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The Conversation

Hollywood 360: how virtual reality is poised to take on the traditional movie industry

The Lawnmower Man was the first feature film to depict a new type of technology that enabled characters to explore synthetic, simulated worlds through an emerging new medium called virtual reality (VR). That was 1992. Using head-mounted displays (HMD) the size of crash helmets and gloves with sensors, VR users were experiencing computer-generated environments and stories in new ways. Through the i...[Read More]

Wearable technologies help Olympians achieve top performance

As Fitbits and other wearable activity monitors change how regular people exercise and track their activity, they’re having similar effects on how Olympians train and recover between workouts. It’s long been common for coaches to use video cameras to show athletes what their form and movements look like, to track progress, and to fine-tune exactly the right technique for, say, taking off for a jum...[Read More]

Gaming addiction as a mental disorder: it’s premature to pathologise players

Gaming addiction is expected to be classified as a mental disorder by the World Health Organisation (WHO) but – while concerns over the addictive properties of video games are reasonable – there is a lack of rigorous research to back it up. Video games played on smartphones, tablets, computers and consoles have been a popular form of leisure for some time now. In Europe, recent figures indicate th...[Read More]

Do we want to live in a world where our ‘best friends’ are AI chatbots?

Before the internet, before smart phones, teenagers and young people would seek out quizzes in comics, read problem pages in girls magazines and watch television for advice on how to be themselves. Young people would share a love of pop stars, fashion and musical trends with each other in attempt to find an identity as they were growing up. Today, we are reportedly in times of extended adolescence...[Read More]

Apple HomePod is already losing the smart speaker battle

The war for your digital home is waging. Apple has finally followed Amazon, Google and Microsoft by launching a smart speaker with a voice-controlled artificial intelligence assistant. Yet even though the “HomePod” is another technological marvel, there’s a chance Apple is already losing the battle. The competition isn’t just through the sound quality of the speaker – but the other things that use...[Read More]

Smartphone data tracking is more than creepy – here’s why you should be worried

Smartphones rule our lives. Having information at our fingertips is the height of convenience. They tell us all sorts of things, but the information we see and receive on our smartphones is just a fraction of the data they generate. By tracking and monitoring our behaviour and activities, smartphones build a digital profile of shockingly intimate information about our personal lives. These records...[Read More]

Are autonomous cars really safer than human drivers?

Much of the push toward self-driving cars has been underwritten by the hope that they will save lives by getting involved in fewer crashes with fewer injuries and deaths than human-driven cars. But so far, most comparisons between human drivers and automated vehicles have been at best uneven, and at worst, unfair. The statistics measuring how many crashes occur are hard to argue with: More than 90...[Read More]

Explainer: how Facebook has become the world’s largest echo chamber

I began my research career in the last century with an analysis of how news organisations were adapting to this strange new thing called “the Internet”. Five years later I signed up for Twitter and, a year after that, for Facebook. Now, as it celebrates its 14th birthday, Facebook is becoming ubiquitous, and its usage and impact is central to my (and many others’) research. In 2017 the social netw...[Read More]

Elon Musk is launching a Tesla into space – here’s how SpaceX will do it

Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket is scheduled for launch on February 6, and the entire space industry is watching with anticipation. Aiming for first flight of Falcon Heavy on Feb 6 from Apollo launchpad 39A at Cape Kennedy. Easy viewing from the public causeway. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 27, 2018 What is so special about this rocket? This vehicle will be the first of its kind, t...[Read More]

How Facebook could really fix itself

Facebook has a world of problems. Beyond charges of Russian manipulation and promoting fake news, the company’s signature social media platform is under fire for being addictive, causing anxiety and depression, and even instigating human rights abuses. Company founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he wants to win back users’ trust. But his company’s efforts so far have ignored the root causes of th...[Read More]

Strava storm: why everyone should check their smart gear security settings before going for a jog

Fitness tracking app Strava recently kicked off a privacy and security storm after it was revealed that its software had potentially exposed the location of secret military bases, courtesy of a data visualisation tool called a “heatmap”. The heatmap was created to depict the activities of Strava users across the globe. But while it’s a great idea in general (and quite a nice heatmap), a closer ins...[Read More]

Cyber peacekeeping is integral in an era of cyberwar – here’s why

Cyber warfare is upon us, from interference in elections to a leak of cyber weapons from a national stockpile. And, as with most evolutions in warfare, the world is largely unprepared. Cyber peacekeeping presents significant challenges, which we explore in our research. Any theatre of war now includes cyberspace. It has been used in targeted attacks to disable an adversary’s capabilities, such as ...[Read More]

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