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The Conversation, on social isolation

The Conversation, on social isolation

Socially isolated people have differently wired brains and poorer cognition – new research People who are isolated from others do worse on cognitive tests. sfam_photo/Shutterstock Barbara Jacquelyn Sahakian, University of Cambridge; Christelle Langley, University of Cambridge; Chun Shen, Fudan University, and Jianfeng Feng, Fudan University Why do we get a buzz from being in large groups at festivals, jubilees and other public events? According to the social brain hypothesis, it’s because the human brain specifically evolved to support social interactions. Studies

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The Conversation, on facial recognition technologies

Facial recognition technology: how it’s being used in Ukraine and why it’s still so controversial Facial recognition technology is controversial in many countries. Shutterstock Felipe Romero Moreno, University of Hertfordshire Facial recognition technology is being used in warfare for the first time. It could be a game changer in Ukraine, where it is being used to identify the dead and reunite families. But if we fail to grapple with the ethics of this technology now, we could find ourselves in a

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The Conversation, on how technology is alienating people

Technology is alienating people – and it’s not just those who are older Many types of people feel disengaged with technology. Shutterstock Carolyn Wilson-Nash, University of Stirling and Julie Tinson, University of Stirling We take it for granted that technology brings people closer together and improves our access to essential products and services. If you can’t imagine life without your smartphone, it’s easy to forget that people who can’t or don’t want to engage with the latest technology are being left

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The Conversation, on developing countries and AI

Developing countries are being left behind in the AI race – and that’s a problem for all of us sdecoret/Shutterstock Joyjit Chatterjee, University of Hull and Nina Dethlefs, University of Hull Artificial Intelligence (AI) is much more than just a buzzword nowadays. It powers facial recognition in smartphones and computers, translation between foreign languages, systems which filter spam emails and identify toxic content on social media, and can even detect cancerous tumours. These examples, along with countless other existing and emerging

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The Conversation, on the ethics of making computer chips with human cells

Tech firms are making computer chips with human cells – is it ethical? Shutterstock Julian Savulescu, University of Oxford; Christopher Gyngell, The University of Melbourne, and Tsutomu Sawai, Hiroshima University The year is 2030 and we are at the world’s largest tech conference, CES in Las Vegas. A crowd is gathered to watch a big tech company unveil its new smartphone. The CEO comes to the stage and announces the Nyooro, containing the most powerful processor ever seen in a phone.

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The Conversation, on Smartphone app store monopolies

Why the Apple and Google app store monopoly could soon be over Shutterstock Greig Paul, University of Strathclyde New rules on mobile app stores could trigger a wave of creative, cheaper apps with more privacy options for users. Every budding developer dreams of creating an app that goes viral and makes lots of money overnight. The Angry Birds game became a worldwide phenomenon within weeks when it launched in 2009 and made US$10 million (£8 million) in its first year. But,

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The Cost of Cloud Security

The Cost of Cloud Security There are a variety of reasons why investing in the security of your business is critical to you staying in-business, but many firms often believe they have certain capabilities such as backups or advanced antivirus when they in fact lack any of these capabilities. For a definition of ‘the Cloud’ please see here. One common example is when organisations move to Microsoft’s Office 365 platform or Google’s GSuite in the belief that this offers greater

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IT Security in Conflict Zones

IT Security in Conflict Zones is complex When numerous small organisations or large private organisations face cyber-attacks from state-backed criminal hacking-groups a lot of harm can be done. These can take the form of supply-chain attacks such as the worldwide damage Solarwinds experienced, or targeted attacks on infrastructure such as Ransomware or Phishing attacks. Ransomware and Phishing attacks can be done in high volumes and at scale, targeting particular industries or types of businesses. Key-stakeholders within a business are often

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The Conversation, on Buying a Smart Device

Considering buying a smart device? To protect your security, ask yourself these five questions Dragana Gordic/Shutterstock Iain Nash, Queen Mary University of London Houses are getting smarter: smart thermostats manage our heating, while smart fridges can monitor our food consumption and help us order groceries. Some houses even have smart doorbells that tell us who is on our doorstep. And of course, smart TVs allow us to stream the content we want to watch, when we want to watch it. If

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The Conversation, on AI and Money

Humans v AI: here’s who’s better at making money in financial markets AI is all about analysing huge amounts of data so why isn’t it used more in trading? Fit Ztudio/Shutterstock Barbara Jacquelyn Sahakian, University of Cambridge; Fabio Cuzzolin, Oxford Brookes University, and Wojtek Buczynski, University of Cambridge Artificial intelligence (AI) has now closely matched or even surpassed humans in what were previously considered unattainable areas. These include chess, arcade games, Go, self-driving cars, protein folding and much more. This rapid

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