Friday Five: Rise of automation will worsen inequality

1. Increased automation will worsen inequality

Machines will perform half of all work tasks by 2025, according to a World Economic Forum report, rising from the current level of a third. This has serious implications for inequality levels, as robots are likely to displace millions of manual jobs in administration and data processing, affecting the lowest paid workers the most.

2. Everybody needs good Facebook neighbours

Facebook is testing out a new feature called Neighborhoods that helps users connect with others who live near them. As you may have guessed from the spelling, it’s only in the US for now, and lets users display local posts, groups and marketplace items — very similar to Nextdoor, which is massive in the US.

3. Microsoft develops assistive eye-tracking AI

In a breakthrough that could be hugely important for people who use assistive technology, researchers at Microsoft have developed an eye-tracking AI that works on any device. Gaze tracking has the potential to help people living with motor neuron diseases and disorders use computers and communicate with others.

4. NHS tests out drone to carry Covid-19 tests

An NHS drone is being used to carry Covid-19 samples, test kits and protective equipment between hospitals in Essex. The trial aims to establish a network of secure air corridors for drones to navigate via GPS. The drones can carry a maximum weight of 2kg, fly for 60 miles and can withstand harsh weather.

5. A 14-year-old scientist has Covid on the run

Scientists around the world are racing to come up with a cure or a vaccine for Covid-19 (preferably both), but the latest idea to beat it has come from a 14-year-old schoolgirl in Texas. Anika Chebrolu, an aspiring medical researcher and professor, has won the 3M Young Scientist Challenge, netting a $25,000 prize.

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