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AuthorMatt Plummer

Author Archive: Matt Plummer

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October 2, 2016

“Feeling prejudice by walking a mile in someone else’s shoes is what VR was made for.” — Jeremy Bailenson, Director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab.   Earlier this year I was intrigued to learn that, in a joint venture with Stanford University, the NFL planned to use Virtual Reality (VR) not just to […]

September 17, 2016

And here’s the rub with AI: it’s frightening because we trust it too much, despite it bearing the frailties, foibles, and fallibilities of the humans who created it.

September 4, 2016

Towards the end of 2012, journalist Glenn Greenwald received an email from an anonymous source calling himself Cincinnatus. Intimating insider knowledge of the American government’s mass surveillance programmes, the email piqued Greenwald’s interest, but there was a stumbling block: his source insisted on using the encryption tool PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) for any ongoing correspondence. […]

August 7, 2016

Oh, a storm is threat’ning / My very life today If I don’t get some shelter / Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away — “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones.   How long have tents been around? They get a mention in the Old Testament, where “forefather of all shepherds” Jabal is a noted tent-dweller. […]

May 8, 2016

“If I realise my dream, I will have no regrets in life.”   These dubiously inspirational words come from Hong Kong inventor Ricky Ma, who hit the headlines earlier this year when his homemade humanoid robot—a spooky approximation of Scarlett Johansson—was revealed to the world. In order to make his particular dream a reality he […]

April 17, 2016

“Even learning very basic programming, even if you’re not very good at it, I think it totally transforms the idea of what you’re doing with that computer, or what a computer should be able to do for you.”   For the past year or so Dr Michael Radich, senior lecturer in VUW’s Religious Studies Programme, […]

April 3, 2016

St Vincent—“Save Me From What I Want”   Given the choice between exposing the contents of every email you’ve ever written, or every query you’ve ever typed into a search engine, which would you choose? Think carefully. How you answer this question amounts to a litmus test on what you believe reveals more about your […]

March 13, 2016

I’m sitting in a refurbished cottage in rural Wairarapa. For a secluded getaway spot it’s idyllic: tree-lined valley, rolling hills, friendly farm animals. The perfect place to get a bit of writing done, right? However there’s a catch—no 4G, no 3G, in fact no G of any kind. There’s My Sky, but no internet. How […]

February 28, 2016

  On August 24, 1998, British engineer and cybernetics professor Kevin Warwick implanted a radio transmitter in his left arm. The device gave him the ability to manipulate computer-controlled heaters, lights, and doors—but this was just the beginning. He later extended the experiment by developing a neural interface which hooked him up with his wife. […]

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