the activation of C-Band frequencies by AT&T and Verizon means that improved 5G networks are now available for millions of Americans. The long-anticipated rollout began on January 19, but with one caveat: Both companies temporarily pushed back plans for 5G networks near certain airports after criticism from the Federal Aviation Administration and multiple airlines about
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When Ayleen Serrano returned to school after the recent winter break, the 15-year-old came back to nearly empty hallways, absent classmates, and what she describes as a “lifeless” atmosphere. As the days passed, fewer of her peers showed up at MetWest High School in Oakland, California; her teachers and classmates were testing positive for Covid-19,
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That’s because health data such as medical imaging, vital signs, and data from wearable devices can vary for reasons unrelated to a particular health condition, such as lifestyle or background noise. The machine learning algorithms popularized by the tech industry are so good at finding patterns that they can discover shortcuts to “correct” answers that
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In 2010, a Google product manager named Scott Spencer gave an interview explaining Google’s use of “second-price” auctions to place ads across the web. In a second-price auction, the highest bidder wins, but only has to pay whatever the second highest bid was. Economists love this setup—the guy who theorized it won a Nobel Prize—because
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On Tuesday, federal judge James E. Boasberg ruled that the Federal Trade Commission’s effort to break up Facebook could move forward. The case itself is far from decided. But by blessing the FTC’s theory that a monopoly can harm consumers even when its product is free, the judge has signaled that Facebook—and other tech platforms—are
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The way predictions raced ahead of experiments on Omicron’s spike protein reflects a recent sea change in molecular biology brought about by AI. The first software capable of accurately predicting protein structures became widely available only months before Omicron appeared, thanks to competing research teams at Alphabet’s UK-based AI lab DeepMind and at the University
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Almost a decade ago, my middle son was born with multiple disabilities. I obviously had many concerns at the time, but one of my biggest was how we would manage accessibility challenges as he grew up. For the first few years, my son did well getting around in a car seat and a stroller. But
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Unlike Tesla’s Autopilot, Volvo says, Ride Pilot will be able to navigate highways without driver supervision, which means “you can eat, you can watch a movie, you can read a book” behind the wheel, according to Martin Kristensson, the head of mobility and autonomous driving at Volvo Cars. (He strongly advises drivers to resist the
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In the next few decades, virtually every financial, social, and governmental institution in the world is going to be radically upended by one small but enormously powerful invention: the blockchain. Do you believe that? Or are you one of those people who think the blockchain and crypto boom is just a massive, decade-long fraud—the bastard
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When the pandemic hit the US in March 2020, public health officials told people to stay home. But many couldn’t. Essential workers—grocery store cashiers, health care workers, cooks, drivers, and chefs—continued to punch in every day. Others went out for groceries, or doctors’ appointments, or to take kids to school. So all over the US,
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In early June, a prerecorded video informed citizens of El Salvador that they were about to participate in a grand experiment. The speaker was Nayib Bukele, the country’s 40-year-old president, who declared that he had a plan for a better future: Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency would become legal tender in the country, he said—a global first
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Still, overcoming the cold start problem is deceptively difficult. Chen offers the example of Tiny Speck, the gaming company that would go on to become Slack. Tiny Speck had everything going for it: a star team, an exciting launch, and $17 million from respected investors (including Andreessen Horowitz, where Chen works). It also got plenty
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On December 10, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions, including a bar on American investments, on SenseTime, a Chinese artificial intelligence company accused of developing facial-recognition software used to target China’s predominantly Muslim Uyghur community. The move, part of a raft of sanctions introduced on Human Rights Day, prompted SenseTime to postpone a planned IPO
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In May 2021, Twitter, a platform notorious for abuse and hot-headedness, rolled out a “prompts” feature that suggests users think twice before sending a tweet. The following month, Facebook announced AI “conflict alerts” for groups, so that admins can take action where there may be “contentious or unhealthy conversations taking place.” Email and messaging smart-replies
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None of that would matter if it all remained confined to the realm of social media. Except the past few years have witnessed the explosion of zero-commission trading apps that allow easy access to stock markets—and suddenly people can follow through on their love for the meme. US Securities and Exchange Commission chair Gary Gensler
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Luke Haverhals wants to change how yoga pants are made. Most performance fabrics used in athletic clothing, like Spandex, are made from synthetic fibers—plastic, essentially. Those plastics are problematic for humans and the environment. Haverhals’ company, Natural Fiber Welding, offers an alternative to synthetic fabrics. NFW makes a performance cotton textile called Clarus that can
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The most important technology of the year was not Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse, Jack Dorsey’s blockchain, or Elon Musk’s, err, dancing robot. It was more likely the same thing that has propelled progress in the tech industry for decades. The one that lets machines juggle and manipulate information, faster and more efficiently every year. It is,
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In the future, luxury brands may have storefronts in virtual worlds where users can browse their shops as though they’re walking through a real store. But between buggy software, a minimal user base, and a system that allows users to buy and sell slurs with only a complicated governance system to potentially stop them, the
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