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Air taxis – why they’re no longer pie in the sky

Imagine a taxi service that picked you up (into the sky) and then dropped you off after an exciting journey, completely free of road works and traffic lights. It has been claimed that air taxis could be flying us through the air in just a few years’ time – and it’s true […]

Driverless cars may make you sick – but there’s a fix

Driverless cars will usher in a transport utopia, at least according to many of their proponents. Concept art for these futuristic vehicles often show passengers sat facing each other, reading, working or enjoying some other activity as their car does the driving for them. I would argue that one of the main attractions […]

How research is helping to reduce prejudice between people online

The internet often gets a bad rap, and for good reason. Social media use can contribute to poorer mental health in teens. It can also be used to manipulate users’ emotions, and to disseminate misinformation and click bait to sway public opinion. The internet is also home to countless online communities that have been founded on […]

Driving autonomous cars off the beaten path

Autonomous vehicles can follow the general rules of American roads, recognizing traffic signals and lane markings, noticing crosswalks and other regular features of the streets. But they work only on well-marked roads that are carefully scanned and mapped in advance. Many paved roads, though, have faded paint, signs obscured behind […]

Singles Day shows China’s global retail power

Nov. 11, or 11/11, has been celebrated as Singles Day – a sort of anti-Valentine’s Day for single people – since 1993. Chosen because its date has four ones in a row, the holiday originated in China and has become the largest shopping day of the year, in both online and offline […]

The argument from cyberspace for eliminating nuclear weapons

At the height of the Cold War in 1982, American psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton argued that the “central existential fact of the nuclear age is vulnerability.” That warning predated the proliferation of computers into almost every aspect of modern life, including nuclear weapons. Today, the destructiveness of nuclear weapons has […]

Bitcoin’s high energy consumption is a concern – but it may be a price worth paying

Bitcoin recently turned ten years old. In that time, it has proved revolutionary because it ignores the need for modern money’s institutions to verify payments. Instead, Bitcoin relies on cryptographic techniques to prove identity and authenticity. However, the price to pay for all of this innovation is a high carbon footprint, […]

Forget the ‘cloud’, soon we’ll be on the ‘edge’ when it comes to smart tech

Time travel to the UK in 2025: Harry is a teenager with a smartphone and Pauline is a senior citizen with Alzheimer’s who relies on smart glasses for independent living. Harry is frustrated his favourite online game is slow, and Pauline is anxious since her healthcare app is unresponsive. Forbes predicts that […]

Initiative Q is not the new Bitcoin, but here’s why the idea has value

Could free units of a new digital currency end up being worth thousands of dollars? Initiative Q, which is aggressively marketing itself on social media, wants you to think so. It urges you to sign up now, and get your friends to do so as well, to maximise the value […]

30 years ago, the world’s first cyberattack set the stage for modern cybersecurity challenges

Back in November 1988, Robert Tappan Morris, son of the famous cryptographer Robert Morris Sr., was a 20-something graduate student at Cornell who wanted to know how bigthe internet was – that is, how many devices were connected to it. So he wrote a program that would travel from computer to computer and ask […]

Illuminating the ‘dark web’

In the wake of recent violent events in the U.S., many people are expressing concern about the tone and content of online communications, including talk of the “dark web.” Despite the sinister-sounding phrase, there is not just one “dark web.” The term is actually fairly technical in origin, and is […]

Bitcoin turns ten – here’s how it all started and what the future might hold

A mysterious, anonymous entity known as “Satoshi Nakamoto” posted a white paper on October 31 2008 entitled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. It was the first time that the concept of Bitcoin entered the world. But outside of the cypherpunk mailing lists – those promoting the use of privacy-enhancing technology – this event […]

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