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The Conversation, on Data Sovereignty

The Conversation, on Data Sovereignty

Tim Berners-Lee’s plan to save the internet: give us back control of our data Pieter Verdegem, University of Westminster Releasing his creation for free 30 years ago, the inventor of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee, famously declared: “this is for everyone”. Today, his invention is used by billions – but it also hosts the authoritarian crackdowns of antidemocratic governments, and supports the infrastructure of the most wealthy and powerful companies on Earth. Now, in an effort to return the

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The Conversation, on Ransomware

Ransomware gangs are running riot – paying them off doesn’t help Jaruwan Jaiyangyuen/Shutterstock Jan Lemnitzer, Copenhagen Business School In the past five years, ransomware attacks have evolved from rare misfortunes into common and disruptive threats. Hijacking the IT systems of organisations and forcing them to pay a ransom in order to reclaim them, cybercriminals are freely extorting millions of pounds from companies – and they’re enjoying a remarkably low risk of arrest as they do it. At the moment, there

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The Conversation, on Machine Learning and Failure

Artificial intelligence must not be allowed to replace the imperfection of human empathy Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, SOAS, University of London At the heart of the development of AI appears to be a search for perfection. And it could be just as dangerous to humanity as the one that came from philosophical and pseudoscientific ideas of the 19th and early 20th centuries and led to the horrors of colonialism, world war and the Holocaust. Instead of a human ruling “master race”, we

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The Conversation, on Robot Evolution

We’re teaching robots to evolve autonomously – so they can adapt to life alone on distant planets  In the future, robots we’ve programmed may evolve and multiply on distant planets. SquareMotion/Shutterstock Emma Hart, Edinburgh Napier University It’s been suggested that an advance party of robots will be needed if humans are ever to settle on other planets. Sent ahead to create conditions favourable for humankind, these robots will need to be tough, adaptable and recyclable if they’re to survive within

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The Conversation, on Fearing Robots

Robots were dreamt up 100 years ago – why haven’t our fears about them changed since? Pavel Chagochkin/Shutterstock.com Michael Szollosy, University of Sheffield This is a story you will have heard before. A genius but completely mad scientist – with the backing of a ruthlessly greedy corporation – creates a sentient robot. The scientist’s intentions for the robot are noble: to help us work, to save us from mundane tasks, to serve its human masters. But the scientist is over-confident,

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The Conversation, on Electricity use and Sustainability

Britain’s electricity use is at its lowest for decades – but will never be this low again Lukasz Pajor / shutterstock Grant Wilson, University of Birmingham; Joseph Day, University of Birmingham, and Noah Godfrey, University of Birmingham In 2020, Britain’s electrical use was the lowest it had been since 1983. This wasn’t entirely due to COVID – demand for electricity had been falling for more than a decade anyway, thanks to savings from energy-efficient appliances, moving industry offshore and consumers

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The Conversation, on Managing Screen Time

Five ways to manage your screen time in a lockdown, according to tech experts shutterstock John McAlaney, Bournemouth University; Deniz Cemiloglu, Bournemouth University, and Raian Ali, Hamad Bin Khalifa University The average daily time spent online by adults increased by nearly an hour during the UK’s spring lockdown when compared to the previous year, according to communications regulator Ofcom. With numerous countries back under severe pandemic restrictions, many of us once again find ourselves questioning whether our heavy reliance on

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The Conversation, on Digital Hoarders

Digital hoarders: we’ve identified four types – which are you? rawf8/Shutterstock Nick Neave, Northumbria University, Newcastle How many emails are in your inbox? If the answer is thousands, or if you often struggle to find a file on your computer among its cluttered hard drive, then you might be classed as a digital hoarder. In the physical world, hoarding disorder has been recognised as a distinct psychiatric condition among people who accumulate excessive amounts of objects to the point that

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New Year? New Infrastructure – 2021

Adieu 2020! The year 2021 is only a few weeks away now and many organisations large and small are still looking to consider further digital transformation plans for next year. Old technology will still affect your performance as a business with or without Covid-19 How can you consistently and reliably transform across a distributed workforce though? Planning. Not a sexy answer, but incredibly effective. If you want to, for example, take advantage of Dell’s Financial Services offering to allow you

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The Conversation, on personality profiling using VR

How we discovered that VR can profile your personality Mark Nazh/Shutterstock Stephen Fairclough, Liverpool John Moores University Virtual reality (VR) has the power to take us out of our surroundings and transport us to far-off lands. From a quick round of golf, to fighting monsters or going for a skydive, all of this can be achieved from the comfort of your home. But it’s not just gamers who love VR and see its potential. VR is used a lot in

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