We

"Those two, in paradise were given a choice: happiness without freedom, or freedom without happiness. There was no alternative." - We I'm really enjoying retro-science fiction at the moment. The ideas imagined in science fiction of years past planted seeds in more practical minds who went on to shape the future that we live in … Continue reading We

Cat's cradle

Cat’s Cradle

"What could possibly go wrong?" The more I read and learn about science and technology, the more often I think that we don't give enough attention to that question: What. Could. Go. Wrong. Most technology is dangerous in the wrong hands, and as technology becomes more powerful, the what could go wrong  is only escalating. … Continue reading Cat’s Cradle

I don’t like the look of your face

There is a problem with automated governance and outsourcing decision making to artificial intelligence. And that problem is probability. And the probable problem at hand is that the innocent are flagged as guilty, the right candidates flagged as wrong, at an unacceptably high probability. As we use - even highly reliable - automated systems such … Continue reading I don’t like the look of your face

Build Your Own Body Parts – A Brave New World Indeed

The Brave New World conference took place in the Netherlands this week. One of the biggest ideas on display was that of bio-organic, 3D printed body parts. Yes, 3D body parts have been around for a while. The list of replacement cells, arteries and organs scientists can design and manufacture is an impressive, growing one. The … Continue reading Build Your Own Body Parts – A Brave New World Indeed

The Emperor Has No Clothes

In Hans Christian Anderson's famous tail, The Emperor's New Clothes, a vain ruler is tricked by a pair or shrewd  into walking around naked, in the belief that he was wearing clothes so fine and luxurious that only those with exquisite taste could see them. Today, we are all close to sharing that Emperor's delusions. … Continue reading The Emperor Has No Clothes

Cheek to cheek, brain to brain

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOYzFKizikU Dancing cheek to cheek may have been "the" way to get close to someone's thoughts back in Fred Astaire's day, but these days you can literally get into someone else's head. Matrix-style brain-to-brain internet (aka the Internet of People) is here. Mind reading? No problem! Japanese scientists can now de-code your thoughts into visuals that … Continue reading Cheek to cheek, brain to brain

Procreative Freedom vs Genetic Inequality

“You can’t really put a lid on it, even if you wanted to” ~ Dr Jennifer Doudna, CRISPR researcher As always, the dichotomy between freedom and equality threatens to split humanity. This time though, I'm not talking about economic freedom vs economic equality; that good old battle between free market "monopoly capitalists" and their arch … Continue reading Procreative Freedom vs Genetic Inequality

The Order of Time

Things are transformed one into another according to necessity, and render justice to one another according to the order of time. ~ Anaximander The Order of Time is a mind-expanding little book. Part physics, part philosophy, the book is packed with strange and wonderful ideas about how the very fabric of the universe works and … Continue reading The Order of Time

Sophia the Robot’s getting upstaged by a younger hotter fembot (just like a real woman)

Shame. It looks like Sophia the Robot's five minutes of fame as the world's favourite fembot drawing to a close, as a younger, sexier, humanoid fembot, who goes by the name of Ms. Erica Aoi, takes center stage. Erica, who is fully humanoid, just landed a plum job as a news anchor at Nippon Television Network … Continue reading Sophia the Robot’s getting upstaged by a younger hotter fembot (just like a real woman)

Our disappearing, digitised civilisation

"I still have 100s of computer programs I wrote for ZX Spectrum from 1983-85 that are on magnetic cassette tapes melting again in my attic, inc my 'chatbot,' and other programs from 1985-87 stored on an 8" magnetic reel. All less readable already than Egyptian hieroglyphics." I D Pearson There are now around 1.8 billion photographs taken … Continue reading Our disappearing, digitised civilisation