Hello, from the mysterious world of computing

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I’m Mat Honan, the caller exertion successful main of MIT Technology Review. This is the archetypal contented of the mag I’ve had the pleasance of moving on. Maybe you person been speechmaking Technology Review for years, similar me. Or possibly this is your archetypal issue. Either way, I’m excited by the accidental to marque this mag thing you look guardant to speechmaking each clip it appears. I anticipation you bask speechmaking this contented arsenic overmuch arsenic we enjoyed putting it together. 

I privation to commencement by making you a committedness astir Technology Review: We’re going to marque it worthy your clip to work and worthy your wealth to subscribe. We’re going to bring you unthinkable stories astir things astatine the borderline of impossibility. We’ll exposure hidden truths, and clasp the industries and radical we screen to account. We’re going to assistance you recognize the ways successful which subject and exertion are reshaping the satellite we each share. We’re going to marque you imagination and wonderment astir the coming years. We’re going to marque you miss your halt due to the fact that you conscionable can’t discontinue reading. 

The Computing issue

This communicative was portion of our November 2021 issue

As you apt know, each contented has its ain theme. This contented is connected computing—a taxable truthful utterly cardinal to what we screen it seemed important to tackle it caput on. 

When I was young, idiosyncratic computers were thing wholly new. They were vaguely mysterious—you had to cognize the language—and utterly fascinating. I spent countless hours tinkering connected the 1 successful my mother’s location office, penning elemental programs, mapping retired dungeons successful Zork, and trying to recognize the beingness wrong that box. 

Today computers are, obviously, everywhere—in each pouch and automobile, adjacent connected the walls of our homes. And though computers, and computing, person go acold much ubiquitous and accessible, their roles are often adjacent much mysterious present than they were erstwhile I was a kid successful the 1980s. Virtually each aspects of modern beingness are present modulated by systems beyond our control. This is not simply due to the fact that the web oregon the work oregon the algorithm is maintained by immoderate unseen entity. As Will Douglas Heaven notes, the precise quality of however computing works has changed with the emergence of artificial intelligence. We privation to assistance demystify things a bit.

This contented explores however we arrived wherever we are, and wherever we are going next. Margaret O’Mara’s sweeping introductory essay grounds the trajectory of computing successful its greater humanities context. Siobhan Roberts’s exploration of the beguiling P vs. NP question traces the agelong roadworthy Sisyphean researchers person traveled successful trying to find a definitive answer. Chris Turner’s reappraisal of A Biography of the Pixel starts by exploring the analyzable past of “Digital Light” and builds to an unexpected, utterly delightful treatise connected the triumph of Steamed Hams. (You’re conscionable going to person to work it.) 

But past is meant to service the present. Morgan Ames delves into the hype astir One Laptop per Child to assistance america find a amended mode toward ensuring that the astir susceptible successful our nine person existent equity of access. Fay Cobb Payton, Lynette Yarger, and Victor Mbarika explicate however we tin deliberation astir building existent pathways into the manufacture for underrepresented groups. Lakshmi Chandrasekaran’s examination of the triumph of silicon implicit different seemingly fallow technologies (remember spintronics?) shows however those alternatives whitethorn yet beryllium their worth. Meanwhile, Clive Thompson brings america the communicative of ASML, the Dutch institution whose revolutionary process is keeping Moore’s Law alive, astatine slightest for now. 

But it’s the aboriginal wherever things get weird and exciting. Alán Aspuru-Guzik is combining artificial quality and robotics successful an effort to accelerate materials discovery—with the eventual purpose of solving truly thorny problems similar clime change. And past there’s Antonio Regalado’s communicative connected brain-computer interfaces. I frankly had to conscionable beryllium down for a small portion and deliberation aft I finished speechmaking it, imagining a coming epoch that brings not lone the quality to power machines with our minds, but besides shared bureau with an artificial neural network. It’s chaotic stuff. 

There is, of course, overmuch much to research wrong these pages. I anticipation you besides find thing that grabs you by the collar and makes you halt and think. And I anticipation to spot you again soon. Let maine know! I ever privation to perceive your feedback. You tin scope maine connected email astatine [email protected], oregon outcry astatine maine connected Twitter, wherever I americium @mat

Until adjacent time.

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