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The Biggest Technology Failures of 2016

From algorithms that spread fake news to glowing plants that don’t glow, here are our picks for the worst technologies of the year.
December 27, 2016

Volkswagen’s “defeat device”

Volkswagen created what may be the most expensive few lines of code ever written. The software, called a “defeat device” and cooked up by the German automaker to fool U.S. emissions testers, concealed that its diesel cars emit as much as 40 times the allowed pollution. Even though the scandal broke in 2015, the cost to Volkswagen of their “innovation” is only now becoming clear. In June, the German automaker agreed to pay $14.7 billion to cover legal penalties and the cost of replacing or fixing 475,000 automobiles in the U.S.  

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Deep Dive

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Five poems about the mind

DREAM VENDING MACHINE I feed it coins and watch the spring coil back,the clunk of a vacuum-packed, foil-wrappeddream dropping into the tray. It dispenses all kinds of dreams—bad dreams, good dreams,short nightmares to stave off worse ones, recurring dreams with a teacake marshmallow center.Hardboiled caramel dreams to tuck in your cheek,a bag of orange dreams…

Work reinvented: Tech will drive the office evolution

As organizations navigate a new world of hybrid work, tech innovation will be crucial for employee connection and collaboration.

lucid dreaming concept
lucid dreaming concept

I taught myself to lucid dream. You can too.

We still don’t know much about the experience of being aware that you’re dreaming—but a few researchers think it could help us find out more about how the brain works.

panpsychism concept
panpsychism concept

Is everything in the world a little bit conscious?

The idea that consciousness is widespread is attractive to many for intellectual and, perhaps, also emotional
reasons. But can it be tested? Surprisingly, perhaps it can.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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