Science & technology
The Longform Society: Meeting #1: Robots
In our first meeting of the Longform Society, we read a selection of compelling, entertaining and occasionally terrifying pieces on the subject of robots and artificial intelligence.
Will humans have moral obligations to robots? Are we guilty of ‘origin chauvinism’ if we believe only natural phenomena can exhibit consciousness? And is this line of thinking a sinister cousin to racism…
Can editors – or algorithms – save the news?
Artificial intelligence is both a problem and a solution in the fight against fake news, writes Connor Tomas O'Brien. But what if we don't value objectivity and balance in the news as much as we think we do?'
Working with Sound: Wendy Zukerman
Wendy Zukerman is the creator and host of the internationally acclaimed podcast Science Vs, which started at the ABC, and is now produced by Gimlet Media in New York City. We spoke to Wendy about finding the fun in science stories – with a healthy balance of facts, accuracy…
Question Time: Technology and the Brain
In the first Question Time session of the year, host Madeleine Morris is joined by a brains trust of experts to talk brains, technology, policy and wellbeing. Strap in for a fascinating hour of audience Q&A with Michael Arnold and Olivia Carter.Related stories 9 May 2012 Note Thank You for Phoning: Mobile Phones and Cancer / Technology
By Jo Case13 Apr 2015 Note The Shock of the New: Finding a Circuit Breaker for Health Fears Around New Technology / Health & medicine
Guest post by Ketan Joshi3 Apr 2017 Note How is our obsession with technology actually improving our lives? / Science & technology
Guest post by Naomi Chainey
Socrates railed against the invention of the alphabet, worrying that the written word would erode human memory. Imagine how he would have felt about Google Maps and iPhone calendar alerts.
Technological revolutions have always spawned both opportunity and panic. Today, digital technology is evolving at an unprecedented rate, and research into its effects on the human brain is struggling to keep apace.
There’s strong evidence to suggest that digital technology really is altering human physiology, affecting our impulse control, attention span, sleeping patterns and, yes, our memory function. But it’s not all bad news, with some research suggesting a link between complex online activities (such as immersive games) and cognitive flexibility.
How is our obsession with technology actually improving our lives?
Conversations around the impact of new technologies tend to lurch between wild, unexamined enthusiasm and alarmist hand-wringing. Maybe we need to take a deep breath and a broader view of things, writes Naomi Chainey.
Kyle Wiens: Right to Repair
Join the world’s most influential maintenance man for a discussion of tech waste, consumption, economic opportunity and a new kind of DIY revolution with tech commentator and radio broadcaster Vanessa Toholka.
Kyle Wiens and volunteer Leo
‘When you fix something – just for a moment – entropy loses its iron grip on the universe,’ Kyle Wiens has written. ‘When you fix something – just for a moment – you’re the victor.’
Wiens is a consumer activist and the CEO of iFixit, an online repair community. A crusader against planned obsolescence, he believes in the power to unlock, modify, repair and increase the lifespan of everything you own – from your car to your iphone. At iFixit he’s overseen open-source repair instructions in 11 languages, enabling millions of people to do exactly that. He’s also a prolific writer, who has argued persuasively that maintenance and ‘remanufacturing’ represent areas of enormous opportunity within a broken economic system.
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Thursday Digest: DIY Publishing
Our theme this week in the Dailies has been the rapidly changing landscape of the publishing industry (here and here). Today we present a sample of the content pinging around the dubya-dubya-dubya on the do-it-yourself opportunities now available to emerging writers.
We begin with an excellent introduction to the field at Self-Publishing Review by Western Australian Phill English (first published on his blog Toothsoup).
Man Macmillan Signs Up First Title for Ebook Imprint
An Australian writer is seeking to become a pioneer of digital publishing with a venture that’s making the most of new publishing technologies. Nathan Farrugia has an ambitious project in mind - in fact, he’s calling it ‘the future of story-telling’. The Chimera Vector is, according to its author, “a conspiracy techno-thriller of unusual depth, snappy dialogue and edge-of-your-seat action”. Farrugia has turned to…
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