CRN rounds up some of the quirky news that might have passed you by last week.
1. AI wins the debate
In a story that could be used as fodder for the 'artificial intelligence is going to take over the world' mindset, the BBC reported that IBM's Project Debater spoke, listened and rebutted its human opponent in a debate - and won.
Drawing from a library of hundreds of millions of documents, the machine used this data to form its responses on a topic that neither it nor its human opponent were prepared for beforehand. The gathered audience agreed that the machine had a stronger argument and voted it as the winner of the debate.
2. Cisco snaps up public data-gathering start-up
The vendor announced plans to acquire July Systems, a California-based start-up that uses WiFi to track mobile devices through public spaces, such as stadiums and airports. The vendor, which is already a partner of July Systems, plans to expand this reach to include government buildings and hospitals.
The purchase price and terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the acquisition is expected to be finalised in the first quarter of 2019. July Systems was last valued at $45m (£34m) in 2012, according to Business Insider UK.
3. BT slapped with fine for spam emails
The telecoms giant was fined £77,000 for sending five million nuisance emails to customers without their consent. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) found that the company did not have customers' permission for the direct marketing, which was therefore illegal. The emails were sent to promote three charities: Giving Tuesday, Stand Up to Cancer, and BT My Donate. The investigation was prompted by a complaint from just one member of the public.
4. Australian court takes a bite out of Apple
Apple was fined $6.6m AUSD (£3.6m) by an Australian court for refusing to fix devices that had been serviced by third parties. The tech behemoth admitted that it misled 275 people about their rights to replacements and repairs, which the Federal Court of Australia found breached consumer law. In some cases, a cracked screen repaired by a third party was enough for Apple to refuse a remedy.
5. Dog day for technology
Images of dogs on social media are nothing new, but now they themselves can promote their favourite brands by using FetchCoins.
Using a pendant that combines blockchain, Bluetooth and AI, pet owners can use their pooch to promote their favourite brands and earn rewards by tagging certain retailers. The product also allows an owner to record their pet's identity and medical records on blockchain, input their pet's personality to allow AI comments reflect its personality and monitor their pup's health and physical activity.
If conversing with Fido or Kitty is up your alley, FetchCoins are offering the first 50,000 pendants free.
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SMART's UK managing director joins Lenovo to boost SMB business