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Intelligent Machines

The Best of the Web This Week

Our news team shares their favorite stories from the week in technology news.

How an Amish Girl Became a Modern Woman

Emma Gingerich left her Amish community in Missouri at the age of 16. She went on to get her GED and college degree, has settled in Texas, dates someone she met online, and now can't stand it when she's without the Internet. —Michael Reilly, senior editor, news and commentary

Texting While Walking Is Killing People

The Wall Street Journal explores how injuries from walking while smartphone-ing have jumped and whether technology can also be used to help alleviate the problem. —Rachel Metz, senior editor, mobile

Tumblr-ing Down the Rabbit Hole

The New Republic's in-depth look at the teen-centric culture of Tumblr is funny, poignant, and full of oddball passages like this: "Heartbreak is a recurring theme on these Tumblrs, so is skewering the chipper but futile commands of self-help. 'Fill your heart with bees. If someone breaks your heart, then they have to deal with the bees.'" —Kyanna Sutton, senior Web producer 

What's It Like to Live on Mars?

A NASA health sciences officer who has participated in a Mars simulation in Hawaii for the past five months explains what she's learned thus far. —Elizabeth Woyke, editor, Business Reports

Why Millions of People Love Chatting with This Robot

Xiaoice is a chatbot designed to behave like a human. But "she" has captured the hearts of millions of people in China, who see her as a friend and chat with her regularly. Is AI learning to make us happier? —Will Knight, senior editor, AI and robotics

When Fighting Online Abuse Is No Longer Worth It

Whether you have been following Gamergate or not, this is a powerful, sobering story about how the law is failing women who have been subject to its vicious campaign of online harassment. —Julia Sklar, social media editor

When Gamers Become Scientists

A new scientific paper describes the results from an online game that pitted thousands of humans against machines contest to predict how RNA molecules would fold into particular shapes. Some of the game players even got to be authors on the paper, though the publication was almost delayed by a dispute over whether they could use their gamer names instead of their real ones. —Mike Orcutt, associate editor

Moore's Law Will Soon Be Broken. What's Next?

For decades computers have got faster because transistors have been getting smaller—but the industry now says that further shrinking is more or less technically impossible. —Tom Simonite, San Francisco bureau chief 

Technology Is Reinventing Campaign Politics

The New Yorker takes a fascinating look at the populism of this election, and how it’s being covered thanks to ubiquitous Wi-Fi and a struggling press. —Nanette Byrnes, senior editor, Business Reports


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