We Don’t Need Elon Musk For An Innovative Tech Industry

We all know that organisations are made up of many people, so why is it that the leaders get all the credit and most of the cash? In the Iron Man films, Tony Stark, the president of Stark Industries, is presented as a wild innovator and technological genius. He swipes at virtual screens, cuts and…

How Ancient Cultures Explained Comets and Meteors

Comets and meteors have fascinated the human race since they were first spotted in the night sky. But without science and space exploration to aid understanding of what these chunks of rock and ice are, ancient cultures often turned to myth and legend to explain them. The Greeks and Romans believed that the appearance of…

Can a Hacker Stop Your Car Or Your Heart? Security and the Internet of Things

An ever-increasing number of our consumer electronics is internet-connected. We’re living at the dawn of the age of the Internet of Things. Appliances ranging from light switches and door locks, to cars and medical devices boast connectivity in addition to basic functionality. The convenience can’t be beat. But what are the security and privacy implications?…

Deepfakes: What Fairies and Aliens Can Teach Us About Fake Videos

“Deepfake” is the name being given to videos created through artificially intelligent deep learning techniques. Also referred to as “face-swapping”, the process involves inputting a source video of a person into a computer, and then inputting multiple images and videos of another person. The neural network then learns the movements and expressions of the person in the source video in order to map the other’s image onto it to look as if they are carrying out the speech or act.

How a Changing Landscape and Climate Shaped Early Humans

It should not be a surprise that East Africa was a hotbed of evolution, because over the last five million years everything about the landscape has changed. The extraordinary forces of plate tectonics and a changing climate have transformed East Africa from a relatively flat, forested region to a mountainous fragmented landscape dominated by the…

Rise of the Machines: How Computers Could Control Our Lives

Predicting the future is a risky business. If it wasn’t, we’d all be very wealthy by now. The Danish physicist Neils Bohr famously opined: “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future”. Despite this, I confidently predict that machines will come to run our lives. And I’m not alone in this view. US mathematician Claude…

AI: There’s a Reason It’s So Bad At Conversation

“I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get that.” Anyone who has ever tried to have a deeper conversation with a virtual assistant like Siri knows how frustrating it can be. That’s despite the fact that AI systems like it are increasingly pushing into our lives, with new success stories on an almost daily basis. Not only…

In 1968, Computers Got Personal: How The ‘Mother of all Demos’ Changed The World

On a crisp California afternoon in early December 1968, a square-jawed, mild-mannered Stanford researcher named Douglas Engelbart took the stage at San Francisco’s Civic Auditorium and proceeded to blow everyone’s mind about what computers could do. Sitting down at a keyboard, this computer-age Clark Kent calmly showed a rapt audience of computer engineers how the…