting out of control.

Recently, both companies have finally released the first phase of their software. The APIs will begin shipping to 22 countries on five continents who requested access to the software.

Because of the naturally controversial issue of privacy, Apple and Google have also released joint statements explaining the technology to concerned individuals. First of all, the technology is completely opt-in. By default, it is turned off; users have to enable the technology manually. Further, during this first stage, consenting users must download their location’s public health app, as suggested by officials.

How it works

Once the technology is enabled, the consenting device will generate unique and random Bluetooth identifiers which change every 10 to 20 minutes, ensuring true privacy. If a user tests positive for the virus and logs it onto their region’s health app, the system will alert the devices belonging to individuals that the infected users came into contact with. Potentially infected users will then receive alerts and instructions on how to proceed next.

The contact tracing system will collect information at least once a day, ensuring up-to-date schematics of the virus’ transmission across a location. Only public health authorities will have access to the information collected. Further, Apple and Google promise to deactivate the technology once the public health crisis is over, much like Lucius Fox in The Dark Knight.

In the coming months, Apple and Google will release the second phase of the technology. By then, the software will operate through the device’s operating system, doing away with a separate app once consent is provided.

Helping the world

After the API’s delivery, the system is now a region-wide prisoner’s dilemma. Interested individuals have to rely on other people consenting to the technology as well. Whether or not the general populace will consent to the technology remains to be seen. Regardless, Apple and Google have created revolutionary technology to aid in the public health crisis.

“Today, this technology is in the hands of public health agencies across the world who will take the lead and we will continue to support their efforts,” Apple and Google said.

SEE ALSO: Google blocks 18 million phishing emails related to Coronavirus

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