Seamless shopping and the future of work

Amazon Go user outside shop Image copyright Amazon

A man walks into a shop, grabs a sandwich off a shelf then walks straight out.

A woman browses the selection of ready meals, puts one in her handbag and leaves. Scenes from a viral video - not about shoplifting but about Amazon's vision of the future of retailing.

It shows a shop which, says Amazon, is fitted out with the sort of technology which is used in self-driving cars - computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning.

The customer taps in with a smartphone on arrival, meaning the shop understands which products they have taken and later bills them via an app which has their credit card details.

Just Walk Out Shopping, as Amazon calls it, sounds like a concept for the 2020s - but the first store opens in Seattle in January 2017.

Rethinking retail

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Blippar wants your face in its app

Media captionWATCH: App recognises Rory

Ever seen someone across a crowded room and struggled to remember who they are? Well now there's an app which would allow you to fit the face to a name.

Blippar, the augmented reality business, is adding facial recognition to its app. Some will find that cool, others will see it as a creepy invasion of privacy.

At the moment the Blippar app gives you information about all kinds of objects when you point your smartphone's camera at them - it will identify famous paintings for example, or provide advertising content when you point it at a product.

Read full article Blippar wants your face in its app

Tech Tent: Fun and Games in Finland


On this week's Tech Tent we travel to Slush, one of the most relaxed and vibrant technology events you will find anywhere in the world. It is held in almost total darkness in a huge exhibition hall in Finland's capital Helsinki and feels more like a music festival than a conference.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The Slush conference brought together veteran entrepreneurs and startup founders

Nevertheless, with hundreds of startups mingling with established businesses, it is a great place to take the temperature of Europe's tech scene. From the founders of Spotify and Supercell, to the president of tiny but digitally pioneering Estonia, to some big names from Silicon Valley, there were all kinds of perspectives on the state of the tech business in uncertain times.

Zennstrom backs

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Nokia dials back time to sell mobile phones again

Nokia phones Image copyright Nokia
Image caption Nokia's site is showcasing the feature-phone models

Nokia-branded mobile phones are on sale, once again, and being marketed on the Finnish company's website.

For now, the range is limited to some pretty basic models, but that should change when Android-powered smartphones and tablets are added soon.

Read full article Nokia dials back time to sell mobile phones again

'Snoopers law creates security nightmare'

Data centre Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The UK's internet service providers will need to install new equipment to log their customers net habits

The Investigatory Powers Bill will get royal assent on Tuesday. More than 130,000 people have signed a petition calling for it to be scrapped.

Tim Berners-Lee has said it creates a "security nightmare".

Read full article 'Snoopers law creates security nightmare'

Facebook, fake news and the meaning of truth

A man poses with a magnifier in front of a Facebook logo Image copyright Reuters

What is the most important source of news and therefore the most powerful media organisation in the world today?

Well, there is a good argument that the answer is not a newspaper or broadcasting organisation but a social network, Facebook.

Read full article Facebook, fake news and the meaning of truth

Tech Tent: The promise and perils of data


Big data. It's one of the tech cliches of the age. The idea that the torrent of data now being created can be processed in all sorts of clever ways with life-changing implications.

On my Tech Tent podcast this week, we look at the promise and perils of data and ask whether we are ready to share more of it with companies that say they will use it for our benefit.

Google: Good for your health?

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These phone apps have got your number

David Cameron takes a selfie Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The databases of numbers have been compiled from the address books of users

The mobile phone numbers of former Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, celebrities and millions of other people are being stored in databases that can be searched by the public.

While the numbers cannot be obtained simply by entering a name, data watchdogs are concerned about the way the information has been gathered.

Read full article These phone apps have got your number

British insurers: 'Give us driverless car data'

Media captionThe confusion caused by driverless cars

Driverless car technology seems to be advancing at breakneck speed - but the changes this will mean for the rules of the road are proceeding at a slower pace.

Now the insurance industry is calling on carmakers to provide more data showing who was at fault in accidents involving driverless vehicles. The insurers say drivers need to be able to prove that they're not at fault if the technology goes wrong.

Read full article British insurers: 'Give us driverless car data'

Tech Tent: Truth and hate in an online world

Rory Cellan-Jones

All of a sudden, some of the great names of the digital age are facing a crisis. Google, Facebook and Twitter have always seen themselves as more than mere businesses - they believe they are on a mission to make our lives better.

Now, in the bitter aftermath of America's presidential election, they stand accused of becoming vehicles of lies and hatred rather than civilised debate.

Read full article Tech Tent: Truth and hate in an online world