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The Freqonomics podcast explores “the hidden side of everything.” This particular episode does a masterful job of charting the Internet’s trajectory from its inception (and before) to the present. Without being overly technical, it outlines some key trends that may threaten the original vision of the net as an open communication platform for everybody—and may also have profound impact on our greater society.

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The robots are coming, and they’re coming fast. In this fascinating Fresh Air interview, tech writer John Markoff talks about several ways that intelligent machines are likely to profoundly change our lives over the next few years. From self-driving cars to peopleless warehouses, intelligent machines will play major roles in shaping our world. He makes a critical distinction between artificial intelligence (AI) and intelligence augmentation (IA), two schools of research that take radically different approaches to the relationship between humans and machines. As a bonus, the interview ends with what is probably the funniest robot song ever recorded.

npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2015/08/20/433000643/how-close-are-we-really-to-a-robot-run-society

 

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Interactive Animation Meets Virtual Reality in a Smart Phone

November 1, 2013

Don’t look now, but your phone might be a looking glass that enables you to peer into a unique, irresistible fantasy world. Technologists and artists at Google and Motorola just introduced Windy Day, a free virtual reality interactive story that may represent a whole new form of narrative storytelling.

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Exclusive: How Google Will Use Balloons to Deliver Internet to the Hinterlands

September 13, 2013

If you live in a city, you probably take the Internet for granted. It’s always on, everywhere you go. But for many people in sparsely populated areas, the Internet is out of reach. In this Wired article, Steven Levy describes how Google is experimenting with a system that delivers the Internet to these people using balloons.

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Are You Ready for a Face Phone?

May 14, 2013

When Apple released the iPhone, the world changed. People were carrying powerful computers in their pockets and purses. Developers released a bevy of creative apps to harness that always-available computing power. Today it’s hard to imagine a world without smart phones. Could Google Glass, the wear-on-your-face computer from Google, be the beginning of the next revolution in personal computing? This short NPR story explains how early adopters plan to use their prototype high-tech specs.
Of course, not everyone views Google Glass through such rose-colored lenses. This Saturday Night Live skit mocks the idea that Google Glass can be used discreetly; other detractors question our need to become even more dependent on our technology.

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Digital Help for Indigenous People and the Planet

March 30, 2013
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A few short decades ago the Surui tribe lived a stone-age lifestyle in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon. Encroachment of modern civilization into their forest threatened their home—and their very existence. But today the tribe is using digital technology to help preserve the rainforest, the people that live there, and the health of our shared planet.

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Translation for—and by—Everybody

September 27, 2012
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While you’re learning a language you can help with the world’s biggest translation project. This Wired article explains how Duolingo hopes to translate the whole Internet into a resource without language barriers.

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Will Your Glasses Be Smarter than You?

April 5, 2012
This woman is demonstrating Google's experimental smart glasses.

The brave new world of augmented reality may be closer than you think. If it becomes a popular product, Google’s Project Glass may make touch-screen smart phones seem positively old-fashioned. This Huffington Post article describes this intriguing wearable technology, and the video gives you a sense of what it might feel like to spend time behind the lenses of smart glasses.

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Google and Your Privacy: What Do You Need to Know?

March 4, 2012
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Google has been getting plenty of of publicity lately because of major changes in its privacy policy. These two articles, one from Huffington Post and one from Consumer Reports, explain how these changes affect you and what you can do about them. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/29/google-privacy-policy-changes_n_1310506.html http://news.consumerreports.org/electronics/2012/03/google-launches-its-new-privacy-policy-today.html

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The Battle of the Digital Giants

Faces of the coming tech war November 18, 2011

Our digital planet is being transformed every day by new ideas and inventions. In this fascinating Fast Company article, Farhad Manjoo describes how Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon are battling for the future of the innovation economy. If you want to better understand how the “Fab Four” will change your life over the next few […]

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