Backchannel

There’s no lack of reports on the ethics of artificial intelligence. But most of them are lightweight—full of platitudes about “public-private partnerships” and bromides about putting people first. They don’t acknowledge the knotty nature of the social dilemmas AI creates, or how tough it will be to untangle them. The…

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Two days before real-life troll Milo Yiannopoulos would descend on UC Berkeley’s campus in September, Ash Bhat and Rohan Phadte were sizing up a railing partisan on Twitter from their college apartment. Hovering over his laptop, Bhat explained why he suspected @PatriotJen was actually a bot, maybe even one controlled…

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How do you show off the most anticipated product in years? That was my dilemma with the iPhone X. Since my unit was one of the first few released into the wild, it naturally drew a lot of curiosity when I pulled it out of my pocket and gave it…

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Roberto Hernández Alarcón needed a diamond-blade saw. It was nearing midnight on September 24, and he was standing on the rubble of what had been an office building in the middle of Mexico City. It was five days after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake had hit Mexico, showering rubble across the central…

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When Russian Trolls Attack Anna Zhavnerovich knew she was taking a risk when she publicized the details of her assault online. But in doing so, she joined a growing movement of survivors fighting back against Russia’s Kremlin-influenced trolling machine. by Yulia James and Sophia Jones 10.25.17 Anna Zhavnerovich woke with…

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Like the repeated hook of a pop song that you can’t get out of your head, mergers between the already-powerful wireless giants keep coming. In the previous greatest hits category of wireless consolidation, the Obama administration managed to stop the music for a while: Its DOJ blocked AT&T from buying…

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Kara Bonneau had trained for months to run the 2014 Boston Marathon, one of the sport’s premier events. Excited about the challenge ahead of her, she posted a photo of her official race bib #14285 on her various social media accounts so that her friends and family could track her…

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I went for a drive in San Francisco’s Mission District last month. It was late morning, and there wasn’t much traffic. As I wended my way through the side streets, I avoided a double-parked armored car and steered around construction sites. Though it might have seemed like an aimless outing,…

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I don’t know I’ve reached Snap’s global headquarters until I am standing in front of them, leaning on the handle of my rolling suitcase and puzzling over a map app. A baby-faced security guard in braces approaches me. “I’m here to see Evan Spiegel,” I tell him. Earlier, when I’d…

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