AI (of course), robotic exoskeletons, and badly judged TV adverts (of course) are all in the news this week.

Here’s some stuff you might have missed…

Instagram filters

Instagram face filters have arrived. Hannah Jane Parkinson sums it up better than I could in the tweet below.

It’s interesting how glasses seem to be used as a trope for algebra/mathematics/intelligence in this filter. Not particularly inspiring.

Questions about Google’s use of NHS data in the UK

One of Google’s many healthcare innovations is an app called Streams, which helps doctors and nurses treat acute kidney injury at the Royal Free Hospital London ’by freeing clinicians from juggling multiple pager, desktop-based, and paper systems’.

However, the news that the personal health data of 1.6m individuals was shared to develop the Streams app has surprised some, with Dame Fiona Caldicott suggesting the use of this data simply for testing was inappropriate. She is quoted in a letter from the National Data Guardian saying “It would not have been within the reasonable expectation of patients that their records would have been shared for this purpose.”

With the legality of this data sharing brought into question, it will be interesting to see where Google goes from here.

google streams

Lowe’s gives its employees robotic exoskeletons

Lowe’s is testing four robotic exoskeletons to help employees lift heavy items at one of its stores in Virginia.

The suit was designed by Lowe’s Innovation Labs to distribute strain via motors and across carbon-fiber trusses. Lowe’s describes it thusly: “As they bend and stand, carbon fiber in the suit’s legs and back act like a taut bow ready to launch an arrow, helping them spring back up with greater ease.”


WeChat is killing it

Tencent’s fantastic Q1 2017 results include the following highlights:

  • Total revenues of RMB 49,552m ($7,182m), a 55% increase year-on-year
  • Net profit of RMB 14,548m ($2,109m), a 57% increase YoY
  • Growth driven by a 34% increase in gaming revenues (smartphone games)
  • Online advertising revenues increased 47% YoY
  • Social advertising revenues increased 67% YoY
  • WeChat’s global monthly active users reach 938m, up 23% YoY.

Inside The Circle

Apple’s new HQ in Cupertino is nearing completion. Wired has had a look around and reports some of the history of the project.

Apple has planted 9,000 trees on the site. Steven Levy, the Wired journo that got a guided tour, says he ‘felt a bit like one of the passengers on the first ride into Jurassic Park.’

India makes iPhones

Sticking with Apple, Reuters reports that the company is now manufacturing the low-priced iPhone SE at its contract manufacturer’s plant in Bengaluru. India is one of the fastest growing smartphone markets and could be key for Apple as it struggles in China. 

McDonald’s gets grief for latest ad

Forgive my slightly insensitive pun. McDonald’s has pulled its latest UK TV ad after more than 100 complaints to the ASA and ridicule/outrage on Facebook and Twitter.

The campaign was devised by Leo Burnett.

Deloitte rumoured to be buying Engine Group

The Drum reports Deloitte is interesting in buying Engine Group to bolster its marketing services.

Rival Accenture bought independent agency Karmarama in 2016 and last week bought Australian independent The Monkeys. Consolidation looks set to continue apace.

Read: Why consultancies are buying agencies.

Google I/O impressive on AI

AI chips, AI that builds AI, AI APIs – Google is going big on artificial intelligence and is making progress.

At Google’s annual developer conference, Sundar Pichai revealed the error rate of its voice recognition technology has come down from 8.5% to 4.9%.