Why the S9 doesn’t have an in-display fingerprint reader

We took advantage of MWC 2018 to interview Mark Notton, Samsung’s Director of Product Portfolio & Commercial Strategy, and ask him a few questions about the brand’s new flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S9. Got any questions about the S9? You might just find the answers right here.

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Guilty! How Google Maps judges Britain’s courts

The search engine’s map now allows you to review any business building in the world – and the country’s magistrates are taking a kicking

Getting barraged with bad reviews on a site such as TripAdvisor has become the bane of every restaurant owner’s existence – but the negative reviews culture has spread well beyond places to eat out.

Google’s recent decision to allow anyone to review any business building in the world has led to UK courts and police stations facing a flurry of reviews. The verdict? Mixed, to say the least.

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Will 2018 be the year of the neo-luddite?

The downsides of technology’s inexorable march are ​now becoming clear – and automation will only increase the anxiety. We should expect the ​growing interest in off-grid lifestyles to be accompanied by ​direct action and even anti-tech riots

One of the great paradoxes of digital life – understood and exploited by the tech giants – is that we never do what we say. Poll after poll in the past few years has found that people are worried about online privacy and do not trust big tech firms with their data. But they carry on clicking and sharing and posting, preferring speed and convenience above all else. Last year was Silicon Valley’s annus horribilis: a year of bots, Russian meddling, sexism, monopolistic practice and tax-minimising. But I think 2018 might be worse still: the year of the neo-luddite, when anti-tech words turn into deeds.

The caricature of machine-wrecking mobs doesn’t capture our new approach to tech. A better phrase is what the writer Blake Snow has called “reformed luddism”: a society that views tech with a sceptical eye, noting the benefits while recognising that it causes problems, too. And more importantly, thinks that something can be done about it.

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Has dopamine got us hooked on tech?

Silicon Valley is keen to exploit the brain chemical credited with keeping us tapping on apps and social media

In an unprecedented attack of candour, Sean Parker, the 38-year-old founding president of Facebook, recently admitted that the social network was founded not to unite us, but to distract us. “The thought process was: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?’” he said at an event in Philadelphia in November. To achieve this goal, Facebook’s architects exploited a “vulnerability in human psychology”, explained Parker, who resigned from the company in 2005. Whenever someone likes or comments on a post or photograph, he said, “we… give you a little dopamine hit”. Facebook is an empire of empires, then, built upon a molecule.

Dopamine, discovered in 1957, is one of 20 or so major neurotransmitters, a fleet of chemicals that, like bicycle couriers weaving through traffic, carry urgent messages between neurons, nerves and other cells in the body. These neurotransmitters ensure our hearts keep beating, our lungs keep breathing and, in dopamine’s case, that we know to get a glass of water when we feel thirsty, or attempt to procreate so that our genes may survive our death.

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Air taxis: we have lift-off…

Individual journeys by air – to work, to the airport, between cities – may feature in the not-too-distant future

Last month Airbus released a video of the first successful test flight of its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) autonomous drone. Although it only hovered in the air for 53 seconds, the fact that its eight rotors were powered entirely by electricity was a landmark for the manufacturer of gas-guzzling planes. The goal is that the technology could be used for airborne travel in congested cities. “Our goal is to democratise personal flight by leveraging the latest technologies such as electric propulsion, energy storage and machine vision,” blogged Zach Lovering, Vahana project executive.

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