Technology News

Will artificial intelligence become conscious?

Forget about today’s modest incremental advances in artificial intelligence, such as the increasing abilities of cars to drive themselves. Waiting in the wings might be a groundbreaking development: a machine that is aware of itself and its surroundings, and that could take in and process massive amounts of data in real time. It could be sent on dangerous missions, into space or combat. In additio...[Read More]

Bitcoin is a highly speculative investment. Why caution is required

With the price of a bitcoin reaching record highs of more than $10,000, more and more ordinary people consider investing in the cryptocurrency. The recent price surge, however, comes with tremendous risks. Investors should be prepared for the possibility that they could lose their entire investment. Bitcoin was launched  in 2008 by an anonymous author under the name of Satoshi Nakamoto as a means ...[Read More]

Social networking sites may be controlling your mind – here’s how to take charge

How can you live the life you want to, avoiding the distractions and manipulations of others? To do so, you need to know how you work. “Know thyself”, the Ancients urged. Sadly, we are often bad at this. But by contrast, others know us increasingly well. Our intelligence, sexual orientation – and much more – can be computed from our Facebook likes. Machines, using data from our digital footprint, ...[Read More]

Disaster zones could soon be salvaged by teams of smart devices – here’s how

We will remember 2017 as an appalling year for natural disasters. The US has endured its most expensive hurricane season, amounting to over $200 billion of damage. Mexico City experienced a terrible earthquake that killed over 200 people, while severe tropical storms forced tens of thousands of evacuations in Macau, Hong Kong and Tokyo. It comes months after the UN’s head of disaster planning warn...[Read More]

How a rural community built South Africa’s first ISP owned and run by a cooperative

Mankosi is a remote rural community in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. It is home to almost 6,000 people. The nearest city is Mthatha, about 60 kilometres away, as a bird flies. Most homes are not connected to the electricity grid; residents charge their cellphones at a local shop or shebeen, for which they must pay. Both data and airtime for those phones also cost a lot: a survey shows that...[Read More]

Android’s snooping and Uber’s 57m data theft overshadowed by danger to net neutrality

Which was the more damaging shock revelation last week of corporate malfeasance?  Was it that ProPublica discovered Google’s Android operating system tracks its users despite them opting out of such tracking, and after a factory rest of the phone? Or was it Uber revealing how it failed to reveal a hack that exposed 59m people’s details last year? In the case of Uber it is yet another s...[Read More]

Why Silicon Valley wants you to text and drive

As self-driving cars come closer to being common on American roads, much of the rhetoric promoting them has to do with safety. About 40,000 people die on U.S. roads every year, and driver errors are linked to more than 90 percent of crashes. But many of the biggest advocates of autonomous vehicles aren’t car companies looking to improve the safety of their existing products. Huge backing for self-...[Read More]

Keeping score of ‘friends’ on Facebook and Instagram may be harmful to your health

Ever felt like your peers have more pals than you do? These days, with the rise of social media apps like Facebook and Instagram, it is easier than ever to benchmark the number of “friends” you have against your peers. So, if you find yourself wondering how your social networks compare with other people’s, our latest research, published in Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, suggests tha...[Read More]

Redefining ‘safety’ for self-driving cars

In early November, a self-driving shuttle and a delivery truck collided in Las Vegas. The event, in which no one was injured and no property was seriously damaged, attracted media and public attention in part because one of the vehicles was driving itself – and because that shuttle had been operating for only less than an hour before the crash. It’s not the first collision involving a self-driving...[Read More]

How websites watch your every move and ignore privacy settings

Hundreds of the world’s top websites routinely track a user’s every keystroke, mouse movement and input into a web form – even before it’s submitted or later abandoned, according to the results of a study from researchers at Princeton University. And there’s a nasty side-effect: personal identifiable data, such as medical information, passwords and credit card details, could be revealed when users...[Read More]

We need robots that can improvise, but it’s not easy to teach them right from wrong

Industrial robots have existed since the 1960s, when the first Unimate robotic arm was installed at a General Motors plant in the United States. Nearly six decades on, why don’t we have capable robots in our homes, beyond a few simple domestic gadgets? One of the reasons is that the rules and conventions that govern our everyday lives are not as perfect as the rules that govern the process of, say...[Read More]

Tech is supposed to make parenting easier, if you can fight your way through the myriad of choices

Luckily I lave been a technology journalist for 20 years – which only constituted practise before I had to make some of the hardest equipment decisions a grown man will in his life: which pram to buy for my new-born son. Having a child is hard enough without the myriad of tech choices you’re forced to make with far-reaching consequences, as the technology revolution has had a profound ...[Read More]

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