Most current and emerging technologies can’t actually be seen. That’s why the art department here at MIT Technology Review often depicts them with illustrations.
Take deep learning: what on Earth does that look like? Not only is it a complex concept to grasp (for me at least), but there isn't yet a common visual vocabulary for it—no symbolic shorthand, the way an apple and mortarboard can represent education or a money bag and top hat conjures the banking industry.
Thankfully, we work with a world-class group of illustrators who help us bear the conceptual load. Their imagination and hard work are what makes our jobs as art directors possible. (Not to mention it's also what makes our magazine and site look good.)
These are our favorite illustrations from 2016. Each of these pieces strike me as being a small miracle in itself. Now finished, in retrospect, each seems self-evident. But all were tricky to pull off. How would you draw, say, the Internet of things or gene editing?
A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click
Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.
We can’t afford to stop solar geoengineering research
It is the wrong time to take this strategy for combating climate change off the table.
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.
The new version of GPT-3 is much better behaved (and should be less toxic)
OpenAI has trained its flagship language model to follow instructions, making it spit out less unwanted text—but there's still a way to go.
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