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Future Tech

  • ‘Small number’ of Boeing’s computer systems hit by WannaCry malware

    Remember WannaCry? It was 2017's big security story, infecting more than a quarter-million Windows computers at its most prolific point. But its prominence died down after tech doctors quelled its spread. But like a bad case of influenza, it's definitely not dead, and reports suggest aircraft manufacturer Boeing found that out the hard way on Wednesday. According to the Seattle Times, the firm's 777 assembly line in North Carolina was affected, but it was contained to a small number of machines. "The vulnerability was limited to a few machines. We deployed software patches. There was no interruption to the 777 jet program...

  • South Africa, you can now tip your Uber driver

    Feeling bad about not tipping your Uber driver for making your day? If saying "thanks" is just too cold for you, from today, riders can now give their drivers monetary appreciation through the app. The feature first hit the United States and Canada in July 2017, but has now been enabled in South Africa some seven months later. "Over the years, we’ve heard a lot of drivers asking us to roll out an in-app tipping function, so their clients can more easily reward great service and the act of going above and beyond what’s expected," explained Alon Lits, Uber sub-Saharan Africa's...

  • Uber autonomous car kills pedestrian in Arizona

    The autonomous car industry has been dealt a major blow this week. On Sunday, an Uber self driving vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. The 49-year-old pedestrian was reportedly walking alongside her bicycle "outside the crosswalk" when she was hit. It's the first time a self driving car was involved in a pedestrian death. The car involved was a modified Volvo XC90 fitted with Uber's sensing technology, and occupied by a human in the driver's seat keeping tabs on the vehicle's systems. Additionally, said systems are supposed to react to obstacles in the vehicle's path and markings along the road,...

  • Uber launches Incident Response Team ‘call-back’ in South Africa

    Uber South Africa now has its own Incident Response Team, the company announced Tuesday. This incident system has been operational as trial since December 2017, however the system is this week live for all riders in South Africa. Riders can also now submit safety concerns (along with phone number and description of the incident) through the Uber app. They will then receive a "call-back" from Uber's response team. "We have listened to the hundreds of thousands of riders using the Uber app in South Africa and they've expressed the need to be able to speak with our teams in the event of...

  • NJ man orders a R19 000 Uber after a frat party brain fade

    The longest Uber trip ever recorded in South Africa spanned between Cape Town and Durban via Bloemfontein. We're not sure who this dedicated driver was, nor if the passenger knew that aircraft have been a viable form of travel for nearly a century now. But these long, seemingly unnecessary Uber trips aren't as rare as you may think. Just ask Kenneth Bachman a resident of New Jersey, USA. According to CBS, Bachman last week paid more than US$1600 (R19 000) for an Uber trip from a frat party at West Virginia University back home to the east coast of the country. Sorry,...

  • The Moon is getting its own 4G network in 2019

    I only just got 4G LTE in my area, but noooo, serving the planet Earth is just too damn boring for some companies. Four firms, including Nokia and Audi, will in 2019 build a 4G network on the surface of the Moon, because even Millennial space dust needs high bandwidth. The move was announced this week at MWC 2018 in Barcelona. But this ludicrous idea does have a point. The network will allow astronauts to beam information -- be it video, audio or raw data -- from the Moon to Earth, that is, once humans actually reach the satellite's surface once again. And...

  • Sci-fi gone real: flying cars, commercial space travel and teleportation

    Sci-fi gone real is a series that focusses on the extravagant concepts dreamt up in the world of sci-fi, exploring just how close they are to becoming a reality. In this piece, we will be exploring the topic of transportation. From teleportation to flying cars, reality is rapidly becoming stranger than fiction. If you’re over the hassles and limitations of contemporary transportation, then this article might hold some hope for you yet. Teleportation Imagine a world without traffic jams or twenty-hour flights; a world where distance is merely the obstacle of scientific and mathematical endeavours. Well, this world might be a lot...

  • Elon Musk bids Starman farewell in a final Instagram snap

    SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has shared the "last pic" of his cherry-red Tesla roadster hurting towards the Asteroid Belt, after it was launched into space on Tuesday. The launch itself was historic, giving SpaceX claim to the most powerful operational rocket, the Falcon Heavy. "Last pic of Starman in Roadster enroute to Mars orbit and then the Asteroid Belt," he wrote on Instagram. Last pic of Starman in Roadster enroute to Mars orbit and then the Asteroid Belt A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on Feb 7, 2018 at 2:00pm PST And with the caption, he included an image taken looking down...

  • How AI will affect the future property market

    Much discussed as a revolutionary technology of the future, artificial intelligence (AI) is already having an impact in the present, reshaping the way work is carried out across a range of industries, from manufacturing to customer service. One of the niche arenas where its impact has not yet been significant is the real estate market, but this is also set to change. In the past, a buyer using a realtor would have outlined some basic factors -- price, room requirements and area -- to the agent, who would then interpose their own interpretation of those parameters and show the resulting...

  • Sci-fi gone real: cyborgs, cloning and the science of new life

    Sci-fi gone real is a series that focusses on the extravagant concepts dreamt up in the world of sci-fi, exploring just how close they are to becoming a reality. In this piece we discuss ‘new life’. From artificial intelligence to terraforming, mad scientists all over the world are hard at work dissecting and, potentially, changing the very fabric of existence. Cloning Cloning is a concept that has been explored so extensively in sci-fi works that it almost seems a reality. But, like with most of the other entries on this list, it looks like truth is becoming stranger than fiction, and has...

  • Manned missions, moon shots: what else can we expect from SpaceX for 2018?

    SpaceX has blasted to the history books with the successful launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket last night, but you might be wondering about its other plans for 2018. Falcon Heavy is expected to have a few more appearances, with its first commercial payload set for a vague "first half of 2018" timeline, according to Space Flight Now. The mission, to lift-off from Cape Canaveral, will see it launch the Arabsat 6A satellite into orbit. The Falcon Heavy will then see another appearance (tentatively set for June), launching the US Air Force's Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission. This consists of "a cluster of military and scientific research satellites". Falcon...

  • Replay: Watch the moment SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launched

    After numerous delays, SpaceX has finally delivered the first test flight of its Falcon Heavy rocket. Billed as the most powerful operational rocket available right now, Falcon Heavy is expected to be the vehicle of choice for future Moon and Mars missions. The rocket lifted off at 10:45pm SAST (3.45pm local time), following a delay due to weather concerns. For the test flight, SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk decided to use his own Tesla Roadster as a dummy payload. The result, as the above image shows, speaks for itself, as the rocket and payload successfully left Earth. The rocket's three first stage boosters separated...

  • Pictures: the ‘Super Blue Blood Moon’ lights up social media

    There's something mythical about the Moon -- that little spherical ball roughly the size of Australia revolving around the Earth more or less once a month. Tonight, it's the centerpiece of a particularly storied event. 31 January 2018 sees the month's second full moon, commonly known as the "blue" moon. It coincides with the perigee of the Moon -- its closest point to Earth -- which is also known as the "supermoon". And finally, because of its positioning in relation to the Earth and the Sun, some will see a total lunar eclipse, and a reddish-tinted Moon as it passes through the Earth's...

  • Falcon Heavy: world’s most powerful rocket gets launch date

    The Falcon Heavy rocket launch has been long-awaited, but it's seen numerous delays. In fact, SpaceX initially planned for a first test flight as long ago as 2013. Now, the rocket, expected to be the most powerful since the Apollo programme's Saturn V, has received a firm launch date of 6 February. The date comes from SpaceX founder Elon Musk himself, via Twitter. Aiming for first flight of Falcon Heavy on Feb 6 from Apollo launchpad 39A at Cape Kennedy. Easy viewing from the public causeway. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 27, 2018 According to Space Flight Insider, the launch is expected to...

  • AI will understand your emotions better than your family come 2022

    It's 2018 everyone. Congrats, you've made it one step further into the future laden with emotion-sensing artificial intelligence, virtual personal assistants and potentially longer lifespans. This is according to research company Gartner's latest report, aptly titled Predicts 2018: Personal Devices. While not specifically focussing on the year ahead, the report does highlight what humans can expect to see from the next decade's wave of technology. And it's slightly creepy. By 2022, "personal devices will know more about an individual's emotional state than his or her own family" suggests Gartner, accounting for the sophistication of the development behind artificial intelligence and its...