How the Hell Does a VR Film Festival Work?

Cannes, Toronto, Venice… Mitcham?

Why Decade-Old Dating Apps Can’t Beat Half a Billion Years of Brain Evolution

It may seem like an age since you decided to test the waters with a Tinder account in 2012, but in the great scheme of human evolution, the app – and indeed, every other dating app – is embryonic. And while profiles may have evolved from long, self-indulgent prose to hilariously unrepresentative pictures to be swiped away like an irritating fruit fly, they’re no match for the way our brains have evolved to filter out the incompatible. Read More >>

Why the UK’s Voting Intentions Were Safe From Google

The day before the election, I had a look to see if Google Trends data provided any opportunities to beat the bookies… or at least skip the need to stay awake past the exit poll. While certain things were quite telling – search on the parties and leaders was much lower than 2017 for one – in all, the conclusion was a resounding: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Read More >>

Nine Things Google Searches Tell Us About the 2019 General Election

The election is now just one day away and while pollsters have been trying hard to fix the problems that failed to spot the winners in 2015, 2016 and 2017, the companies involved reckon they have it licked this time. Read More >>

How Will Future Archaeologists Judge the Tech We Leave Behind?

If you’re still packing an iPhone 4S, a Windows Phone or a potentially explosive Galaxy Note 7, your next phone upgrade is going to feel transformational. But thousands of years in the future when archeologists pull what remains of your cold dead hands, one phone will look a lot like any other – assuming there’s anything left to look at. To add insult to injury, it may even get mistaken for a WalkMan or – God forbid – a Microsoft Zune. Read More >>

Why Amazon is Taking a Leaf Out of QVC’s Book

Last year, I wasted three hours of my life watching a teleshopping channel try to shift a middle-of-the-road budget smartphone as if it were the second coming of Jesus. Somehow ‘not watching teleshopping channels’ didn’t manage to make my list of New Year’s resolutions, because here I am in 2019 watching a woman pretend to be surprised by a light bulb. Read More >>

Meet The People Still Using The Recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in 2019

Back in 2016 I attended the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in London. I remember it because I was pulled out of the queue, frisked and had my bag searched. It’s something of an irony that while there were no explosives about my person, there were about 30 on the show floor just 50 yards away. Read More >>

I Watched Three Hours of Smartphone Teleshopping So You Never Have To

I think it was around the two-hour mark where I lost the will to live. I’d set out to find out how people are selling smartphones on shopping channels in an era where internet shopping is everywhere, and what had started as a fun idea turned into something more than a mere chore. I’m pretty sure I became the first person in the history of the world to series-link an Ideal World special. Read More >>

roller coasters
What Does The Future Hold For the Roller Coaster?

If you’ve ever witnessed innocent digital thrill seekers thrown off a poorly-conceived ride on RollerCoaster Tycoon, you’ll know that the design of thrill rides is best left to the professionals. Brendan Walker is one such professional, and at New Scientist Live this weekend, he revealed some of the physics, mathematics, psychology and biology you need to have a grip on to ensure people are left scared, but not scarred. Read More >>

Noel Sharkey on AI, Sex Robots and Why Politicians Need to Understand the Limits of Technology

“I sound like I don’t like technology, but I actually do, sorry,” Professor Noel Sharkey laughs. “But this just really upsets me.” Sharkey is just getting into the swing of his 20-minute lecture: a talk at FutureFest entitled “Sex, race and gender in robotics and AI,” and he’s not pulling any punches. Throughout the talk he reveals example after example of how human biases have crept into a technology which promised to fix our weak, fleshy human subjectivity. Justice algorithms that see black prisoners as more likely to reoffend due to past prejudiced police targeting; facial recognition software that can only spot white faces, and so on. Even our search engines are picking up on our prejudiced under and overtones, as an image search for ‘professional hair’ and ‘unprofessional hair’ depressingly demonstrates. Read More >>

Cashing in My Personal Data for Chips at a London Gambling Pop-Up

If a gentleman makes his own luck, then I’m no gentleman. Just a month ago, I draw Germany in a World Cup sweepstake only to cheer on a team that would rather roll over to South Korea than give me the satisfaction of winning £70. Read More >>