5 things you should know about tech today

- September 24, 2019 3 MIN READ

Jeff Bezos is a man with a van – 100,000 of them.


Hello and welcome to Tuesday. Here’s what’s happening.


1. Google may have “quantum supremacy”.

The Financial Times reports that a Google research paper that popped up briefly last week thanks to NASA suggesting Google’s ‘Bristlecone’ quantum computing processor can perform, in just minutes, a calculation that would take the world’s most powerful computer, IBM’s Summit, 10,000 years. “This experiment marks the first computation that can only be performed on a quantum processor,” the paper reportedly said. “The benchmark task we demonstrate has an immediate application in generating certifiable random numbers; other initial uses for this new computational capability may include optimization optimization, machine learning, materials science and chemistry.”

The Holy Grail of computing is plagued by physical constraints that basically cause existing hardware to have a meltdown.  If the now-deleted paper is true, it could be a watershed moment for human ingenuity.


2. France’s president has an $8 billion investment fund for tech startups.

French President Emmanuel Macron  announced last week that his French government had institutional support worth €5 billion (AU$8.1m) for late-stage VC funds and asset managers to invest. The strategy is two-fold – 40% towards French VC funds for late-stage startups in rounds of €50-100 million or more, and the remaind invested via asset managers specialising in listed tech company to help French startups head to an IPO.

“We’ll have €2 billion that will go in so-called late-stage funds and €3 billion for funds managed by asset managers specialized in tech companies,” Macron said.

Medium has a good rundown on all that’s going on in French tech investment.


3. Atlassian is signing up for the UN’s net carbon neutral 2050 plan.

The company’s outspoken co-boss, Mike Cannon-Brookes, had a chat to ABC’s 7.30 last night from New York ahead of the UN climate action summit,  Australian software giant  is working towards net zero carbon emissions target by 2050, on top of the company’s pledge to use 100% renewable energy by 2025 and it will “be good for our profitability over the long term”.

He added that by the end of this week, half of Australia’s 10 largest companies will sign up to a 100% renewable energy target.

“A lot of those businesses are doing it both for positive climate reasons, but also because it is going to save those businesses money to move in that direction and that is part of the opportunity for businesses,” he said.

More on his comments here.


4. Amazon placed every company’s dream order.

Imagine opening your emails in the morn and there’s one from Jeff Bezos ordering 100,000 trucks. Amazon announced last week that it was buying 100,000 trucks from US EV startup Rivian, the biggest buy of electric vehicles in history. In February, Amazon announced it would lead a US$700 million investment round in Rivian.

“We’re done being in the middle of the herd on this issue—we’ve decided to use our size and scale to make a difference,”  Bezos said in a statement. “If a company with as much physical infrastructure as Amazon—which delivers more than 10 billion items a year—can meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early, then any company can. I’ve been talking with other CEOs of global companies, and I’m finding a lot of interest in joining the pledge.”

Two years after committing to 100% renewable energy, Amazon has now pledged to reach 80% renewable energy by 2024 and 100% renewable energy by 2030 on its path to net zero carbon by 2040.


5. Facebook is being sued by an Australian startup

Australian marketing startup Stackla is suing Facebook after the US social media giant banned the business from the site’s data in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The AFR reports that Stackla, co-founded in 2012 by Damien Mahoney and Peter Cassidy, lodged proceedings in the US District Court in San Francisco last week. Meanwhile, the US Congress wants to see Facebook documentation relating to the ban as part of a government investigation into anti-competitive behaviour. Stackla is an AI-powered, user-generated content (UGC) marketing platform, harnessing content from fans and users of businesses, from sports to retail.

More details here.