Category Archives: Technology

Memory-Driven Computing and The Machine

Back in November I received an unusual request: to take part in a conversation at the Discover expo in London, an event put on by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to showcase their new technologies. The occasion was a project called … Continue reading

Posted in Technology | 19 Comments

We Are All Machines That Think

My answer to this year’s Edge Question, “What Do You Think About Machines That Think?” Julien de La Mettrie would be classified as a quintessential New Atheist, except for the fact that there’s not much New about him by now. … Continue reading

Posted in Technology | 141 Comments

Chaos, Hallucinogens, Virtual Reality, and the Science of Self

Chaotic Awesome is a webseries hosted by Chloe Dykstra and Michele Morrow, generally focused on all things geeky, such as gaming and technology. But the good influence of correspondent Christina Ochoa ensures that there is also a healthy dose of … Continue reading

Posted in Science, Technology | 26 Comments

A Boy and His Atom

Ready for your close-up? I mean, really close up. IBM has released the world’s highest-resolution movie: an animated short film in which what you’re seeing are individual atoms, manipulated by a scanning tunneling microscope. Here is “A Boy and His … Continue reading

Posted in Technology | 7 Comments

Why Is Code Hard to Understand?

Anyone who has tried to look at somebody else’s computer code — especially in the likely event that it hasn’t been well-commented — knows how hard it is to figure out what’s going on. (With sometimes dramatic consequences.) There are … Continue reading

Posted in arxiv, Religion, Technology | 27 Comments

More Gradual Erosion in the Dignity of Humankind

The next obvious step in the robots’ scheme to take over the world: develop an unbeatable strategy for Rock-Paper-Scissors. (The robots are patient, their plan has a lot of steps.) It didn’t bother me when computers became better than us … Continue reading

Posted in Humor, Technology | 18 Comments

Paying for Creativity

Over on Facebook, a single blog post was linked to by four different friends of mine: a physicist, a science writer/spouse, a saxophone player, and a screenwriter. Clearly something has struck a nerve! The common thread binding together these creative … Continue reading

Posted in Technology | 57 Comments

Dismal Global Equilibria

The Civilization series of games takes players through the course of history, allowing them to guide a society/nation from way back in prehistory up through the near future (say, 2100). You develop technologies, choose political systems, and raise armies. There … Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Technology, World | 22 Comments

Technological Applications of the Higgs Boson

Can you think of any? Here’s what I mean. When we set about justifying basic research in fundamental science, we tend to offer multiple rationales. One (the easy and most obviously legitimate one) is that we’re simply curious about how … Continue reading

Posted in Higgs, Science, Technology | 106 Comments

Journey to the Exoplanets

My first contribution to Download the Universe, our collaborative site that reviews ebooks on science, is now up. It’s a review of Journey to the Exoplanets, a snazzy and fun iPad app from Scientific American. Teaser: When I was your … Continue reading

Posted in Science and the Media, Technology, Words | 6 Comments