The Conversation, on Quantum Computation

Major quantum computational breakthrough is shaking up physics and maths Quantum computers may be more trustworthy. Yurchanka Siarhei/Shutterstock Ittay Weiss, University of Portsmouth MIP* = RE is not a typo. It is a groundbreaking discovery and the catchy title of a recent paper in the field of quantum complexity theory. Complexity theory is a zoo […]

The Conversation, on AI Chatbots

AI called GPT-3 can write like a human but don’t mistake that for thinking – neuroscientist Bas Nastassia/Shutterstock Guillaume Thierry, Bangor University Since it was unveiled earlier this year, the new AI-based language generating software GPT-3 has attracted much attention for its ability to produce passages of writing that are convincingly human-like. Some have even […]

The Conversation, on password breakers

A computer can guess more than 100,000,000,000 passwords per second. Still think yours is secure? Paul Haskell-Dowland, Author provided Paul Haskell-Dowland, Edith Cowan University and Brianna O’Shea, Edith Cowan University Passwords have been used for thousands of years as a means of identifying ourselves to others and in more recent times, to computers. It’s a […]

The Conversation, on Apple and its new privacy-centric approach to data collection

Apple is starting a war over privacy with iOS 14 – publishers are naive if they think it will back down Ten four, let’s go to war! DANIEL CONSTANTE Ana Isabel Domingos Canhoto, Brunel University London iPhone users are about to receive access to Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 14. It will come with […]

The Conversation, on Robots in high-contact medical environments

Robots to be introduced in UK care homes to allay loneliness – that’s inhuman Fay Bound Alberti, University of York Some UK care homes are to deploy robots in an attempt to allay loneliness and boost mental health. The wheeled machines will “initiate rudimentary conversations, play residents’ favourite music, teach them languages, and offer practical […]

The Conversation, on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Agriculture

The fourth agricultural revolution is coming – but who will really benefit? kung_tom/shutterstock David Rose, University of Reading and Charlotte-Anne Chivers, University of Gloucestershire Depending on who you listen to, artificial intelligence may either free us from monotonous labour and unleash huge productivity gains, or create a dystopia of mass unemployment and automated oppression. In […]

The Conversation, on the moral compass of Tech billionaires

How tech billionaires’ visions of human nature shape our world Simon McCarthy-Jones, Trinity College Dublin In the 20th century, politicians’ views of human nature shaped societies. But now, creators of new technologies increasingly drive societal change. Their view of human nature may shape the 21st century. We must know what technologists see in humanity’s heart. […]

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 […]

The Conversation, on use of algorithms in Government

Not just A-levels: unfair algorithms are being used to make all sorts of government decisions Adam Harkens, University of Birmingham The recent use of an algorithm to calculate the graduating grades of secondary school students in England provoked so much public anger at its perceived unfairness that it’s widely become known as the “A-levels fiasco”. […]