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2017 Predictions

This piece was written for the BBC World Service’s Business Daily. This year is going to be an interesting one, but in technology it’s going to be particularly so. Social media is going to see some reverses, as users start to wake up to the compromises they make in sharing information with companies, governments and the world. But the real progress is going to be making our machines understand us better, in ways that we want. Artificial intelligence: you’re no doubt rolling your eyes at the phrase, given how many times this technology has been promised as being around the next corner. I’m with you.Continue reading2017 Predictions

BBC World Service – Smell tech

At the end of this program is my piece on smell technology, if you like that kind of thing. BBC World Service – Business Daily, UK FinTech Mulls a Post-Brexit Future (with everything else going on it might seem a bit flippant, or maybe light relief.  Can the UK’s financial technology or FinTech sector maintain its global lead after Brexit? We speak to Lawrence Wintermeyer, the chairman of the industry’s trade body Innovate Finance, about what he hopes the British government will negotiate in a new deal with the EU. Also, Michael Pettis, professor of finance at Peking University, tells us what Brexit looks like from ChinaContinue readingBBC World Service – Smell tech

BBC: Game of Drones

Here’s the BBC World Service version of my Reuters piece on drones from a few months back. Transcript below: America may still be the tech centre of the world — and it is — but regulatory dithering over whether and how to allow drones — or unmanned aerial vehicles as most call them — in its airspace is throwing up opportunities for other countries to get a head-start. And that’s no small thing, for a couple of reasons. One is that drones as an industry is moving amazingly quickly. Some liken it to the PC: the technology is getting better, smaller, cheaper, and prices areContinue readingBBC: Game of Drones

BBC: The Rise of Disappearables

The transcript of my BBC World Service piece on wearables. Reuters original story here.  Forget ‘wearables’, and even ‘hearables’, if you’ve ever heard of them. The next big thing in mobile devices: ‘disappearables’. Unless it really messes up, Apple is going to do for wearables with the Watch what is has done with the iPod for music players, the phone with its iPhone, the iPad for tablets. But even as Apple piques consumer interest in wrist-worn devices, the pace of innovation and the tumbling cost, and size, of components will make wearables smaller and smaller. So small, some in the industry say, that no oneContinue readingBBC: The Rise of Disappearables

BBC: Cluetraining Disruption

Has technology, convinced of its own rectitude, lost its sense of moral direction?  Disruptive innovation is one of those terms that worms its way into our vocabulary, a bit like built-in obsolescence or upselling. It’s become the mantra of the tech world, awhich sees its author Clayton Christensen, as a sort of messiah of the changes we’re seeing in industries from taxis, hotels and media. Briefly put the theory goes: existing companies are undercut and eventually replaced by competitors who leverage technology to come up with inferior but good enough alternatives — think the transistor radio displacing vacuum tube radios — or come up with whollyContinue readingBBC: Cluetraining Disruption

BBC: Beyond the Breach

The script of my Reuters story on cybersecurity. Podcast available here (mp3) If you’re getting tired of internet security companies using images of padlocks, moats, drawbridges and barbed wire in their ads, then chances are you won’t have to put up with them much longer. Turns out that keeping the bad guys out of your office network has largely failed. All those metaphors suggesting castles, unassailable battlements, locked doors are being quietly replaced by another shtick: the bad guys are in your network, but we’ll find them, watch what they do, and try to ensure they don’t break anything or steal anything valuable. Which isContinue readingBBC: Beyond the Breach

BBC : The Mantra of Disruption

A piece I recorded for the BBC World Service. Not Reuters content. Disruptive innovation is like one of those terms that worms its way into our vocabulary, a bit like built-in obsolescence or upselling.   It’s become the mantra of the tech world, awhich sees its author Clayton Christensen, as a sort of messiah of the changes we’re seeing in industries from taxis, hotels and media. Briefly put the theory goes: existing companies are undercut and eventually replaced by competitors who leverage technology to come up with inferior but good enough alternatives — think the transistor radio displacing vacuum tube radios — or come up withContinue readingBBC : The Mantra of Disruption

BBC: Cars we can’t drive

Let’s face it: we’re not about to have driverless cars in our driveway any time soon. Soonest: a decade. Latest: a lot longer, according to the folk I’ve spoken to. But in some ways, if you’ve got the dosh, you can already take your foot off the gas and hands off the steering wheel. Higher end cars have what are called active safety features, such as warning you if you stray out of your lane, or if you’re about to fall asleep, or which let the car take over the driving if you’re in heavy, slow moving traffic. Admittedly these are just glimpses of whatContinue readingBBC: Cars we can’t drive

BBC: World Without Wires

This is a version of my (and Noel’s) Reuters piece on wireless charging, recorded for the BBC World Service.  Without question, in a few years’ time our children will look back at pictures of this era and ask us what those little pieces of string are snaking across our desktops, bedside tables, mantelpieces and car dashboards.  “They’re cables, son. We used them to charge our devices.”  “Charge them with what, Dad? What had they done wrong?” You get the picture. In the future, and in some lucky places even now, you don’t need to connect your phone, your tablet or even your car to aContinue readingBBC: World Without Wires

BBC: The Decline of Self Expression

Here’s a BBC piece which the World Service broadcast recently. This isn’t Reuters content. It’s taken us a long time to get to here, but I think I can safely declare us as, dextrously speaking, back before the caveman. If we had stumbled into your average cave in about 40,000 BC, we might have chanced upon someone drawing on his bedroom wall, as it were, mixing ochre, hematite and charcoal. We might call this the dawn of manual input of user generated content. Avail yourself of public transport these days and the best you’ll likely see would be a few people swiping upwards on theirContinue readingBBC: The Decline of Self Expression

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