AI, Robotics, and the Future of Jobs Robert Hickson Aug 12

The respectable research group Pew Research has, as part of its “Future of the Internet Project”, just released a report on how robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) may affect the future of jobs. AI is already starting to write well, and the founders of Google think there is a lot more to come. Others are [...]

Robots and the elderly Robert Hickson Jul 01

In the movie Robot and Frank children give their old dad a robot to help look after him because they don’t want to, or can’t. That’s a scenario some see as more and more likely. New Zealand’s population, like many others in the west, is projected over the next few decades to have a substantial fraction [...]

Life, extended Robert Hickson Jun 07

Myths and legends, as well as more recent stories, have cautionary tales about those seeking immortality. But there are still those who long not just for a few more years of life, but decades extra before shuffling off this mortal coil. There seems plenty going on in the life extension world at the moment. Some [...]

Signs from the near future Robert Hickson May 20

A tumblr site called Signs from the near future by Fernando Barbella imagines what technologies may be widely used not so long from now. Its cleverly done, and gets you thinking. Although the strapline “We better get used to them …” implies a lack of control or choice, which I hope won’t be the case. The Verge [...]

The “Bionic Olympics” 2016 Robert Hickson May 15

The Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research Robotics has announced it will be holding a Cyberathlon in October 2016. (The BBC has a brief synopsis - the Cyberathlon site can bring up security certificate warnings). Its open to those with arm or leg prosthetics, as well as wheel-chair bound athletes and those with exoskeletons. There’s also a [...]

Counting sheep scenarios Robert Hickson May 14

I’ve just come across this research project – Counting sheep - being run by Anne Galloway at Victoria University’s School of Design. It is exploring how cultural studies and design research could support public engagement on the development & use of science and technology. In a post last year I had asked if any NZ design [...]

A myopic vision of the future Robert Hickson May 05

The New York Times has a disappointing short article/graphic titled “A vision of the future from those likely to invent it“. Disappointing because they interview only 7 people, all from/associated with Silicon Valley, who are supposedly “driving the technological transformation”. Sure the internet is likely to have a large role in our future lives, but [...]

Future war & peace Robert Hickson Apr 29

While this past weekend the country has looked back on wars past, what of the future of war? There are two questions here – will there be wars in the future, and if so, how will they be fought? Armed conflicts have been declining (both in terms of number of wars and casualties) over recent [...]

Nuclear manoeuvres Robert Hickson Apr 13

Is the world moving toward a nuclear power renaissance? The following chart from Technology Review shows that while traditional nuclear energy nations are scaling back, others are building nuclear power plants. Japan is moving to reactivate nuclear plants , although the opposition political party wants to phase them out. China in particular is going nuclear gangbusters, to [...]

Fuel from water? Robert Hickson Apr 10

Will we shortly be able to stop drilling oil and get fuels straight from the water around us? That’s been promoted for many decades now, but we may be getting closer. The US Naval Research Lab announced this week that they have a way of converting carbon dioxide and hydrogen from seawater into hydrocarbon fuels. [...]

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