WIRED UK Jan / Feb 21

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United Kingdom
Conde Nast Publications Ltd
6 期号


creating wired

WATCHING THE DETECTIVES Ricardo Nagaoka spent some time photographing the scene of a very old crime for our feature on the researchers combining DNA and genealogy to identify unnamed human remains, and so close the coldest of cases. “The air was thick with smoke from the California fires and the Sun a red blot as I neared Dubois, Idaho,” says Nagaoka. “The caves where an unnamed victim had lay in pieces for decades was in the empty desert – just telephone poles and barbed-wire fences. Being inside the cave with Deputy Sheriff Clements, the space felt impossibly immense – and when I was there by myself, I definitely stared to feel scared of the dark.” IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY The timing of WIRED Health: Tech was either completely terrible, or completely…

change was the constant in 2020 – we must ensure it’s for the better in 2021

It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a bumpy ride. A global pandemic has brought hardship to millions, stretched governments to their limits, adversely impacted businesses and organisations of all sizes and, tragically – at the time of writing – taken the lives of over 1.3 million people, many of them working on the frontline to combat the disease. Yet there are glimmers of light: vaccine-makers Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have reported success in large-scale trials. Both are working on mRNA vaccines, which use simple synthetic messages written in genetic code to incite an immune response – beyond Covid-19, this could fundamentally change the way we manufacture future vaccines. It’s welcome news, but governments will still need to work domestically and multilaterally to develop large-scale vaccination programmes. While the virus has been…

air & sea

It’s 2.00am over the icy North Sea and the Merlin Mk2 crew are in desperate straits. The aircraft is fast running out of fuel above the treacherous waters. They have two options: either land the helicopter back on the ship deck as it rolls among the violent waves, or plummet into the icy depths. With next-to-no-visibility and seconds ticking away, the crew has little choice but to hand their lives over to the pilot and pray they make it home. Thankfully, it’s just a simulation. At the Royal Naval Air Stations of Culdrose and Yeovilton, this is the sort of scenario played out on repeat for crew members. Rather than ship decks and ocean waters, students are honing their abilities in virtual reality, within futuristic moving domes controlled by their instructors.…

not playing games

Street lamps flicker, ambulance sirens blare, and a crowd on onlookers starts to gather. It’s 3AM in Peckham, and local teenager Jerome Jacobs lies on the ground after seemingly falling from the balcony of a tower block; he clutches an unlocked phone. You, a budding Met detective, are handed the phone and asked to analyse Jerome’s texts, pictures, and social media posts to piece together the story of how he ended up dead on the pavement after returning from a night out with friends. This is the premise of Dead Man’s Phone, a mobile investigation game developed by London-based studio Electric Noir, whose first episodes were released in beta version throughout 2020. Company founders Nihal Tharoor and Benedict Tatham first came up with the idea of telling an interactive story entirely…

ai and the culture of balance

Conceived in the research laboratories of Silicon Valley, artificial intelligence is deeply rooted in secular ideals of progress, and is an increasingly influential factor in modern life and technologies. Yet, as AI continues its march across the globe, advocates of different ethical traditions are weighing in, often calling for greater regulation of the technology. In particular, Muslim AI researchers have reignited a long-standing debate about the relationship between modern liberalism and Islam. Should algorithms be allowed to play God? On June 25 this year, Facebook announced the winners of its Ethics in AI Research Initiative Asia Pacific, a $25,000 (£19,000) grant to support the integration of diverse traditional knowledge from around the world into the study of AI. Among those selected are Junaid Qadir and Amana Raquib, two Pakistani academics who…

cows will save the planet

There are 1.6 billion cattle on Earth, and their burps and farts are a big problem. Cows expel methane, a gas approximately 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) when it comes to warming the planet. UK-based company Zelp has developed a potential solution: a burp-catching face mask for cows, designed to reduce their methane emissions by 60 per cent. The firm was founded by brothers Francisco and Patricio Norris, whose family run a farming business in Argentina. “Methane is one of the biggest contributions to global warming, and we found that methane mitigation tools in agriculture are under-researched,” Francisco Norris says. “There isn’t a lot of innovation occurring within the field.” Generally, solutions to the livestock industry’s methane problem have come in the form of feed additives inhibiting the…