The New Intimacy Economy
Recoiling from the smarm of social media, Leigh Alexander argues that the future will not bring a cold “tech dystopia” but rather “performative—maybe even excessive—intimacy.”
—Brian Bergstein, Executive Editor
The Digital Revolution in Higher Education Has Already Happened. No One Noticed.
Clay Shirky shares the stats that show that online courses are “no longer surprising, rare, or experimental. By adopting them, students are telling us what they need our institutions to become.”
—Megan Barnett, Deputy Editor
Can Sylvia Earle Save the Oceans?
See Sylvia swim. And save our water landscape.
—J. Juniper Friedment, Associate Web Producer
Google Seeks to Influence AI Research by Giving Software Away
The software Google developed and uses for artificial-intelligence tasks such as understanding the content of images is now anyone’s to use or modify. Releasing the software as open source is expected to help researchers and smaller companies develop new applications for machine learning more quickly.
—Tom Simonite, San Francisco Bureau Chief
The Unexpected Charm of Facebook’s Friendship Anniversaries
When a social network adds a new algorithm, friendship—at least on the digital level—gains a notch of legimitacy it doesn’t usually hold against romantic relationships and family relationships.
—Julia Sklar, Interim Associate Web Producer
Where the Cloud Rises from the Sea
The major cable connecting the U.S. to the “global Internet” seems to bypass its coastal California neighbors, many of whom can’t get broadband access.
Two Pranksters Built a Pizza Rat Robot to Terrify New Yorkers
Not a robot, exactly, but innovative nonetheless.
—Will Knight, Senior Editor, AI
The Drone Economy
An interesting piece about the drone boom, and those protesting “killing by remote control.”
A Rising Tide
Two long features this week looked at cities attempting to adapt to rising sea levels, due to climate change. This one, from the New Republic, examines the increasingly urgent quest in Miami to stay afloat—mainly by building higher seawalls and raising streets. None of these solutions look to be capable of withstanding the looming surge. In fact, the main theme that emerges from interviews with locals seems to be “Enjoy Miami while you can.”
—Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Energy
The big new idea for making self-driving cars that can go anywhere
The mainstream approach to driverless cars is slow and difficult. These startups think going all-in on AI will get there faster.
Inside Charm Industrial’s big bet on corn stalks for carbon removal
The startup used plant matter and bio-oil to sequester thousands of tons of carbon. The question now is how reliable, scalable, and economical this approach will prove.
The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images
Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.
The hype around DeepMind’s new AI model misses what’s actually cool about it
Some worry that the chatter about these tools is doing the whole field a disservice.
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