Collaborating Authors

The 2018 Survey: AI and the Future of Humans


"Please think forward to the year 2030. Analysts expect that people will become even more dependent on networked artificial intelligence (AI) in complex digital systems. Some say we will continue on the historic arc of augmenting our lives with mostly positive results as we widely implement these networked tools. Some say our increasing dependence on these AI and related systems is likely to lead to widespread difficulties. Our question: By 2030, do you think it is most likely that advancing AI and related technology systems will enhance human capacities and empower them? That is, most of the time, will most people be better off than they are today? Or is it most likely that advancing AI and related technology systems will lessen human autonomy and agency to such an extent that most people will not be better off than the way things are today? Please explain why you chose the answer you did and sketch out a vision of how the human-machine/AI collaboration will function in 2030.

Will Amazon's Alexa make your home as responsive as a 'Star Trek' starship?

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Forget HAL, the computer in "2001: A Space Odyssey," or JARVIS, the robotic butler of fictional billionaire Tony Stark. With a voice command like this, a homeowner can activate a Bluetooth-controlled lock through Alexa, Amazon's voice assistant, August Home, the smart-lock maker, announced Thursday. The team up between August and Amazon is another step in expanding how "smart" a home can become at a reasonable price. Though gadgets to control, for instance, a house's lights, thermostat, and audio system, have been around for decades, they could only be operated at first through personal computers and control pads, and eventually tablets and smartphones. Amazon popularized the voice control of smart homes when it released Alexa in 2014.

Why Has Low-Stakes, Netflix-and-Chill Dating Become the Norm? Because Our Swipe-Happy Culture Is Exhausting.


A recent Refinery29 piece by lifestyle editor Cait Munro confirms what we seasoned homebodies have always known: Staying at home is cool. That declaration is based on a recent survey from market research firm Mintel that suggests almost three in 10 young millennials (people aged 24-31) prefer drinking at home because it takes too much effort to go out. And they're not alone--55 percent of Americans of all ages would prefer a night in with a glass of rosé over a bar crawl. The survey participants cited everything from wanting to drink in a relaxing environment to a desire to save money as the impetus behind their general aversion to bars and clubs, but the millennials Munro interviewed herself offered another rationale for the shift from the streets to the sheets: online dating. What Munro calls the Netflix-and-Chill factor can be accurately described by this quote from Jenifer Golden, "a self-proclaimed'older millennial' and one half of the duo behind the podcast It's Complicated" who says, "It's the whole dating idea of Netflix and like, I'm going to sit on my couch, watch all of the things that I could possibly watch and drink all my wine from Trader Joe's.

10 most important tech trends of the decade


Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveils the iPad on January 27, 2010, in San Francisco. When I hustled out of CNET headquarters in San Francisco on May 26, 2010, and slipped into a rental car with two of my co-workers to head to a meeting across the Bay, one of them slipped me a copy of The Wall Street Journal and pointed to a headline that announced Apple had passed Microsoft to become the world's most valuable tech company. "What do you think of that?" she said. "Unreal," I responded, shaking my head. Just over a decade earlier, Apple had nearly been on its deathbed and needed a $150 million investment from Microsoft simply to stay alive.