Technology

US election campaign technology from 2008 to 2018, and beyond

What a difference a decade makes. Consider: In 2008, the iPhone was less than a year old. BlackBerrys and e-mail dominated the palms of corporate and political information junkies. Television continued to be the dominant medium for political advertising and debates. Social media was a curiosity; governments and politicians who used it were still something of a novelty. It took the ...

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The simple but ingenious system Taiwan uses to crowdsource its laws

It was late in 2015, and things were at an impasse. Some four years earlier, Taiwan’s finance ministry had decided to legalize online sales of alcohol. To help it shape the new rules, the ministry had kicked off talks with alcohol merchants, e-commerce platforms, and social groups worried that online sales would make it easy for children to buy liquor. ...

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Get ready for more and taller skyscrapers

City living is growing at an astonishing rate. In 1985, two billion people lived in cities; today the number is four billion, and by 2050 there will be some six billion urban dwellers. Cities will have to adapt. Either they can expand horizontally so that they cover a greater area, or they can adapt by growing vertically—by building more skyscrapers. Indeed, that’s how many ...

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Computational linguistics reveals pervasive gender bias in modern English novels

Gender bias is an insidious problem throughout society. It arises most obviously through deliberate discrimination but also exists through widespread unconscious bias. This permeates our culture, our workplaces, and even our language, often in ways we are unaware of. The first step in changing this is uncovering bias where it exists. And that’s where the emerging science of computational linguistics ...

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Why adding bugs to software can make it safer

When it comes to radar tracking, one of the most effective countermeasure is to release a cloud of aluminum strips or metallized plastic. These strongly reflect radar and create thousands of targets, which swamp and confuse the radar returns. That confuses anything trying to track you, such as a radar-guided missile. Most military aircraft and warships, and many ballistic missiles, have ...

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Predicting the Future of Work: Preparing for an Uncertain Tomorrow

AI, robotics and cognitive computing are advancing rapidly and will have a massive impact on how people do their jobs, eliminating some tasks done by humans altogether and significantly altering others. That makes the future of work a clouded, even ominous, horizon for many companies today. One challenge, discussed at the recent EmTech Next conference, produced by MIT Technology Review, ...

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From the age of perplexity to the era of opportunities

We are living in an era of “mega-change”, in which social, economic and political models are no longer fixed, and this causes insecurity and fear: fear of others, fear of the future. Moreover, today’s accelerated technological change makes it even more difficult to predict the future of the global economy. There are differences in opinion regarding the direction; magnitude and ...

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Fukushima’s nuclear signature found in California wine

Throughout the 1950s, the US, the Soviet Union, and others tested thermonuclear weapons in the Earth’s atmosphere. Those tests released vast quantities of radioactive material into the air and triggered fears that the nuclear reactions could ignite deuterium in the oceans, thereby destroying the planet in a catastrophic accidental fireball. Atmospheric tests ended in 1980, when China finished its program, ...

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