2017 has been a very eventful for the tech news industry. From internet neutrality to bitcoin, to Apple’s iPhone X and other notable stories, the year did year did not fail to amaze and anger people around the world. In this article, we will take a look at the most notable stories of the year.
Sophia, the First Citizen Robot
It’s would difficult to start this retrospective by anything other than the story of the first robot to obtain a nationality. Especially when it is a woman and the country that grants it this privilege is often blamed for its lack of respect for human rights. Sophia, the humanoid robot developed by the company Hanson Robotics, based in Hong Kong, received last October the Saudi nationality. The latter, who can recognize faces and mimic 62 human expressions, said she was “very honored to receive this unique distinction”. The news was not well received within the circles of women rights advocates. “To have rights in Saudi Arabia when you are female, it is better to be a robot,” commented a women rights activist.
Bitcoin was released to the market in 2009, but the cryptocurrency had to wait until 2017 to achieve widespread success. Created by a group of anonymous developers, Bitcoin saw its value rise from a few cents in its early days to nearly $ 20,000 eight years later, thanks to the growing interest of investors and the general public for cryptocurrencies. The new found success, however, does not come without hiccups. A few days ago, the NiceHash platform, was hacked and robbed for $ 60 million worth of bitcoins. There is also the question of regulation and the massive energy consumption required to mine the currency.
Uber and Former CEO Travis Kalanick
2017 was definitely a very hard year for Uber. The company lost its CEO Travis Kalanick, who resign from his post, pushed to the exit by some investors of the company. But recently, in a letter released to the public, a former Uber employee in charge of corporate security pointed to spying and hacking practices by the firm in recent years to obtain information about competitors such as “The recording of private conversations with leaders of competing companies like DiDi Chuxing, as well as his own employees and contractors from the Pittsburgh area,” he says. The revelations marks another blow to the company which is already dealing with damaging sexual assault charges of 2016.
“And it’s not over”: Uber will also now have to comply with the same rules as taxis in Europe. The Court of Justice of the European Union has stated publicly that the ride-sharing service falls within the “field of transport” and therefore has to adapt to the regulations imposed on taxis in the European Union.
We knew that the arrival of Donald Trump in power would cause some problems. The champion of bad decisions has again struck, this time through the Federal Communications Commission and President Ajit Pai. The latter voted to repeal the 2015 laws, passed under Barack Obama’s presidency, which forced Internet Service Providers to treat content and customers fairly. Their reason: these regulations discouraged investment and innovation. But supporters of net neutrality argue that the decision could allow some providers to block or limit services or sites, for reasons of competition.
Space X’s Reusable Space Rocket
“It’s an amazing day for space and the space industry,” said SpaceX boss Elon Musk after the successful launch of his Falcon-9 rocket on March 30th. For the first time, a rocket already used in a previous launch was used a second time in a new mission by putting a satellite in orbit. With its reusable rockets, SpaceX wants to completely disrupt the economy of the space industry. The company ensures that it can carry out up to twenty successive launches with the same material, suggesting a 30% saving in the long term for the customers.
Apple’s iPhone X
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the launch of the iPhone, Apple released a brand new model called the iPhone X. The phone featured a brand new design with specific specs that are not found on Apple’s other devices. The phone received great reviews but many remain skeptic about the hefty price tag of 1,000 dollars.