The Download: sleeping in VR, and promising clean energy projects

People are gathering in virtual spaces to relax, and even sleep, with their headsets on. VR sleep rooms are becoming popular among people who suffer from insomnia or loneliness, offering cozy enclaves where strangers can safely find relaxation and company—most of the time. Each VR sleep room is created to induce calm. Some imitate beaches […]

Growing the Industry: Talking tech in schools

For those of us who live and breathe digital tech we know how wonderful this industry can be, how well it can pay, how creative, rewarding and mentally stimulating the mahi (work) can be. Sadly we are only a tiny percentage of the population and unless someone in your immediate whānau works in our space […]

Inside the conference where researchers are solving the clean-energy puzzle

The Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) funds high-risk, high-reward energy research projects, and each year the agency hosts a summit where funding recipients and other researchers and companies in energy can gather to talk about what’s new in the field. As I listened to presentations, met with researchers, and—especially—wandered around the showcase, I […]

Is this our most well-funded tech start-up?

So much for venture capital drying up as chill economic winds blow. Agritech start-up Halter has just raised $85 million in a series-C capital raising round. While Kiwi-founded tech companies like Rocket Lab and Lanzatech raised considerable capital for expansion through their recent Nasdaq listings, Halter’s injection of capital is probably the largest raise closed […]

Bard: First impressions of Google’s AI bot

Google’s ChatGPT rival Bard became available last week to users in the United States and the United Kingdom as the generative artificial intelligence race heats up. While Bard isn’t officially available in New Zealand yet, I registered to gain access to it and am able to do so while using a (VPN) virtual private network […]

Inside the cozy but creepy world of VR sleep rooms

Feeling safe is crucial for relaxation and sleep, even if you are alone in your own bed at home.  I entered a sleep room one day and immediately heard the voice of a child in my ear. The kid, who had a robot avatar, tried and failed to engage me and a medieval knight in […]

Evolutionary organizations reimagine the future

The global technology consultancy Thoughtworks describes organizations that can respond to marketplace changes with continuous adaptation as “evolutionary organizations.” It argues that, instead of focusing only on technology change, organizations should focus on building capabilities that support ongoing reinvention. While many organizations recognize the benefit of adopting agile approaches in their technology capabilities and architectures, […]

The Download: China’s retro AI photos, and experts’ AI fears

Across social media, a number of creators are generating nostalgic photographs of China with the help of AI. Even though these images get some details wrong, they are realistic enough to trick and impress many of their followers. The pictures look sophisticated in terms of definition, sharpness, saturation, and color tone. Their realism is partly […]

Chinese creators use Midjourney’s AI to generate retro urban “photography”

Zhang Haijun via MidjourneyZHANG HAIJUN VIA MIDJOURNEY In fact, none of them are real. Zhang Haijun, a street photographer in Chongqing, generated these images with Midjourney, an image-making artificial-intelligence program.  A number of artists and creators are generating nostalgic photographs of China with the help of AI. Even though these images still get some details […]