A Deliveroo worker goes about his business. As the law tries to catch up with the technology, a couple of companies dig their heels in – Air BnB, Uber, Lyft, Deliveroo, TaskRabbit, Deliveroo. Photograph:  Mikael Buck/Deliveroo

In the 2011 bestseller The Master Switch, author Tim Wu argues that, throughout history, communication technologies tend to move from at first being a(...)

Every time you use the  automatic checkout machine at the supermarket, you are essentially getting a flavour of how the future is going to look in a whole variety of industries. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A few weeks ago, a tragic accident occurred at a Volkswagen factory in Baunatal, Germany. A 21-year-old contractor was installing a robot when its arm(...)

A driverless car during a press event this month in Zurich, Switzerland. Photograph: EPA/Ennio Leanza

Many years ago – it must have been the late 1990s – I ran into a freelance Irish Times colleague in the office. He had just returned from Cannes, wher(...)

Room service: the A.L.O. by Savioke delivers fresh towels to a hotel guests’ room. Photograph:  Jason Henry/The New York Times

A machine that administers sedatives recently began treating patients at a Seattle hospital. At a Silicon Valley hotel, a bellhop robot delivers items(...)

Robot power: claims they will take jobs from humans have so far been wrong as consumer demands shift

Experts disagree about the future. That might seem unextraordinary, but it’s the conclusion of a new survey on robots from Pew, and it’s more signific(...)

French economist Thomas Piketty has been nominated for the Financial Times’s 10th business book of the year. (Ed Alcock/The New York Times)

ANDREW HILL Two of this year’s most controversial books – Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century and Michael Lewis’s Flash Boys – will (...)

With one rub of his lamp, Aladdin could command an intelligent being able to fulfil all desires. His genie was a spirit. But the dream of powerful and(...)