WIRED November 2017

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.

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2 min.
almost human

“L OVE IN THE TIME OF ROBOTS” (page 80) grapples with a roboticist’s lifelong quest—both timeless and ultramodern—to truly understand another person. For the accompanying cover, “the first image that came to my mind connecting man and machine was Robby the Robot holding a human figure on the movie poster for the 1956 film Forbidden Planet,” says creative director David Moretti. So he called Elastic, the Santa Monica, California, production studio behind the title sequences for HBO shows like Game of Thrones and Westworld. Moretti and the Elastic team didn’t just take inspiration from iconic images of robots, though—they also drew from classical depictions of human connection, like Auguste Rodin’s The Kiss. Rebecca Flint Marx Are selfies the product of a self- obsessed generation? Rebecca Flint Marx, who got into them before…

2 min.
keep calm and internet on

WIRED has always been optimistic about the future. But we know things can get scary. In the September issue we looked at what we called the Great Tech Panic of 2017 to put our anxieties into perspective. James Surowiecki marshaled economic data to cut through the fear of AI replacing workers. Nicholas Thompson chronicled Instagram’s attempts to make its platform kinder, and Virginia Heffffernan meditated on how to escape from the uncanniest of valleys, the internet. In confronting fear, we swear by hard numbers, clear analysis, and respectful debate (and maybe some controlled breathing). Re: “The Confessions: What if your secrets became public?” “WE WOULD BECOME IMMUNE TO IT QUICKLY AND WOULD BE FURTHER DESENSITIZED.” Marley Mane on Facebook Re: “Mr. Nice Guy: Instagram’s Kevin Systrom wants to clean up the &#%$@! internet” “Systrom’s got…

5 min.
argument the reckoning who’ll take responsibility for facebook?

J JUST AFTER THE collapse of the World Trade Center in 2001, Leslie E. Robertson, the twin towers’ chief engineer, plunged into a period of moral reckoning. As a young hotshot in the 1960s, Robertson had defied the engineering establishment to erect the iconic skyscrapers. Now, at age 73, he brooded. Over and over, observers suggested that the arrogant silhouette of the towers was their undoing. Robertson seemed surpassingly sad. He emailed a colleague in verse: “It is hard / But that I had done a bit more … / Had the towers stood up for just one minute longer … / It is hard.” As The Wall Street Journal reported, when asked at a public forum if he wished he had done anything differently, he wept. But Robertson also conducted a…

2 min.
past master tech’s archivist

WHO: Leslie Berlin, project historian for the Silicon Valley Archives at Stanford University LAST BOOK: The Man Behind the Microchip: Robert Noyce and the Invention of Silicon Valley (2005) NEW BOOK: Troublemakers: Silicon Valley’s Coming of Age, told through profiles of seven key pioneers FROM THE VALLEY’S VAULT: LUNCH GOALS Eating off-campus once promoted “cross-industry pollination,” Berlin says. Today’s in-house kitchens have their benefits, “but I do wonder what is lost.” MIXED FEELINGS Now, tech is a big critic of big government. But after facing competition from Japanese manufacturers in the ’80s, the microchip industry was saved only by tariffs and legislation. THE STARTUP MYTH “The Valley has always had huge companies, not just scrappy startups. They bring in all the engineers and then they all leave. That’s where startups come from.” SILICON VALLEY job perks are mythic. Self-replenishing snacks. Unlimited vacation. A…

2 min.
invasion of the kitchen bots

Coffee Maker Avoid barista sideeye by getting your coffee from a six-axis robotic arm named Gordon. Built by Mitsubishi, Gordon has been steaming and pouring espresso drinks in a glassenclosed San Francisco kiosk, Cafe X, since January. It’s like a java ATM, minus overdraft fees. Greens Goddess Launched by Redwood City, California, startup Chowbotics in April, Sally is an Automat-style box filled with 21 canisters of chopped ingredients. She can whip up over 1,000 salad combinations—presumably while pondering the gender politics of whoever decided to name a calorie-counting salad robot “Sally.” Pizza Machine At Zume Pizza in Silicon Valley, robots prep dough balls into thin-crust pies, dispense and spread the sauce, and transfer pizzas to and from 800-degree ovens. The pizzas are delivered in trucks outfitted with dozens of smart ovens to keep the pies…

1 min.
jargon watch

brug n. / 'brug / A bug that’s a drug. An intestinal bacterium in the Prevotella genus, often lacking in people with multiple sclerosis, has been shown to suppress the disease if given orally. It’s proof that gut flora can fight diseases outside the gut. 1-D printer n. / 'wun-dē 'prin-t r / A device that makes robots by bending a length of wire (with inline motors) into fancy shapes. Tell it you need, say, a camera bot that can shimmy up pipe and it’ll design and build one in 15 minutes. angel particle n. / 'ān-j l 'pär-ti-k l / A subatomic particle that is its own antiparticle—matter and antimatter all at once. The spooky speck, recently detected in a lab test, could help make quantum computers viable.…