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Alexis Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti. He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press). Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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Is Facebook Doomed?

November 18, 2014 Facebook has won this round of the Internet. Steadily, grindingly, it continues to take an ever greater share of our time and attention online. More than 800 million people use the site on an average day. Individuals are dependent on it to keep up not just with their friends but...

When Everything Works Like Your Cell Phone

September 29, 2014 Everyone understands what it means to own a plunger. Go to a store, buy the tool, take the physical object home, use it. No contract is required. If you give it away, all its plunging capabilities go with it. If it is stolen, it is lost. If you don't know...

The Internet Is Losing Interest in Computers

September 17, 2014 You may know Google Trends. It takes all the searches that all the humans (and other users of Google) make, pulls them apart, and deduces what topics people are searching for. It's perhaps the closest we can get to peering into the collective consciousness—and sometimes fascinating patterns emerge. Take this...

What Happens When a Car is Hackable? Science Agency Spends $1M to Find Out

September 9, 2014 Imagine this future scenario: Self-driving cars form an orderly procession down a highway, traveling at precisely the right following distance and speed. All the on-board computers cooperate and all the vehicles travel reach their destinations safely. But what if one person jailbreaks her car, and tells her AI driver to...

Inside Google's Secret Drone-Delivery Program

August 29, 2014 A zipping comes across the sky. A man named Neil Parfitt is standing in a field on a cattle ranch outside Warwick, Australia. A white vehicle appears above the trees, a tiny plane a bit bigger than a seagull. It glides towards Parfitt, pitches upwards to a vertical position, and...

Prepare to Be Shocked

August 14, 2014 Several years ago, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency got wind of a technique called transcranial direct-current stimulation, or tDCS, which promised something extraordinary: a way to increase people’s performance in various capacities, from motor skills (in the case of recovering stroke patients) to language learning, all by stimulating their...

Why Conservatives Might Be Left Out of the Next Wave of Tech

June 17, 2014 It's one of those stats that just smacks you across the face: In a recent Pew poll, only four percent—4%!—of consistent conservatives want to live in America's cities. Meanwhile, about a quarter of people with mixed political views want to live in cities more than they want to live in...

How DARPA's Augmented Reality Software Works

May 30, 2014 Six years ago, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) decided that they had a new dream. The agency wanted a system that would overlay digital tactical information right over the top of the physical world. So, they created a program called Urban Leader Tactical Response, Awareness and Visualization (ULTRA-Vis)...

Why DARPA’s Augmented Reality Software Is Better Than Google Glass

May 28, 2014 Six years ago, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) decided that they had a new dream. The agency wanted a system that would overlay digital tactical information right over the top of the physical world. So, they created a program called Urban Leader Tactical Response, Awareness and Visualization (ULTRA-Vis)...

The Trick That Makes Google's Self-Driving Cars Work

May 16, 2014 Google's self-driving cars can tour you around the streets of Mountain View, California. I know this. I rode in one this week. I saw the car's human operator take his hands from the wheel and the computer assume control. "Autodriving," said a woman's voice, and just like that, the car...

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