Science & Technology

I Want the Future Back

But I still want my positive, teenage, view of the future back. Perhaps the notion that we are living at the ‘end of history’ has jaded many of us? Perhaps the small black mirror that we have in our hands is draining us of so much mental energy that we no longer bother to gaze up at the stars anymore and instead prefer the ethereal world that we have at our fingertips? (Read More)

Science & Technology

Is the Internet immoral?

A colleague recently described the internet as “immoral”. Some might think it is “amoral” – a neutral place, where it is we, human beings, decide whether it is good or bad. But this colleague was adamant. The internet, right from its very foundations (even deeper, from its roots) is substantially immoral. It’s bad, rotten to the core. That immorality may have been made in ignorance by its originators, or it may have been consciously chosen. So says my colleague. (Read More)

Science & Technology

Five new ways to think about privacy in social media

We have tended in recent years in the realm of social media to think of privacy as the opposite of transparency. Companies such as Facebook have espoused an ideology in favour of transparency. Whilst stating that privacy is a human right, they have mined our data in order to sell it to third parties and better “target” us with advertising. This is built on a basic business model of social media being free in return for access to this behavioural data. (Read More)

Business & Economy

Apple – Genuinely Happy 40th Birthday or Looming Mid-life Crisis?

The ripe old age of 40 is often a time to reflect on your success in life, either looking ahead to more of the same or beginning to worry that the next forty years might be a road downhill. So is Apple set to hold on to its position as the world’s most profitable public company , or is it about to enter its own mid-life crisis, facing stagnant mediocrity, grey hair and the label “has-been”?
(Read More)

Science & Technology

Snooping digitally creates a toxic silence

Managers and bosses now have the right to snoop digitally on their staff. They might just find that the transparency they think they have won leads to a deeper transparency flying out of the office windows as people zip up, minimise and, more dangerously, take the conversations underground. We then end up with a kind of toxic silence. (Read More)

Science & Technology

What if our children are the screen-obsessed couch potatoes of the future?

The idea of “digital addiction” has returned to the fore with UCL researchers suggesting physical activity should displace the compulsive watching of television, internet surfing and video gaming. Often it’s suggested that at least gaming is more active and engaged than merely passively watching television, but the UCL study’s authors regard gaming as “just a different way of sitting down and relaxing”. (Read More)

Science & Technology

Paul Levy | Fry quitting Twitter is part of a larger social media problem

Likes come very cheap, and, as things stand on most social media platforms, there is no dislike button. So likes tend to be thumbs up, love hearts and instant one liner “amazing”s. Negative reaction tends to be phrase-based, even paragraph-based, is more elaborate and often experienced as more of an attack. I have written about how this can get quickly descend into chat rage as comments get out of hand and the subject of the reaction can feel threatened and attacked from all sides. (Read More)

Environment & Energy

COP21 in review: A scientific viewpoint

These are three of the main components of the Paris deal so why is the language quite so vague? Most likely it is because producing clear legislation that, in some cases is legally binding, for dates that are often decades into the future is extremely difficult. (Read More)

Science & Technology

Geological time: It’s a big deal

Imagine the Earth was 45 years old, not 4.5 billion. On this timescale the dinosaurs died out 8 months ago; the first humans evolved just yesterday; agriculture only began within the last hour and the industrial revolution happened just one minute ago.
(Read More)

Photograph: Pexels
Science & Technology

Your digital devices are watching and listening to you

Samsung has advised users of its televisions not to speak aloud in front of it! I’m serious. Specifically the corporation suggested not speaking personal information aloud. You see the device, which can be voice activated, is in a constant start of alertness, ready for your command. It is recording all you say and, according to Samsung (as reported by the BBC), “Such TV sets “listen” to every conversation held in front of them and may share any details they hear with Samsung or third parties”. (Read More)