Technology

Piracy’s Impact on the Creative Class

Scott Timberg— When you ask people why they steal music, or why they don’t care about the collapse of the record industry, the more informed ones talk about the decadence of the labels themselves. Lowery, who teaches a course on the economics of music at the University of Georgia’s business school,

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5 Reasons Big Data Needs a History

Rebecca Lemov— Big Data is a topic that is big news, yet it is often raised in academic circles with trepidation. Here are some reasons why our understanding of big data, even as a fashion, can benefit from historical thinking. Big Data is a new(er) concept. The phrase “big data”

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The Invention of the Mobile Phone

Gavin Weightman— What have an old compass and a primitive battery got to do with the invention of the mobile phone? It’s a long story spanning more than two centuries and involves a cast of characters whose ingenuity and inquisitiveness first revealed, and then exploited, hidden forces that could be

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Robots in Our Midst: A Conversation with Jerry Kaplan

Jerry Kaplan, author of Humans Need Not Apply, says the robots are coming, but whether they will be working on behalf of society or a small cadre of the super-rich is very much in doubt. We sat down with him to discuss what the future may look like and how

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Ten Steps to Help a Loved One Who Has Hearing Loss

John M. Burkey— “How can I help?” is a common refrain from family and friends of a person with hearing loss. Spouses want to alleviate their partner’s struggles and frustration. Children want to prevent an aging parent’s autonomy from being affected. Acquaintances of all kinds want to improve communication not

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Bitcoin as Platform

Edward Castronova— Three years ago, the digerati were abuzz about the idea of a “real” virtual currency. That turned out not to be the killer app. We still face the full disintermediation of the finance industry, but it’s being driven not by digital currencies but by digital wallets. What’s the

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Technology and Wages: A Conversation with James Bessen

James Bessen is an economist and lecturer at Boston University Law School. He is the author of Learning by Doing: The Real Connection between Innovation, Wages, and Wealth. In a recent conversation, we had the chance to talk about the effect technology has on wages and job availability. Yale University Press: In your

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Lessons Not Learned: Covert Operations since the Cold War

Karen M. Paget— While writing Patriotic Betrayal, which chronicles a major Cold War covert operation with the U.S. National Student Association, I began a file in which I collected evidence of renewed covert activities in the late 1990s. The newspaper clips came from different parts of the globe in little

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The Social Media Myth

Philip N. Howard— Since the great tragedy of Charlie Hebdo, politicians and pundits around the world have succumbed to the notion that social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, are to blame for violent online extremism. They argue that social media is not only a conduit for terrorists it is

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Why the Internet Should Be a Public Resource

Philip N. Howard— The excitement of this year’s CES—the enormous technology show and tell event that just ended in Las Vegas—was about the “internet of things.” Stoves and baby bottles will soon be smart, and the devices you already have will be smarter. Behind closed doors and in private chat

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