Category: Columns

  • Life After Moore’s Law

    Every year, we’re used to computers getting faster and more powerful. If you buy a new computer every two years for the same price (let’s say $2000), you’ll basically get double the power each time. This phenomenon is known as Moore’s Law, even though it isn’t a scientific law at all. It’s simply a trend, […]

  • Transport as a service: are we there yet?

    Autonomous cars is one of those tech topics we all love to speculate about. There’s little doubt that autonomous cars will rule our roads at some point in the future, but the question is when. Elon Musk claims his company Tesla will have a level 4 autonomous car ready by 2019. There are five levels, so […]

  • Techweek celebrates local innovation, but it’s not all kumbaya

    Earlier this month, the second annual Techweek was held in 24 locations across New Zealand. The week-long celebration of local innovation featured 287 events, from Whangarei to Dunedin. It was a big step up from last year’s Techweek, which covered Auckland only. Originally created by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), Techweek was subsequently […]

  • Why VR movies are a bust in Hollywood

    Virtual Reality has had its fair share of hype over the past couple of years, not least from the entertainment industry. There’s been speculation about VR movies from the likes of Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg, and excitement about watching an NBA game or a Beyonce concert using the magic of VR. These are very […]

  • Smart cities encounter roadblocks in NZ

    Former IBM and Siemens executive Steffen Schaefer, from Germany, has worked on mobile internet and sensor networks – what today is called the Internet of Things – since 2000. He was involved with IBM’s global Smart Cities initiative from the outset. But he says that many big tech companies have since scaled back, or refocused, their […]

  • Why our banks are friending FinTech startups

    FinTech is an emerging trend worldwide and in some parts of the world, has big banking institutions on the run (so to speak). The Economist recently named China “the world’s leader in fintech,” thanks to its thriving mobile commerce ecosystem and “backward banks.” There is a nascent FinTech industry in New Zealand too. But unlike […]

  • Why mobile payments are huge in China, but neglected in the West

    Silicon Valley is rightly seen as the world’s centre of technological innovation. But there’s one major technology category where Silicon Valley continues to be a laggard: e-commerce payments. Other than Paypal, a flawed product that somehow managed to dominate the early e-commerce ecosystem, there have been very few breakout online payments companies. Square and Stripe […]

  • 3D printing: more than just rocket parts & movie props

    3D printing is one of those gee-whiz technologies that pops up from time to time in the media. Rockets with 3D printed engines! Peter Jackson’s 3D printed props! Those are the glamour stories. But what I want to know – and what I set out to discover in the writing of this column – is […]

  • Why we should invest in startups, not housing

    For New Zealand, a small country thousands of miles away from nearly everyone else, digital trade is critical to our future growth. Technology is already the third biggest export sector in this country, behind our stalwart industries dairy and tourism. But there’s still a lot that needs to be done to help us compete in […]

  • Is the gene editing revolution passing New Zealand by

    New Zealand is a proudly GE-free country, meaning it is illegal to produce or sell genetically engineered foods here. There are some exclusions for processed foods that have imported GE ingredients, like soy or corn flour, but they must be approved by a local authority and clearly labelled. However, there is zero tolerance for GE […]

  • Mixed Reality set to soar while VR stays grounded

    2016 was supposed to be the year Virtual Reality (VR) made it big. Three premium VR headsets launched, prompting one analyst to forecast total sales of 12.2 million headsets by the end of the year. In reality, it ended up being 1.5 million. That’s a big miss by anyone’s calculations. The same analyst predicted Facebook […]

  • Micro-targeting on Facebook to win elections

    When Donald Trump was elected US President in November last year, it ushered in more than just a new era of political turmoil. It also signalled a potentially dangerous new era in social engineering. A big part of the reason why Trump won is the incredible job done by his digital team, who used a […]

  • The End Of Moore’s Law: What’s Next?

    Every year, we’re used to computers getting faster and more powerful. In effect, if you buy a new computer every two years for the same price (let’s say $2000), you’ll get double the power each time. This phenomenon is known as Moore’s Law, even though it isn’t a scientific law at all. It’s simply a […]

  • Why Google puts AI first

    For many years Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) has been hyped as the world’s next big groundbreaking technology. But till recently, the closest we’ve got to seeing A.I. in action was on the big screen. From evil computer HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey, to Scarlett Johansson’s breathless A.I. in Her, there’s been a rich tradition […]