The Conversation

Killer robots, free will and the illusion of control

Control. We all like to think we have it, but is it all just an illusion? It might seem like a very existential question but it plays an important part in our acceptance of new technologies, especially when it comes to robots. Even if we personally aren’t in control of something, we often like to comfort ourselves that someone else is. Humans have free will and empathy and we trust that we will ma...[Read More]

Facebook cuts back on news to give you more time with advertisers

Dear friends, it’s not us, it’s you. You are the problem. You’ve stopped sharing every intimate detail of your lives and we can’t monetise you as well as we’d like. So we’re changing our relationship to convince you to share more, so we can show you more ads. Not an exact quote from Mark Zuckerberg, of course, but a rough translation. In a statement released on January 12, the company’s founder an...[Read More]

A brief history (and a look into the future) of fitness technology

Have you recently taken ownership of a shiny new activity tracking device? For many people, the essential fitness kit now includes gadgets designed not for sitting and staring at a screen, but for encouraging users to get up and move. And they even come with political recommendations. For the UK Government, apps like MapMyRun and Strava and wearable technologies made by Fitbit and Jawbone are the ...[Read More]

Autonomous vehicles could help millions of people catch up on sleep, TV and work

What would you do if you could magically reclaim all the time you spend behind the wheel of a car? Ultimately that’s what a future filled with autonomous vehicles is promising. There are many questions about what autonomous vehicles will be able to do, how reliable they’ll be and how much they’ll cost. But development is far enough along for people to start thinking about what drivers would do wit...[Read More]

It’s time to get ready for augmented reality

The world’s largest annual consumer technology show — CES 2018 in Las Vegas — ends today and some of the most exciting gadgets this year were on display in the augmented reality (AR) marketplace. This follows the news, announced in December, that 2018 will be the year the previously secretive company Magic Leap joins the likes of Microsoft, Meta, ODG, Mira and DAQRI to launch an AR headset. At the...[Read More]

Why don’t electric cars look like the future?

Electric cars were supposed to be the future – or at least look like it. So now they’re here, why do they still look like ordinary petrol and diesel cars and not dazzling props from a science fiction film. Before they hit the market and became relatively mainstream, many imagined (or at least, hoped) that electric cars would resemble the Light Runner from Tron: Legacy. After all, without the need ...[Read More]

Is your computer secretly mining bitcoin alternatives? A guide to ‘cryptojacking’

Nothing comes for free, especially online. Websites and apps that don’t charge you for their services are often collecting your data or bombarding you with advertising. Now some sites have found a new way to make money from you: using your computer to generate virtual currencies. Several video streaming sites and the popular file sharing network The Pirate Bay have allegedly been “cryptojacking” t...[Read More]

Apple, Android and PC chip problem – why your smartphone and laptop are so at risk

Less than a week into 2018 and we may have already seen the year’s biggest technology story. Researchers have identified a security flaw in the computer processors made by three of the world’s biggest chip designers, Intel, AMD and ARM, and a second flaw in Intel chips. This means that almost every smartphone, tablet, laptop and business computer in the world could be vulnerable to having sensitiv...[Read More]

Is there such a thing as online privacy? 7 essential reads

Over the course of 2017, people in the U.S. and around the world became increasingly concerned about how their digital data are transmitted, stored and analyzed. As news broke that every Yahoo email account had been compromised, as well as the financial information of nearly every adult in the U.S., the true scale of how much data private companies have about people became clearer than ever. This,...[Read More]

Social media can be bad for youth mental health, but there are ways it can help

Young people spend a lot of time on social media. They’re also more susceptible to peer pressure, low self-esteem and mental ill-health. A number of studies have found associations between increased social media use and depression, anxiety, sleep problems, eating concerns, and suicide risk. Certain characteristics of social media may contribute to these negative effects. Cyberbullying Cyberbullyin...[Read More]

How Star Wars Battlefront could make ‘loot boxes’ the last Jedi of video games

When Star Wars fans bought the latest video game in the franchise, many hoped to immerse themselves in discovering events across the saga’s eras — perhaps particularly between the original film trilogy and the latest instalment, Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Star Wars Battlefront II, the newest game, has sparked a heated debate among players, but not because of the storylines, fast-paced action, cutti...[Read More]

Here’s how a real lightsaber would fare in a Star Wars-style lightning attack

With the latest film in the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi, hitting cinemas this week, it got me thinking about the lightsaber – the iconic weapon of Jedi and Sith alike. Despite their name, these glowing blades would in fact be made of the stuff I research – a soup of charged particles called “plasma”. This is sometimes known as the “fourth state of matter” in addition to solids, liquids and gases...[Read More]

Lost Password