No one expects the machinery of progress to roll backwards, but sometimes it seems that no one is watching the speedometer (or manning the brakes, assuming any exist). Is this a fair assessment? If so, should we be worried — and what can we do about it?
In this feature, experts on technology, risk, science, policy and neuroscience discuss risk, innovation and how our values affect our conceptions of both.
This year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas brought another bumper crop of tech for geeks and gearheads alike.
As usual, this year’s show was more about evolution than revolution. That, and the proliferation of sensors in everything from hairbrushes to toothbrushes. But one technology was clearly the belle of the geek prom: Amazon’s digital assistant, Alexa.
Yep, after decades of false starts, it is now possible – for the few, the young and the obsessive – to make a living playing video games. Sprung from LAN party tournaments played for beer money stakes, eSports has today evolved into full-blown sporting franchise, complete with teams, groupies, college athletic programs, dedicated media, arena-filling crowds and tournament prize pools ballooning into the tens of millions of dollars.
For many, this development raises a number of questions. Are these really athletes? (Hint: the U.S. government thinks so.) Why was Amazon willing to pay almost a billion dollars for Twitch.tv? And, well, just how does professional gaming work?
Video game localization has come a long way since a sub-par port of Zero Wing gave us the classic “All Your Base are Belong to Us” meme. As game companies have gone international, and as their products have ballooned from small-batch text-and-sprite diversions to interactive blockbusters, the industry that makes those games accessible to other cultures has done its best to keep pace – despite too often being treated as an afterthought by game companies .
Find out how this process has evolved from basic text translation to fully embrace cultural norms, preferences and taboos as I explain …
As sci-fi and techno-horror flicks are fond pointing out, the future is chock-full of things that want to kill us. Yep, our own technological progeny want to consign us to the great bit-bucket in the sky but, hey, at least we were warned, right?
Well, sure, if we had any intention of heeding these cinematic Cassandras. Think about it: The Terminator warns us about Skynet, so what do we do? We set to work on autonomous drones. Christine frightens us with a possessed 1958 Plymouth Fury, so we get busy designing self-driving cars. It’s like we want to die.
And then there’s the Internet of Things: Trillions of everyday objects exchanging data, everywhere, all the time, with only the most basic human oversight. Can’t wait to see how that one turns out.