Wayne MacPhail

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Wayne MacPhail has been a print and online journalist for 25 years. He was the managing editor of Hamilton Magazine and was a reporter and editor at The Hamilton Spectator until he founded Southam InfoLab, a national future information products facility for Southam Inc. in 1991. He went on to develop online content for most major players in Canada including Sympatico-Lycos, where he was the director of content. He is also a book author (Spin Doctors) and is a published and performed playwright (Abandon Hope Mabel Dorothy). He has taught online writing at several Ontario colleges and universities and is the co-owner of w8nc inc, a marketing and communications firm aimed at non- profit and educational organizations.
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An eye for an I: Trying to understand selfies

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A miscreant's guide to horizontal video

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Last week's industrial explosion in Tianjin, China was a horrific event that made news worldwide. The footage of the explosions was terrifying. It was also shot vertically.

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Nerds vs. normals: The two solitudes of tech

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Avid fans of technology have a term for folks who aren't so rabid about code and gadgets -- they call them "normals." Normals see computers, smartphones or wearables as merely means to an end. They don't care about features, updates or even which operating system a device runs. They have no patience with bugs. They just want the damned things to work.

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Bill C-51: Stephen Harper, Anonymous and the Joker's gambit

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It's hard not to turn to popular culture to explain Bill C-51 and the world another Harper government will usher in. And, three references leap to mind immediately. The first is a scene in The Dark Knight Rises.

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The tale of the tape: Uber vs. the taxis

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Here's a riddle for you. Why is an Uber car like a Betamax tape? Answer: both are disruptive innovations. And both are being dealt with by incumbent industries in exactly the same way -- with mindless blunt force.

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Bananas and neural networks: Do androids dream of electric sheep?

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In the past few months we've heard the term "machine learning" bandied about by Google execs, computer scientists and nerdish blowhards at pool parties. The phrase is used to explain why digital assistants like Google Now and Siri have gotten so much better at understanding what we mean, why Google Photos can find images of flowers so well and how even our watches seem to listen better than an average 14-year-old.

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Robots at the summer movies

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On a recent flight to Vancouver I had a chance to watch a few episodes of the TV show Humans, along with the movie Ex Machina. They both, in their own ways, deal with the time when robots approach, equal and then surpass humans. Their neural circuits become infected, as it were, with a virus that corrupts their logic and renders them aware of themselves, and their possible futures. You know that's going to end badly.

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Technology? We are still in the steam era

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Health care's complicated relationship with technology

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Here's a quick, amateur medical diagnosis: the health-care system is ailing when it comes to technology.

In the last six months, we've read news of remarkable medical breakthroughs: mind-controlled artificial limbs, injectable brain implants, nano-sized robots that can do colon biopsies, and more. So, from those stories it would be easy to assume that hospitals, doctors and researchers are literally on the bleeding edge of tech. And yet.

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Making our masters: How to build a robot overlord

Photo: Hsing Wei/flickr

How do you build a robot overlord? Piece by piece. Let's look at how we're doing. The last year has been a kind of watershed for "plastic pals that are fun to be with," as Douglas Adams once called sentient androids with the brains the size of planets. In all sorts of different, but related, fields, human beings have made incredible strides at putting ourselves out of a job at the top of the food chain, cognition-wise.

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