HomeCoverTECH NEWSYr in tech: The tales making headlines in 2021

Yr in tech: The tales making headlines in 2021

By Jane Wakefield
Know-how reporter

Printed

2021 launched us to tech phrases together with Metaverse and NFT (non-fungible token).

Fb took a dramatic new course, heading off into digital actuality.

The web, which had held up remarkably effectively over a sequence of lockdowns, skilled a couple of wobbles.

And we realized that these chips in all our units, which we take with no consideration, weren’t infinite.

Here is our rundown of a few of the largest tales on the BBC Know-how website over the previous yr.

January: Winter of disconnect

Picture supply, Getty Photographs

Despite the fact that he misplaced the presidential election on the finish of 2020, Donald Trump continued to make headlines into 2021.

The tweet that led to the ban was seen as significantly inflammatory given the storming of the Capitol constructing simply the day earlier than.

The occasions acted as a wake-up name to social media networks which had beforehand allowed politicians to have, kind of, free rein posting on-line.

In the course of the course of the yr each Fb and Twitter adopted new guidelines on find out how to cope with the high-profile accounts of world leaders and politicians.

After all it was not the final we heard from Mr Trump – however extra on that later.

February: What’s up with WhatsApp?

Fb insisted the adjustments didn’t mark a dramatic shift, however admitted that communication had been poor.

Privateness advocates mentioned it merely highlighted that WhatsApp was already harvesting big quantities of knowledge for its dad or mum agency.

Just a few days after the backlash was reported within the media, WhatsApp revealed that those that didn’t settle for its up to date phrases and situations can be unable to obtain or ship messages after the 15 Could deadline.

Later within the yr, WhatsApp was pressured to rewrite its privateness coverage following a £190m effective imposed by the Irish information safety authority. It subsequently had to supply way more details about what precisely it does with person info.

March: McAfee charged

Picture supply, Reuters

In Spring, anti-virus creator John McAfee, who has all the time been a controversial determine, was charged with fraud – accused of selling crypto-currencies on Twitter with the intention to inflate the value.

On the time, he was already being detained in Spain on separate fees regarding tax evasion.

April: Maintain the chips

Picture supply, Getty Photographs
Picture caption,

Laptop chips crops are working flat out

It has been a yr dominated by chip shortages – the results of a mixture of things, together with the pandemic and the sharp enhance in demand for sure items as everybody tailored to working, studying and socialising at residence.

In April, Cisco turned one of many first to warn that the pc chip scarcity was an issue, though its suggestion that it would final for six months proved to be somewhat optimistic.

Could: return of Trump?

Some identified that it appeared to be little greater than a glorified 1990-style weblog – and only a month later it was shut down.

It has raised $1bn up to now, however has additionally courted controversy and is dealing with an investigation from the SEC.

June: the web beneath pressure

Comparable issues plagued Amazon Net Companies, Akamai and Cloudflare throughout the yr, prompting some to query the reliance on a handful of firms to maintain the web working.

July: goodbye to Jeff

Picture supply, Reuters

One among Silicon Valley’s unique innovators, Jeff Bezos, stepped down from Amazon, precisely 27 years after he based the web retail large. For a lot of he was a enterprise visionary, and the corporate he began bears this out – value $1.8trn on the time of his departure.

However like all tech giants, Amazon is dealing with elevated scrutiny, over the way it treats its warehouse staff, for instance, in addition to questions over whether or not it monopolises on-line retail.

Mr Bezos is not planning to stroll out of the limelight nevertheless. His newest obsession is House – in October he and Star Trek’s unique Captain Kirk, aka William Shatner, blasted into sub-orbit in his rocket, Blue Origin.

August: find out how to make cash within the faculty holidays

Picture supply, Benyamin Ahmed

This yr we realized that NFT stood for Non-Fungible Token. Much less understood was what it meant – basically a digital token that can be utilized as a means of paying for digital collectibles.

Elsewhere, an NFT of an animated cat GIF offered for greater than £365,000, whereas Jack Dorsey’s first ever tweet hit £2.5m and Tim Berners-Lee net supply code NFT went for a cool $5.4m.

However the NFT craze was not with out its critics: creator David Gerard describes NFTS because the “new type of nugatory magic bean”.

Both means, it was onerous to disregard, and NFT made it into Collins dictionary of recent phrases for 2021 – together with Metaverse.

September: Dangerous vibrations

The doc, printed by Apple and noticed by MacRumours, prompt that engine vibrations might hurt the telephones’ optical-image stabilisation or closed-loop autofocus techniques.

The BBC’s retelling of the story acquired thousands and thousands of hits.

October: the agency previously referred to as Fb

Picture supply, Getty Photographs
Picture caption,

A rebrand for Fb attracted much less consideration than a couple of hours outage of its companies

It was additionally the month that Fb introduced its new give attention to the metaverse – an idea that has quickly turn into some of the hyped phrases of 2021, and one which Mark Zuckerberg appears to have infinite enthusiasm for.

Primarily, it’s a digital actuality model of the web wherein Meta, together with another massive names in tech, believes we are going to dwell, play and work in some unspecified time in the future sooner or later.

After all, the extra cynical questioned if the newfound enthusiasm for the metaverse – which got here with not only a firm rebrand, however a plan to rent 10,000 folks within the EU to construct it – was a distraction from Fb’s ongoing points with real-world content material.

November: the hunt for hackers

Picture supply, Nationwide Crime Company
Picture caption,

Rumours counsel alleged Evil Corp hacker Maksim Yakubets’ wedding ceremony might have value greater than half 1,000,000 {dollars}

It took him to a golf course and a shiny skyscraper in Moscow. He did not discover the hackers, however he did be taught that they have been making an enormous sum of money – alongside driving the requisite Lamborghinis, internet hosting plush weddings and protecting unique pets.

Any direct hyperlinks to the Russian state are denied by the Kremlin, however specialists consider that hackers are allowed to flourish within the nation offered they do not goal Russian nationals. Whereas US legislation enforcement claims they’re additionally enlisted for state hacking.

December: radioactive necklace

Picture supply, RIVM

This yr there was a renewed surge of disinformation round vaccinations, Covid and politics.

Know-how has not been proof against conspiracy theories both, with assaults on 5G transmitters from those that consider they omit harmful radio waves.

Regardless of no proof the transmitters trigger any hurt, the idea has spawned a variety of merchandise which declare to guard folks towards them.

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