Technology

Advanced tech, but growth slow and unequal: paradoxes and policies

Evidence of technological change, led by advances in digital technologies, is all around us. One must only bear witness to the increasing sophistication of cell phones and computer systems; digital platforms transforming information and communication; and expanding uses of robotics and artificial intelligence. Technology is a key engine of productivity growth, allowing humans to achieve higher levels of efficiency. How ...

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The World Bank is a verified blockchain booster

Satoshi Nakamoto invented the Bitcoin blockchain as a way for people to make financial transactions without the need for banks or governments. So it’s ironic that one of the world’s biggest boosters of blockchains—shared cryptographic ledgers inspired by the one that underlies Nakamoto’s invention—is the World Bank, which is owned by governments. It makes sense, though, argues Prema Shrikrishna, who works ...

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IKEA designs future autonomous cars that work as hotels, stores, and meeting rooms

Once cars can finally drive themselves, we’ll have more time to enjoy the journey and do other, much more interesting stuff instead. At least that’s the concept behind some of the designs below, developed by retail giant IKEA’s “future living lab,” SPACE10, based in Copenhagen. The design studio/research lab came up with designs for autonomous vehicles that would be extensions of our homes, offices, ...

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Future robo-taxis could charge themselves and help balance the electric grid

Electric robo-taxis are a real possibility. Trends in transportation, energy, and demographics indicate that future vehicles will operate autonomously, run on electricity rather than fossil fuels, and be shared instead of privately owned. But before everyone can carpool in self-driving electric cars, we need places to charge them. Today, that’s a challenge: there are only about 20,000 charging stations for ...

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California wants to stop hackers from taking control of smart gadgets

California has been a pioneer when it comes to shaping policies to tackle everything from climate change to consumer privacy. Now it could take the lead in yet another area: cybersecurity for online gadgets. The state’s lawmakers have just sent California’s governor, Jerry Brown, draft legislation that aims to tighten the security of web-connected devices. If he approves it, California ...

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How to build a teleportation-assisted telescope

Big telescopes are all the rage; better because they collect more light and produce higher-resolution images. The largest optical telescope is currently the Gran Telescopio Canarias in the Canary islands, which has a primary mirror with a diameter of 10.4 meters. This will soon be dwarfed by the Extremely Large Telescope currently under construction in Chile, which, when it switches ...

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Open banking: The race to deliver banking as a service

Open banking is a major shift in the retail banking industry to give customers greater control over their data and create a new connected ecosystem where banks, fintechs and other third parties to collaborate to deliver seamless financial services. From Australia to the UK, Japan to Germany, open banking will create difficult strategic questions for retail banks in all major markets ...

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