Technology

Algorithms have already taken over human decision making

Algorithms have already taken over human decision making

I can still recall my surprise when a book by evolutionary biologist Peter Lawrence entitled “The making of a fly” came to be priced on Amazon at $23,698,655.93 (plus $3.99 shipping). While my colleagues around the world must have become rather depressed that an academic book could achieve such a feat, the steep price was actually the result of algorithms feeding off each other and spiraling out of control. It turns out, it wasn’t just sales staff being creative: algorithms were calling the shots.

Hydrogen fuels rockets, but what about power for daily life? We’re getting close

Hydrogen fuels rockets, but what about power for daily life? We’re getting close

Have you ever watched a space shuttle launch? The fuel used to thrust these enormous structures away from Earth’s gravitational pull is hydrogen. Hydrogen also holds potential as a source of energy for our daily activities – driving, heating our houses, and maybe more.

Can robots ever have a true sense of self? Scientists are making progress

 Can robots ever have a true sense of self? Scientists are making progress

Having a sense of self lies at the heart of what it means to be human. Without it, we couldn’t navigate, interact, empathise or ultimately survive in an ever-changing, complex world of others. We need a sense of self when we are taking action, but also when we are anticipating the consequences of potential actions, by ourselves or others.

Creating Hydrogen Fuel from Thin Air

Creating Hydrogen Fuel from Thin Air

It sounds like a magic trick: you put a special device in contact with air, let sunlight fall on it, and it produces free fuel. Yet this is the basic idea of ​​researcher Mihalis Tsampas (NWO Institute DIFFER - Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research) in collaboration with Toyota Motor Europe (TME).

We just 3D-printed a microphone in the lab – and the things coming next are pure science fiction

We just 3D-printed a microphone in the lab – and the things coming next are pure science fiction

The idea of creating a physical object from a digital file is fascinating. It conjures memories of the replicators in Star Trek that can create everything from clothes to starship components to different foods. Today’s 3D printing is making impressive strides in that direction, to the great interest of many manufacturers. It is now possible to print the components for sophisticated electronic devices with fairly simple equipment, for instance – as my research team has just shown by producing what we believe to be the first 3D-printed microphone.

Hydrogen trains are coming – can they get rid of diesel for good?

Hydrogen trains are coming – can they get rid of diesel for good?

When the UK government cancelled its plans to electrify train lines across Wales, the Midlands and the north of England, and cut back on the Great Western rail network electrification, it brought a premature end to a rail investment program once touted as the biggest the country had seen since the Victorian era. But now reports suggest that the government and train manufacturers are hoping there may be an alternative way to turn British railways electric: hydrogen.

How growing cities can support at-home electric vehicle charging

 How growing cities can support at-home electric vehicle charging

Rapid urban population growth is driving many cities around the world to reduce their carbon footprints. In Canada, two major policy agendas are designed to achieve this: boosting urban density and promoting low-carbon transportation such as electric vehicles (EVs).

IBM launches commercial quantum computing – we’re not ready for what comes next

IBM launches commercial quantum computing – we’re not ready for what comes next

IBM recently unveiled what it claimed was the world’s first commercial quantum computer. While the announcement of the Q System One wasn’t scientifically groundbreaking, the fact that IBM sees this as a commercial product that organisations (if not individuals) will want to use is an important breakthrough.

Cool Tech: Internet of Trees maps the health of trees online

Cool Tech: Internet of Trees maps the health of trees online

Industrial engineers from ‘Technologiecampus Gent ‘(KU Leuven) have developed a module that allows them to map the health of trees online. Using this module trees in a city or park can be monitored online.

Data breaches are inevitable – here’s how to protect yourself anyway

 Data breaches are inevitable – here’s how to protect yourself anyway

It’s tempting to give up on data security altogether, with all the billions of pieces of personal data – Social Security numbers, credit cards, home addresses, phone numbers, passwords and much more – breached and stolen in recent years. But that’s not realistic – nor is the idea of going offline entirely. In any case, huge data-collection corporations vacuum up data about almost every American without their knowledge.