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The Conversation, on British Troops

The Conversation, on British Troops

Proposals by the UK government will effectively sanction war crimes by British troops Frank Ledwidge, University of Portsmouth I spent much of the late 1990s as a reserve military intelligence officer involved in the hunt for war criminals in Bosnia. We got most of them in the end. A couple of years later, as a civilian human rights officer, I visited dozens of shallow graves and killing sites in Kosovo to document investigations and exhumations. Many of these killings were

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The Conversation, on Artificial Intelligence and totalitarianism

Artificial intelligence is a totalitarian’s dream – here’s how to take power back shutterstock. Simon McCarthy-Jones, Trinity College Dublin Individualistic western societies are built on the idea that no one knows our thoughts, desires or joys better than we do. And so we put ourselves, rather than the government, in charge of our lives. We tend to agree with the philosopher Immanuel Kant’s claim that no one has the right to force their idea of the good life on us.

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The Conversation, on noise control in and around the home – and home office

How to make your house and garden more tranquil – tips from an acoustics expert Pexels Greg Watts, University of Bradford Many of us have been spending more time at home than ever before, and chances are unless you live by yourself in the middle of nowhere, at some point unwanted noise will have infiltrated your lockdown. Whether it’s cars passing nearby, a neighbour’s blaring music or the constant drone of a lawnmower, the trouble with sound is that –

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Coronavirus: The Conversation, on information security and data control

Why we need to know more about the UK government’s COVID-19 data project – and the companies working on it Eerke Boiten, De Montfort University The UK’s coronavirus contact-tracing app has been kicked into the long grass, with the government now saying it isn’t a priority and may not be ready until winter. The app – which has so far cost nearly £12 million – was supposed to be a key part of plans to identify and isolate anyone who

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The Conversation, on 3D-printed medical technologies

This 3D printed ‘bone brick’ could transform how we treat bomb injuries – inside story Paulo Bartolo, University of Manchester For thousands of Syrian refugees who have suffered horrific blast injuries after being hit by barrel bombs and other devices of death in their war-torn homeland, the only option is amputation. When you see the damage a blast injury can do it’s a shock to the system and is so very sad and upsetting. Barrel bombs have been dropped throughout

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The Conversation, on china and quantum communications technology

China’s quantum satellite enables first totally secure long-range messages Andrey VP/Shutterstock Harun Šiljak, Trinity College Dublin In the middle of the night, invisible to anyone but special telescopes in two Chinese observatories, satellite Micius sends particles of light to Earth to establish the world’s most secure communication link. Named after the ancient Chinese philosopher also known as Mozi, Micius is the world’s first quantum communications satellite and has, for several years, been at the forefront of quantum encryption. Scientists have

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The Conversation, on Blockchain and Sustainability

Three ways blockchain could get the world to act against the climate crisis Clint Adair/Unsplash, FAL Bernhard Reinsberg, University of Glasgow The world has failed to halt global warming. Four years after the signing of the Paris Agreement, most experts predict global warming will exceed the agreed thresholds, with disastrous consequences. As much as the world faces a climate crisis, it also faces a climate governance crisis: we know what must be done to halt climate change but we do

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The Conversation, on learning and development from digital video games

Crucible: the science behind why watching others playing video games has become so popular Crucible is the first release from Amazon’s games studio Relentless. Relentless Game Studios Craig Weightman, Staffordshire University Amazon has taken a step into the highly lucrative world of gaming by releasing its first title, Crucible. A team-based action shooter, it hopes to rival industry giants like Fortnite. What makes the game unique is that it was developed to be as fun to watch as it is

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The Conversation, on AI and Sustainability

AI can tackle the climate emergency – if developed responsibly William Potter/Shutterstock Victor Galaz, Stockholm University Our planet is altering at a dangerous pace due to climate change. And at the same time, we seem to be entering a period of unprecedented technological transformation. Advances in robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and internet-connected devices are creating increasingly complex intelligent technological systems. As pressures on the planet and its climate increase, so does the hope that these novel technologies will be able

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The Conversation, on the challenges of videoconferencing

Zoom security: I’ve researched problems with video conferencing for years – here’s what you need to know Spot the intruder. Andrey Popov/Shutterstock Thomas Reisinger, De Montfort University The video conferencing app Zoom gained about 2 million new users in the first two months of 2020 – and that was before the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. With so many people now relying on video conferencing for contact with their friends, family and colleagues, it’s no wonder

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