feed info

11,413 articles from Technology Review Feed - Tech Review Top Stories

Affordable housing that raises the bar

Daryl J. Carter, MArch ’81, SM ’81 grew up in the predominantly Black neighborhood of Core City on Detroit’s west side during the ’60s and ’70s, when redlining practices that reinforced segregated housing were still commonplace. The Federal Housing Authority and private banks denied low-interest loans to buyers in such neighborhoods, solidifying economic hardship for generations. Some...

Amit Sinha and Deepali Perti Sinha

“Because of my time at MIT, I had the training and opportunity to work with some of the smartest people throughout my career,” says Amit Sinha, chief technical officer and president of research and development, operations, and customer service at Zscaler, a cloud-based information security company. “Plus, my friends and colleagues think I’m smarter than I actually am!” Joking aside, he...

Digital body language for the post-pandemic era

The awkward pause on a Zoom call. The brusque, ambiguous email. The context-free meeting invite. When online interactions are so easily misconstrued, effective communication is essential. As the author of the new book Digital Body Language, Erica Dhawan, MBA ’12, trains corporate leaders to connect fluently in this new era of remote work, with clients ranging from the US Army to Pepsi to...

For this MIT couple, cancer research is the family business

Organic chemistry classes can create all sorts of memories, but few as lasting and meaningful as those of Alfred Singer ’68 and Dinah (Schiffer) Singer ’69. Since meeting while taking 5.41 in 1965—and graduating from MIT with degrees in biology (Dinah) and philosophy with a minor in biology (Al)—they have built an enduring marriage and influential careers at the National Cancer Institute...

Looking to space to cure osteoarthritis

In 1976, Alan Grodzinsky ’71, ScD ’74, was feeling a little frustrated.  He had spent two years teaching a basic course on semiconductor physics and circuits in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, learning the material in the fast-moving field as he went along. That didn’t leave him any time for research. Then a golden opportunity arose. With the...

Productive dialogue across lines of power

While working toward his PhD in sociotechnical studies at Stanford University in the 1980s, William Rifkin ’78 examined how a water quality control board in California handled disputes over pollution cleanup costs. The board was entirely Republican, while its technical staff seemed to be primarily Democratic—yet 99% of the time, the sides reached mutually agreeable resolutions. How? Rifkin...

Steady beat

The corridors of WMBR are quiet—empty of the DJs who should be combing the shelves in search of the perfect song, the engineers ensuring that the equipment is broadcasting to the whole Boston area. MIT’s campus radio station closed its doors in the basement of Walker Memorial in March 2020, when the Institute sent staff and students home at the start of the covid-19 pandemic. Though the campus...

The power of simple innovations

A labyrinth of rooms stretches across the third floor of N51, the weathered gray building that has long housed the MIT Museum. The rooms look more like a handyperson’s workshop than a scientist’s lab. There’s woodworking equipment, metalworking equipment, hammers, wrenches, and dozens of boxes just for storing bike parts. Cookstoves line a windowsill. Pots that cool food through evaporation...

Yup’ik fishing ancestry inspires Alaskan engineer and author

For Mia Heavener ’00, much of life revolves around water. As a senior civil engineer for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), she designs water systems for communities in her home state. And in her time off, she often works with her family’s commercial fishing business, which started with her great-grandmother. Nearly every summer she takes part in a three-week expedition to...


TUESDAY 26. OCTOBER 2021


The way forward: Merging IT and operations

Reihaneh Irani-Famili knows a little about the fault line running through just about every business today: the IT/OT divide. Now vice president of emergency planning and business resiliency at gas and electricity company National Grid, Irani-Famili was in previous jobs a translator of sorts between information technology, which manages data and applications, and operational technology, which...

Investing in people is key to successful transformation

People can be your most important catalyst for digital transformation—or the greatest obstacle. When people-related challenges to transformation progress emerge, the problems are usually very easy to identify but much harder to solve. The challenge is not awareness. Organizations realize that cloud transformations are hard and that they need highly skilled, motivated staff to carry…

Why the trial data supports covid-19 vaccines for children

On Tuesday, a panel of experts at the FDA will meet to discuss whether Pfizer’s covid vaccine should be approved for 5-to-11-year-olds in the US. If that group says yes, the decision will go to the CDC’s immunization advisory board, known as ACIP, which meets next week. According to Anthony Fauci, if both those groups give the thumbs up, vaccinations for millions of children could begin in...

How AI could solve supply chain shortages and save Christmas

With the supply-chain disruptions of the past two years showing no signs of easing anytime soon, businesses are turning to a new generation of AI-powered simulations called digital twins to help them get goods and services to customers on time. These tools not only predict disruptions down the line, but suggest what to do about it. Desperate companies struggling with the collapse of just-in-time...


MONDAY 25. OCTOBER 2021


Forget dating apps: Here’s how the net’s newest matchmakers help you find love

Katherine D. Morgan was “super burnt out” on dating apps. She’d seen people using services like Tinder and Bumble—but they didn’t make a lot of sense to her. “A lot of my friends were talking about how they had had success, and I was just like, ‘I wish there was another way,’” she says. So she took matters into her own hands. In July, she made a Twitter thread, inviting people...


FRIDAY 22. OCTOBER 2021


How AI is reinventing what computers are

Fall 2021: the season of pumpkins, pecan pies, and peachy new phones. Every year, right on cue, Apple, Samsung, Google, and others drop their latest releases. These fixtures in the consumer tech calendar no longer inspire the surprise and wonder of those heady early days. But behind all the marketing glitz, there’s something remarkable going on.  Google’s latest offering, the Pixel 6,...


WEDNESDAY 20. OCTOBER 2021


Decarbonizing industries with connectivity and 5G

Around the world, citizens, governments, and corporations are mobilizing to reduce carbon emissions. The unprecedented and ongoing climate disasters have put the necessity to decarbonize into sharp relief. In 2021 alone these climate emergencies included a blistering “heat dome” of nearly 50 °C in the normally temperate Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada, deadly and destructive...

Rediscover trust in cybersecurity

The world has changed dramatically in a short amount of time—changing the world of work along with it. The new hybrid remote and in-office work world has ramifications for tech—specifically cybersecurity—and signals that it’s time to acknowledge just how intertwined humans and technology truly are. Enabling a fast-paced, cloud-powered collaboration culture is critical to rapidly growing...

Surgeons have successfully tested a pig’s kidney in a human patient

The news: Surgeons have successfully attached a pig’s kidney to a human patient and watched it start to work, the AP reported today. The pig had been genetically-engineered so that its organ was less likely to be rejected. The feat is a potentially huge milestone in the quest to one day use animal organs for human transplants, and shorten waiting lists. How it worked: The surgical team,...


TUESDAY 19. OCTOBER 2021


Getting value from your data shouldn’t be this hard

The potential impact of the ongoing worldwide data explosion continues to excite the imagination. A 2018 report estimated that every second of every day, every person produces 1.7 MB of data on average—and annual data creation has more than doubled since then and is projected to more than double again by 2025. A report from McKinsey Global Institute estimates that skillful uses of big data could...

These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems

An endless variety of virtual creatures scamper and scuttle across the screen, struggling over obstacles or dragging balls toward a target. They look like half-formed crabs made of sausages—or perhaps Thing, the disembodied hand from The Addams Family. But these “unimals” (short for “universal animals”) could in fact help researchers develop more general-purpose intelligence in...


MONDAY 18. OCTOBER 2021


The challenges of hybrid cloud adoption find answers in HCI

Christine McMonigal is director of hyperconverged marketing at Intel Corporation. Never before has the need for businesses to make progress along their digital journeys been more pressing—with more options to evaluate, urgencies to respond to, and complexities to understand in a complex landscape. Shifting demands, fueled in part by the covid-19 pandemic, have driven the need for businesses...


SATURDAY 16. OCTOBER 2021


In unpredictable times, a data strategy is key

More than 18 months after the 2020 coronavirus pandemic struck, it’s clear that the ability to make quick decisions based on high-quality data has become essential for business success. In an increasingly competitive and constantly shifting landscape, companies must be agile enough to tackle persistent challenges, ranging from cost-cutting and supply chain issues to product development and...

This NASA spacecraft is on its way to Jupiter’s mysterious asteroid swarms

NASA’s Lucy spacecraft, named for an early human ancestor whose skeleton provided insights into our species’ muddled origins, has begun the first leg of its 12-year journey. Lifting off from Cape Canaveral early Saturday morning on an Atlas V rocket, Lucy is headed to study asteroids in an area around Jupiter that’s been relatively unchanged since the Big Bang. It will venture farther...


FRIDAY 15. OCTOBER 2021


Machine learning in the cloud is helping businesses innovate

In the past decade, machine learning has become a familiar technology for improving the efficiency and accuracy of processes like recommendations, supply chain forecasting, developing chatbots, image and text search, and automated customer service functions, to name a few. Machine learning today is becoming even more pervasive, impacting every market segment and industry, including...

Reimagining our pandemic problems with the mindset of an engineer

The last 20 months turned every dog into an amateur epidemiologist and statistician. Meanwhile, a group of bona fide epidemiologists and statisticians came to believe that pandemic problems might be more effectively solved by adopting the mindset of an engineer: that is, focusing on pragmatic problem-solving with an iterative, adaptive strategy to make things work. In a recent essay,...


THURSDAY 14. OCTOBER 2021


Getting the most from your data-driven transformation: 10 key principles

The importance of data to today’s businesses can’t be overstated. Studies show data-driven companies are 58% more likely to beat revenue goals than non-data-driven companies and 162% more likely to significantly outperform laggards. Data analytics are helping nearly half of all companies make better decisions about everything, from the products they deliver to the...

Facebook wants machines to see the world through our eyes

We take it for granted that machines can recognize what they see in photos and videos. That ability rests on large data sets like ImageNet, a hand-curated collection of millions of photos used to train most of the best image-recognition models of the last decade.  But the images in these data sets portray a world of curated objects—a picture gallery that doesn’t capture the mess of...


WEDNESDAY 13. OCTOBER 2021


Covid conspiracy theories are driving people to anti-Semitism online

A warning: Conspiracy theories about covid are helping disseminate anti-Semitic beliefs to a wider audience, warns a new report by the antiracist advocacy group Hope not Hate. The report says that not only has the pandemic revived interest in the “New World Order” conspiracy theory of a secret Jewish-run elite that aims to run the world, but far-right activists have also worked to convert...

Podcast: The story of AI, as told by the people who invented it

Welcome to I Was There When, a new oral history project from the In Machines We Trust podcast. It features stories of how breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and computing happened, as told by the people who witnessed them. In this first episode, we meet Joseph Atick— who helped create the first commercially viable face recognition system. Credits: This episode was produced by...


TUESDAY 12. OCTOBER 2021


AI fake-face generators can be rewound to reveal the real faces they trained on

Load up the website This Person Does Not Exist and it’ll show you a human face, near-perfect in its realism yet totally fake. Refresh and the neural network behind the site will generate another, and another, and another. The endless sequence of AI-crafted faces is produced by a generative adversarial network (GAN)—a type of AI that learns to produce realistic but fake examples of the data it...


MONDAY 11. OCTOBER 2021



FRIDAY 8. OCTOBER 2021


Video: How cheap renewables and rising activism are shifting climate politics

The plummeting costs of renewables, the growing strength of the clean energy sector, and the rising influence of activists have begun to shift the politics of climate action in the US, panelists argued during MIT Technology Review’s annual EmTech conference last week. Those forces allowed President Joe Biden to put climate change at the center of his campaign and helped build momentum behind...


THURSDAY 7. OCTOBER 2021


It’s 20 years since the first drone strike. It’s time to admit they’ve failed.

After the Taliban took over Kabul in mid-August, a black-bearded man with a Kalashnikov appeared on the streets. He visited former politicians and gave a sermon during Friday prayers at the capital’s historic Pul-e-Khishti mosque. But the man, passionate and seemingly victorious, was no mere Taliban fighter among tens of thousands of others: he was Khalil ur-Rahman Haqqani, a Taliban leader...


WEDNESDAY 6. OCTOBER 2021


A French company is using enzymes to recycle one of the most common single-use plastics

Plastic is an environmental scourge, and most isn’t recycled. Enzymes, nature’s catalysts, may be able to help. In late September, Carbios, a French startup, opened a demonstration plant in central France to test this idea. The facility will use enzymes to recycle PET, one of the most common single-use plastics and the material used to make most beverage bottles.  While we’ve...


TUESDAY 5. OCTOBER 2021


The Facebook whistleblower says its algorithms are dangerous. Here’s why.

On Sunday night, the primary source for the Wall Street Journal’s Facebook Files, an investigative series based on internal Facebook documents, revealed her identity in an episode of 60 Minutes. Frances Haugen, a former product manager at the company, says she came forward after she saw Facebook’s leadership repeatedly prioritize profit over safety. Before quitting…

Millions of people rely on Facebook to get online. The outage left them stranded.

One of the last messages that Vaiva Bezhan sent on Facebook Messenger on Monday afternoon, Central European Time, was a bit of a cliffhanger—and incredibly time sensitive. The Lithuanian photojournalist is co-organizer of the Afghan Support Group, one of many volunteer initiatives trying to help evacuate vulnerable Afghans in the wake of the Taliban takeover by any means possible. She was...


MONDAY 4. OCTOBER 2021


This woman’s brain implant zaps her with electricity when it senses she’s getting depressed

Sarah, a 36-year-old woman living in California, had lived with chronic depression for five years. She felt suicidal multiple times an hour and was unable to make decisions about basic questions like what to eat. Nothing she had tried to treat it, including electroconvulsive therapy, had helped. Then, in June 2020, she had an implant inserted into her skull that zaps the parts of her brain that...


FRIDAY 1. OCTOBER 2021



WEDNESDAY 29. SEPTEMBER 2021


DeepMind’s AI predicts almost exactly when and where it’s going to rain

First protein folding, now weather forecasting: London-based AI firm DeepMind is continuing its run applying deep learning to hard science problems. Working with the Met Office, the UK’s national weather service, DeepMind has developed a deep-learning tool called DGMR that can accurately predict the likelihood of rain in the next 90 minutes—one of weather forecasting’s toughest...