Category Archives: Technology

It might be a smart phone. It might be the Technological Singularity. Whatever it is, technology gets everywhere.

Scarcity and abundance

We are moving from a world in which resources are scarce towards a world of abundance. Many things that were once scarce are already abundant in developed countries and will soon be abundant everywhere, if trends continue.

There’s a strong counter-narrative telling us the opposite – that the world’s resources are almost used up, that population levels are unsustainable and that we must cut back now or face disaster. But Malthus said the same two hundred years ago, and so have countless others. Each has been proved wrong. Continue reading

Advertisements

Frozen to Life: A Personal Mortality Experiment (Book review)

frozentolifeI was sent a free copy of this book by the author, and asked to write an honest review. As the author noted in his email to me, ‘I think we have quite a few interests in common. ‘That’s very true, so I thought my review might also be of interest to my blog readers.

The book is the story of why the author (DJ MacLennan), has chosen to have his brain cryogenically frozen when he dies – or as he puts it – when current medicine can do no more to save him from death. It’s a personal story, and a scientific and philosophical investigation of what it means to live and die. Here’s my review of the book. Continue reading

I was wrong about nuclear power

Many years ago, a young idealistic Physics graduate set out to make the world a better place. He perceived that one of the greatest technological challenges facing his generation was the need to replace fossil fuels with a clean energy source, to avoid the impending disaster of global warming. He saw the obvious solution to that problem – nuclear power – and decided to dedicate his working life to making nuclear power cheap, safe and abundant. Continue reading

Beep

roadrunnerEverything beeps. The alarm clock beeps. My phone beeps. My car beeps.

The washing machine beeps. The dryer beeps. The microwave oven beeps.

Until I worked out how to change it, the dishwasher used to beep.

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, when we are all asleep, the smoke detector beeps.

The TV beeps. The Playstation beeps. On a bad day even the fridge beeps.

I hate it when they beep. Why won’t they stop?

Will robots replace humans?

Consider this. Nearly every large animal on this planet is stronger than us. Almost every predator has claws, or venom, or sharp teeth. But humans have two advantages that have enabled us to survive and thrive – a large brain, and hands that can pick up and manipulate objects. At the very dawn of pre-history we were busy making stone tools, turning animal skins into clothing, and decorating our own bodies with things that we’d made. We just can’t help it. We have to make things. Give any human a physical object and they will try to do something with it.

In the modern world, we are constantly surrounded by machines and inventions – from the clothes we wear, to the houses we live in, to the cars, trains and planes we travel around in, to the computers and other electronic devices we use for work and leisure. In this article, I want to consider this special relationship between humans and the machines we create. I want to look at where this relationship with our creations is heading.

Continue reading

Wealth is knowledge – poverty is ignorance

technologyGive unlimited resources to a caveman and he will chop down trees and burn them as firewood.

Give unlimited resources to a Victorian and he will burn coal to power a steam engine. Continue reading

If animals could talk

So I was just reading about a goldfish that can drive a car and I wondered, what if animals could talk?

What’s that? You want me to explain about the car-driving fish? Oh well it’s all here. Continue reading