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Ideas

For Refugees in Detention Camps, Smartphones Are a Lifeline

Smartphones can plot travel routes, contact loved ones, and collect evidence of abuse. As one refugee put it, “this sim card is our life.”

The Ghost of the Soviet Union Still Haunts the Internet

The empire collapsed 30 years ago, but its .su domain lives on—and is now attracting people who oppose an independent Ukraine. 

Why Is the Internet So Exhausting? Blame Your Crowdsourced Bosses

No, you’re not always “the product” on social media; sometimes you’re the raw material. Or the employee. Welcome to “sousveillance capitalism.”

The History of Predicting the Future

Humans have long tried to determine the shape of what’s to come. But even the most advanced technology can’t solve the fundamental issues with predictions.

If AI Is Predicting Your Future, Are You Still Free?

Part of being human is being able to defy the odds. Algorithmic prophecies undermine that.

Predicting Death Could Change the Value of a Life

New technology promises to forecast the length of your life. But for disabled people, measuring mortality can prove fatal.

Crime Prediction Keeps Society Stuck in the Past

So long as algorithms are trained on racist historical data and outdated values, there will be no opportunities for change.

The Creepy TikTok Algorithm Doesn’t Know You

The uncanny, addictive AI has turned math into a mystical force—and flattened humanity into a series of codes.
Ideas

TikTok Must Not Fail Ukrainians

To protect frontline creators and preserve evidence, the platform needs to learn from the wartime failings of other social media companies.
Ideas

When Doctors Cite 'Regret' to Deny Care, Who Is Really Protected?

Physicians are refusing patients treatment today because of how they might feel tomorrow, jeopardizing essential services for trans youth and women.
Ideas

The Birth of Spy Tech: From the ‘Detectifone’ to a Bugged Martini

The urge to snoop is as old as time—and by the 1950s, the electronic listening invasion had begun.
Ideas

How Shame Defines Our Digital Lives

In the pre-internet age, an embarrassing moment might have generated some jokes among friends. But today, a single slip can turn into a global event.
Opinion

When I Left My Home in Kyiv, Stardew Valley Was a Lifeline

But in a Ukraine at war, it was also a source of gamer guilt.
Ideas

Silicon Valley's Sex Censorship Harms Everyone

The post-FOSTA internet often silences sex workers, queer users, and artists, furthering puritanical ideas about sexuality.
Ideas

The TikTok-Oracle Deal Would Set 2 Dangerous Precedents

The agreement may provoke a global data storage melee and more politically motivated intervention in the tech sector.
Ideas

Tony Hsieh’s Unrelenting Pursuit of Amazon’s Billion-Dollar Idea

The then CEO of Zappos took increasingly drastic measures to hit targets set by the ecommerce giant.
Ideas

The End of Infinite Data Storage Can Set You Free

The belief that we could save endlessly online turned us all into information hoarders. What society needs instead is better systems for preserving public knowledge.
Ideas

Inside Big Tech’s Race to Patent Everything

The industry’s obsession with accumulating IP has led to a huge uptick in employee inventors—and some outlandish patents.
Ideas

Deepfakes Can Help Families Mourn—or Exploit Their Grief

Death holograms aren't inherently creepy. They're part of a lineage of grief technologies that stretches back to photography.
Ideas

Facebook Has a Child Predation Problem

The platform can be quicker at recommending groups built around child predation than it is to remove them.
Ideas

Sandy Hook and the Troubling Psychology of Conspiracy Theories

Deniers of the school shooting gathered in a private Facebook group. Their posts lend a window into how and why cruel rumors take off.
Ideas

Threats of Bioterrorism in Ukraine Are Part of a Long History

Allegations of biological warfare are alarming. They also have a way of appearing in moments of crisis.
Ideas

The Spectacular Collapse of Putin’s Disinformation Machinery

A few critical errors have brought down Russia's complex and objectively brilliant war of influence in the West.
Ideas

I’m a Ukrainian Official. Here's What We Need on the Digital Front

Ukraine's deputy minister of Digital Transformation says Western tech sanctions have helped—but it's time to remove Russia from the global IT ecosystem.
Ideas

Humans Evolved to Play Music

A gesture as simple as holding the violin is intimately connected to our biology.
Ideas

What Will Replace Insects When They're Gone? 

The collapse of the insect population could unravel ecosystems. Scientists wonder if robots and drones could stop the gap.
Ideas

What Russia Is Doing to Ukraine Must Be Preserved—Not Just Seen

Images of crimes against humanity are in danger of being lost. Fortunately, best practices exist, and the international community needs to implement them.
Book Excerpt

The Internet Is Not as New as You Think

Within the long history of telecommunication in nature, the web can be seen not as a mere tool, but as a living system.