May 2, 2014

The robots are taking over, and it won't be pretty

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Not often do you hear a “Newsnight” presenter using an arcane mathematical term, but last week was an exception. The culprit was David Grossman, who made an excellent film for “Newsnight” about the threat to employment from advanced robotics. In the course of this, ...

Apr 18, 2014

Who's to blame for the Web's Heartbleed?

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Were you a thriller writer seeking a name for an apocalyptic software security flaw that threatened the future of civilization as we know it, then “Heartbleed” would be hard to beat. Last week saw the discovery of such a flaw, and Heartbleed was the ...

Apps take new lead from social games

| Apr 18, 2014

Apps take new lead from social games

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On Japanese TV, you may notice that a lot of commercials for smartphone social games emphasize the word muryō (free). Consumers have been purchasing digital content on their phones for years, even since the clam-shell cellphone days. Now, more and more Japanese people are ...

Apr 11, 2014

Could big-data hype be leading us astray?

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Concepts of enduring utility rarely emerge from the market-research business, but the Gartner hype cycle is an exception that proves the rule. It is a graph that describes the life cycle of a technological innovation in five phases. First, there’s the “trigger” that kicks ...

Apr 4, 2014

Obama's promise to prevent NSA spying rings hollow

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Last week in the Hague, Barack Obama seemed to have suddenly remembered the oath he swore on his inauguration as president — that stuff about preserving, protecting and defending the constitution of the United States. At any rate, he announced that the NSA would ...

Mar 27, 2014

Military-industrial warnings ring as true as ever

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On Jan. 17, 1961, the outgoing U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, went on TV to deliver his valedictory address to the American people. Ike had been a relatively uncontroversial president. He had overseen a period of astonishing prosperity and economic growth. He had impeccable ...