WTF – Welcoming The Future!

by @edent | # # # | 3 comments
App screenshot saying it is now updating the firmware of Liz's bed.

My wife wasn’t allowed to go for a post-lunch nap yesterday. Our smarthome wouldn’t let her… OK! OK! It wasn’t as bad as all that. I built an Internet-connected electric blanket so I can yell at the Alexa to pre-warm the bed. One of the IoT switches needed a firmware update. All over and done…

Continue reading →

In the future, will computers be faster or slower?

by @edent | # | Read ~188 times.
A tiny pixelated person runs away from a crude model of a car.

Here’s a great set of questions to ask at your next corporate strategy away day. I know you know the answers to these questions – but I promise that the people in charge of your organisation will have some illuminating answers. Thinking about the next five years… will computers be faster or slower? will the…

Continue reading →

Electrical Neutrality

by @edent | # | 2 comments | Read ~166 times.

There’s a new energy provider launching in the UK soon, Elektrique Power. They’ve got an innovative pricing structure that I’d like to discuss. As a base rate, they charge 12p/kWh – that’s one of the cheapest on the market. But that’s where the good deals end. That 12p is only for domestic 13amp sockets. For…

Continue reading →

What does a robot look like?

by @edent | # # | Read ~584 times.
The Terminator is a terrifying metal skeleton with glowing red eyes.

This is a question I often ask my students. Typically they say a robot looks like this: Or this: Broadly human, but mostly metal. Occasionally, I get non anthropocentric answers like this mule: Or even something stark and industrial like this: One is experimental, the other is rarely seen in day-to-day life. The truth is,…

Continue reading →

Synthetarianism

by @edent | # # | 1 comment

Synthetic meat is coming soon! Actually, it has been coming soon for a long long long long long time. There are many interesting social aspects to this future. Is lab-grown meat kosher or halal? Would eating human-meat be cannibalism? Is it vegetarian? But, most importantly, what do we call people with a dietary preference for…

Continue reading →

What if your Internet Connected Fridge came with free electricity?

by @edent | # # # # # # | 1 comment | Read ~177 times.

A bit of future-gazing which I can’t be bothered spinning into a 15,000 word Gartner report. In the UK we have a competitive electricity market. Only one set of wires comes to your house, but you can buy your electricity from a number of providers. Some only offer organic, corn-fed, Wind Farm power – others…

Continue reading →

The Robot Had A Nose

by @edent | # # # | Read ~907 times.

C-3P0 doesn’t have a schnoz. The degloved terminator has a bleak hole where his snout should be. Both the Jetson’s Rosie and Futurama’s Bender are arhinotic. The robot sat in front of me was different. The RoboThespian is an imposing chunk of metal. LEDs blink as servomotors whine. The exposed wiring twists as the arms…

Continue reading →

Asymmetric Latency

by @edent | # # # | Read ~172 times.

I’ve just finished reading the most wonderful short story – Tower of Babylon by Ted Chiang. In it, he speculates on what would happen if The Tower of Babel were completed. For those unfamiliar with the legend, it tells of a people who tried to build a tower tall enough to reach the heavens. The…

Continue reading →

Tales of the Algorithm: The Transparent Man

by @edent | # # # | 2 comments | Read ~469 times.

Scene: An airport. A few years from now. “I’m sorry sir, we can’t let you on the flight until you visit the rest-room.” I’ll admit that it caught me off-guard. Surely the woman at the airline gate was joking? “Sir, two of the plane’s toilets are out-of-order. At this time we’re requesting all passengers void…

Continue reading →

The Future Is About To Get Weird

by @edent | # | Read ~283 times.

Imagine, just for a moment, you could tell someone’s most intimate secrets just by looking at them. Many year ago, when I was very young and you were even younger, I saw an advert in the back pages of some cheap comic. The implication was clear – SEE GIRLS NAKED! The reality was somewhat more…

Continue reading →