Tag Archive for Economist

The Economist explains: What APIs are

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A FEDERAL jury has handed Google a huge victory in its long-running battle with a rival, Oracle, over Google’s Android software. The two software giants have been at legal loggerheads for years over Oracle’s allegation that Google illegally copied parts of its software—specifically, 37 “Java APIs”—in its Android phones. Oracle has already announced it plans…

Product design: The replicator

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 Designing in the digital and physical worlds at the same time WHEN great designs are turned into products compromises are made. The beautifully sculpted “concept” cars that regularly appear at motor shows never get built, at least not in the form they left the design studio, because they are inevitably too difficult and expensive to…

Quantum computing: Now try this

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USING the rules of quantum mechanics to carry out computations far faster than any conventional machine can manage is an idea that goes back decades. It was proposed in the early 1980s, but was confined to the blackboards of theoreticians until the late 1990s, when experimentalists gave it life by building simple machines which proved…

The case against Google: Tie breaker

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TECH moguls look upon the European Commission with as much enthusiasm as does the average Tory MP from the English shires. Europe has no successful technology companies of its own, they whisper, which is why Eurocrats spend their time hassling American tech giants instead. Not for the first time Google finds itself in the commission’s…

The Economist explains: The difference between virtual and augmented reality

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IF COMPUTING companies have their way, then 2016 will be the year in which virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)—two closely-related but very different technologies—become widely popular. Firms such as Facebook, Sony and Microsoft are getting ready to launch a raft of high-tech headsets designed either to layer computerised information on top of the…

The Economist explains: Why firms are piling into artificial intelligence

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SOMETIMES it is perceived as a figment of the far future. But artificial intelligence (AI) is today’s great obsession in Silicon Valley. Last year technology companies spent $8.5 billion on deals and investments in artificial intelligence, four times more than in 2010. Nearly all of the world’s technology giants, including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and…

Quantum computing: Harnessing weirdness

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Double, double, toil and trouble After a glorious 50 years, Moore’s law—which states that computer power doubles every two years at the same cost—is running out of steam. Tim Cross asks what might replace it IN 1971 a small company called Intel released the 4004, its first ever microprocessor. The chip, measuring 12 square millimetres,…