The Week: Most Recent Tech Posts recent posts.en-usThu, 28 Aug 2014 09:33:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent Tech Posts from THE WEEKThu, 28 Aug 2014 09:33:00 -0400Is Silicon Valley the new Versailles?<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p class="byline"><span id="docs-internal-guid-f4482abf-f9be-be41-2e32-77113ce152ef">Is </span>Silicon Valley about to turn San Francisco's South of Market (SoMa) region into the new Versailles, a gilded castle filled with an elite who are so completely abstracted from reality that they eventually trigger a revolt of the commoners? The city may have reached "peak techie" this month with the unveiling of "Promised Land," a public art installation inviting well-heeled techies to talk about "what Promised Land means to [them] and the journey [they] have taken to find [their] place in California/San Francisco/NEMA," the latter an acronym for a planned apartment complex in the city.</p><div class="row-fluid span10 offset1">...</div> <a href="">More</a>By S.E. SmithThu, 28 Aug 2014 09:33:00 -0400For women on the internet, it doesn't get better<img src="" /></P><p dir="ltr"><br /></p><p dir="ltr"> </p><p dir="ltr">In the West, we still tend to think that social progress is like river tubing, we just have to hop on board, pop open a brew, and float to Shangri-La. Women's rights? Check! Civil rights? We passed that ages ago! LGBT equality? Just relax, man! We'll get there.</p><p dir="ltr">The sobering truth is that things don't get better on their own, no matter what Dan Savage wants you to believe. In fact, if you belong to a member of a marginalized group, you probably are acutely aware that things can get worse. Much worse. If, like me, you're a woman on the internet, you're probably starting to realize just how...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Samantha AllenMon, 25 Aug 2014 16:45:00 -0400Innovation of the week: A robotic bellhop<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1">A Silicon Valley hotel has a new robotic bellhop, Botlr, that can deliver sundries to guests' rooms, said John Markoff in <em>The New York Times</em>. Developed by startup Savioke, Botlr can travel up to 4 miles per hour, allowing it to reach any of the hotel's 150 rooms in under three minutes, and it relies on built-in cameras, sensors, and a computer system to maneuver its way around. Botlr pages guests when it arrives at their door, and a touch-screen display allows users to leave a "review" instead of a tip. "In return for a positive review, the robot will do a small dance before it departs."</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffSat, 23 Aug 2014 16:00:00 -0400Innovation of the week: A high-tech baby-tracker<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Attention, exhausted new parents: Help is on the way, said Margaret Rhodes at <em>Wired</em>. Sproutling aims to improve the basic baby monitor by offering data-driven insight into your baby's sleeping patterns. The company's new gadget &mdash; a soft, washable, and waterproof ankle strap &mdash; contains sensors that track heart rate, skin temperature, movement, and noise. Sproutling ($299) then alerts parents via smartphone app when the baby starts to rouse or has a fever, and can even predict "when the baby will wake up and what conditions create the best sleeping environment."</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffSat, 16 Aug 2014 14:00:00 -0400Don't expect a robot utopia to spare you from working in the future<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>"Within two decades, we will have almost unlimited energy, food, and clean water; advances in medicine will allow us to live longer and healthier lives; robots will drive our cars, manufacture our goods, and do our chores." That's the optimistic proclamation of a recent op-ed by the technology entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa in the <em>Washington Post</em>. This kind of techno-utopianism begs for a bit of schadenfreude: The future never quite seems to arrive and we love to watch predictions fail. Yet there somehow remains that gnawing sense of hope &mdash; <em>maybe, this time, it actually will</em>.</p><p>Over the course...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Kyle ChaykaFri, 15 Aug 2014 09:04:00 -0400Why OkCupid sending users on bad dates was a good idea<img src="" /></P><p><br />The Conversation<br /></p><p>Online daters continue to express outrage about the revelation that OkCupid has been experimenting on users by telling them they matched well with people they had nothing in common with to see if they still got on anyway. Many feel they have been treated like lab rats. OkCupid remains utterly unapologetic.</p><p>It would be nice to think that the dating site is the exception to the rule and that companies don't generally cross the line of decency by experimenting on their users. But nothing could be further from the truth. Most websites you use will try out some kind of experiment on you at one time...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Nick DaltonWed, 13 Aug 2014 08:45:00 -0400This laser-armed drone could blow fighter jets out of the sky<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p class="p1">Here's an idea for an awesome dogfighting aircraft. Make it small, light, and fast. Build it out of materials that are hard to detect on radar. Even give it a laser cannon.</p><p class="p1">Oh, and don't put a human in the cockpit. In fact, don't even closely tie the drone to human ground control. Because in an aerial knife fight, a computer-controlled machine will beat a human pilot.</p><p class="p1">That's the idea behind a controversial proposal by U.S. Air Force captain Michael Byrnes, an experienced Predator and Reaper drone pilot. Byrnes is calling for the development of a robotic dogfighter, which he calls the FQ-X,...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Michael PeckTue, 12 Aug 2014 09:33:00 -0400Innovation of the week: Fashionable bike safety<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1">A London-based designer wants to make cycling safer <em>and</em> more fashionable, said Adele Peters at <em>Fast Company</em>. Given that male commuters on bikes far </span><span class="s2">outnumber women cyclists in both London and the U.S., Will Verity hopes to get more women riding "by tackling their main concern: Most just don't feel safe weaving through cars and trucks in heavy traffic." His cycling jacket, made from lightweight and semitransparent fabric, uses embedded sensors "to tell if a car or bus is approaching and then starts flashing LED lights" to keep drivers at bay.<br /></span></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffSat, 09 Aug 2014 14:00:00 -0400How Apple and Google could soon dominate the culture war<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">Something uncanny happened this Sunday. As we were shuffling out the door, we looked at my phone's notification screen. It was telling us how long the drive would be to Norwalk, Conn., based on the current traffic.</p><p class="p1">Gadget geeks will recognize this as part of iPhone's "frequent location service." Norwalk is where we go to church. That phone has traveled to Norwalk all but one of the Sunday mornings of its activated existence. It just so happened that I was worrying about whether we would be late when the notification popped up. For that reason, it was welcome. But that welcoming feeling &mdash...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/michael-brendan-dougherty" ><span class="byline">Michael Brendan Dougherty</span></a>Tue, 05 Aug 2014 06:11:00 -0400The Pentagon's troubled, expensive new fighter jet<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong> What is the F-35?</strong><br /> It's a state-of-the-art fighter jet that's supposed to seal America's dominance over the world's skies. Conceived in 1996, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II was to be put into operation starting in 2010 to gradually replace the Pentagon's aging fleet of fighters, such as the F-16 and the F/A-18, many of which were built in the 1970s and '80s. But in the 18 years since its conception, the F-35 has proven to be so technologically ambitious that Lockheed can't get it finished; there have been endless delays, budget overruns, and technical failures. The plane was recently grounded...</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/frances-weaver" ><span class="byline">Frances Weaver</span></a>Sun, 03 Aug 2014 08:00:00 -0400