Steven Levy
Steven Levy
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Anthony Fauci Pleads: Don’t Declare Victory

Anthony Fauci Pleads: Don’t Declare Victory

12 months of struggling with , one figure has come to symbolize forthrightness, scientific rigor, and epidemiological experience—at least to that doesn’t when his name is mentioned. Of course, that’s the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. It was no surprise when President Biden appointed Fauci of the new administration as it attempts to end the Covid-19 pandemic. In the last few weeks, Fauci—who was sometimes silenced in the previous administration—has been ubiquitous in explaining , mask , and the impact of potentially dangerous of the virus....

Mar 3
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Exclusive: Alphabet Is Grounding Loon—but Won't Call It a Failure

Exclusive: Alphabet Is Grounding Loon—but Won't Call It a Failure

you detect something missing? Like that unease in your gut that everything has gone to hell? Wonder why that is.Oh, and for those of you who are reading this newsletter on WIRED’s website, here’s some news. First, we’re sending this out early because we have a scoop timed to tonight. And now for some bad news: Aside from an occasional episode shared out of the goodness of my heart, Plaintext will hereafter be available only for subscribers. Don’t look shocked—I’ve been warning you about this for a year! The good news is that for an initial offer of five lousy bucks and get Plaintext,...

Jan 21
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Facebook’s Oversight Board to Decide on Trump Ban

Facebook’s Oversight Board to Decide on Trump Ban

of this month’s at the US Capitol, Facebook suspended the account of the inciter-in-chief Donald Trump. On January 7, citing the danger that the president’s posts might incite further violence, CEO that the company would keep Trump off the platform “indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.” (Twitter has permanently.)Now that that transition is official, Facebook has a decision to make—whether or not to allow the ex-president his bullhorn. But today, Facebook is that it won’t make that decision itself. Earlier this morning, it asked...

Jan 21
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Facebook Can’t Fix What It Won’t Admit To

Facebook Can’t Fix What It Won’t Admit To

of you are complaining that I should keep away from politics and stay in my lane. I haven’t moved. The lane just got a lot wider. I am, however, looking forward to writing about more tech-y stuff. Can the world cooperate, please? Starting next week, this column will be subscriber-only, with the occasional exception. Get full access to every edition by today.The Plain ViewIn June 2017, Mark Zuckerberg changed Facebook’s mission. Speaking at the company’s first , he explained that the best part of Facebook is its “meaningful groups,” those that address a user’s passions or needs and connect...

Jan 15
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A 25-Year-Old Bet Comes Due: Has Tech Destroyed Society?

A 25-Year-Old Bet Comes Due: Has Tech Destroyed Society?

1995, WIRED’s executive editor and resident techno-optimist Kevin Kelly went to the Greenwich Village apartment of the author Kirkpatrick Sale. Kelly had asked Sale for . But he planned an ambush.Kelly had just read an early copy of Sale’s upcoming book, called Rebels Against the Future. It told the story of the 19th-century Luddites, a movement of workers opposed to the machinery of the Industrial Revolution. Before their rebellion was squashed and their leaders hanged, they literally destroyed some of the mechanized looms that, they believed, reduced them to cogs in a dehumanizing engine...

Jan 5
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The Tenuous Promise of the Substack Dream

The Tenuous Promise of the Substack Dream

there ever been a worse year than 2020? Even crazier, with a month to go, everybody knows the worst is yet to come. The Plain ViewI used to write a column for Macworld magazine. People trying to butter me up would tell me they bought the magazine just to read my modest contribution. I didn’t believe them, but it got me thinking. It was the mid-’90s, the early days of the web, and pioneers were starting their own sites. What if I “went internet”—sold just my column and charged a buck for each edition? Cheaper than the magazine! If I were paid by only a fraction of Macworld’s several hundred...

Nov 20
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Huawei, 5G, and the Man Who Conquered Noise

Huawei, 5G, and the Man Who Conquered Noise

Shenzhen in July. The weather is hot, the trees brimming with life … ” So begins the baritone voice-over in a video shot in the summer of 2018 by the Chinese telecommunications giant and posted to YouTube. It chronicles a corporate event in the slightly corny style of a 1960s educational film, starting with aerial drone footage of Huawei's campus—an island of lush greenery surrounded by the high-rise buildings of the city known as China's Silicon Valley. A spirited orchestral version of Beethoven's “Turkish March” plays as a town car wends its way through the campus, pulling up to a stately...

Nov 16
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Bill Gates on Covid: Most US Tests Are ‘Completely Garbage’

Bill Gates on Covid: Most US Tests Are ‘Completely Garbage’

has been easing out of the roles that made him rich and famous—CEO, chief software architect, and chair of Microsoft—and devoting his brainpower and passion to the , abandoning earnings calls and antitrust hearings for the metrics of disease eradication and carbon reduction. This year, after he , one would have thought he would have relished shedding the spotlight directed at the four CEOs of big tech companies .But as with many of us, 2020 had different plans for Gates. An early Cassandra who of our lack of preparedness for a global pandemic, he became one of the most credible figures as...

August 7, 2020
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The Doctor Who Helped Defeat Smallpox Explains What's Coming

The Doctor Who Helped Defeat Smallpox Explains What's Coming

Epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, who warned of pandemic in 2006, says we can beat the novel coronavirus—but first, we need lots more testing. Larry Brilliant says he doesn’t have a crystal ball. But 14 years ago, Brilliant, the epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox, spoke to a TED audience and described what the next pandemic would look like. At the time, it sounded almost too horrible to take seriously. “A billion people would get sick," he said. “As many as 165 million people would die. There would be a global recession and depression, and the cost to our economy of $1 to $3...

March 19, 2020
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Stephen Wolfram Invites You to Solve Physics

Stephen Wolfram Invites You to Solve Physics

has derailed everyday existence for all of us, forcing us to make difficult choices. But a few weeks ago, Stephen Wolfram’s dilemma was unique. What should you do, he wondered, if, right in the middle of a pandemic, you were ready to announce that you had made historical progress—at least as you saw it—toward solving a fundamental physics question? If you felt you had figured out the path to the Holy Grail of Physics: a unified theory, making it possible for the first time to discover the underlying rule of our entire universe, one that intertwines relativity, gravity, and quantum mechanics...

April 14, 2020
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