October 14, 2019

Tech

"Smart homes, bountiful oceans and casual sexism: the future as envisaged from 1967 ‘Yes, life will be richer, easier, healthier as space-age dreams come true.’ In 1967, the Ford Motor Company (then known as Philco-Ford) released the short film..."

"Nir Eyal does not for a second regret writing Silicon Valley’s tech engagement how-to, “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products,” even as he now has a new book out on how to free ourselves of that same addiction. In his original manual for..."

"Wandering north up the Broad Walk, within the expansive and exquisitely manicured grounds of Kensington Gardens in west London, just past the grand Kensington Palace and up the whimsically curved ‘Wiggly Walk’ bordering the Sunken Garden, one..."

"If every action has an equal and opposite reaction, then every perfectly staged Instagram photo must have a mess lurking just out of frame. For a long time, we had to conjure these messes using only our imaginations and a bit of Schadenfreude..."

"So WeWork’s Adam Neumann is gone. The floppy-haired Israeli who spun co-working spaces into a venture capitalist fever dream of seemingly endless growth and bottomless losses has been forced out as CEO. He is being replaced, for now, by two of..."

"Depending on whom you ask, 2012 represented the apex, the inflection point, or the beginning of the end for Silicon Valley’s startup scene—what cynics called a bubble, optimists called the future, and my future co-workers, high on the fumes of..."

"Marcella is eighteen and lives in a Texas suburb so quiet that it sometimes seems like a ghost town. She downloaded TikTok last fall, after seeing TikTok videos that had been posted on YouTube and Instagram. They were strange and hilarious and..."

"Does repeating a falsehood make it true? It seems so, at least when it comes to the myth that technology is addicting us all. While a reassessment of the role our gadgets play in our lives is healthy, many people are buying into a self-defeating..."

"Artificial intelligence is getting smarter, but it isn’t getting cleaner. In order to improve at predicting the weather, sorting your social media feeds, and hailing your Uber, it needs to train on massive datasets. A few years ago, an A.I..."

"The last time Netflix asked me “Are you still watching?” I had to think really hard about it. Was I still watching? Or at least enough to make my $16-a-month payment worth it? The subscription economy can be a wonderful thing. We don’t have to..."

"Is there a backlash toward the technology industry in the culture? I tend to think so, having written about its various twists and turns most weekdays for the past couple years now. But sometimes an obsession with a beat can lead to myopia, and..."

"Virtual reality management training is the latest development in the modern history of feeling better about capitalism. Barry exists to be fired. Over and over again, Barry pops into simulated existence with one purpose: Teach management...

"It’s humiliating to consider the things we know instead of the things we should know. I can’t tell you exactly how the Michigan Republicans are trying to illegally gerrymander their state, but I know why Lana Del Rey is angry on Twitter. So it..."

"It’s fun, and increasingly fashionable, to complain about technology. Our own devices distract us, others’ devices spy on us, social media companies poison public discourse, new wired objects violate our privacy, and all of this contributes to a..."

"Major corporations get caught behaving badly … a lot. And so far, the main solution we’ve come up with is fining them — the Federal Trade Commission hit Facebook with a $5 billion fine this summer, an amount that, while large, will barely make a..."

"On my phone, Instagram is a series of squares and rectangles with pictures of babies, clogs, books, lakes and buildings, buildings and more buildings. But when I read or hear about Instagram, none of these — except for babies — seem to exist on..."

"The federal government has levied a record-setting fine against a giant internet platform for abusing its users’ privacy. Critics say the government hasn’t done nearly enough. Yes, that was also the takeaway in July, when the US laid out a..."

"Wallops island—a remote, marshy spit of land along the eastern shore of Virginia, near a famed national refuge for horses—is mostly known as a launch site for government and private rockets. But it also makes for a perfect, quiet spot to test a..."

"No matter how well-intentioned their creators were, tech products can encourage and amplify existing racial biases. And Stanford University psychology professor Jennifer Eberhardt says companies can take meaningful steps to reduce that effect..."

"There are lots of reasons to patent something. The most obvious one is that you’ve come up with a brilliant invention, and you want to protect your idea so that nobody can steal it from you. But that’s just the tip of the patent strategy iceberg..."

"On August 12, a man named Umar Baig was driving illegally in Brooklyn — speeding his Dodge Charger down Coney Island Avenue far, far above the speed limit of 25 miles per hour. At the intersection with Avenue L, he ran a red light, and smashed..."

"For most of our lives, we have been conditioned to share a piece of personal information without a moment’s hesitation: our phone number. We punch in our digits at the grocery store to get a member discount or at the pharmacy to pick up..."

"The new medium would spread half-truths, propaganda and lies. It would encourage self-absorption and solipsism, thereby fragmenting communities. It would allow any amateur to become an author and degrade public discourse. Sound familiar? Such..."

"Easter eggs in tech products have largely disappeared (except in video games). Like any other software, Easter eggs, so named for the hunt to find them, cost time and money to design, build and debug. Why would a tech company develop features it..."

"Last year, I had a strange dream. My father and I were wading in an industrial canal, reminiscent of a subway, as thousands of hatchery-raised fish were being released into it. The fish crowded, slimy, around our legs, and I knew (in the way..."

"Social media platforms are the equivalent of the public square of yore. Politicians on Twitter can talk to the people directly and they can reply, issue statements, and take jabs at each other. However, these words that win politicians their..."

"Mathematical Twitter is normally a quiet, well-ordered place, a refuge from the aggravations of the internet. But on July 28, someone who must have been a troll off-duty decided to upset the stillness, and did so with a surefire provocation..."

"Here is one of the great paradoxes of our time. The world is dominated by a few corporations that are among the most profitable companies in the history of capitalism. In the US (the home of these giants) and in the UK (an enthusiastic vassal..."

"In a recent post on Courtney Perkins’s Instagram account, two gray-haired women stand with their arms around each other, their gazes purposeful, their mouths unsmiling. It’s not clear who they are or what they’re doing, but the two have planned..."

"When Elon Musk speaks, people listen, even when it's not too clear if he has any idea what he's talking about. Musk's every word is scrutinized, and each of his ideas is heralded as a breakthrough in human discovery. For example: the CEO of...

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"Smart homes, bountiful oceans and casual sexism: the future as envisaged from 1967 ‘Yes, life will be richer, easier, healthier as space-age dreams come true.’ In 1967, the Ford Motor Company (then known as Philco-Ford) released the short film..."