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Seven Must-Read Stories (Week ending December 13, 2015)

Another chance to catch the most interesting and important articles from the previous week on MIT Technology Review.
December 11, 2015
  1. Google Says It Has Proved Its Controversial Quantum Computer Really Works
    Researchers from Google’s AI Lab say a controversial quantum machine that it and NASA have been testing since 2013 resoundingly beat a conventional computer in a series of tests.
  2. Wikipedia-Mining Algorithm Reveals World’s Most Influential Universities
    An algorithm’s list of the most influential universities contains some surprising entries.
  3. Here’s What Developers Are Doing with Google’s AI Brain
    Researchers outside Google are testing the software that the company uses to add artificial intelligence to many of its products.
  4. China Wants to Replace Millions of Workers with Robots
    China needs advanced robotics to help balance its economic, social, and technological ambitions with continued growth.
  5. How Old Is Too Old for a Nuclear Reactor?
    The nuclear industry’s efforts to keep aging plants operating highlight questions about nuclear power’s future in the U.S.
  6. Baidu’s Self-Driving Car Takes On Beijing Traffic
    China’s leading search company is developing a self-driving car with BMW.
  7. A Cloud-Free Satellite Map of Earth
    Stitching together a live world map from many different satellite images lets algorithms keep an eye on the health of crops and problems like flooding.
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Conceptual illustration of a therapy session
Conceptual illustration of a therapy session

The therapists using AI to make therapy better

Researchers are learning more about how therapy works by examining the language therapists use with clients. It could lead to more people getting better, and staying better.

street in Kabul at night
street in Kabul at night

Can Afghanistan’s underground “sneakernet” survive the Taliban?

A once-thriving network of merchants selling digital content to people without internet connections is struggling under Taliban rule.

Conceptual illustration showing a file folder with the China flag and various papers flying out of it
Conceptual illustration showing a file folder with the China flag and various papers flying out of it

The US crackdown on Chinese economic espionage is a mess. We have the data to show it.

The US government’s China Initiative sought to protect national security. In the most comprehensive analysis of cases to date, MIT Technology Review reveals how far it has strayed from its goals.

IBM engineers at Ames Research Center
IBM engineers at Ames Research Center

Where computing might go next

The future of computing depends in part on how we reckon with its past.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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