Technology

Cyborg bugs - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Feb 10, 2017

Here’s a sci-fi scenario that may become reality: genetically modified cyborgs susceptible to mind control. That’s the plan for a collaboration between engineering R&D firm Draper and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  They are focusing on dragonflies, and using optogenetics so that their movements can be controlled by light. The techniques and technologies are there, … Read More

Theoretical physicist Brian Greene is heading our way - Griffin's Gadgets

Peter Griffin Feb 02, 2017

Famed physicist Brain Greene visits Auckland next month in one of numerous events scheduled by leading personalities from the world of science. One of the world’s leading science communicators, Professor Greene will explore string theory, mathematical physics and cosmology in his popular A Time Traveller’s Tale lecture and audience Q&A. The Columbia University … Read More

Why we need to go back to the future (and give it a name) - Stick

Peter Kerr Feb 01, 2017

Here’s a counter-intuitive notion, that if we’re smart, could allow our ‘analogue’ agricultural systems to thrive in a digital world. But to do so we MUST own our story. My contention is, the more society connects to the cloud, the more we will want to connect to the land. That is, as virtual and artificial becomes ubiquitous and cheaper, the … Read More

Computer games - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Jan 31, 2017

Another one bites the dust. Libratus, an artificial intelligence program from Carnegie Mellon University has beaten four top Texas Hold’em poker players in a series of two player games over the last three weeks. That’s big news because unlike chess and go, poker playing relies on incomplete information. And you have to decide when to bet, and how much. Read More

What’s around the corner? Sciblogs Horizon Scan - News

John Kerr Jan 30, 2017

What does the future hold in store for New Zealand science? What are the big issues our small, isolated country will face in a world of accelerating change? Over last two weeks we’ve seen some excellent commentary from New Zealand researchers contributing to our Sciblogs Horizon Scan special series. We asked experts across the spectrum of New Zealand science to … Read More

Citizen Thiel and ‘seasteading’ - The Dismal Science

Eric Crampton Jan 27, 2017

A new year brings a new New Zealand media and Twitter zeitgeist, thanks to the revelation that US tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel is a New Zealand citizen. Tired: Low-skilled immigrants from China and the Pacific are ruining our economy. They’re hurting New Zealand’s productivity stats, they’re making New Zealand a low-wage economy, and they’re stealing all the houses. We need … Read More

‘Smart robots’ and the law - Guest Work

Guest Work Jan 22, 2017

By Associate Professor Colin Gavaghan, Director of the New Zealand Law Foundation Centre for Law and Policy in Emerging Technologies, University of Otago The European Parliament’s Draft Report on Robotics has certainly captured the public imagination, and it’s easy to see why. Proposals about ‘smart robots,’ ‘robot killswitches’ and ‘electronic persons’ perfectly capture the zeitgeist, where talk of … Read More

Thinking about machines that “Think” - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Jan 19, 2017

The biggest futurist thing for me this last year has been the progress and hype around artificial intelligence. Three quotes encapsulate the current state of artificial intelligence, and aspects of its future over the short term. Stephen Hawking made a Dickensian AI gambit with his quote:  Artificial Intelligence is “either the … Read More

Filing research papers and web browsing: Zotero, Zotfile and Vivaldi - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Jan 18, 2017

Three free tools for filing research papers and browsing the web. If you’re in research—be it scientific work, writing a book, or similar—you’ll be spending a lot of time gathering material on-line and filing it. There are a lot of tools out there, and everyone has their favourites. Let me introduce three I use … Read More

The “Great Acceleration” is cause for great concern. - Guest Work

Guest Work Jan 18, 2017

By Prof Ralph E H Sims, Massey University, Palmerston North The future for secure and peaceful human life on our planet is under threat. A wide range of socio-economic indicators that illustrate global growth parameters from 1750 to 2010 confirm the rapid acceleration that has become particularly evident over the past six decades as world population … Read More