In the weeks after the September 11 attacks, Technology Review published a special issue dedicated to technologies that could help combat terrorism. It described, among other things, the need for intelligence agencies to better connect the dots; the rapid progress of face recognition and other biometric technologies; how keeping track of real-time health data could detect surreptitious biological attacks; and even how a wired infrastructure could improve resilience.
You can read that issue in full, for free (after registering), in our digital archive.
In short, much our initial focus was on how a variety of information technologies might better protect the nation–especially if researchers and others could improve at sorting out useful information from digital chaff. As we observed a decade ago, “the software for making sense of the traffic can’t keep up with the volume. Don’t expect that to change anytime soon.”
But society continues to produce and store digital information at a rapidly expanding scale. This year, according to the analyst firm IDC, the amount of information “created and replicated” will surpass 1.8 trillion gigabytes, a ninefold increase in just five years. Meanwhile, the sharp rise in ownership and usage of mobile devices has created the potential for far greater network stresses when new emergencies hit. (Witness the network failures that accompanied the zero-casualty Virginia earthquake last month.)
Information solutions are always advancing. But so are some of the underlying problems.
The worst technology of 2021
Face filters, billionaires in space, and home-buying algorithms that overpay all made our annual list of technology gone wrong.
A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click
Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.
Meet Altos Labs, Silicon Valley’s latest wild bet on living forever
Funders of a deep-pocketed new "rejuvenation" startup are said to include Jeff Bezos and Yuri Milner.
A gene-edited pig’s heart has been transplanted into a human for the first time
The procedure is a one-off, and highly experimental, but the technique could help reduce transplant waiting lists in the future.
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