Technology

Pick a path - FutureworkNZ

Guest Author Jun 13, 2019

Dave Heatley Technology is an irresistible force, emerging from inventors and relentlessly changing the nature of work and society. Or at least that’s the way it is often portrayed. You can see this in the titles of books about technology, including Average is Over and Race Against the Machine. But do … Read More

The mothers of invention - FutureworkNZ

Guest Author Jun 10, 2019

Dave Heatley Necessity is the mother of invention if camping without tent pegs, according to Kinley Salmon in his very readable book Jobs, robots & us. But the development and diffusion of innovation is a more complex story. Economists came rather late to the thinking about what influences technological innovation. The … Read More

The problem of knowing when a lunar year begins and ends - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Jun 05, 2019

The Islamic fast of Ramadan has come to an end, marking the beginning of the tenth month of the religion’s twelve-lunation year and therefore Eid al-Fidr, the ‘Festival of Breaking the Fast’. How the decision is made when each of those months begins and ends depends upon the actual sighting of the crescent new moon in the sky, a highly-complicated … Read More

The 250th anniversary of Cook’s observation of the transit of Venus - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Jun 02, 2019

On June 3rd occurs the 250th anniversary of the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun, the observation of which was the prime purpose behind the expedition of HM Bark Endeavour to the South Pacific, under the command of Lieutenant James Cook. Following the measurements of the transit made by Cook and the mission’s scientists in Tahiti, the … Read More

Are ‘dumped’ workers pressured into ‘rebound’ jobs in NZ? - FutureworkNZ

Guest Author May 30, 2019

Tim Maddock    Are fast rates of re-employment always a good thing? New Zealand’s incidence of long-term unemployment is very low compared to other OECD countries. And, according to data from 2003-10, New Zealanders who lose their jobs involuntarily regain employment quickly, by international standards. But is the story actually all that rosy? Could people be choosing to take … Read More

The Great Eclipse of 1919 - Out of Space

Duncan Steel May 29, 2019

Measurements of photographs obtained during the total solar eclipse of 29th May 1919 were pivotal in demonstrating the veracity of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, turning him into a household name. The centenary of that event is now upon us, and well worthy of being remembered.  As I sit here typing on my keyboard, my favourite photo showing myself and … Read More

Call for independent watchdog to monitor NZ government use of artificial intelligence - Guest Work

Guest Author May 27, 2019

John Zerilli, University of Otago and Colin Gavaghan, University of Otago New Zealand is a leader in government use of artificial intelligence (AI). It is part of a global network of countries that use predictive algorithms in government decision making, for anything from the optimal scheduling of public hospital beds to whether an offender should … Read More

Game of Futures - Ariadne

Robert Hickson May 27, 2019

No one needs telling that the Future is Coming. But there are different perspectives and attitudes toward it. Some see the future as “dark and full of terrors” – The machines are taking over; Democracy is dying; We are doomed! Others see nothing but light – Technological utopianism; Singularities; Becoming an interplanetary species; Or a delight for … Read More