Saturday, July 20Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Tag: technology

Autistic Connections: how does technology help autistic people live their best lives?
Lifestyle

Autistic Connections: how does technology help autistic people live their best lives?

If I were to ask you how many times you use technology in a day, the number would be higher than you think. The likelihood you’re reading this on a screen, or have seen a link to it on Orbital’s Instagram Stories (@orbitalmagazine, by the way), is incredibly high. In fact, from the moment you wake up, until you fall asleep, technology is everywhere. How else would we wake up on time, preserve food, or read the news as soon as it happens?  Technology enables us to live a faster, easier life than previous generations. The same sentiment is true for autistic people, some of whom use technology in ways that neurotypical people do not. FYI, ‘neurotypical’ just means anyone who does not have developmental conditions such as autism or ADHD. It’s important to define autism, as it’s a c...
Fact or Fiction?
News, Opinion

Fact or Fiction?

How technology is helping to disrupt the truth ‘Fake News’ is a phrase most frequently associated with the likes of Donald Trump, pointing the finger at journalists for their sensationalist, subjective reporting and blaming them for the hate he received by many. Journalists have a lot of responsibility in that regard – we are a society built on the opinions of the masses and journalists have a large stake in swaying that opinion. Many also associate this issue with a rising ‘cancel culture’- one bad word and the twitter cavalry storm in.  In the twenty-first century, we have got endless information at our fingertips. Thanks to the internet, we can momentarily discover breaking news or the height of a favourite celebrity; any kind of information that will satisfy a curiosity and ...
Mark Zuckerberg and the Metaverse: science fiction or (virtual) reality?
News, Science & Technology

Mark Zuckerberg and the Metaverse: science fiction or (virtual) reality?

Mark Zuckerberg, no stranger to controversy, has announced a change in the branding of the parent organization of his media technologies empire. Facebook, originally designed as a social networking website where Harvard students would rate each other’s attractiveness, is now universally recognisable and impossible to escape. Its namesake company Facebook, Inc. is a social media giant owning Facebook (surprise, surprise), Instagram, Messenger and Whatsapp. And now they will be attempting to digitally extend the physical world, through social media involving virtual and augmented reality - with a name change to Meta Platforms. Inc. to boot.  This rebrand accompanies a series of recent public relations crises including the revelations brought by whistleblower Frances Haugen about Fac...
Hycean Worlds: A Possible New Frontier in the Search for Life Beyond Earth
Science & Technology

Hycean Worlds: A Possible New Frontier in the Search for Life Beyond Earth

The search for extraterrestrial life has conventionally been focused on Earth-like exoplanets --  terrestrial planets orbiting within the habitable zone of their host stars. This method is based on the premise that as life has risen in Earth’s conditions, somewhere with similar conditions could also give rise to life. As such, various exoplanet surveys over the years, including the Kepler and TESS satellites, have catalogued a few thousand Earth-like candidates for further investigation, finding that 1 in 5 Sun-like stars have an Earth-like planet in the habitable zone. However, the candidate pool may have just expanded. In August this year, researchers at Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy proposed a new hypothetical class of habitable exoplanets and dubbed them Hycean worlds, a ...
Snapchat Faces More Problems During Month of Turmoil
Lifestyle

Snapchat Faces More Problems During Month of Turmoil

Just after 4:30pm on the 14th of October the day this article was written, the social media giant went down once again, rendering thousands of users unable to send chats, refresh their feed or view other users stories. Snapchat released a statement via twitter addressing users that they have been made aware of the issue and are working on a fix. Other users were also quick to post to the platform, complaining of their issues, with the hashtag #snapchatdown quickly becoming a trending topic. This outage comes fairly quickly after another major previous outage on the service on the 11th of October, with outages occuring unusually frequently during this month. Some sources even suggest there have been up to 15 possible disruptions on the platform occuring in different parts of the world, ...
Drones
Science & Technology

Drones

London Gatwick Airport’s flight schedule grinded to a halt on the evening of 12th December 2018 after a single drone was reportedly spotted over the airfield. You have probably seen the chaos on national news: 760 flights grounded the following day due to disruption; passengers interviewed on the news claiming to have lost anywhere between £70 and £4,000 on missed-out flights and holidays; the detention of two suspects who turned out not to be guilty after all, and who were called “the morons who ruined Christmas” by The Sun; rumours that there wasn’t even a drone after all. It was all a big embarrassment that a small commercial drone could seemingly fool the public, the Police, the Army, and the entire British Government. The mystery of the Gatwick drone has exposed how integrated drones...
Deepfakes
Science & Technology

Deepfakes

Deepfake is an image editing technique that uses artificial intelligence (specifically deep learning) to superimpose one (video) image onto another - akin to Photoshop for photos. What might sound boring in theory in practice has led to public outrage, debates about the nature of privacy, paranoia and some very funny compilations of Nicholas Cage starring in hollywood classics. Deepfake technology first garnered mainstream media attention in 2017 when a Reddit-User using the pseudonym ‘Deepfakes’ uploaded multiple adult videos featuring celebrities’ faces being superimposed upon adult-film actresses’ bodies (for example the adult actresses’ body with Gal Godot’s face and voice.) Despite having been created using a computer program, the results (so called deepfakes) looked surprisingly r...
Artificial Rights
Opinion

Artificial Rights

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a term that can cause excitement in some, and strike fear into the hearts of others. However, with the current developments in the technology industry, and the future we’re clearly heading towards, we cannot deny that AI is a rapidly growing phenomenon. This has been made especially clear after the emergence and popularity of Sophia. Described as a ‘social humanoid robot’, Sophia was developed by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics and was activated on April 19 2015. Able to display 62 facial expressions, convey human feelings, and have a sense of humour, Sophia’s design is also said to have been modelled after Audrey Hepburn. Sophia quickly became mainstream news when in October 2017 she was granted official Saudi Arabian citizenship, making her the first eve...
Royal Holloway students win technology competition
News

Royal Holloway students win technology competition

A team of five Royal Holloway students have won the Cisco University Challenge. At the annual event, over 70 students from the UK’s top universities compete against each other in a two-day hackathon: a competition in which teams of developers build products to address a set of challenges. This year, Royal Holloway sent two teams of students to Feltham to compete in the challenge that took place on the 26th – 27th October.  The winning team, referred to as Team Shark, comprised of Megan Goh, Hugh Wells, Dulcie Jackson, Awen Saunders and Shaurya Puri. The winning team’s entry to the competition was a programme called TrainShark, aimed at improving IT throughout the rail network in the UK. Their programme would allow train passengers to determine which carriage is least crowded befor...
Great Expectations
Features

Great Expectations

The end of summer always brings a multitude of new releases in gaming and gadgetry, and this year is no exception. Electronic Arts have released the latest installment of their famous football franchise, FIFA 18, and Apple is also in full flow, with both the iPhone 8 (released 22nd September 2017) and the iPhone X (to be released in November 2017) surging into the mobile phone market. However, one thing is becoming clearer every year; these products seem to become less and less varied with each new release. In the case of Electronic Arts’ FIFA 18, playing the game doesn’t seem to give a different experience to the previous release, FIFA 17, in very much the same way that FIFA 17 seemed very similar to FIFA 16 and so on. While new ‘game modes’ such as The Journey are added in every few r...