Zuckerberg Wants Facebook to Build a Mind-Reading Machine

Zuckerberg Wants Facebook to Build a Mind-Reading Machine

For those of us who worry that Facebook may have serious boundary issues when it comes to the personal information of its users, Mark Zuckerberg’s recent comments at Harvard should get the heart racing. Zuckerberg ostensibly dropped by the university last month as...
How Amazon’s Algorithms Curated a Dystopian Bookstore

How Amazon’s Algorithms Curated a Dystopian Bookstore

Among the best-selling books in Amazon’s Epidemiology category are several anti-vaccine tomes. One has a confident-looking doctor on the cover, but the author doesn’t have an MD—a quick Google search reveals that he’s a medical journalist with the “ThinkTwice Global...
Colonialists Are Coming For Blood—Literally

Colonialists Are Coming For Blood—Literally

During the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, medical workers collected hundreds of thousands of samples of blood from victims and those presumed to be infected, in an effort to stem an epidemic that eventually took more than 11,000 lives. After that outbreak...
No, Data Is Not the New Oil

No, Data Is Not the New Oil

“Data is the new oil” is one of those deceptively simple mantras for the modern world. Whether in The New York Times, The Economist, or WIRED, the wildcatting nature of oil exploration, plus the extractive exploitation of a trapped asset, seems like an apt metaphor...
Facebook Tamed the Feral Internet—and That’s Too Bad

Facebook Tamed the Feral Internet—and That’s Too Bad

I have zero claim to l337ism but I’ve been around this strange old internet for the past 40 years. Grandma, please no stories about the early internet. I get it. But in honor of Facebook’s 15th birthday, I want to reminisce, just for a minute. The internet of the ’80s...
Instacart Delivers Groceries, but Detaches Us From Our Food

Instacart Delivers Groceries, but Detaches Us From Our Food

I own a lot of cookbooks. Two by Mark Bittman, everyone’s ethical food hero. A few my aunt edited for The New York Times about Jewish cooking. One about fermenting that I gave to my husband with a note attached that said, “This will be fun!” I follow numerous food...