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11,270 articles from Technology Review Feed - Tech Review Top Stories

Work, reinvented: Tech will drive the office evolution

In an early May blog post, Google chief executive officer (CEO) Sundar Pichai shared the company’s vision for its workplace future—over a year after the covid-19 pandemic forced offices around the world to shutter almost overnight and employees suddenly shifted to working remotely using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and a host of other virtual collaboration tools. “The future of work is...


SUNDAY 18. JULY 2021


Why England’s sudden lifting of covid restrictions is a massive gamble

England is about to take a huge gamble.  On Monday, July 19, the country is ditching all of its remaining pandemic-related restrictions. People will be able to go to nightclubs, or gather in groups as large as they like. They will not be legally compelled to wear masks at all, and can stop social distancing. The government, with an eye on media coverage, has dubbed it “Freedom...

Is 57 a prime number? There’s a game for that.

The Greek mathematician Euclid may very well have proved, circa 300 BCE, that there are infinitely many prime numbers. But it was the British mathematician Christian Lawson-Perfect who, more recently, devised the computer game “Is this prime?” Launched five years ago, the game surpassed three million tries on July 16—or, more to the point, it hit run 2,999,999—after a Hacker News post...


FRIDAY 16. JULY 2021


How to mend your broken pandemic brain

Orgies are back. Or at least that’s what advertisers want you to believe. One commercial for chewing gum—whose sales tanked during 2020 because who cares what your breath smells like when you’re wearing a mask—depicts the end of the pandemic as a raucous free-for-all with people embracing in the streets and making out in parks.  The reality is…


THURSDAY 15. JULY 2021


Welcome to the Tokyo Olympics, where public health, money, and politics collide

It’s nighttime on the streets of Ibaraki prefecture in Japan when the Olympic torch comes through. A viral video shows the torch bearer’s slow jog past spectators lining the road. Then, as the flame passes, a woman in the crowd shoots a water gun. “Extinguish the Olympic flame! Oppose the Tokyo Olympics!” she shouts. Security rushes around her. Such is the backdrop for the upcoming...

Pfizer wants to give you a booster shot—but experts say it’s too soon

Is it time to start thinking about booster shots? Pfizer seems to think so. In a private meeting with top US scientists and regulators on July 12, the firm’s representatives argued that the US should move to authorize a third shot. Last week, Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech announced that they had observed waning immunity in people who had been vaccinated and that they planned to seek...


WEDNESDAY 14. JULY 2021


Facebook drops funding for interface that reads the brain

The spring of 2017 may be remembered as the coming-out party for Big Tech’s campaign to get inside your head. That was when news broke of Elon Musk’s new brain-interface company, Neuralink, which is working on how to stitch thousands of electrodes into people’s brains. Days later, Facebook joined the quest when it announced that its secretive skunkworks, named Building 8, was attempting to...

The lurking threat to solar power’s growth

A few lonely academics have been warning for years that solar power faces a fundamental challenge that could halt the industry’s breakneck growth. Simply put: the more solar you add to the grid, the less valuable it becomes. The problem is that solar panels generate lots of electricity in the middle of sunny days, frequently more than what’s required, driving down prices—sometimes even...


TUESDAY 13. JULY 2021


The world’s biggest ransomware gang just disappeared from the internet

One of the most prolific ransomware gangs in the world suddenly disappeared from the internet on Tuesday morning. The unexplained exodus comes just one day before senior officials from the White House and Russia are scheduled to meet to discuss the global ransomware crisis. The ransomware crew known as REvil has existed for years in the booming cybercrime underground. A whopping 42% of all...

Why I’m a proud solutionist

Debates about technology and progress are often framed in terms of “optimism” vs. “pessimism.” For instance, Steven Pinker, Matt Ridley, Johan Norberg, Max Roser, and the late Hans Rosling have been called the “New Optimists” for their focus on the economic, scientific, and social progress of the last two centuries. Their opponents, such as David…

Welcome to TikTok’s endless cycle of censorship and mistakes

Ziggi Tyler is part of TikTok’s Creator Marketplace, a private platform where brands can connect with the app’s top creators. And last week, he noticed something pretty disturbing about how the creator bios there were being automatically moderated.  When he tried to enter certain phrases in his bio, some of them—“Black lives matter,” “supporting black people,” “supporting...

Here’s what we know about kids and long covid

When it comes to covid, kids have largely been spared. They can get infected and spread the virus, but they have little risk of becoming seriously ill or dying. Yet, just like adults, they can have symptoms that persist well beyond the initial infection. This condition, officially known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), is often referred to as “long” covid. ...


MONDAY 12. JULY 2021


Richard Branson just flew to the edge of space. Here’s what it means for space travel.

The timing could have been better. Yesterday, July 11, British entrepreneur and billionaire Richard Branson shot to the edge of space in a vehicle made by his own company, Virgin Galactic – at a time when much of the world is still battling a deadly pandemic. Yet while receiving a fair amount of criticism, Branson’s flight heralds a key step towards making space travel more accessible...


SATURDAY 10. JULY 2021


How hot is too hot for the human body?

Climate change is making extreme heat more common and more severe, as we’ve seen in the heat waves that have swept the western US for the past two weeks. Some climate models predict that swaths of the globe will become inhospitable to humans in the next century. But what makes a place unlivable isn’t as straightforward as a specific temperature, and even accounting for humidity...


FRIDAY 9. JULY 2021


Electric trucks can go the (short) distance

Whether you call them semis, tractor-trailers, or 18-wheelers, heavy-duty trucks keep the economy (literally) moving. And at least some of them might be ready to go electric. These workhorses have an outsize climate impact. Globally, heavy-duty vehicles, including trucks and buses, make up about 10% of all motor vehicles but produce around half of all carbon dioxide emissions and over 70% of...

AI voice actors sound more human than ever—and they’re ready to hire

The company blog post drips with the enthusiasm of a ’90s US infomercial. WellSaid Labs describes what clients can expect from its “eight new digital voice actors!” Tobin is “energetic and insightful.” Paige is “poised and expressive.” Ava is “polished, self-assured, and professional.” Each one is based on a real voice actor, whose likeness (with…


THURSDAY 8. JULY 2021


Bats’ brains are built for navigation

More than a thousand species use echolocation, but after billions of years of evolution, bats’ brains are especially well optimized for navigation. A new paper released today in Science suggests that as bats fly, special neurons known as place cells—located in their hippocampus, a part of the brain that controls memory—helps them process key navigational information about their position...

Climate change made the record-shattering Northwest heat wave 150 times more likely

Yes, blame climate change. Human-driven global warming fueled the heat wave that likely killed hundreds of people last week across the US Pacific Northwest and Canada. The massive buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere made the unprecedented weather event 150 times more likely, according to an analysis by World Weather Attribution. The loosely affiliated team of global scientists...


WEDNESDAY 7. JULY 2021


The solar wind bubble that protects Earth has been mapped for the first time

In 2009, using NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer, also known as IBEX, astronomers spied a strange ribbon-like structure dancing between our solar system and the rest of interstellar space. The discovery of the IBEX Ribbon, which is invisible to both telescopes and the human eye, was one of scientists’ first forays into understanding more about our heliosphere—a bubble-like shield made...

We tested AI interview tools. Here’s what we found.

After more than a year of the covid-19 pandemic, millions of people are searching for employment in the United States. AI-powered interview software claims to help employers sift through applications to find the best people for the job. Companies specializing in this technology reported a surge in business during the pandemic. But as the demand for these technologies increases, so do questions...