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The Conversation, on Ransomware

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 Open Source hardware

Making hardware ‘open source’ can help us fight future pandemics – here’s how we get there elenabsl/Shutterstock Richard Bowman, University of Bath and Julian Stirling, University of Bath In factories and industrial estates across the world, exceptional efforts are being made to ensure hospitals have ventilators, and logistics firms have freezers and refrigerators. Behind the scenes, this manufacturing drive has been taking place on an epic, unprecedented scale. In some places, it’s also been horrendously inefficient. Some of that inefficiency

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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 how digital communication is less rich than in-person

Why our screens leave us hungry for more nutritious forms of social interaction Shutterstock/LukyToky mc schraefel, University of Southampton COVID-19 has seen all the rules change when it comes to social engagement. Workplaces and schools have closed, gatherings have been banned, and the use of social media and other online tools has risen to bridge the gap. But as we continue to adapt to the various restrictions, we should remember that social media is the refined sugar of social interaction.

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The Conversation, on Remote working and offices or city centres

Remote working is here to stay – but that doesn’t mean the end of offices or city centres Most people will return to offices but there’s no rush. Shutterstock Jane Parry, University of Southampton When coronavirus lockdowns were introduced, the shift to remote working was sudden and sweeping. Now the British government is hoping the return to the office will be just as swift – to help the economy “get back to normal”. But pushing everyone back to the office

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The Conversation, on Games and moral development

Video games affect your moral development but only until you’re 18 – new study Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock, Author provided Sarah Hodge, Bournemouth University Young people have probably spent much more of their time than usual playing video games over the last few months thanks to the coronvirus pandemic. One report from telecoms firm Verizon said online gaming use went up 75% in the first week of lockdown in the US. What impact might this have on young people’s development? One area that

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Robo-Lawyers taking over? Not Quite

With the advances on technology we’ve gone through these last two decades things have changed and will keep changing in the future – one the instigators of this change is Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI has seen quite an advancement in a lot of sectors – automation aims to have less human assistance to fulfil the same tasks, as with automation with vehicles. Car manufacturers such as Tesla are already using Autopilot technologies to assist human drivers with day-to-day tasks and

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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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