Tech

Virtual reality just innocuous fun?

The cover of a recent edition of Time magazine (August 17 2015), shows a guy with what seems like a pair of goggles on his face, in jeans and a golf shirt, jumping into the air against the backdrop of a beach scene. Except … the “goggles” are not “look-through”, like normal goggles; he is…

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I dated an app: Could the future of relationships change?

This week I got into a relationship using my cellphone. No — I didn’t use some online dating platform or the touted intimacy killer Tinder. Rather, I used Faketalk; a free, amateurishly-designed chatbot that allows you to create artificial relationships. These range from parental figures, friends and partners, to celebrities and even disciples. My lucky…

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Florence, Siena and the ‘space of flows’

We are in Florence for a conference, in what is to my mind the most enchanting part of Italy, namely Tuscany. Because I have always been interested in art and architecture, and in principle we don’t take taxis, but walk everywhere we go, we have already seen the most beautiful buildings and urban landscapes, framed…

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‘It’s time to talk about what’s next’

By Monica Davies If you’ve followed the fight against climate change, in the last year especially, you’ll have noticed voices starting to be raised about things outside climate change — “without racial [or gender or food or economic] justice, there is no climate justice” is the most common one, and it’s entirely true. The problems…

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A ‘cyborg’ future?

When Donna Haraway published her famous (or notorious, some would say) “Cyborg Manifesto” in 1985, later included her book Simians, Cyborgs, and Women (1991), not to mention its many inclusions in various anthologies, she probably could not foresee its incredible history of influence. (For a condensed version of this, see David Bell’s Cyberculture Theorists: Manuel…

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Goodbye Leonard Nimoy, hello Mr Spock!

When Leonard Nimoy, chiefly known as Mr Spock in Star Trek, one of the most famous and long-running television sci-fi series, created by Gene Roddenberry, died recently at the age of 83, millions of Trekkies, including myself, felt a huge sense of loss. This despite the fact that very few Trekkies ever knew Nimoy in…

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Mum and the stolen iPhone – iRest my case

(Continued from here) What I know is this: on January 12 2015 my friend the Diplomat left his iPhone unattended for five minutes, someone nicked the phone and a week later the “new owner” replaced the phone’s cloud data with his own phone book. Whoever is now in the possession of the phone has a…

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Mum and the stolen iPhone

Over the weekend I met up with my friend the Diplomat and he presented me with an opportunity that I could not resist. We had not chatted since December when he spent his holidays in Cape Town and it was time to catch up. Although his time in the Mother city delivered on all the…

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Can artificial intelligence be controlled beyond a certain point?

In a recent TIME magazine (December 29, 2014, p20), there’s a short article by futurologist and outspoken techno-optimist Ray Kurzweil titled “Don’t fear Artificial Intelligence” (AI). He cites two highly creative individuals – Stephen Hawking and South-African born Elon Musk – as representatives of “the pessimistic view” before putting forward his own optimistic argument regarding…

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A day on WhatsApp

“Get on WhatsApp!” they told me. “It’s FREE!” they said. So I caved. Not one to miss out on a freebie I headed down to the nearest Vodacom shop to connect my BlackBerry to the internet for R59 a month to get WhatsApp for “free”. BIS the shop girl called it. You’re damn right it’s…

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