WIRED January 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.

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2 мин.
maili holiman

For Maili Holiman, this issue represents “a sort of homecoming.” She was an art director at WIRED in the aughts and returned in October as our new creative director. “Since I was here last, the biggest change I see is the number of women in leadership positions, and specifically women of color,” she says. “One thing I’m excited about is bringing fresh points of view to the visual direction. As the audience has changed and the tech world has become more diverse, illustrating complex ideas from many different perspectives is not only necessary, it’s imperative.” Jason Kehe was weary with dystopian predictions of nefarious robots taking jobs from humans. For this issue’s Future of Work fiction package (page 58), the senior associate editor wanted to do something different. So Kehe challenged…

6 мин.
love and rockets

IN 1897, WILLIAM JAMES, the celebrity philosopher, was offered $400 to lecture at Harvard on the quaint subject of immortality. As a marquee speaker on the Gilded Age circuit, James could be selective about his gigs, and he almost declined. Realism had superseded romance in philosophy, and the keenest intellectuals now styled themselves as “cerebralistic materialists”—devotees of the idea that life ends when the brain’s activity does. If James was going to have to talk about angels and harps, even a decent fee would not be worth the scorn from colleagues. In the end James cashed the check and gave an exquisitely weird lecture, published as Human Immortality, which argued that while individual minds might perish, a collective “mother-sea” of consciousness lives forever. The lecture then took an abrupt turn. “Take, for…

2 мин.
the forget-me-not font

REMEMBER ALL THOSE classics you devoured in comp-lit class? Neither do we. Research shows that we retain an embarrassingly small sliver of what we read. In an effort to help college students boost that percentage, a team made up of a designer, a psychologist, and a behavioral economist at Australia’s RMIT University recently introduced a new typeface, Sans Forgetica, that uses clever tricks to lodge information in your brain. The font-makers drew on the psychological theory of “desirable difficulty”—that is, we learn better when we actively overcome an obstruction. (It’s why flash cards create stronger neural connections in the brain and are a better method for recalling facts than passively studying notes.) Sans Forgetica is purposefully hard to decipher, forcing the reader to focus. One study found that students recalled…

1 мин.
docs on demand

GOOD NEWS FOR obsessive symptom Googlers: There’s a new form of quick, cheap health care—no trip to the doctor required. Climbing insurance deductibles are fueling a boom in telemedicine—medical care by phone, online messaging, or video chat—particularly for life’s more awkward (and pharmaceutically lucrative) ailments. Within the past 15 months, men’s wellness startups Roman, Hims, and Keeps have emerged to offer virtual care for maladies like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and hair loss. ¶ After filling out an online questionnaire, users are connected with a licensed physician who consults via phone, messager, or video and can prescribe medication remotely. The meds are delivered to your door, often at a steep discount. Keeps provides generic Rogaine for $10 a month, compared with up to $29 at drugstores, while Roman offers generic…

5 мин.
life on the dweb

THE WEB IS a playground in a panopticon. Though la vie online can be exhilarating, many of our e-scapades take place on corporate estates that log our actions and juice them for ad dollars. Some rebels, pining for greater freedoms, are trying to build platforms outside the reach of Big Tech’s tentacles. On the so-called decentralized web—truer to early dreams for online life—you can still shop or flirt, but your data remains encrypted and under your control. Boosters as varied as cryptoanarchists, venture capitalists, and the father of the web, Tim Berners-Lee, say the DWeb, as they call it, will create a digital commons less predisposed to privacy-invading monetization schemes. It’s still young and glitchy, but the tech has matured enough that anyone with a browser can give it a…

4 мин.
lose the blinders

IN 2006, Jeffrey Hammerbacher, then a recent Harvard graduate in math, became an early employee at a budding company founded by another Harvard student named Mark Zuckerberg. After building Facebook’s data team, Hammerbacher left the company in 2008. He later explained his decision to leave, despite the company’s tremendous growth, in what has become one of the most iconic quotes of the second internet boom: “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads,” he told Businessweek. “That sucks.” Twelve years and hundreds of billions of dollars of market capitalization later, that’s still true, and it still sucks. The few companies that control our digital public sphere—Facebook, Google, and Twitter—are all driven by the same fundamental business model, and it has only grown more pernicious…