How to kill your tech industry

How to kill your tech industry Martin Skøtt, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/skoett/4182370780
​ If the incredible rise of computing is one of the biggest stories of the twentieth century, then the failure of the nation that invented the electronic computer to capitalize on it is undoubtedly one of history's most important cautionary tales. In 1944, Britain led the world in electronic computing. The top-secret codebreaking computers that the...
Continue reading

Web Curios 05/10/18

Web Curios 05/10/18
Were I a different type of writer, making an unsuccessful pitch for a scriptwriting gig on a mid-level Radio 4 topical comedy show, I’d probably open by making some poorly structured and slightly hackneyed gag about October’s arrival, noticing a chill in the air, and OH LOOK IT’S THE COLD WAR AGAIN. Thankfully for all of you, I am...
Continue reading

Regulate social media? It’s a bit more complicated than that

Regulate social media? It’s a bit more complicated than that
Free speech is a key aspect of the internet, but it has become increasingly obvious that many online will push that freedom to extremes, leaving website comment sections, Twitter feeds and Facebook groups awash with racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise unpalatable opinions and vitriolic views, and obscene or shocking images or videos. The border...
Continue reading

Burger King gives AI a chance of creativity; fails beautifully

Burger King gives AI a chance of creativity; fails beautifully
Ever one to differentiate, Burger King has unleashed what it calls "high-end computing resources and big data" to write some TV ads. The results are beautifully horrifying. In the ad  ​"Chicken fries beat potato loser" ​, the robotic voiceover says:  "Burger King's new chicken fries are the new potato.  We are not sorry, the potato d...
Continue reading

How to teach a robot to make the bed

How to teach a robot to make the bed Jaymantri
Robots, as we know, are extremely good at menial tasks which require systematic completion. As such, they are perfect for putting bolts into a car, processing tickets, or tasks within software. However, when such menality requires a bit of creativity, it can be a challenge. Enter a project entitled  Deep Transfer Learning Using Depth Sensing o...
Continue reading

​Tech-free tourism: the rise of digital detox holidays

​Tech-free tourism: the rise of digital detox holidays Scottish Highlands, Eberhard Grossgasteiger
For years, experts in science and mental health have warned about the damaging effects of too much screen time . But how harmful are our s martphone s , tablet s , laptop s, and television s , and what can we do to reduce our reliance on technology in 2018 ? One solution that has gained momentum is the 'digital detox holiday'. A digital detox is es...
Continue reading

Mayfly is given a delicate video

Mayfly is given a delicate video
Cologne-based artistic collective GradeDie have been in touch to tell us about their new video for recording duo  Alice Rose & Moniko. The work has been produced by Lenny Grade and Catrin Mackowski. It’s a pretty, delicate video using glitch techniques and oodles of text floating over silhouttes. The single, Mayfly , also comes with a prin...
Continue reading

Technology dominates our lives. That’s why we should teach human rights law to software engineers

Technology dominates our lives. That’s why we should teach human rights law to software engineers
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is finding its way into more and more aspects of our daily lives. It powers the smart assistants on our mobile phones and virtual "home assistants". It is in the algorithms designed to improve our health diagnostics. And it is used in the predictive policing tools used by the police to fight crime. Each of these example...
Continue reading

Web Curios 28/09/18

Web Curios 28/09/18
​ HELLO I AM BACK DID YOU MISS ME HELLO! Don't, please, answer that; I've had a lovely fortnight off, ignoring the internet and swimming and eating sea urchin (Jesus, so much sea urchin, so many lovely gonads) and meeting excellent cats and generally horsing around, and to be honest your crushing indifference to mine and Web Curios' return might ju...
Continue reading

Netiquette: a timely reminder

Netiquette: a timely reminder Newsweek, May 1993
Those of you with memories of Internet culture in the 1990s will no doubt recall Netiquette . This is a term which, at the time, was used almost universally to onboard new users. Guides were published - in print, of course - of how to behave when sending an email, when on Usenet or IRC, and when generally surfing the information superhighway. (Inci...
Continue reading

Datavized and Google launch interactive dataviz tool

Datavized and Google launch interactive dataviz tool
With support from Google’s News Initiative, Datavized has launched Morph , a free data visualisation application which can produce some genuinely stunning results. Here’s a video on how it works.  Datavized itself is a rather talented company. Its three employees are New School lecturer and marketing consultant Debra Anderson; Yale n...
Continue reading

I want to believe: the Met Breuer uncovers the deep links between art and conspiracy

I want to believe: the Met Breuer uncovers the deep links between art and conspiracy Government of California, Peter Saul, 1969. Image c/o Met Breuer
Given our current landscape of fake news, alternative facts, and all manner of misinformation and paranoia, it seems alarmingly prescient for it to only have been 2010 when curator Doug Eklund first brought up the possibility of curating a show on art and conspiracy with the late iconoclast Mike Kelley. Inspired by a 1991 conversation between Kelle...
Continue reading

Laura-Jane Foley: my favourite work of art

Laura-Jane Foley: my favourite work of art
It was George Bernard Shaw who said "without art, the crudeness of reality  would make the world unbearable." And the world does seem pretty unbearable  at the moment. Faced at all turns with conversations about the bitterly divisive  Brexit or the vulgarity of Trump, I wanted to move away from the "crudeness of  reality" and pu...
Continue reading

Morphing service anonymises faces for passports, while retaining their legitimacy

Morphing service anonymises faces for passports, while retaining their legitimacy
Mask ID from Berlin-based group Peng Collective is rather ingenious: it creates new faces built out of “real” ones submitted to a database, which are valid for passports. The idea is this. By combining your face with others in Peng’s database, you have a passport-ready photo which is technically, but not physically, both you and someone else. It me...
Continue reading

The ‘real you’ is a myth – we constantly create false memories to achieve the identity we want

The ‘real you’ is a myth – we constantly create false memories to achieve the identity we want Bill Knock, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/billknock/40496009774/
We all want other people to "get us" and appreciate us for who we really are. In striving to achieve such relationships, we typically assume that there is a "real me". But how do we actually know who we are? It may seem simple – we are a product of our life experiences, which we can be easily accessed through our memories of the past. Indeed, subst...
Continue reading

The development of coffee machine design

The development of coffee machine design
Down the years, the way we brew our coffee has changed considerably, and each new style has seemed to mirror the age to which it belongs. The development of coffee machine design is an informative story of innovation, so let's have a closer look at the major stages of its progression. The percolator If you grew up before the 70s, you may ...
Continue reading

Justin Kirby: the ‘why’ factor of content

Justin Kirby: the ‘why’ factor of content Justin Kirby
"Content marketing" feels like a new industry based on new terminology, but the reality is anything but. Brands, publishers and people have communicated themselves with engaging content for centuries. But, what exactly is content marketing, how does it differ from other forms of marketing and communication, and should it be treated differently – an...
Continue reading

Stuart Goulden: liberating video production

Stuart Goulden: liberating video production
Every brand holds an inherent drama. Unlock it and you have your USP. Share it and you  have the start of a good story. Whilst the truths behind every engaging narrative are the same today as they've always  been, digital has blown content creation wide open. Nowhere is this being felt more than  video. The average person now watches...
Continue reading

Building bicycles for our minds

Building bicycles for our minds Dion Raftapoulous, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/132496393@N02/32239815432/
Technology has a hole in it, I can feel it. Something isn't right and while the current era of technology platforms feels like it has reached its zenith, there is something missing from the way many people are talking about the future. We have 2.5 billion smartphone users today — each of whom has access to all the knowledge of the world — yet these...
Continue reading

Digital twins and digital doubles: populating our virtual worlds

Digital twins and digital doubles: populating our virtual worlds Liebslakritze, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/8069051@N06/15945845318
Years ago when I worked in the semiconductor crystal growth industry, we had a frequent problem with crystal defects that occurred, seemingly at random, during a multi-day growth process. These defects caused total failure of the greater than $80,000 single crystal. One of my proposed solutions was to create a dynamic computer model of the whole sy...
Continue reading