CES 2022 Showcases the Future of Tech as Signal Adds a Cryptocurrency Feature
CES showcased an array of futuristic tech products in Las Vegas. Signal launches a controversial cryptocurrency feature. James Webb Telescope finishes deployment in space. The US economy added a record 6.4 million jobs in 2021. Here are this week’s stories.
1. CES 2022 Showcases the Future of Tech
CES, an annual trade show organized by the Consumer Technology Association, was held earlier this week and showcased an array of futuristic tech products, from color-changing BMWs to Samsung using Wi-Fi to power remotes. Firstly, Samsung unveiled its first OLED TV, and Sony announced the world’s first QD-OLED 4K TV, which will deliver better brightness and more consistent color than OLEDs from LG Display. Samsung also added a matte screen to its Frame TVs, which are lifestyle TVs that turn into art when off, and showed off its new Eco Remote, which charges from RF waves and frequencies released from a Wi-Fi router. Asus showed off a 17-inch foldable laptop with an OLED display with a 12.5-inch screen up top and an on-screen keyboard displaying below. Electric cars were also prominent at CES. BMW teased a color-changing car that could switch from black to white in seconds. Chevrolet revealed the Silverado EV starting at $39,900 and the 2024 Chevy Equinox starting at $30,000. There was also an emphasis on the metaverse. Many companies, like Sony and HTC, unveiled headsets and controllers.
2. Signal’s Cryptocurrency Feature
Encrypted messaging apps like WhatsApp and Signal are experimenting with sending payments in certain markets. Meta, formally known as Facebook, is planning to launch Diem, a new global cryptocurrency, and integrate it with WhatsApp and Messenger. Signal has quietly integrated MobileCoin into its app and now allows users to send payments. MobileCoin is built on the Stellar blockchain and designed to make payments as anonymous as cash. So both messages and payments will be anonymous and can not be traced to the sender and receiver. Although this feature ensures privacy for users, it will attract criminals. End-to-end encryption already faces legal challenges, and this addition will attract more regulatory scrutiny.
3. James Webb Telescope Finishes Deployment in Space
The James Webb Telescope (JWST), the largest and most advanced cosmic observatory, has successfully unfolded its final primary mirror, finishing the most challenging space deployment ever. The Webb observatory has 50 primary deployments and 178 release mechanisms to deploy all 50 parts. The telescope is now moving towards its final destination, about 930,000 miles (1.5 million kilometers) away from our planet. The Webb mission team will spend the next five months aligning the 18 mirror segments to perform like one and turning on various instruments. The telescope uses infrared lighting to function, which allows it to see through dust clouds; but, it needs to be extremely cold to detect this kind of light. JWST will operate under -370°F or -223°C, and a passive cooling system will allow near-infrared instruments to cool to -389°F or -234°C to function; a cryocooler system will cool the mid-infrared instruments to -447°F or -266°C to operate. If all goes according to plan, JWST will be operational in late June and will begin observing the cosmos.
4. Record US Job Growth in 2021
The US economy added a record 6.4 million jobs in 2021, After losing more than 22 million jobs at the start of the pandemic. According to the labor department, payrolls rose by 199,000 jobs last month, less than expected by analysts. However, the unemployment rate did drop to 3.9% from 4.2% in November. Despite the hiring surge last year, payrolls remain 3.6 million below pre-pandemic levels. The recent surge in Coronavirus cases in the US will significantly impact January’s job report. The Federal Reserve is also preparing to increase interest rates as the economy recovers. This increase might help stabilize the economy within the next couple of years. Inflation continues to rise because of several factors, including supply chain issues and the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying program, but will gradually slow down.
Above were my top stories for the week of January 9th, 2022. Thank you and see you next week!