Ariadne

Thinking beyond the impossible burger

Robert Hickson Jul 12, 2018

The agricultural sector has long been called a “sunset industry”. If so, it’s more a long drawn out polar twilight than a quick tropical dusk. Rosie Bosworth has written about New Zealand becoming the ‘Detroit of Agriculture’. Scary stuff, for some. A welcome transformation for others, if you read the opinion pieces. But are predictions of the … Read More

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Jetpack joyrides

Robert Hickson Jun 19, 2018

The Jetpack has been a futuristic symbol of techno-utopia, and freedom, for a century. The first jetpack was conceived in 1919. It wasn’t until 1958, though, that the first working model was created. But they still seem further from general availability than the comparatively more pedestrian flying car, which I wrote about last year. There … Read More

Green sky thinking

Robert Hickson Apr 09, 2018

We are starting to see more scenarios about getting to a “decarbonised” future. One where greenhouse gas emissions are no longer a problem. Many scenarios are forgettable. The good ones have the power to create the change. Shell has added a new futures scenario, called Sky, to its New Lens scenario set. I think … Read More

Electric vehicles are their consequences

Robert Hickson Mar 25, 2018

Electric vehicles are increasingly popular, but for society they aren’t as simple as “plug ‘n drive”. Vector energy have produced a useful green paper on the implications of electric vehicles for NZ’s energy system I wrote last year about some of the issues facing a growing electric vehicle fleet here. Vector explores some of … Read More

Future foods of the dogs

Robert Hickson Mar 19, 2018

There has been quite a lot of fascination with lab-grown meats, such as the “impossible burger” [Correction: whoops, the impossible burger is, of course, made from plants. Wired has a recent article on the lab-grown kinds]. There is still a long way to go with them to become economically and gustatorily … Read More

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What can AI do right now?

Robert Hickson Mar 16, 2018

With all the hype and speculation about artificial intelligence it is nice to get some perspective on current applications. The site DeepIndex does this, recording 320 (and counting) reports of applications. They break this down into applications that are: “Crushing it” – meaning they are particularly successful, such as in playing the game Go Competent – perform … Read More

Little future houses on the prairie

Robert Hickson Mar 12, 2018

There’s plenty of innovative thinking around building houses, but less so about communities. I’ve been writing a series of blogs on the future of construction for the industry transformation initiative. They’ll be appearing on their website over the next few months. There’s a lot going on in the housing and construction field. It’s not just about increasing … Read More

Jobs of the future – landfill-worm riders vs truckers

Robert Hickson Feb 13, 2018

There’s a lot of effort going into anticipating the impact of automation on jobs. Some more useful than others. The World Economic Forum has (unintentionally it seems) inspired a Dune-like future occupation of “Landfill recycler”, where some poor person gets to ride a giant sandworm-like creation. I don’t see why you’d need a person for … Read More