MORE must cost less. In his new book Zero to One, entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel observes that the dream of globalisation – expanding the affluent consumption habits of the western middle class to more and more of the world – demands we also commit to radical technological innovation in order to reduce that lifestyle’s environmental cost. Continue reading
Category Archives: Technology
You’re back from the summer, but for how long? In case you missed it, one tech visionary thinks many City jobs could be automated within a decade. Dave Coplin, who glories in the title of chief envisioning officer at Microsoft UK, told the Telegraph that “the City could be run by algorithms”. Continue reading
It’s enough to make an accountant develop a nervous one. This week Amazon snapped up Twitch, a video platform and community for computer gamers, paying the princely sum of $970m (£585m) in cash. That’s a lot of money for something many people have never heard of – more than three times the amount Amazon spent to pick up DVD and streaming video service Lovefilm in 2011.
But Twitch is something very different. Instead of a provider of films created by large studios for a mass audience, it is a niche platform where the customers create their own content. It has 900,000 unique broadcasters and accounts for 1.8 per cent of peak internet traffic in the US, ahead of Facebook (1.5 per cent) and Amazon (1.2 per cent). Its success demonstrates seismic changes in consumer behaviour and the previously unimaginable opportunities they offer attentive firms. Continue reading
It was the tweet heard round the web. The selfie Ellen DeGeneres took during the Oscars became an internet sensation. First, it garnered the most retweets ever: as I write, Twitter reports 3.3m users have recommended it in this way. The previous record holder, President Barack Obama, had managed only 780,000 retweets, for a photograph celebrating his reelection on 7 November 2012. Continue reading
AS FACEBOOK turns ten, and with Bill Gates stepping down as Microsoft chairman, it feels like something is drawing to an end. But if so, it is only the end of the technological revolution’s beginning. Continue reading
I for one don’t welcome our new robot overlords. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all in favour of the liberating potential of new technology. I’m also conscious that worries about jobs lost to mechanisation have a history of being misplaced: the jobs go but new and even better-paying ones appear elsewhere. Continue reading
The lack of competition among Britain’s retail banks is under the microscope. Yet an important part of the solution is not getting enough attention. While breaking up big banks would not be as easy as Ed Miliband thinks, and the current height of the regulatory hurdles makes the field of entrants sparse at best, the potential for third parties to disrupt the consumer experience online is huge. Continue reading
How do you regulate the future? We live in an age of miraculous, disruptive technologies, yet one of its great challenges is how to keep the lumbering process of regulation from putting the brakes on human inventiveness.
Take genetic testing: this week 23andMe, a pioneering US firm that offered to scan your genetic code for potential health threats for $99 (£60), was ordered to stop marketing its home testing kits by the FDA, America’s regulator of medicines. Continue reading
My smartphone has a feature I can’t ever imagine using – it promises to insert my live picture into any snapshot I take by turning on both front and rearfacing cameras at once. But I’m clearly behind the times. Even as I cling to my old-fashioned desire to take photographs of the things that I see, “selfie” – the new nickname for a photographic self-portrait – has been declared Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year, following a 17,000 per cent increase in usage year-on-year. Continue reading