Will it take 50 years for things to get personal?

The Tom Cruise character lives in a world 52 years hence where we have given up many of our innate human rights in return for security and public humiliation in every shopping mall. The real issue here is one of data and of cost. Today we have most of the ‘Minority Report’ technologies, they’re just too expensive to implement. Only the security services have enough cash and political will to

Attempts to make technology fashionable

Charmed.com was not your typical Silicon Valley start-up by any means. For a start its CEO was the 27-year-old Katrina Barillova, an ex-Czechoslovakian spy who’s cover had been to work as a fashion model. When Eastern Europe turned capitalist she left to become a bodyguard and security advisor to billionaires in the Middle East. After leaving for the US, she teamed up with an ex-MIT graduate to form InfoCharms, a

Hail to the blog: a new movement in journalism

At the recent Emerging Technologies 2002 conference in Santa Clara, California, some of the chatter in the halls among the delegates included the biological frameworks for computation (using ants’ brains), hackers beating entrepreneurs, and the future of ideas. The kinds of discussions that emerge from a gathering of intelligent and technologically savvy people who like thinking about the future. But I’m afraid, dear reader, that I’m about to disabuse you

E-voting raises the spectre of the ID card

The prize is a future of mass participation in the local affairs of the nation, instead of the lacklustre voter turnout that’s long become the norm. But although a world where we vote on everything from politics to monetary union with Europe via a PC, TV or mobile phone seems inevitable, society at large may have other ideas. In this year’s local elections around seven areas will be testing different

Smaller players slip past battling giants

But what of the battle to actually own the online video space? RealNetworks helped kick off the revolution in Webcasting when it brought out real RealAudio in 1995. Two years later it came back with RealVideo, just as Microsoft launched NetShow and Apple produced QuickTime. Since Microsoft entered the market it has been at loggerheads with RealNetworks to offer access to the biggest video events, trying to achieve as many

New media soothsayers

‘Adventure capitalist’ Esther Dyson has predicted that we should expect more paid-for content online this year. Well, er, yes. Given that only the top 10 most popular sites in any market you care to name get about 80% of the ad revenue, that means no more free lunch for users of the other 90% of sites. The alternative is closure or a slash in costs for those advertising-based sites. Hell,