WIRED December 2019

The Wired mission is to tell the world something they've never heard before in a way they've never seen before. It's about turning new ideas into everyday reality. It's about seeding our community of influencers with the ideas that will shape and transform our collective future. Wired readers want to know how technology is changing the world, and they're interested in big, relevant ideas, even if those ideas challenge their assumptions—or blow their minds.

United States
Conde Nast US
12 号


totally wired

Recently, my partner ducked into the market for enzyme sprinkles. (It’s Lab-Grown Taco Tuesday.) Watching through the window, I saw them consider two checkout lines. One looked significantly longer but was entirely self-checkout. My partner turned toward the shorter queue with error-prone human cashiers. No! I silently pleaded, that way lies damnation! At the final moment, as I willed them from afar, they course-corrected. Such cerebral synchronicity, a true mind-meld, is perhaps the most intoxicating manifestation of something I seek everywhere I can. I’ve always been vicariousness incarnate, longing for moments of instant instantiation. At sporting events I lurch in my seat, vainly puppeteering my favorite quantum-ball pros away from would-be quantumbles. When my partner plays videogames, I become an armchair voxel-jockey, squirming this way and that as I attempt to…

what would your dream gadget be to help you in your work?

“A cloned, AI version of my brain to answer emails as I write. That or a lightsaber. No, definitely a lightsaber.”—Senior editor Angela Watercutter (page 72) “Prosthetic thumbs and interspecies translation software for my dog. My friends refer to Max, my 11-year-old diabetic King Charles spaniel, as my ‘assistant.’ I appreciate the company he offers, but late-stage capitalism is all about output, metrics, and productivity. If he could handle transcription, it would go a long way.”—Contributor Jessica Bruder (page 58) “I tend to have my best creative breakthroughs in the shower. But when I’m grappling with a story and desperate for inspiration, I rarely have time to get naked and douse myself with water. I could use a gadget that tricks my brain into thinking I’m taking a shower while I’m still…

electric word

CASE CLOSED In October, Lauren Smiley recounted the murder of a woman whose Fitbit data made her 90-year-old stepfather the chief suspect. (The stepfather, Tony Aiello, died while awaiting trial shortly after we went to press.) Also, Brendan I. Koerner chronicled how pigeons, rats, and other critters have evolved to thrive in cities, which might show humans how to adapt to climate change. And in September, Jason Parham plunged into the transfixing world of influencers who bare it all on OnlyFans. Readers share their theories, shock, and New Jersey pride: RE: “THE TELLTALE HEART” I’m left feeling that Karen and Tony deserve justice and closure. I’m not a “true crime” fan, but something about this story haunts me. The data says, and therefore it’s true. Scary thought. —Stephen V. Smith (@StephenVSmith), via Twitter I hope…

pride and prejudice

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Trekkies were the first fandom. But universal acknowledgment does not make a truth true. In fact, Adrianne Wadewitz, a feminist scholar of 18th-century literature, set Wikipedia straight on this point over a decade ago, when she identified the first fandom subculture as the Janeites, the network of Jane Austen stans who found their prime directive, Austen idolatry, around 1870. Star Trek: TOS didn’t air until 1966. But what does this matter, except for purposes of quarrels about trivia? Here’s just one reason: Janeites are known for having organized their networks in an almost magically prescient way that didn’t just prefigure Star Trek fan culture, it prefigured the … internet. Go with me here. Janeites can be seen as internet culture avant la lettre—what Sebastian…

end games

Last year, Jibo—“the world’s first social robot for the home”—began to lose its mind. First came memory problems. The bot started to spend less time swiveling its head like the animated Pixar lamp and more time staring blankly at the wall. Its cognitive demise was slow, then fast. At one point, Jibo itself delivered the fatal diagnosis: “The servers out there that let me do what I do will be turned off soon,” it said in its computerized voice. “Once that happens, our interactions with each other are going to be limited.” Jibo the robot was dying, because Jibo the company was going out of business. Jibo’s sudden plunge into digital dementia brought on an outpouring of grief and consternation. People had shelled out $900 for this thing; could the company…

workers’ little helpers

Normally, when you open Facebook, you see pictures of your friends’ awesome vacations or links to maddening political stories your dad is sharing—your basic emotional goulash of FOMO and TMI. But last year, the nerds at Microsoft Research tried something different: They put bits of office work into the News Feed. The researchers created an AI app that looked through documents you were writing in Microsoft Word. It extracted simple editing tasks, like making a sentence less wordy. Then, using a Chrome plug-in, the software would slot these jobs into an item in your feed, one every 2,000 pixels. The researchers gave the tool to a test group, who began duly doing the little work tasks, a few each day, when they saw them while scrolling through Facebook. Every time…