The Week: Most Recent Tech Posts recent posts.en-usTue, 02 Sep 2014 12:45:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent Tech Posts from THE WEEKTue, 02 Sep 2014 12:45:00 -0400How to stop misogynists from terrorizing the world of gamers<img src="" /></P><p>The gaming precincts of the internet have long featured regular explosions of misogynist abuse noteworthy even by online standards, the bar for which is high indeed. Last week saw yet another pernicious example. Two women, Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian, caught the attention of a particularly nasty group of gamers &mdash; what Cliff Brzezinski calls the "Taliban of videogaming" &mdash; and were smeared, harassed, and threatened with rape and death.</p><p>The gamer Taliban are typical online trolls who organize themselves on anonymous message boards like 4chan and Reddit. They often argue that gaming...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/ryan-cooper" ><span class="byline">Ryan Cooper</span></a>Tue, 02 Sep 2014 12:45:00 -0400What's really limiting advances in computer tech<img src="" /></P><p>How does a biologist, or a computational neuroscientist, possibly have the wherewithal to stay current on all aspects of his field?</p><p><em>Nature</em>, one of the world's top journals for peer-reviewed scientific breakthroughs, does what it can to encourage cross-discipline knowledge sharing by publishing non-technical essays from the leading lights in particular fields. For a lay person, this is often the best way to become current, very quickly, on very difficult subjects.</p><p>This week's topic, when boiled down to its essence, is: how small, how fast, how powerful can computers possibly get? The writer who...</p> <a href="">More</a>Marc AmbinderTue, 02 Sep 2014 10:47:00 -0400Innovation of the week: A Bluetooth-enabled wallet<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1">A startup called StreetSmart has developed the SmartWallet, which can pair with a smartphone so "the two are always on the lookout for each other," keeping absentminded owners from losing either item, said John Paul Titlow at <em>Fast </em><em>Company.</em> So "if you leave your wallet at a restaurant, your phone will ding with a notification politely clueing you in to your own absentmindedness." And if you do go out of range &mdash; about 150 feet &mdash; the app will store the wallet's last known GPS coordinates so you can go back and find it later.</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 29 Aug 2014 16:00:00 -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 -0400