WIRED UK Nov/Dec 2019

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United Kingdom
Conde Nast Publications Ltd
6 期号


creating wired

THE SINKING MEGACITY Christoffer Rudquist travels to Jakarta to photograph what may be the first megacity lost to climate change: “Jakarta has as many facets as it has waterways, so it’s hard to get the full picture – it’s the only place I’ve visited that I couldn’t wrap my head around. You’ll find hand-built huts on stilts butting up to a luxury villa; on roads where kids sell nick-knacks to motorists, you’ll have a gang of Ferrari owners speeding down the strait – and it all runs along stretches of some of the most polluted water I’ve ever come across. The people of Jakarta are wonderful – I hope for their sake, a solution can be found.” FAMILY MATTERS Jeremy Lange photographed the Teems – a family devastated by the loss of their…

our planet is on the threshold – but businesses can pull us from the brink

You might not have heard of the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC), but the non-profit research group based in the Swedish Capital is responsible for one of the most important concepts of the modern age. In 2009, the SRC convened a number of environmental scientists and other academics to identify the planetary life support systems that are essential for human life – and the impact of humans upon them. They identified nine Earth system processes so fundamental that, should a threshold be crossed, it could affect the planet’s ability to sustain life. These are: ocean acidification; stratospheric ozone depletion; biodiversity loss and extinction; chemical pollution; climate change; the global hydrological cycle (the functioning and distribution of fresh water); land system change (such as the loss of forests to agriculture); nitrogen and phosphorous…

the space invader

The radio-quiet zone begins about half an hour’s drive from this desolate spot in the Karoo desert, in South Africa’s Northern Cape. The use of mobile phones and laptops is strictly forbidden. A few trees and shrubs dot the ochre landscape; occasionally, a tiny scorpion scurries away. What holds your eye, though, are the giant dishes. This is MeerKAT– 64 radio dishes spread across eight square kilometres, each 13.5 metres in diameter and as tall as a five-storey building on their supports. Together they form a single radio telescope. MeerKAT means “more KAT” (the Karoo Array Telescope was its seven-dish forerunner), and astronomers use it to study strange but little-understood objects in distant space. Because phones and other gadgets also emit radio waves, they are strictly off-limits, to make sure these…

beauty is in the app of the beholder

Ines Alpha turns Instagram and Snapchat filters into pieces of fine art. Iridescent flowers bloom out of people’s heads, sequins glint over glossy skin, faces are etched in delicate lines of gold, and fins grow out of flesh. The 34-year-old Parisian collaborates with models, artists and fashion directors to create what she calls the “make-up of the future”. Her work plays with augmented reality (AR), and often enhances the make-up people wear in real life – adding sequinned eyebrows for an extra layer of glamour above bold purple eyeshadow, for instance. When Snapchat opened up its AR software in December 2017, allowing people to make their own filters, Alpha become one of its official lens creators. She also successfully applied for access to Instagram’s Spark AR Studio software, which allows other people…

the prisoners liberated by ai

A prison in Finland has become a testing ground for a new smart-prison project. Laptops and tablets are appearing in cells and libraries, allowing prisoners to read the news, practise arithmetic – and take a course in artificial intelligence. The module was originally designed at the University of Helsinki as a more accessible version of an Introduction to AI curriculum for computer science students. The initial aim of the project, backed by the Finnish government, was to get at least one per cent of the country’s population informed about the basics of AI. After taking the course, Pia Puolakka, a project manager at the Criminal Sanctions Agency – the department in charge of Finland’s prison system – wondered if it could be rolled out in correctional facilities. Puolakka wrote a proposal and,…

new horizons for high tech

London’s new skyscraper may only be the second tallest in the UK (after The Shard), but its 278 metres are the height of technology. The 62 storeys of 22 Bishopsgate, due to open in autumn 2019, build in a host of innovations, including a bespoke app for the 12,000 workers. “We want it to be a portal into the building, and a technological environment to interact with the building,” says Danny Hall, of Lipton Rogers Developments. Adding a tower to a complex skyline can cause the air to move in mysterious ways, so PLP Architecture – which designed the building – worked with engineers from Formula 1 to create large-scale canopies, similar to those on the back of a car, to tamp down wind flow. The delivery management system was designed by an…