Backchannel

Don’t call Heather Erickson a glasshole. Yes, that’s Google Glass on her frames. But she’s not using it to check her Facebook, dictate messages, or capture a no-hands video while riding a roller coaster. Erickson is a 30-year-old factory worker in rural Jackson, Minnesota. For her, Glass is not a…

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For Samuel Hookham and his younger brother, Overwatch was an obsession that took root last spring. They played the fast-paced shooter video game almost every day, passing the PlayStation 4 controller back and forth across the couch in their family’s California home. Samuel was surprised to find himself selecting a…

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Last summer, a small company called Space Data sued Alphabet’s ‘moonshot’ X division. At issue was its effort to deliver internet access to remote areas by balloon, known as Project Loon. At first, not much happened. Space Data alleged patent infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, and breach of contract related…

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Over the last decade, one of the major forces driving the explosive growth of the tech sector has been the constellation of companies and founders eschewing safe jobs and venerable institutions and, instead, launching their own startups. But how do you learn how to create a company—let alone an important,…

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For designers used to wielding a mouse, a steamroller might seem excessive. Yet every summer in Seattle, teams from Starbucks, Facebook, Amazon, Oracle, and other local firms and artists vie to steamroll a winning poster. They spend dozens of hours carving large sheets of linoleum to be placed on asphalt,…

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Vox Day thinks that Wikipedia is the worst. But the things that bug him aren’t the typical complaints you’ll hear about the crowd-sourced encyclopedia—that it’s plagued by trolls, say, or that its pages on Pokémon lore are overly comprehensive. Day is bothered because he believes that Wikipedia is a Democratic…

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Yoshua Bengio has never been one to take sides. As one of the three intellects who shaped the deep learning that now dominates artificial intelligence, he has been catapulted to stardom. It’s a field so new the people who can advance it fit into one room together, and everyone—from tech…

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