10 things in tech you need to know today

Demis Hassabis
DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis. DeepMind

Good morning! Here is the tech news you need to know this Friday.

1. The biggest black market on the so-called “dark net,” AlphaBay, has been taken down by authorities, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Thursday. AlphaBay connected drug vendors with people seeking drugs like fentanyl and heroin, authorities said.

2. Samsung sent out invitations for a product launch event for its next major smartphone, the Galaxy Note 8. The launch will take place on August 23 in New York City.

3. Google DeepMind’s CEO and Uber’s chief scientist backed a UK chip company in a $US30 million (£23 million) round. It’s called Graphcore and it’s based in Bristol.

4. Johnson Controls, a company that develops services that manage buildings’ ventilation and fire detection systems, unveiled a smart thermostat that comes with Microsoft’s Cortana personal assistant built in. The company showed off the thermostat, dubbed GLAS, in a short video posted on YouTube.

5. Facebook is exploring creating a mysterious new hardware device. A patent application published by the company details a “modular electromechanical device” that can incorporate a speaker, microphone, touch display, GPS, and even function as a phone.

6. Amazon’s $US12 billion (£9 billion) cloud is seeing its “first-ever downtick” in momentum, according to Deutsche Bank. Migration of existing businesses to the cloud is happening at a slower rate than originally anticipated.

7. Elon Musk says he got “verbal government approval” to build a Hyperloop between New York and DC. The Hyperloop could shuttle people between New York and Washington DC in 29 minutes, Musk said.

8. Bitcoin soared on Thursday, trading up 13.01% at $US2,576 (£1,983) a coin. The cryptocurrency continues to rally as traders look ahead to the August 1 decision on whether or not bitcoin will be split in two.

9. Citymapper has confirmed that it’s launching a new bus route. The bus will run overnight between Highbury & Islington and Aldgate East in East London.

10. The House of Lords has launched a public inquiry into advances in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). A new Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence will “consider the economic, ethical, and social implications of advances in artificial intelligence.”