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If you’re over 75, catching covid-19 can be like playing Russian roulette

Are you hiding from covid-19? I am. The reason is simple: the high chance of death from the virus.  I was reminded of the risk last week by this report from the New York City health department and Columbia University which estimated that on average, between March and May, the chance of dying if you get infected by SARS-CoV-2 was 1.45%. That’s higher than your lifetime chance...


FRIDAY 3. JULY 2020


Are we making spacecraft too autonomous?

When SpaceX’s Crew Dragon took NASA astronauts to the ISS near the end of May, the launch brought back a familiar sight. For the first time since the space shuttle was retired, American rockets were launching from American soil to take Americans into space. Inside the vehicle, however, things couldn’t have looked more different. Gone was the sprawling dashboard of lights and switches...


THURSDAY 2. JULY 2020


Another experimental covid-19 vaccine has shown promising early results

The news: An experimental covid-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech provoked immune responses in 45 healthy volunteers, according to a preprint paper on medRXiv. The levels of antibodies were up to 2.8 times the level of those found in patients who have recovered. The study randomly assigned 45 people to get either one of three doses of the vaccine or a placebo. But there were side...


WEDNESDAY 1. JULY 2020


Intelligent infrastructure: How an agile, robust, and flexible IT infrastructure can make or break digital transformation

In today’s business environment, strategic technology initiatives are driven by the need to grow with greater agility and adapt to rapidly changing commercial, environmental, and regulatory conditions. A new report, sponsored by Panduit, explores how IT leaders from a variety of industries are building intelligent infrastructure that provides a platform for innovation and insights. The key...

A plan to redesign the internet could make apps that no one controls

In 1996 John Perry Barlow, co-founder of internet rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote “A declaration of the independence of cyberspace”. It begins: “Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have...


TUESDAY 30. JUNE 2020


Going lean: How vendor consolidation creates big gains

The second quarter of 2020 launched many digital transformation projects that didn’t necessarily happen at the behest of chief innovation officers, but because of the wrecking ball of disruption known as covid-19. Even if companies did succeed at rapidly orienting operations and services to digital, the transformation journey is far from over—and that means procurement and vendor management...

There’s not one reason California’s covid-19 cases are soaring—there are many

It’s troubling, though not surprising, to see covid-19 cases spiking across the American South and Southwest, where public officials delayed lockdowns, rushed to reopen businesses, or refused to require people to wear masks. But what’s the matter with California? The nation’s most populous state was the first to enact statewide shelter-in-place rules, took decisive steps to build up the...

Beyond covid-19 lies a new normal—and new opportunities

The covid-19 pandemic has unleashed changes that seemed unthinkable just a few months ago. In February, it seemed unthinkable the entire white-collar workforce of many countries would soon be working solely from home. It seemed unthinkable air travel would plummet by 96%, or millions of migrant workers in India would be forced to undertake a herculean exodus, walking thousands of miles to their...

Pandemic reveals opportunities for 5G connectivity

5G cellular technology, which has been promised to provide a connective fabric that will cover the globe in a seamless digital experience, is starting to take shape. But the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 that has forced hundreds of millions of people to work and socialize remotely has made it clear that the connective fabric is still missing a few stitches. This article was produced by Insights,...

Is it safe to send kids back to school?

Covid-19 has been disruptive and bewildering for everyone, but especially for children. In the UK and in most US states, schools closed in March. Many of them will keep their doors shut until the fall. That’s six months without the normality of a school day, not to mention a significant break without any formal education for the many children who cannot access online classes. It’s a global...

How Reddit kicked off a day of bans for Trump and the far right

The news: Early on Monday, Reddit banned r/The_Donald, a once-notorious pro-Trump forum, for repeated rule-breaking. CEO Steve Huffman announced that it was just one of 2,000 subreddits banned by the site as it institutes rule changes designed to make the platform less accommodating to hateful and abusive communities. The other news: Later in the day, live-streaming video service Twitch...


MONDAY 29. JUNE 2020


India bans TikTok—plus 58 other Chinese apps

On Monday, India banned TikTok and dozens of other apps made in China, escalating tension between the countries two weeks after a long-simmering border dispute in the Himalayas turned deadly. The news: In a statement, India said the apps “engaged in activities which [are] prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.” Messaging and...

Covid-19 spurs collaboration in telehealth

The coronavirus pandemic has led to enhanced health-care collaboration, innovation, and increased use of digital technologies. Telehealth enables doctors to safely connect with patients virtually and monitor them remotely, whether in different cities or down the hall. And smarter and smaller medical devices are producing better outcomes for patients—a disruption is sensed, like low blood…


SATURDAY 27. JUNE 2020


A supermassive black hole lit up a collision of two smaller black holes

Astronomers from Caltech have reported that they’ve observed a collision between two black holes. Normally such an event is invisible, but this time a more massive black hole sitting nearby helped illuminate the other two as they collided. If confirmed, the findings, published in Physical Review Letters, would be the first optical observations ever made of a black hole merger. What happened:...


FRIDAY 26. JUNE 2020


Alumni in the coronavirus conversation

The virus “I am very wary of simplistic projections about the ongoing outbreak based solely off of its current growth patterns” —Maimuna Majumder, SM ’15, PhD ’18, faculty, Boston Children’s Hospital Computational Health Informatics Program, and research associate, Harvard Medical School (ABC News, March 16)  “Closing schools, bars, and movie theaters...

Trump’s freeze on new visas could threaten US dominance in AI

Even before president Trump’s executive order on June 22, the US was already bucking global tech immigration trends. Over the past five years, as other countries have opened up their borders to highly skilled technical people, the US has maintained—and even restricted—its immigration policies, creating a bottleneck for meeting domestic demand for tech talent. Now…

A new US bill would ban the police use of facial recognition

The news: US lawmakers have introduced a bill which would ban the use of facial recognition technology by federal law enforcement agencies. Specifically, it would make it illegal for any federal agency or official to “acquire, possess, access or use” biometric surveillance technology in the US. It would also require state and local law enforcement to bring in similar bans in order to receive...


THURSDAY 25. JUNE 2020


Mainframe 2020: A catalyst for transformation

When it comes to supporting DevOps initiatives, mainframe technology—introduced in the early 1950s—isn’t likely to be the first to come to mind. This content was produced by Insights, the custom content arm of MIT Technology Review. It was not written by MIT Technology Review’s editorial staff. Yet combining the processing power of mainframe computing with one of today’s leading...

Human rights activists want to use AI to help prove war crimes in court

In 2015, alarmed by an escalating civil war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia led an air campaign against the country to defeat what it deemed a threatening rise of Shia power. The intervention, launched with eight other largely Sunni Arab states, was meant to last only a few weeks, Saudi officials had said. Nearly five years later, it still hasn’t stopped. By some estimates, the coalition has since...

Pandenomics: How open data is guiding public policy

Generals always fight the last war, runs the military aphorism. Politicians have also drawn heavily from battlefield lexicon in framing the fight against covid-19, but they too are at risk of leaning on outdated concepts and responses based on past crises that bear limited resemblance to the pandemic.  With a vaccine likely to be many months and possibly more than a year away, they have to...


WEDNESDAY 24. JUNE 2020


If AI is going to help us in a crisis, we need a new kind of ethics

Jess Whittlestone at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at the University of Cambridge and her colleagues published a comment piece in Nature Machine Intelligence this week arguing that if artificial intelligence is going to help in a crisis, we need a new, faster way of doing AI ethics, which they call ethics for urgency.  JESS WHITTLESTONE For Whittlestone, this means...


TUESDAY 23. JUNE 2020


Amazon creates a $2 billion climate fund, as it struggles to cut its own emissions

Amazon launched a $2 billion venture fund to invest in companies developing ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions, marking the latest corporate effort to allocate major resources to combating climate change. Investment areas: In a press release, Amazon said the new fund would focus on startups that could help it and other businesses achieve “net zero” emissions by 2040. It will...

AI researchers say scientific publishers help perpetuate racist algorithms

The news: An open letter from a growing coalition of AI researchers is calling out scientific publisher Springer Nature for a conference paper it reportedly planned to include in its forthcoming book Transactions on Computational Science & Computational Intelligence. The paper, titled “A Deep Neural Network Model to Predict Criminality Using Image Processing,” presents a face recognition...