NEWS DIGEST 13.02.2022: Russia plans on invading Ukraine, assorted tech news

Hello readers, today’s news is via Twitter.

Russia is planning to invade Ukraine on Wednesday, a credible intelligence report has claimed, as US President Joe Biden urgently arranged a telephone call with Vladimir Putin on Saturday in a bid to prevent war. Scottish man fears ‘chaos’ as he tries to flee Ukraine with his family – as former ambassador warns not all Brits will get out. A Scottish man living in Ukraine has said he is concerned about ‘chaos’ as he tries to get his family out of the country quickly amid growing concerns that Russia could launch an invasion. US and EU finalising sanctions package should Russia invade Ukraine – U.S. and European officials are finalizing an extensive package of sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine that targets major Russian banks, but does not include banning Russia from the SWIFT financial system, according to U.S. and European officials. Russia could launch invasion ‘at any time’, U.S. Secretary of State says Russia has sent more forces to its border with Ukraine and could launch an invasion at any time including during the Winter Olympics, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday. Russia says it has no plans to invade but wants the West to keep Ukraine and other former Soviet countries out of NATO. It also wants NATO to refrain from deploying weapons there and to roll back alliance forces from Eastern Europe – demands flatly rejected by the West. Speaking at the start of his talks with Wallace, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu noted that ‘the military-political situation in Europe is growing increasingly tense, and it’s not our fault – Putin ‘has decided to invade Ukraine on WEDNESDAY’: Joe Biden will call Vladimir today in bid to prevent war. US and German spooks fear bombardment of Kiev is just days away, with Brits and Americans told to get out NOW (Daily Mail)

Fortnite continues its endless string of crossovers with a new collaboration for the upcoming Uncharted movie, the film that spent a decade in development hell, but is actually out on February 18, at long last. Fortnite has done something interesting by offering two sets of skins, which have original PlayStation Nathan Drake and Chloe Frazer, and then the movie actor versions, Tom Holland and Sophia Ali. This is Tom Holland’s second Fortnite skin in about three months, as we also got a No Way Home Peter Parker skin for the release of that Spider-Man movie. Fortnite has still not managed to convince Nintendo to hand over its IPs for a collaboration at this point, which I’m sure they’re dying to do. Check out the trailer above, and look for Treasure Maps to return to Fortnite to celebrate the arrival of Uncharted – ‘Fortnite’ Offering Original And Movie Nathan Drakes For ‘Uncharted’ Collaboration (Forbes)

At CES 2022, Beyond Imagination showed off its Beomni humanoid robot to the public for the first time. Featuring a friendly face, two arms and an Iron Man-like chest display, the robot moves around on wheels and its actions can be controlled by a person using a VR headset and gloves from anywhere in the world. Harry Kloor, chief founder of Beyond Imagination, says one of the first things he wants to do with a Beomni robot is place one in his elderly mother’s home so he can take care of tasks from afar. Beomni isn’t just about tackling Earth-bound jobs. Beyond Imagination also says that eventually, Beomni robots will be able to do things without having to be virtually controlled by humans. The robots will be capable of learning over time, the company says, and the first Beomni robots should be available in 2023 – Beomni: The robot you control from anywhere in the world (CNET)

Digitization doesn’t mean putting old wine into new bottles. Beyond simply digitizing products and reducing friction, to succeed in the outcome economies, fintechs must learn to build trust through transparency and engagement and unlock hidden value in banking. In this episode of One Vision, Theo chats with Paolo Sironi about his new book, Banks and FinTech on Platform Economies, lessons learned from fintech innovation, and the future of banks and fintechs in the fast-changing digital world – The trust advantage: Unlocking the hidden value in banking with platform economies (One Vision/Unconventional Ventures)

Self-supervised learning – where machines learn by directly observing the environment rather than being explicitly taught through labeled images, text, audio, and other data sources – has powered many significant recent advances in AI. But while people appear to learn in a similar way regardless of how they get information – whether they use sight or sound, for example – there are currently big differences in the way self-supervised learning algorithms learn from images, speech, text, and other modalities. HOW DATA2VEC WORKS Much of AI is still based on supervised learning, which works exclusively with labeled data. Self-supervision enables computers to learn about the world just by observing it and then figuring out the structure of images, speech, or text. Research in self-supervised learning today is almost always focused on one particular modality. Speech models need to learn an inventory of the basic sounds of speech in order to predict missing sounds – The First High-Performance Self-Supervised Algorithm That Works For Speech, Vision, And Text (Liwaiwai)

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