Zone’s Matt Blackwell handpicks and shares the five best stories on new digital trends, experiences and technologies…
1. A questionable approach to love
Have you ever wished your dating life was more like a quiz show? Of course you haven’t, but that hasn’t stopped one company raising $4m in funding to create an app that plays out like the love child of HQ Trivia and Tinder.
Quiz Date Live sees would-be suitors compete for the affections of a single lady over a series of rounds, before having to ‘impress’ her in a live stream. Shows like Take Me Out, First Dates and Love Island have been huge over the years, but they have the benefit of stringent contestant checks. I can’t help but worry that opening the whole thing up to Joe Public might court some slightly unsavoury characters.
2. The power of AI in the palm of your hand
As far as buzz terms go, AI is pretty hot right now. Machine learning algorithms enable everything from facial recognition to natural language processing, although they suck up a fair bit of power in the process. That’s where Xnor steps in, with a tiny piece of solar-powered hardware that can perform advanced tasks in real time.
It isn’t a product in itself, but it could act as an enabler to getting the full power of AI on to your phone and other smart devices. But as any Spider-Man fan will tell you, with great power comes great responsibility and even the likes of Microsoft and Google have recently flagged the potential flaws of AI.
3. Influencers should do their crypto homework
While the embers of the Fyre fiasco still smoulder, social media influencers have drawn more heat, this time for their backing of cryptocurrencies. Endorsements have been the bread and butter of advertising for years, but with celebs and bloggers commanding more influence than ever, this article argues that they should have a better grasp of the product before persuading people to part ways with their cash.
Both DJ Khaled and Floyd Mayweather were slapped with sanctions for unlawfully promoting cryptocurrencies in 2018, but that hasn’t stopped everyone from Paris Hilton to Mike Tyson jumping on the bandwagon. Flogging a fad diet plan is one thing; urging people to squander their savings is another thing entirely.
4. Consumers get smart about wearables
I’m not massively sold on smart watches as a concept, but it seems like I could be alone on that front, as a recent report has revealed that sales in the US skyrocketed by more than 60% last year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Apple, Samsung and Fitbit are the big hitters, accounting for a mammoth 88% of the market between them.
The successful implementation of LTE (Long-Term Evolution) connections, freeing watches from a reliance on smartphones and thus increasing the amount of stuff they can do, is seen as one of the reasons behind their rise in popularity, as well as drops in price. This is good news for the wearables market as it shows people are becoming more comfortable with the concept. Maybe I should reassess my outlook.
5. Drawing up the map to better health
Runners rejoice! No longer will you have to tread the same old streets around your home, thanks to an ingenious new feature from Strava that creates routes for running or cycling at the whimsical swipe of a finger.
When Strava last hit the headlines the reasons were less than ideal, but this time around its considerable bank of geotagged data is being used for good, allowing athletes to discover new circuits simply by tracing their finger on a map. The frictionless experience is what really catches my eye, and as a frequent user of Strava, I have everything crossed that this beta feature is here to stay.