In the news: Smartphone zombies, spotting drunks and addictive social media

Date: 12/06/2018 Written by: Rosie 3 minutes to read.
News Review

Uber has applied for a patent to spot drunk passengers, a Chinese city gets 'smartphone zombie' walkways and watchdog says the addictiveness of social media must be reduced. Below we have given you a brief overview of some of the news stories which have caught our eye over the past couple of weeks to save you looking yourself!

Uber applies for patent to spot drunk passengers

Uber, the taxi app, has applied for a patent ‘to use artificial intelligence to determine how drunk potential passengers might be’. The data collected would measure how ‘accurately’ the user was typing, passengers location, and ‘even the angle they are holding their phone at’.

However, critics have stated that this application of artificial intelligence ‘could also be used to identify vulnerable passengers’. Uber have reassured audiences by stating “We are always exploring ways that our technology can help improve the Uber experience for riders and drivers” and continued to explain that although many patents are applied for, not all become products or features.

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Social media must be made less addictive, says watchdog

Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield has stated that ‘social media firms need to limit features that hoot youngers on devices’. Longfield identifies numerous causes for concern, including Snapchat ‘streaks’ and the YouTube auto play functionality.

These comments echo those of Health Secretary’s Jeremy Hunt, who earlier this year stating similar points of view. In the time since a conversation with social media executives, multiple ‘screen limiting’ features have been implemented in Apple and Google products.

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Chinese city gets ‘smartphone zombie’ walkway

“Phubbers” is the new terminology in a northern city in China, used to describe those who ‘stare at their phones and ignore everything else around them’. This has resulted in separate smartphone walkways, similar to cycle lanes, to be implemented in various locations around the city.

The installation has been met with a mixed response, with some viewing them as “pretty good” while others describing the users have become like “blind people”.

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Breastfeeding: woman’s choice must be respected, midwives told

The advice from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has been updated to stress that ‘new mothers should be given appropriate support if they make an informed decision to bottle-feed.’

The guidelines still say babies should be ‘exclusively breastfed’ for the first six months of life, this is to line with the advice from the World Health Organization (WHO). However, the RCM acknowledges that mothers face struggles and says that the decision to swap to bottle-feeding ‘is a woman’s right’.

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NHS should offer stress counselling for those struggling with gender reassignment

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has stated that therapy should be available and offered to adults or children within one month of a “traumatic event”. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms such as ‘vivid flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, increased anxiety and difficult sleeping – were best tackled quickly’.

The new draft of the guidance from the NHS includes situations involving “Gender reassignment, homelessness and illegal immigration”. Professor Mark Baker, director for the entire of guidelines at Nice, said “PTSD is a treatable condition but the pain of revising past events can prevent people seeking the help they need. We have updated our guidance to make sure that PTSD is managed as easy as possible”.

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