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 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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 Conversation, on videoconference fatigue

Zoom fatigue: how to make video calls less tiring Dean Drobot/Shutterstock Andrew Hines, University College Dublin and Pheobe Sun, University College Dublin Many new phrases have entered our vocabulary as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. “Zoom fatigue” refers to the mental exhaustion associated with online video conferencing. We can change how we […]

The Conversation, on autonomous vehicles and access to transport

Autonomous cars could revolutionise transport for disabled people – if we change the way we design Andrey Popov/Shutterstock Paul Herriotts, Coventry University The move towards driverless cars isn’t just a chance for people to relax at the wheel. It’s an opportunity to revolutionise personal transport in a way that offers life-changing benefits to people with […]