The Conversation, Author at Stuff

The Conversation

With USB-C, even plugging in can set you up to be hacked

Plugging in the power – or at least what you think is power – to a USB-C powered laptop can connect your computer, and the valuable personal data on it, directly to hackers. Your personal financial information, passwords and documents stored on the laptop could help a cybercriminal steal your identity. […]

New Apple Watch adds heart tracking: here’s why we should welcome ECG for everyone

Leaked details of the new iPhone models were quickly relegated to second tier headlines after Apple’s latest product announcement. More people seem to be excited about the fact that the new Apple Watch will come with a built-in heart monitoring electrocardiogram (ECG) function. An ECG is a simple test that can be used to check […]

Do you ‘zombie check’ your phone? How new tools can help you control technology over-use

Technology has undoubtedly become essential for productivity and communication in our professional and personal lives. However, the most prominent reason users of all ages reach for their device is not to work, but to “zombie check”. These are the unthinking times you use your device throughout the day to avoid boredom. For example, […]

AI: there’s a reason it’s so bad at conversation

“I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get that.” Anyone who has ever tried to have a deeper conversation with a virtual assistant like Siri knows how frustrating it can be. That’s despite the fact that AI systems like it are increasingly pushing into our lives, with new success stories on an […]

Big Tech is overselling AI as the solution to online extremism

In mid-September the European Union threatened to fine the Big Tech companies if they did not remove terrorist content within one hour of appearing online. The change came because rising tensions are now developing and being played out on social media platforms. Social conflicts that once built up in backroom meetings and […]

Potholes: how engineers are working to fill in the gaps

Potholes are a perennial problem. They are dangerous to road users, and the damage they cause to vehicles can be hugely expensive. The cost of repairing them is also vast. But still they appear, and reappear, in countless places. So why do these pesky crevices pose such a difficult challenge? And […]

Digital government isn’t working in the developing world. Here’s why

The digital transformation of society has brought many immediate benefits: it’s created new jobs and services, boosted efficiency and promoted innovation. But when it comes to improving the way we govern, the story is not that simple. It seems reasonable to imagine introducing digital information and communication technologies into public […]

British Airways hacking: how not to respond to a cyber attack

Chaos appears to reign at British Airways, where hackers stole the details of around 380,000 customer bookings. There have been some poor responses to cyber attacks on major companies in the past, but the airline’s actions in this case could be one of weakest in recent history. Part of this may […]

A nostalgic journey through the evolution of web design

The World Wide Web was invented almost 30 years ago by Tim Berners Lee to help people easily share information around the world. Over the following decades, it has changed significantly – both in terms of design and functionality, as well its deeper role in modern society. Just as the architectural style […]

AI has already been weaponised – and it shows why we should ban ‘killer robots’

A dividing line is emerging in the debate over so-called killer robots. Many countries want to see new international law on autonomous weapon systems that can target and kill people without human intervention. But those countries already developing such weapons are instead trying to highlight their supposed benefits. I witnessed […]

Fax machines and coffee pots – the surprising ways you could be hacked

Hopefully you protect your computers from cyber attacks. You might have anti-virus software on your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop. You might avoid using them to visit suspicious websites and carefully protect your various login details. But it’s no longer just what we typically think of as computers that are […]

How an app is helping to collect genetic data in Ethiopia and Ghana

Genetic technologies are poised to change the world. Want to eradicate a human disease such as cystic fibrosis or improve a person’s ability to run impossible distances or lift unimaginable weights? This may be possible in the future by using something called CRISPR to edit an organism’s genetic makeup. How about rapidly […]

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