Backchannel

Many people in Silicon Valley believe in the Singularity—the day in our near future when computers will surpass humans in intelligence and kick off a feedback loop of unfathomable change. When that day comes, Anthony Levandowski will be firmly on the side of the machines. In September 2015, the multi-millionaire…

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“We have better light rings than any other products on the market,” says Adam Mittleman. This is a sentence that I have never before heard uttered by anyone, even after a long time living on Planet Earth. But because I am visiting Nest, and Mittleman is its Head of Product…

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“The most inspiring person you’ve ever met could be sitting under this ad,” read the signs plastering the walls of New York’s subway cars this winter. An oversized finger pointed downward—straight at said inspiring commuters. “Say hello now…or later on Shapr.” (Considering how much of a faux pas it is…

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Thomas Reardon puts a terrycloth stretch band with microchips and electrodes woven into the fabric—a steampunk version of jewelry—on each of his forearms. “This demo is a mind fuck,” says Reardon, who prefers to be called by his surname only. He sits down at a computer keyboard, fires up his…

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The iPhone’s 10th anniversary launch was today, and Apple’s arms are just about to fall off from patting itself on the back. You can’t blame the company’s executives for self-congratulations. Apple’s marvelous smartphone has transformed our lives, and the rabid anticipation of this newest model—Edge-to-edge display! Face recognition! No home…

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In the future, you’re going to love going to the office. Everything you need to do your job effectively will present itself without effort. You won’t have your own desk, because your employer will know you only use it for 63 percent of the day. But you won’t mind sharing…

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We all have that one app that we honestly believe we cannot live without. The dopamine bumps it inspires are just too delicious to give up. Maybe it’s your go-to commuting game; maybe it’s your fitness tracker; maybe it’s your budget app. (It’s definitely my budget app.) Manoush Zomorodi wants…

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Not long ago, everyone saw Hollywood and Silicon Valley as opposites. Hollywood was cool, artistic, and uniquely adept at entertaining viewers. Silicon Valley was the preserve of geeky engineers who could captivate the public with gadgetry, but had no clue how to hit the human notes that made for blockbusters….

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When Manish Bhatia began working on Amazon Mechanical Turk as a side gig in 2010, he was surprised to find himself completely fascinated by the work. Contrary to frequent coverage depicting the piece-work platform as a digital sweatshop offering low-skill tasks, he thought the microtasks were intellectually stimulating. Many involved…

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