The Unlikely Stories Behind the Internet

October 16, 2014

In Digital Planet we tell the stories of many of the pioneers of the digital age—people who invented or discovered ways of doing things that weren’t previously possible. In his book The Innovators, Walter Isacson weaves many of those stories, and others, together into a larger story—the story of the creation of the Internet. In this Fresh Air interview, he makes it clear that great changes often result from the work of many people over time.

npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/10/06/353269811/how-the-cold-war-and-george-orwell-helped-make-the-internet-what-it-is

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Apple and Technology Intimacy

September 10, 2014

As one of the most innovative and profitable companies on the planet, Apple makes headlines when it makes announcements. This week Apple announced several important new products, each of which represents trends in a fast changing industry. Larger iPhones bridge the gap between smart phones and tablets. A mobile payments system designed to bypasses credit […]

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Drone’s Eye Views

August 22, 2014

Drones are, in essence, flying robots, capable of carrying out all kinds of tasks, from acts of war to acts of art. This Huffington Post article focuses on the use of drones to capture video footage that would be difficult or impossible to get by conventional means.

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Can Computers be Intelligent without Feelings?

July 10, 2014

You may have heard the headlines: a computer passed the Turing test, fooling some judges into thinking it was a human. This short piece by NPR’s Goeff Nunberg puts the event into perspective, explaining why he believes that the machines we use aren’t anything like the compelling operating system portrayed by Scarlett Johansen in the film Her.

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Does This Video Make You Want to Stop Watching YouTube?

May 15, 2014

Every new technology brings controversy. This short video poetically confronts one of the most important questions of our digital age: If we’re always connected through our devices, will we lose more important connections with other humans?

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Tomorrow’s Internet: Which Future Will It Be?

April 25, 2014

Predicting the future isn’t easy—especially when it’s coming so fast. But people still try. Which of these expert predictions about the Internet’s future ring true to you?

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Blackmail in the Digital Age

April 3, 2014

Blackmail isn’t just for low-life con artists anymore. Digital extortion—demanding ransom in return for not doing damage to critical computer systems—has become increasingly common in recent years. This Huffington Post has details.

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US Internet Service: Why Is It So Bad?

February 10, 2014

The Internet was created in the US, but you’d never know it based on the quality and price of service US Internet users get. In this NPR Fresh Air interview, author and professor Susan Crawford explains why US service is so slow, so expensive, and so inadequate for building future prosperity.

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What a Difference 30 Years Makes….

February 6, 2014

In 1984 Apple rocked the advertising world with a Superbowl commercial directed by Ridley Scott. The commercial depicted a futuristic dystopian dictatorship being challenged by a courageous young heroine with a vision; a not-at-all-subtle metaphor for the soon-to-be-introduced Macintosh computer. The commercial won countless awards when it was aired, and many of the revolutionary features of the Macintosh were quickly adopted by Microsoft, the company that the commercial suggested was the enemy of freedom. Three decades later, Apple is no longer a feisty young rebel.

This new Apple commercial, filmed completely with iPhones, captures a much more optimistic vision of the role of digital technology in our future.

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Surfing the Fourth Dimension

January 23, 2014

In the last few years we’ve become accustomed to Google Earth and similar apps that give us the power to “go” almost anywhere in a matter of seconds. Massive geographical databases put the world at our fingertips. In this TED talk Frederic Kaplan describes a research project that adds another dimension—time—to our search capabilities.

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