Fiction Pick of the Week: "The First Expedition"
A trip to the moon is not what it seems.
A trip to the moon is not what it seems.
A futuristic world of scavenging and anatomical harvesting.
A woman suspects her new boyfriend is less than human.
The intersection of climate change and reality TV.
Libertarian, futurist, billionaire: a profile of Peter Thiel.
Why the boom in scientific progress stalled.
A profile of the highest-paid female executive in America, who was born male.
An ambivalent look at Google Glass, the “Model T of wearable computing.”
Technologies of literacy, technologies of memory.
"Millions of people, some my age but most younger, have been keeping lifelogs for years, wearing personal cams that capture continuous video of their entire lives. People consult their lifelogs for a variety of reasonseverything from reliving favorite moments to tracking down the cause of allergic reactionsbut only intermittently; no one wants to spend all their time formulating queries and sifting through the results. Lifelogs are the most complete photo album imaginable, but like most photo albums, they lie dormant except on special occasions. Now Whetstone aims to change all of that; they claim Remem’s algorithms can search the entire haystack by the time you’ve finished saying 'needle.'"
The long road to Google’s self-driving car.
“In 1981, with a computer built into my shoe, I walked into a Las Vegas casino and beat the house.”
How real-time information can make you a better human.
A startup’s plan to launch a fleet of cheap, small, ultra-efficient imaging satellites and revolutionize data collection.
In the not-so-distant future, all of our objects will talk to each other. They’ll make our coffee, find our keys, save our lives. The roadmap to a fully networked existence.
An internet pioneer loses hope in the promise of web culture.
Why the future feels frozen in time, as framed by Marshall McLuhan (“We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.”) and William Gibson (“The future is already here; it is just unevenly distributed.”)
A history of the divide between computing and language, and why we “define and regiment our lives, including our social lives and our perceptions of our selves, in ways that are conducive to what a computer can ‘understand.’”
Teaching Ted Kaczynski’s anti-technology ideas.
An interview with futurist Ray Kurzweil on the “Singularity” and the overlap between technology and spiritualism.
On the Google conundrum:
It’s clearly wrong for all the information in all the world’s books to be in the sole possession of a single company. It’s clearly not ideal that only one company in the world can, with increasing accuracy, translate text between 506 different pairs of languages. On the other hand, if Google doesn’t do these things, who will?
The idea that people would “inexpensively have access to a tremendous global computation and networking facility” was supposed to create wealth and wellbeing. Has it instead created a technologically advanced dystopia?
A cautionary inquiry into the unchecked hive mind.
A profile of Jaron Lanier, virtual reality pioneer and the author of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto.
On the development of South Korea’s New Songdo and Cisco’s plans to build smart cities which will “offer cities as a service, bundling urban necessities – water, power, traffic, telephony – into a single, Internet-enabled utility, taking a little extra off the top of every resident’s bill.” The demand for such cities is enormous:
China doesn't need cool, green, smart cities. It needs cities, period -- 500 New Songdos at the very least. One hundred of those will each house a million or more transplanted peasants. In fact, while humanity has been building cities for 9,000 years, that was apparently just a warm-up for the next 40. As of now, we're officially an urban species. More than half of us -- 3.3 billion people -- live in a city. Our numbers are projected to nearly double by 2050, adding roughly a New Songdo a day; the United Nations predicts the vast majority will flood smaller cities in Africa and Asia.
Today, in the electronic age of instantaneous communication, I believe that our survival, and at the very least our comfort and happiness, is predicated on understanding the nature of our new environment, because unlike previous environmental changes, the electric media constitute a total and near-instantaneous transformation of culture, values and attitudes.