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Archive: Ariadne April 2012

NZTech suggest a Ministry of the Future

Robert Hickson May 24, 2017

NZTech have promoted the creation of a Ministry of the Future in their 2017 Manifesto “New Zealand’s Digital Future“. As a country, we need to wholeheartedly embrace this change, installing a dedicated Ministry of the Future, and Chief Technology Officer, to consider the implications of change across social, economic, educational and all other areas of policy.   … Read More

The autonomous state

Robert Hickson May 01, 2017

The biggest fear of artificial intelligence is usually it getting smart enough to get rid of humans. But what if one of the biggest threats is regulating us to death, or at least to subservience? “Efficiency and effectiveness” is a common refrain from those advocating the use of artificial intelligence in government. There is certainly plenty of … Read More

The flying car, nearly here?

Robert Hickson Apr 21, 2017

A small German-based company, Lilium, has announced that they have successfully tested an electric “flying car”. A ducted fan mini-plane really.   Others are also looking at developing small air-borne taxis. But Lilium is the first to have a working prototype. Initially piloted, but Lilium hopes it can become autonomous and able to be summoned using a smart … Read More

Hoppy meals

Robert Hickson Apr 20, 2017

Here’s a weak signal associated with changing dietary habits. Grasshoppers were on the menu at a Major League Baseball game in the US recently. At a Seattle Mariners vs Astros game six kilos of spicy grasshoppers sold out. I wrote in October in more detail about some of the trends and challenges associated with traditional western food consumption. Read More

Foresight as a gravitational force

Robert Hickson Mar 21, 2017

Jonathan Boston, of Victoria University, is launching two books this week on anticipatory governance. These are based on his study tour looking at how other governments look ahead. One, Safeguarding the future, from Bridget Williams Books is an extended précis of his larger Governing for the future. Jonathan notes New Zealand and many other governments have … Read More

Send lawyers, bots, and money

Robert Hickson Mar 14, 2017

The bank JP Morgan Chase & Co. has used machine learning to complete some mundane tasks (such as interpreting commercial-loan agreements) in “… a matter of seconds”  that would normally take 360,000 human hours. It also reduced the number of mistakes. Many legal firms (and banks) are investing in artificial intelligence (AI) to take over routine tasks. Including … Read More

The internet of predatory things

Robert Hickson Mar 05, 2017

My first job after completing my Bachelor’s was tracking and trapping rats on Stewart Island. Decades later, the tools and approaches for mammalian pest control have progressed; better lures, traps and poisons. But not so much. Particularly if you compare how the field of genetics has changed over the same time; from laborious manual DNA sequencing to high-speed automation. The … Read More

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Autonomous beasts and where to find them

Robert Hickson Mar 02, 2017

Seeing Boston Dynamics’ latest robot “Handle” got me thinking about the diversity of other autonomous (or nearly so) robots that have appeared over the last few years.   I’ve previously noted the prediction of a robotic “Cambrian explosion”. We aren’t at that stage yet, but it is interesting to look at the variety “out” there. Though mostly … Read More

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