The Conversation, on robot personality

Will robots make good friends? Scientists are already starting to find out Gennady Danilkin/Shutterstock Tony Prescott, University of Sheffield In the 2012 film “Robot and Frank”, the protagonist, a retired cat burglar named Frank, is suffering the early symptoms of dementia. Concerned and guilty, his son buys him a “home robot” that can talk, do […]

The Conversation, on Toddlers and Tablets

Touchscreens may make toddlers more distractible – new three-year study riggleton/Shutterstock Ana Maria Portugal, Karolinska Institutet; Rachael Bedford, University of Bath, and Tim J. Smith, Birkbeck, University of London Working from home as a parent, a touchscreen device can be a marvellous tool. Pass one to your child, and they’ll be quietly occupied for your […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Conversation, on Robot Communication

An army of sewer robots could keep our pipes clean, but they’ll need to learn to communicate Pipebots will inspect the walls for cracks. Human Studio, Author provided Viktor Doychinov, University of Leeds Hidden from sight, under the UK’s roads, buildings and parks, lies about one million kilometres of pipes. Maintaining and repairing these pipes […]

The Conversation, on Artificial Intelligence and Space Exploration

Five ways artificial intelligence can help space exploration Various types of astronaut assistant are in development. Michal Bednarek/shutterstock.com Deep Bandivadekar, University of Strathclyde and Audrey Berquand, University of Strathclyde Artificial intelligence has been making waves in recent years, enabling us to solve problems faster than traditional computing could ever allow. Recently, for example, Google’s artificial […]

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 […]

The Conversation, on Digital Currencies using BlockChain

Ethereum: what is it and why has the price gone parabolic? Welcome to web 3.0. Inked Pixels Paul J Ennis, University College Dublin and Donncha Kavanagh, University College Dublin The price of the world’s second largest cryptocurrency, ether, hit a new all-time high of US$1,440 (£1,050) on January 19. This breached a previous high set […]

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 […]

The Conversation, on nanotechnology and viruses

Coronavirus nanoscience: the tiny technologies tackling a global pandemic Kateryna Kon/Shutterstock Josh Davies, Cardiff University The world-altering coronavirus behind the COVID-19 pandemic is thought to be just 60 nanometres to 120 nanometres in size. This is so mind bogglingly small that you could fit more than 400 of these virus particles into the width of […]