Posted by Alex Warren on Apr 28, 2015
Google is a creepy organisation.
I don’t know whether it’s their satellite-imaging program, their 1000-acre data farms, or maybe their army of Terminator-style military robots; all I know is, Google creeps me out.
While all of these initiatives are points for concern, there is one area of Google’s business that goes above and beyond when it comes to unsettlingly activity — the mysteriously named Google DeepMind.
Described by one investor as a “Manhattan project” for artificial intelligence, DeepMind is one of those fascinating, yet weirdly unnerving projects that seems to thrive in secrecy. Everything about it screams sci-fi cult. From its oddly Orwellian name through to its ambiguous mission statement (“to solve intelligence”), DeepMind can’t help but come across as a bit sinister.
So what do we actually know about this mysterious project?
For starters we know that DeepMind started life as a London-based artificial intelligence firm. Founded in 2011, DeepMind was the brainchild of Denis Hasssabis, a former chess prodigy, video game designer, and advanced neuroscientist.…
Posted by Tom Lawrence on Apr 27, 2015
In the lead up to the general election it is only natural that we should look for the signs of changes to come that will affect ourselves and our own positions. While news and politics look to the broader details of party manifestos and argue over the finer parts of those sweeping statements, we inevitably look to the horizon for what is coming in the next stage of the ‘digital age’.
In recent years the UK has become a breeding ground for startups. Locations such as the Silicon Roundabout and Tech City have emerged from the innovation spring currently residing in East London and it’s spreading its foundations further afield around the UK.
There are more technology companies starting up in Britain than anywhere else in Europe. Startup culture has been addressed and its society targeted as a honeypot of impressionable electorate and has such seemingly garnered a section unto itself in each party manifesto.…
Posted by Ian McKee on Apr 24, 2015
I’m not sure how it seems to you, but to me the London Marathon on Sunday is looming like a giant planet that has been slowly encroaching into the Earth’s orbit for the last four months and is suddenly about to make impact.
OK perhaps that’s a little melodramatic. It’s not quite on the ‘apocalyptic’ scale. There’s a healthy dose of excitement in amongst the nerves and trepidation.
But it will be my first marathon, and I have foolishly told lots of people that I’m going to do it in rather a quick time. Which feels like a bit of a mistake at this point.
So that’s one lesson learnt. I also learnt a few lessons about running lots and eating properly. But those aren’t the lessons I want to talk about here.
I’m running the marathon for a charity, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, and have learnt a few things about digital fundraising on the road to my target.…
Posted by Benedict Sycamore on Apr 23, 2015
I’ve always wanted to visit Japan, you could say I’m obsessed. I’ve seen Lost in Translation enough times to recite all of Bill Murray’s lines off-by-heart and my wardrobe is home to a good few painfully nerdy manga T-shirts. But if there’s one thing to stifle my japanophilia, it’s definitely automatonophobia – the fear of anything that falsely represents a sentient being.
Toshiba recently installed Aiko Chihira, a humanoid robot, at Tokyo’s Mitsukoshi department store. The kimono wearing machine will guide you around the shop while it blinks and smiles. It’s enough to freak me out, and I bloody love robots.
Now, I’m not entirely sure what possessed the designers at Toshiba to commit this aesthetic atrocity, but it’s certainly not doing any favours to the public opinion of intelligent machines, which is at an all time low. Not only are swathes of workers currently biting their fingernails at the fear of automation elbowing them out of livelihood, but even humanity’s crack team of top boffins, including Professor Stephen Hawking, have warned of the inevitable rise of the machines – but don’t call Arnie just yet…
I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords – but only if they don’t look like Aiko Chihira.…
Posted by Hannah Wright on Apr 22, 2015
This week, Sharp announced the first smartphone screen capable of showing images in a stunning 4K quality – four times the resolution of standard high definition screens. And, despite higher resolutions typically draining battery life, Sharp has promised to overcome this bugbear while providing a smart phone with crystal clear picture quality.
Sounds like a dream, right? Think again…
An unnecessary concept
For some cynics, there is a question mark over the true benefit of 4K consumer smartphones. Experts are arguing that our eyes cannot make out this extra sharp resolution on such a small screen, claiming “the screen must be quite large and you must sit fairly close”. This raises the question as to whether manufacturers will be involved in 4K smartphones solely to market themselves in a fresh and innovative way and boost sales.
Some consumers are also skeptical as to whether there is a true need for this future technology.…