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T O S E E W H O’S W H O, V I S I T W I R E D.C O M / S T O R Y/ W I R E D 2 5 -I C O N S - S L I D E S H O W

N o t s h o w n: S A M A LT M A N ( U N AVA I L A B L E ), M A G G I E T U R N B U L L (C A M P A I G N I N G), K A R L I E K L O S S
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T H I E L ( U N AVA I L A B L E ), J E F F B E Z O S (S E E N E X T I S S U E ).

( T R AV E L I N G), R. K I M ( I N I N D I A ), E D W A R D S N O W D E N ( I N R U S S I A ), B O YA N S L AT ( I N T H E N E T H E R L A N D S), P E T E R

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As the years passed, WIRED has done its


best to live up to the ideals of the founding
manifesto, particularly its timeless invoca-
tion to “tell us something we’ve never heard
before, in a way we’ve never seen before.

1993
If it challenges our assumptions, so much
the better.” The magazine has covered the
story of tech as its heroes have climbed
the status hierarchy from court jesters and
outcasts to kings and queens. And
it has dealt with the complex- “This assign-
ity of being a media organiza- ment was pure
serendipity.
tion optimistically covering the I was talking

2043
to Karpf about
forces destroying media. Those another idea
fat magazines have become last spring
when he men-
thinner, but WIRED ’s words and tioned, of-
images now spread in a million hand, that he
was planning
ways, from phones and tablets to read the
entire WIRED
to voice assistants, social plat- archive for
forms, and whatever-the-hell- an academic
project.“
else comes next. —John Gravois,

“W
And so, for our 25th, we’ve SENIOR EDITOR
hy wired ? Because the Digital
decided to create a birthday issue.
Revolution is whipping through
We picked 25 icons we think are most
our lives like a Bengali typhoon—
responsible for the changes of the past
wh ile t he ma instrea m med ia
quarter-century. And we’ve asked each
is still groping for the snooze button.”
to nominate someone or something they
So began the founding manifesto of this
think will change the next 25. With each
magazine. It’s an awesome document:
pairing, we’ve tried to create some kind
216 words of vim, bold font, and atti-
of conversation between the two, or
tude. And thanks to the accidental SEO-
between one of them and you, the reader.
juju of a factual error (typhoons in Bengal
We’ve also revived some long-lost story
are actually called cyclones), its most
formats from the magazine’s past (Tired/
famous phrase would forever refer Google
Wired, is that you?) and commissioned
searchers to the manifesto. In any event,
five essays to evoke the big themes that
it made you want to read the darn thing.
defined each half-decade along the way.
The indefatigable Sarah Fallon, an

According to the manifesto, the magazine was


birthed into being because the rest of the press was
too busy with malarkey to “discuss the meaning or
context of social changes so profound their only par-
allel is probably the discovery of fire.”
“None of us The year was 1993, and a lot of things
would be here
without the hadn’t been touched by the fire of infor- reading every single volume of the maga-
work and bril- mation technology. A magazine was still zine to write a history of the future as por-
liance of past
editors: Louis a thing you could use to swat a fly—or, in trayed in these pages, from 1993 to 2018.
Rossetto and
Jane Metcalfe,
those days of abundant print advertis- Our hope is that in 2043, you’ll go back
Katrina Heron, ing, kill a rattlesnake. Email was rare, the through the choices we made in this issue
Chris Ander-
son, and Scott web was in its infancy, and America had and see some that make sense and some
Dadich.” just elected a president who could use his that, in retrospect, seem insane. That’s the
phone only for making phone calls. way it’s always been with WIRED .
Jony Ive was a young designer at Apple, “So why now? Why WIRED ? Because in
the age of information overload, the ulti-
Zuckerberg was at home in Dobbs Ferry learning Atari mate luxury is meaning and context. Or
Basic from his dad. Sheryl Sandberg was a recent Har- put another way, if you’re looking for the
vard graduate studying leprosy for the World Bank. soul of our new society in wild metamor-
Sundar Pichai was just immigrating to the United States. phosis, our advice is simple. Get WIRED .”

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and Flyroam are trademarks of TBL Licensing LLC. All other trademarks or logos are the property of their respective owners. ©TBL Licensing. All rights reserved.
Timberland,

BORN IN THE WOODS.


RAISED IN THE CITY.
THE NEW 1978 FLYROAM™ HIKER
Available at Timberland and Macy’s Congratulations on 25 years, Wired.
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MOVADO CONNECT TIME DESIGNED LIKE NEVER BEFORE.


POWERED WITH WEAR OS BY GOOGLE ™.
MACY’S
Wear OS by Google is a trademark of Google LLC. MOVADO.COM
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THE FUTURE WAS SO DELICIOUS,I ATE IT ALL p.112

BY DAV I D K A R P F
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Ye a r s 1 9 9 3 – 1 9 9 8 Ye a r s 1 9 9 8 –2 0 0 3 Ye a r s 2 0 0 3 –2 0 0 8

42
Louis Rossetto and
partner Jane Metcalfe
THE WIRED 25 ICONS AND NOMINEES

cofounded WIRED and


let the magazine ater THE GREAT UPWELLING
selling it to Condé Nast
As the world became connected,
in 1998. The pair were
early investors in the regular people acquired
TCHO chocolate company, superpowers. Call it the rise of
and Rossetto later the bottom.
served as its CEO. We by KEVIN KELLY
do not get a discount.

Melinda Gates, cochair of the Founding executive editor


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Kevin Kelly is part of
and Shivani Siroya, founder and the team building the
CEO of Tala ...................................44 10,000-year clock.

Peter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal


and Palantir, and Palmer Luckey,
founder of Oculus ......................46

Sean Parker, Napster cofounder,


and Alex Marson, biologist and
infectious disease doctor at UC
San Francisco ..............................48

Jill Tarter, SETI Institute


cofounder, and Margaret
Turnbull, astronomer ................52

Marc Benioff, founder of


A story about Lanier in Salesforce, and Boyan Slat,
WIRED’s second issue
founder of Ocean Cleanup ......54
began, “Yea, though he
has walked through the
Valley of Silicon, he
fears no evil.”

26
FIGHT THE DOUR
The revolution is just
getting started. And there’s THE TIPPING POINT
more reason than ever to We predicted a digital revolution
embrace militant optimism. with all the fervor of true
by LOUIS ROSSETTO believers. Then the revolution
conquered all.
Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates Bezos has appeared by ADAM ROGERS
on WIRED’s cover
and Stephen Quake, Stanford
twice: in March 1999
professor of bioengineering and and December 2011. Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design
physics ..........................................28 oicer, and Evan Sharp, head of
design, product, and marketing
Joi Ito, MIT Media Lab director, at Pinterest ...................................62
and Neha Narula, director of
MIT Media Lab’s digital currency Anne Wojcicki, cofounder and
initiative .........................................30 Since joining WIRED in CEO of 23andMe, and Keller
2003, Rogers has held Rinaudo, CEO of Zipline ..........66
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, a lot of jobs: writing
and the 10,000-year clock ..... 32 and editing features,
running the magazine’s Alexis Ohanian, cofounder
front-of-book sections, of Reddit, and Jewel Burks,
Jaron Lanier, godfather of virtual and, critically, cofounder of Partpic ................. 70
reality, and Glen Weyl, principal serving as senior nerd
researcher at Microsoft ............34 and chief drinks-maker.
Sebastian Thrun, computer
scientist, and Sam Altman,
Apple’s Infinite Loop and president of Y Combinator ...... 74
Apple Park ...................................38
Facebook cofounder
Mark Zuckerberg and the
undocumented Dreamers ...... 76
By editor at large
Steven Levy, who wrote
the cover story for
WIRED’s second issue
and has covered Apple
since the early 1980s.
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DOUBLE CHEERS TO WIRED’S 25TH

ENJOY RESPONSIBLY. © 2018 DEWAR’S, WHITE LABEL, ITS TRADE DRESS, TRUE SCOTCH, THE CELTIC DEVICE AND THE JOHN DEWAR SIGNATURE
ARE TRADEMARKS. BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY – 40% ALC. BY VOL. *THIS IS ONLY SPECIFIC TO THE WHITE LABEL PRODUCT.
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Ye a r s 2 0 0 8 –2 0 1 3 Ye a r s 2 0 1 3 –2 0 1 8
THE WIRED 25 ICONS AND NOMINEES

LONG LIVE THE WEB


In 2014, WIRED
Things break and decay on photographed Snowden
the internet, as in all human in Russia holding an
endeavors. And then they American lag.
are replaced.
by VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN

NSA whistleblower Edward


Snowden and Malkia Cyril,
founder of the Center for Media
Justice..........................................102
Wojcicki and her
sister, 23andMe’s Anne
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Wojcicki, grew up in

84
Silicon Valley. and Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Microsoft
chief accessibility oicer ........104

THE AGE OF AWARENESS YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki


Status update: We are all now and Geetha Murali, CEO of
sci-fi telepaths, deafened by the Room to Read ............................ 107
blaring thoughts of humanity.
Crispr codiscoverer Jennifer Portraits by
by CLIVE THOMPSON
Doudna and Stanford MICHELLE GROSKOPF
sophomore Jiwoo Lee ............108 WIRED director of photog-
Jack Dorsey, cofounder of raphy Anna Alexander
knew she wanted a street
Twitter, and ProPublica............86 Google CEO Sundar Pichai and photographer, someone
R. Kim, chief medical oicer of exceptional at capturing a
Jennifer Pahlka, founder of Aravind Eye Hospital ...............109 fleeting moment, to shoot
Code for America, and Anand the portraits in this issue.
Giridharadas, author of When she saw Michelle
Groskopf’s work at an
Winners Take All .........................88 art exhibit in Los Ange-
les this spring, she was
Nobel-winning biologist blown away. “The pho-
Elizabeth Blackburn and Janelle tos were huge on the wall
Ayres, molecular physiologist at and so bright and colorful
and kind of made me feel
the Salk Institute............................90 uncomfortable—like beau-
tiful voyeurism,” Alexan-
AI pioneer-turned-VC Kai-Fu Lee der says. “I met her and she
and Fei-Fei Li, AI researcher was a huge fan of WIRED .
and activist ................................... 92 And she had been a sci-
ence researcher in a previ-
ous life, so she was a super
Kevin Systrom, cofounder nerd.”
of Instagram, and Karlie
Kloss, founder of Kode With Over a 25-day period,
Klossy.............................................94 Groskopf traveled to 20 cit-
ies in five states. “I grew up
with these names; they’ve
had a huge impact on my
life,” she says.
Longtime contributing
editor and columnist
Bill Gates was her first sub-
Thompson served as
Heffernan writes a ject. “My hand was shak-
WIRED’s irst Mr. Know-
regular column for ing,” she says. “I was really
It-All.
WIRED and is the author nervous. I took the shots in
of Magic and Loss: The 5 minutes and they were
Internet as Art. some of my favorite pho-
tos. That was a good start.”

1993 TIME IN PRINT 2018

SECTION OPENERS FROM THE EDITOR ...................... 8 JARGON WATCH ............................ 28


AND BADGES
INFOPORN: CONTRIBUTORS ... 16 TIRED/WIRED .............................. 36
designed by
Fisk Projects. Q&A: STEWART BRAND ............ 18 JUST OUTTA BETA .................... 49
The man who was wired before CHEAT SHEET .............................. 50
WIRED on the tools he believes 3 SMART THINGS ....................... 63
will make the whole Earth better. MR. KNOW-IT-ALL .................... 68
MOST DANGEROUS OBJECT .... 75
ON THE COVER STATGEIST ................................... 87
Cover design by ANGRY NERD ................................. 89
Plunkett + Kuhr DATASTREAM ................................. 92
Designers. John
Plunkett and Barbara FIRST TO MARKET .................. 105
Kuhr were the REAL OR FAKE .......................... 106
founding creative ASK A FLOWCHART .................. 110
directors of WIRED. FOUND ............................................ 124
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INF O P O R N There are 111 connections


between the WIRED icons,
nominees, and the companies

Connections associated with them.


“We love doing visual
representations of data,
and I always think the
When you ask the most influential people in tech and most successful ones
business to nominate who they think will shape the are when the aesthetics of
the graphic telegraph the
future, they often suggest names they know from work point you’re making”
—Sarah Fallon, INFOPORN
or from their philanthropic efforts. We pulled those EDITOR FOR SEVERAL YEARS
connections together into an infographic; call it the
worldwide web of Silicon Valley. —Andrea Powell

23andMe
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Alexis Ohanian

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Mark
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Jac
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Satya Nadella Jaron Lanier

SETI Thiel Jef B


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Institute Peter op Je
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it
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Prosays fo

Partpic

Parker Inst Immunotherapy


for Cancer

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itute

WIRED Icons
DEBUTED AS RAW DATA: OCT 1994
Nominees RENAMED INFOPORN: OCT 1999
STATUS: ONGOING
Associated Companies and Institutions
A P P E A R A N C E S I N P R I N T: 2 5 0
Financial Contribution / Investment / Acquisition

Worked For / Founded


CARL DE TORRES
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MARIA STRESHINSKY: When I


was really young, I went to “My friend
and I had a
the New Games Tournament. matching set
of patchwork
STEWART BRAND: Oh my gosh, in
overalls (it
Marin County? That’s amazing. was the mid-
‘70s!), and our
STRESHINSKY: I’ve been thinking artist drew
about all the different things them into his
illustration.”
that you’ve helped create. —Maria
Streshinsky,
BRAND: Do you remember the New
EXECUTIVE EDITOR
Games at all?
STRESHINSKY: I remember the
Earthball.
B R A N D : Ah, good. Well, it was
mythic then, enough to stick to a small child.

“I wanted it to become Here’s the thing about Stew-


normal for adults to art Brand: He has spent a life-
have the same inter- time creating mythic things that
est in routinely chang- stick. The New Games Tourna-
ing the rules of games ment was a festival of wacka-
that children have. doodle and wild games meant
For example, get- to get people outside, playing,
ting sensible amend- but also—and more import-
ments occasionally to ant—Brand created them during
the US Constitution the Vietnam War to get peo-
would seem responsi- ple thinking about conflict and
ble and normal rather physicality. The games hap-
than impossible and pened for a few years in the San
dangerous even to Francisco Bay Area. That Earth-
attempt.” —Brand ball was a 6-foot-wide rubber-
and-canvas sphere painted
with the continents and oceans and clouds.
And, as a book about the games explained,
it attracted people “like the force of grav-
ity.” “Everyone welcomes the chance to play
with the planet, whether they are kicking or
hugging it … An all-out game of Tournament
Earthball might reveal the very core and
essence of world conflict.” (It was also daz-
zling to me as a 5-year-old.)
Surveying the landscape that formed and
energized WIRED , you can’t avoid the mythic
stuff of Brand: He was one of Ken Kesey’s
Merry Pranksters, as immortalized
in Tom Wolfe’s Electric Kool-Aid
“How mass use of com- Acid Test. He worked with Doug-
puters might go is not las Engelbart on “The Mother of All
even slightly known Demos,” which in 1968 introduced
as yet, except for obvi- hypertext, email, the mouse. He cre-

Farsighted ous applications in the


schools. One informative
ated the Whole Earth Catalog and its
descendants; he founded CoEvolu-
place to inquire is among tion Quarterly. He helped start the
Stewart Brand, the man who was wired the hackers, particularly Well. He’s written tech books and
before WIRED , on the tools he believes at night when they’re science books (and many, many arti-
will make the whole Earth better. pursuing their own inter- cles). He helped start the Long Now
ests.” —Brand, Rolling Foundation to get people thinking
ARMANDO VEVE Stone, 1972 really, really long term. (The group is

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working on the 10,000-year clock; see page 32.) He cofounded In the Planet Eco- can’t. It’s no good, because it was never engi-
Revive and Restore, a group using biotech for wildlife conser- nomics section of neered in the first place. So how do you de-
vation, climate adaptation—and to bring back extinct species. 1974’s Whole Earth volve what has been evolved? That’s like trying
You get the picture. Epilog, John Holt to unstir the coffee.
For our 25th anniversary, I wanted to talk to Brand. Partly wrote, “A society of We’re running into that mess now with
because he was an apparitional presence through my child- large tools cannot be some issues that we humans have caused,
hood; my father, a photojournalist, spent a lot of time with him, democratic, egal- like invasive diseases. In biology, you can
shooting the photos for The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and itarian, socialistic, never understand the whole system. But
taking pictures for the Whole Earth Catalog and covering other humane, and just. that’s OK. You don’t have to understand the
Brandified events like the New Games. But mostly, I wanted to It must be hierar- whole system in order to affect it usefully.
talk to Brand because, at 79, he still sizzles and sparks when he chical, exploitative, That’s how human medicine works. We don’t
talks about the future. bureaucratic, and understand that whole system, but we have
authoritarian. If the gotten to the point where we can do useful
ON THE TOOLS HE’S EXCITED ABOUT: day comes when all things to keep people from dying from this
One of the initiating ideas of the Whole Earth Catalog of humanity’s wants and that, or keep their teeth going, or what-
50 years ago was Buckminster Fuller’s concept that human can be supplied by a ever it might be.
behavior was pretty damn stable—as in very, very hard to few giant tools, the
change. Fuller didn’t have much patience with politics or pol- people who tend ON REVIVING EXTINCT SPECIES:
iticians or various kinds of social engineers who he thought them will rule the A lot of us who are messing with where
were basically trying to change something that resists change world.” technology could go, we like to keep our
very actively. But tools, he said, are easy to change. reach just far enough in front of our current
The tools that I’m paying attention to right now: biotech- grasp. You asked, Is it exciting? You bet it’s
nology. And artificial intelligence. And I’m gradually getting exciting when you can feel your way toward
acquainted with blockchain and its possibilities. Those three “my God, this is becoming possible.” And then
domains—all of them code-based, two of them digital—are you say it out loud. But you can’t be a science
once again potentially revolutionary technologies that are on fiction author; you’ve got to actually deliver it.
some kind of an S curve that feels like a J curve right now. How And those extinct species, they will come.
high it goes or how steep it gets is to be seen, but it feels still I’m completely confident. Probably not in my
like early days for each. lifetime, but in yours. You will see the return
Twenty-five years ago we of woolly mammoths and eventually woolly
were talking up nanotechnol- rhinoceroses and maybe cave lions in the
“Think about the pros-
ogy. It was coming on strong. far north. One precedent is the cryopreser-
pects of quantum
WIRED was doing articles on vation of cells and DNA from endangered
computing and DNA
nano. Then it just got beat out species—something that many people have
computing—which is
by the nanotechnology that’s been doing for about 35 years now, starting
just emerging as poten-
been around for about 3.5 bil- with the San Diego Zoo, who we work closely
tially practical. DNA
lion years: biology [Laughs]. with. In fact, we’re bringing back to life two
storage is on the order of
We figured biotech was com- of the black-footed ferrets that they biopre-
at least 100,000 times
ing and nanotech was coming, served about 35 years ago. They’ll be iden-
denser than ordinary
and whichever one takes off tical twins of the ferrets who died. Amazing.
digital storage, and far
first will determine much of the
more stable. I like DNA “When we disturb nature at its own scale—as with our
future. Most of biotech played
storage because it’s an ‘extinction engine’ and greenhouse gases of recent times—
out in medicine, where all the
even more direct blend- we risk triggering apocalyptic forces. Like it or not, we
urgency and money are. That
ing of the two forms of now have to comprehend and engage the still Longer
helped it surge ahead—human
code: digital code and Now of nature.” —From Brand’s book The Clock of the
genome, Crispr, gene therapy,
bio code.” —Brand Long Now: Time and Responsibility, 1999
the like. (Nanotech developed
new materials but not yet nano- Ben Novak, an obsessive young scientist
machines, but there’s lots more promise to come in nano.) As a who joined Revive and Restore when we
biologist, I’m glad biotech took the lead. started a little more than five years ago—he’s
There was a sense that biotech might be more organic and one of the young people I’m watching right
messy (and nano more mechanical and programmable). So is now. He grew up in North Dakota and won
the future organic and messy? Yeah, I would say it is. How genet- the local science fair. His nice little science
ics and development actually work, it’s a mess. It consists entirely fair project was bringing back the dodo. And
of hacks and patches all the way down. It’s not modular. It’s not by the way, he probably is going to bring back
agile. It’s not anything that an engineer would recognize; it’s just the dodo, which was a very large pigeon. I
crap that runs. So when you go to try to reverse-engineer it, you think that will happen soon enough.

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ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE:
I don’t worry about AI. It’s a tool. I wear hearing aids, and it’s not
like I’m going to hate them [Laughs]. I can hear you because of
them. I mean, I guess it’s OK if there are people who are worried.
It’s true that the step from single-shot rifles to clips to machine week. Not going to happen. If we were
guns brought a high degree of lethality, but individuals mostly don’t able to somehow shut off excess green-
want to kill each other. It’s not like people are going to go out and house gases right now, the ocean is
burn torches outside AI labs. So far it’s pitchforks-down about AI. such a flywheel it’s going to keep on ris-
But here’s what interests me: There is a guy I’m watching, Judea ing for a long time. So OK.
Pearl—he wrote The Book of Why—and he’s saying that we’ve been The cities with innovation
so enthralled by being able to mine data and use Bayesian algo- “Whenever the ball
and economic engines
rithms and the like to get data to sit up and speak to us. Pearl’s approached a goal,
are on the coasts, where
argument is, yeah, that’s a great start; you can beat somebody at players from the
the water will come. That
chess, you can beat them at Go. But those systems are devoid of winning side would
means we’re all going
explanation, and devoid of understanding cause and effect. He defect to lend a
to become smart Dutch
argues that we let lag the possibility of finding out if there is a kind hand to the losers ...
engineers, solving prob-
of geometry of cause and effect. Pearl’s spent a few decades prov- That first Earth-
lems at a large infrastruc-
ing that, yeah, there probably is. ball game went on
ture scale, because we’ll
That’s where morality comes from: Understanding the effects for an hour without
be forced to.
that might come from things that you do. And the whole runaway score. The players
Sea level rise and the
paper-clip-machine notion—the idea that even an AI optimized for had been competing,
other climate change
the apparently harmless goal of collecting paper clips would even- but not to win. Their
issues, I think, get human-
tually obliterate Earth—is based on machines that cannot under- unspoken agree-
ity into a joint problem-
stand themselves. My understanding of consciousness is that it’s a ment had been to
solving mode that will be
system that has a model of itself—a system that engages our sense play, as long and as
massively beneficial in
of how things can play out, and then adjusts to act accordingly. If hard as possible.”
the long run, at the cen-
we build rigorous capabilities of understanding cause and effect —The New Games
tury scale.
into computers, it would give them the ability to be introspective Book, 1976
Of course, it’s hard to see
and moral, and talk to us in terms we understand. how the swim the Repub-
licans are in now plays out. It is one of
ON BAD NEWS AND GOOD NEWS: the most fascinating times in American
The bad news is cyberwar. It’s looking extremely powerful. It history, because you have three branch-
doesn’t have any rules yet. And it will only get rules through some es of government all in the hands of
pretty wretched excesses and disasters. And it’s going to take the one brain-dead party. What happens?
world pretty much understanding and acting as one—which has [Laughs.] But I think that you can have a
never happened before. But I’m hopeful. Kevin Kelly’s line is that lot of dysfunction at the federal govern-
it’s pretty obvious we’re going to have to have global governance. ment level, and also have a whole lot of
That is what it will take to develop the rules of cyberwarfare. civic health and innovation going on in
And here’s my hopeful version: Climate change is forcing the city and town level.
humanity to act as one to solve a problem that we created. It’s not Cyberwar, climate: We can see the
like the Cold War. Climate change is like a civilizational fever. And problem but we can’t see the solution.
we’ve got to find various ways to So the problem fills our minds. But
understand the fever and cure it “We are as gods, and may as here’s the thing: Solutions don’t have to
in aggregate. well get good at it. This might fill everybody’s mind—they just have to
All this suggests that this cen- include losing the pride that fill enough minds so that we can work
tury will be one where a kind of went before the fall we are in them out. I see this as a fantastic cen-
planetary civilization wakes up the process of taking. Rolling tury to be alive, where the problems are
and discovers itself, that we are with such a fall is our present very well understood. And we always
as gods and we have to get good lesson—learning whatever surprise ourselves with our abilities to
at it. resilience, ingenuity, basic solve problems.
One of the advantages of cli- skills, and enthused detach- I think this is really going to be a glob-
mate change is it forces you to ment that survival requires. al century. And I can’t help thinking
think long term, because there’s And learning perhaps to rever- that’s good news.
nothing you can do this week ence some Gods who are not
to solve climate change by next as us.” —Whole Earth Epilog —As told to Maria Streshinsky

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I s s u e s 0 1.0 1– 0 6.0 6
MARCH 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | JUNE 1998

FISK PROJECTS

93–98 | 98–03 | 03–08 | 08–13 | 13–18 0 2 5


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few years ago thrown by a pioneering


academic and her connected wife. The
assembled group of brilliant young pro-
fessors and researchers promised a stim-
ulating evening.
It was anything but. After the opening

Fight small talk devolved into the political, the


air was full of complaints about inequal-
ity and poverty, racism, sexism, fascist
Republicans, and how, in general, every-
thing is going to hell. I stifled myself as long

the Dour
as I could, but finally I piped up—that’s not
what’s really going on. Have you actually
looked at the numbers? For the past 25
years, the world has only been getting
better. People are healthier, wealthier,
more educated, and living longer, better
The revolution is just getting started. And there’s more
lives than humans ever have.
reason than ever to embrace militant optimism.
Silence. All eyes on me. Who threw the
by Louis Rossetto skunk in the room?
Then the shitstorm began. Of course,
you’re wrong, things are not better, just

W
hen we launched WIRED , we were accused of being Pangloss- look around—and it’s all just going to get
ian optimists. I embraced that as a badge of honor. The Digi- worse yadda yadda. Shut me right up.
tal Revolution was reinventing everything, and that was good. Later I reflected on how I should have
Twenty-five years on, that optimism is no longer justified—it’s responded.
necessary. Indeed: militant optimism. First, politics—which has now come to
WIRED’s premise was that the most powerful people on the planet weren’t infect all aspects of our lives—isn’t a ratio-
the politicians or generals, priests or pundits, but the people creating and nal response to reality. It’s partially about
using new technology. The state and politics were obsolete. We no longer currying social favor with desired cohorts;
needed to subcontract our responsibility for society to distant capitals. By but, worse, it’s emotional pathology.
using the new tools now radically empowering individuals, we could, our- In The Mass Psychology of Fascism, Wil-
selves, work directly on making a better world. helm Reich wrote that politics can be the
Of course, the entrenched institutions being displaced weren’t giving up. outward manifestation of personal emo-
Like the mainstream media. We used to joke that The New York Times would tional problems. Instead of working on
run a weekly variant of the headline “INTERNET : THREAT OR MENACE ” (this our own issues, some instead work them
despite having the best reporter in the Valley, John Markoff). out on society at large. (Sound familiar?)
In the face of knee-jerk opposition, we developed a knee-jerk rejoin- We’re living through a moment when this
der: Change Is Good. Of course, we knew that all change wasn’t going to phenomenon is vivid. The unease among
be good. But it was likely better than the alternative; so much was obsolete elites of the first world, the palpable emo-
and needed to be swept away. Our position was, as the song went, that the tional distress of our friends, the media’s
future was so bright we had to wear shades. daily two minutes of hate, the social media
And then the dotcom bubble burst. flash mobs, the tribalism, the way every
And then came 9/11. Our model of a decentralized organization using PCs aspect of our lives has become political.
and networks to change the world had spawned a nightmare: the young Good thing breakthroughs in the human
men of al Qaeda launching asymmetrical war to bring down the last super- condition happen outside of politics. His-
power. Our societal response was equivalent to the zoo monkey tory is the record of political failure. Prog-
who, finding the cage door open, peers around, then closes it ress is the march of science and technology.
and retreats to the safety of his cage. In the human ape’s case, Just think of the past 100 years: mass
retreat to the safety of the state and politics. The subcontrac- communication, penicillin, refrigerators,
tors were back in charge. Louis Rossetto computing, commercial air travel, cheap
And the optimism that had been the foundation of the Digital (@rossetto) was the birth control, PCs, the internet, smart-
Revolution went dormant. Replaced by a pessimism so perva- founder, with Jane phones, gene sequencing, fracking—alto-
Metcalfe, of WIRED,
sive as to have become conventional wisdom. and served as editor gether producing more human freedom
I went to a dinner party in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a in chief until 1998. and wealth than wars or laws.
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And yet today we’re prisoners of unre- using new technologies are fomenting no SpaceX and Blue Origin launch.
lenting pessimism. We won the revolution, fewer than five revolutions: 5. Augmented intelligence. Not “arti-
but it never really ended, and we’re still 1. The neo-biological revolution is ficial,” but how Doug Engelbart envi-
living with its unfolding consequences. already curing, improving, and extend- sioned our relationship with computers:
Twenty-five years of disruption have been ing life. AI doesn’t replace humans. It offers idiot-
difficult to digest. Especially when the 2. The energy revolution—nuclear, frack- savant assistants that enable us to become
media practitioners who shape our per- ing, solar—is making the good life possible the best humans we can be.
ceptions live in existential dread of losing for more people around the planet. If we want to make a better world for
their jobs in the digital typhoon inundat- 3. The blockchain allows friction-free our children, we need to believe that the
ing their obsolete world. transactions between not just financial future will be better. As Noam Chomsky
How do we shed the pessimism that institutions but all people and devices said: “Unless you believe that the future
surrounds us? needing to communicate with one another. can be better, you are unlikely to step up
Start by recognizing we have so much Imagine capping the social media monop- and take responsibility for making it so.”
cause for optimism. Even more so than olies by reclaiming our data. Optimism today isn’t only justified—
when Jane and I started WIRED to cover 4. Space. The sci-fi future of working it’s a strategy for living. Change Is Good.
the Digital Revolution. Today individuals and living in space is happening with each Militant optimism. 

KRISTEN LIU-WONG

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WIRED@25

Bill Gates

In June, Quake and his team


published a groundbreaking
Favorite house-
study (which our foundation hold chore:
helped fund) that showed “I do the dishes
every night.
you can predict a woman’s Other people
due date within a two-week volunteer,
but I like the
window from a blood test. It way I do it.”
works by looking at how RNA
in her blood changes over the course

Blood Will Tell of a pregnancy. We’re years away


from doctors using this test during a
checkup, but it could have a big impact
worldwide. If a woman knows she

Us Everything might deliver early, she can work with


her doctor to minimize risks.
The prematurity test is just the latest
remarkable innovation from Quake.
Cheap, easy tests will replace expensive medical I first met him in 2007 when he was
screenings and make health care more accessible working on a blood test to detect
for people everywhere. genetic disorders like Down syndrome
b y B i l l Gates in a fetus. In the past year alone,
more than 3 million women have
taken it. Many of them were then able
Most appealing to avoid amniocentesis, the invasive
new religion:

F
ew things trouble me as much as the fact Dataism and sometimes risky procedure previ-
that many cutting-edge medical advances ously required.
aren’t available to everyone who needs them. Many Quake and others are also pioneer-
lifesaving procedures require specialized equipment and ing research into blood tests for infec-
trained technicians. If you don’t have a lot of money or live tious diseases and even some cancers.
near a major hospital, you’re out of luck. Just like Quake’s prematurity screen-
Stephen Quake wants to change that. By sampling the ing, these tests are potentially less
small amount of genetic material that circulates in the blood- costly and require minimal training.
stream, he’s replacing invasive, often painful procedures with Any health provider, anywhere in the
cheaper, easier blood tests. He’s built a career out of turn- world, could draw a blood sample and
ing highly specialized procedures into mail it to a lab for analysis.
Age when I
WIRED ICON something simple that can be done irst saw a
I believe that noninvasive blood
BILL GATES anywhere, including the most remote computer: 13 tests are the future of health
Cofounder of Microsoft care. More accurate, less expen-
N O M I N AT E S Consider, for example, that doc- sive, and earlier diagnosis of issues
tors do not have a good way to pre- will revolutionize how we treat peo-
STEPHEN QUAKE
Professor of bioengineering ple and prevent disease while reducing
and applied physics at Stanford costs. This is the direction medicine is
University and copresident of as more than 600,000 infant deaths headed, and Stephen Quake is leading
the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub
a year are caused by premature birth. the way. 

J A R G O N WAT C H “New ideas require new


words, so Jargon Watch
Viruses are nature’s Trojan horses—they replicate by smuggling their genes into a host’s cells, turning is a lens on possible
Silicage futures—with a dollop
them into mini virus factories. So in the late ’80s, researchers got the clever idea of sucking out the viral of found poetry.”
innards and inserting good genes to fight diseases. Then, in a 1999 clinical trial, a teenager died from a —Jonathon Keats,
( 'sil-i- kāj ) horrific immune response to one of those so-called viral vectors. Today, immune risk still limits approval JARGON WRITER SINCE 2005
'
n. A nanostructure of gene therapies. ¶ Enter the silicage. Using AI to interpret images from cryo-electron microscopy, scien-
made of silica that may tists at Cornell recently discovered this cagelike orb, which forms naturally in solutions of soap and silica. Turns out, the shape
provide a safer carrier is similar to some viruses, and researchers think silicages could also be used to deliver genes. Coat them with the kind of bind-
for gene therapy. ing peptides that viruses use and target cells would slurp up the payload. ¶ Other synthetic vectors (e.g., carbon buckyballs)
are emerging, but there are plenty of possible uses, like transporting drugs through the body. Diferent jobs will
likely require diferent carriers. Expect silicages to be an essential part of the future fleet. —Jonathon Keats

DEBUT: JUN 1995 | STATUS: ONGOING EARLY WORDS THAT STUCK: DATA MINING, FAQ, ALPHA GEEK, SOCK PUPPET SOME THAT DIDN’T: CLICKOLA,
APPEARANCES IN PRINT: 291 HANDY, TASKBAR LINT, THUMB CULTURE RECENT HIGHLIGHTS: DARK SUNSHINE, TEXTALYZER, SPACE GRAFFITI

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WHO’S NEXT

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WIRED@25

Blockchain
for Bankers
—or Tyrants
D
espite all the grifting, thieving, speculation,
and wild price swings you’ve heard about,
bitcoin and other decentralized digital cur-
rencies are clearly here to stay. Boosters think
cryptocurrencies and the distributed ledgers called
blockchains they depend on will reinvent the finan-
cial system. Neha Narula, who studies them full time,
and Joi Ito, who has been following digital money
since the dawn of the web, talk about what that First IP
address:
reinvention might look like. — Klint Finley 199.100.7.5

Neha Narula
WIRED: What are some of the implications of cryptocurrencies for WIRED ICON
average people? JOI ITO
NARULA: First of all, the way we fund productivity is going to change. Director, MIT Media Lab W I R E D : Is the technology
ITO: Small and medium-size businesses are the largest part of our N O M I N AT E S ready for that?
economy, and they’re supported by really, really stupid debt, NARULA: Well, the internet
NEHA NARULA
because for most banks the costs of investing in Director of the was created by researchers
First time small businesses outweigh the potential returns. Media Lab’s Digital in universities and labs. They
I wore At the same time, there’s a lot of incentive for cus- Currency Initiative weren’t thinking about money,
chain mail:
“Feeding tomers to own equity in a service that they use. So and they didn’t have a financial stake—
Caribbean
reef sharks
you could move investment away from debt and they were neutral. It was like this for
on a wreck.” toward equity by making the risk and opportunity decades while the protocols were devel-
in a small business more transparent and tradable. oped and finalized. But now there’s so
It would make equity financing an option, which it currently is much attention on cryptocurrencies. Most
not for most small businesses. of the developers hold large amounts of
WIRED: Ah. So instead of taking out loans, businesses could offer some token or coin, so they have a finan-
shares in their companies on the blockchain. Are all of the cial interest in seeing that specific tech
blockchain-future scenarios so rosy? succeed. We haven’t even figured out how
NARULA: This could go in three directions. Cryptocurrencies First time I to scale this technology yet, but VCs are
sold anything for
and blockchain technology are promising a lot: democ- cryptocurrency: investing like it’s ready to produce the
ratization of the financial system, changing payments, “When we sold music next Google or Facebook, even though
for Ecash on our
all sorts of stuff. That’s the utopian direction—what the server in 1997.” it is definitely not. We still need time to
internet did for data and information, maybe crypto- build and standardize.
currency technology can do for money. The other direction is I T O : Unless the cryptocurrency market
more dystopian, where digital money is used for surveillance completely collapses. After the dotcom
and control, and people don’t have physical cash. And then crash in 2001, everyone forgot about the
there’s a middle-of-the-road view: Instead of totally chang- internet. So it got a second chance. That’s
ing the structure of our financial system, this technology works when blogs came out, when Google really
as more of a catalyst. For example, because of digital piracy started to grow.
we have things like Apple Music, Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go. NARULA: It took a while before the internet
The entertainment industry saw what was happening and was ready for prime time. Blockchain is
realized that it needed to get in the game. So banks might use also not ready for prime time and needs
blockchain technology to settle transactions a little faster, or a lot more work. And that work needs to
maybe central banks will issue digital currency. But every- happen without pressure from the estab-
thing would still be mediated through banks. We’d see incre- lished financial industry to conform to its
mental, perhaps positive, change but nothing groundbreaking. own narrow goals. 

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THIS IS WHAT THE FUTURE


OF TEQUILA LOOKS LIKE.
Congratulations on 25 years of celebrating
simply perfect innovations, Wired magazine.

The perfect way to enjoy Patrón is responsibly. Handcrafted and imported exclusively from Mexico by The Patrón Spirits Company, Las Vegas, NV. 40% abv.
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Time for
the Future
Why build a clock to outlast civilization?

I
nventor and computer scientist
Danny Hillis spent the 1980s and
early ’90s designing machines wor-
thy of the new millennium. But by 1995
he realized that he had never given much
thought to what lay on the other side of the
year 2000. “Those three zeros,” he wrote in
an essay for W IR ED , “form a convenient bar-
rier, a reassuring boundary by which we can
hold onto the present and isolate ourselves
from whatever comes next.” To see beyond
that barrier, he felt, humanity needed the
slowest machine possible: a mechanical
clock that would tick faithfully for 10,000
years. This past winter, inside a mountain
on Jeff Bezos’ sprawling West Texas ranch,
Hillis and his colleagues began assem-
bling the device. It is housed in a cylindrical
500-foot shaft cut into solid limestone. Visi-
tors will enter through a jade-paneled door
and climb a staircase that spirals around
the clock’s gargantuan innards—5-ton
counterweights, 8-foot stainless steel gears,
a 6-foot titanium pendulum. If they choose
to engage the clock’s winding mechanism,
they’ll be rewarded with one of 3.65 mil-
lion unique chimes composed by musician
Brian Eno. But the effort is optional; at the
top of the stairs is a cupola made
of sapphire glass, which will keep WIRED ICON
the clock fed with thermal energy
JEFF BEZOS
and sync it up with solar noon. Founder and CEO of Amazon,
A small prototype of
Left unattended, it will mark the orbital enthusiast the clock sits in the
millennia on its own. Bezos, who London Science Museum.
GOES LONG Completed in 1999, it
helped pay for the project, told chimed twice to mark
THE 10,000-YEAR CLOCK
I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y P E T R A K O S T O V A

W IR ED in 2011 that “whole civili- the year 2000.

zations will rise and fall” over the


life of the clock. That leaves plenty of time It was actually
to think about what’s beyond the four-zero our idea to put
the clock in this
barrier. —Anthony Lydgate issue. —Editors

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BEHOLD THE FUTURE.


THE MULTI-FUNCTIONAL
VEIL® INTELLIGENT TOILET.
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Jaron Lanier with his


contrabass flute.

3 Radical
Paths to
Equality
“Our proposals can seem challenging
because they make implicitly unfair
systems more explicit,” says Glen Weyl.
“But the book is fundamentally about
breaking up concentrations of power
and giving equal resources and influ-
ence to everyone.” Here’s how the
economist proposes to fix the future.
—As told to Nitasha Tiku

THE PROBLEM: Companies Don’t


Pay for Our Labor
As tech giants move from advertising to
AI, they need high-quality data to power
facial recognition and digital assistants.
They encourage users to supply that data
by prompting us to tag photos or share
emotions, while disguising that work as
social media entertainment.

THE PROPOSAL: Radical Labor

O
ne of the best things in life is seeing a Companies should pay users instead of
younger generation emerge. It’s obscuring the labor they need. Jaron and
like a little taste of the future. “I was a multi- I believe people could have some bar-
When WIRED asked me to choose color-haired gaining power with the platforms through
socialist at 10 and
a next-generation trailblazer, I realized founded a national “mediators of individual data,” or MIDs,
teenage Republican
that I was lucky enough to have a very, organization at 15.”
union-like organizations that would nego-
very hard decision. There are so many tiate payment on behalf of users for small
people who make me optimistic for our future. tasks that furnish high-quality data. For
But getting the economics of the information age example, if you’re tagging someone in a
right will be the foundation for getting any of it photo, Facebook could show a pop-up
right. My Microsoft colleague Glen Weyl, question asking how you know the person.
coauthor of Radical Markets, is tackling the WIRED ICON
core issues: What does human dignity mean THE PROBLEM: The Limits
JARON LANIER
in a highly automated future? How can we Godfather of modern of One Vote
regain agency over the data we produce? If virtual reality In most elections, people vote for
these don’t sound like economic questions, N O M I N AT E S the lesser of two evils. The “one per-
then get ready to encounter the future of eco- GLEN WEYL son, one vote” rule also fails to reflect
nomics. We can’t just complain about how tech Principal researcher at people’s priorities on issues—like gay
is transforming our world; we need to invent Microsoft; coauthor of marriage or protections for religious
Radical Markets with
the transformation. —Jaron Lanier Eric Posner groups—that disproportionately affect
minorities.

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Anna 9:46 AM
Not quite, but you can see all
our holidays here:
uploaded this ⇒le:
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Glen Weyl “ Louis and I knew WIRED needed to call


attention to itself or it would disappear
without a trace. For pure snarky attitude

THE PROPOSAL :
Radical Voting
Quadratic voting solves
those problems by giving
everyone an equal num-
ber of credits in a given
election, which can be
converted into votes of
the individual’s choosing.
Voters with a strong pref-
erence can vote multiple
times on a single issue or
candidate by abstaining
from other votes, but the
cost of doing that goes up
Guilty tech
addiction:
quadratically: One credit grants one vote, four credits
”Playing Axis grants two votes, but 400 credits only grants 20 votes.
and Allies with
my teenage There are private-sector applications too, like rating
cousin online.“ Uber drivers. Right now, there’s little reason to trust
in reputation systems that try to measure how con-
sumers feel, like Airbnb, Amazon, and Yelp. We only hear how
loudly someone shouts; quadratic voting allows us to adjust
the volume, creating more reliable signals.

THE PROBLEM: The Beneits of Immigration Are


Unevenly Distributed
Some workers in the US oppose immigration because they don’t
experience the immediate benefits that, say, private employers
like Google see from H-1B visas for high-skilled workers, or that
upper-middle-class families enjoy with J-1 visas to hire au pairs.
The benefits of migration aren’t tangible to ordinary people. The
left is perfectly happy to say that benefits from technology have
not been evenly shared, but the same thing is true of migration.

THE PROPOSAL: Radical Immigration


The process could be democratized by letting any individual
sponsor a migrant, who would then pay about $6,000 a year
to the host, rather than send the money as a remittance to their
family back home. (The amount is negotiable. For instance, the
migrant could work for the host or give the host a share of out-
side income.) To make the economic incentives work, migrants’
take-home pay may end up below minimum wage, but the
sponsor would be held legally responsible if they’re abused, as
can happen with J-1 visas.
When we first shared our idea, people said it sounded like
indentured servitude because the migrant is so tied to one
family. But a system like this already exists in Canada, just in a
narrower way, with private sponsorship for childcare and elder-
care providers, as well as refugees—and immigration there is “Eventually, though,
widely accepted. Go talk to a Canadian about how provocative the joke was on us—
my proposal is. They say, ”‘No, no, no. That works perfectly.”  Tired: Founders,
Wired: Condé Nast.”

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P I N K P O N Y

o eu
in Pink

J O I N U S I N T H E F I G H T AG A I N S T C A N C E R
1 0 0 % o f t h e p u r c h a s e p r i c e f r o m t h e “ L i v e L o v e ” l i g h t p i n k t- s h i r t s w i l l b e d o n a t e d t o t h e P i n k P o n y F u n d
of The Polo Ralph L auren Foundation or to an international net work of c ancer charities .

G l o b a l l y, 2 5 % o f t h e p u r c h a s e p r i c e f r o m t h e s a l e o f e a c h i t e m i n t h e P i n k P o n y c o l l e c t i o n i s d i r e c t e d t o a n i n t e r n a t i o n a l n e t w o r k
of c ancer charities; within the U nited States , proceeds benefit the Pink Pony Fund of The Polo Ralph L auren Foundation .

R A LP H L AU R E N .CO M / P I N K P O N Y
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WIRED@25

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WHO’S NEXT

Ring
Cycle
I
n the spring of 1993, employees of
Apple Computer began moving into a
new campus in Cupertino, California.
It had six buildings set around an oval street,
which was named, in a wry bit of geek humor,
Infinite Loop. It was there, from a fourth-floor
office in 1 Infinite Loop, that Steve Jobs would
conjure into being the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad,
and generations of Macs. Last year, under CEO Tim
Cook, the company moved to a new campus cost-
ing a reported $5 billion and anchored by a loop
of its own: a vast, glass-walled building in Apple’s
famously spare aesthetic that looks like an alien
mothership. The campus is called Apple Park, but
everyone knows it as the Ring. —Steven Levy

inspiration that gets you to do your absolute


ship. But the most important thing is what it
people go to the grave site to think about and
reflect on someone; I go to the office. Not fre-
“I would not have moved into Steve’s office. I

“You see the plans and it looks like it’s a space-

really means for Apple and how it changes the


way people work, and how it is a part of the daily
locked it up. It didn’t feel right to change that
office at all. You can still feel him in there. Some

best. This is the home for Apple for a century.”


quently. It may sound bizarre, but it’s true.”

—TIM COOK, APPLE CEO

WIRED ICON

INFINITE LOOP
Apple’s former headquarters

NOMINEE

THE RING
The Ring (right) is barely a Apple employees’ new
mile from Apple’s old home. home base

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It can take up to 1,000 years for Mother Nature to make one inch of topsoil.
Researchers are evolving digital tools that can help farmers measure,
track and protect this vital resource 24/7. Learn how big ideas help us have
a smaller impact at ModernAg.org
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I s s u e s 0 6.0 7 – 1 1.0 6
JULY 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | JUNE 2003

FISK PROJECTS

93–98 | 98–03 | 03–08 | 08–13 | 13–18 0 4 1


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The Great
Upwelling
As the world became connected, regular people acquired
superpowers. Call it the rise of the bottom.

by Kevin Kelly

S
omewhere around 1997 I was filling my car with gas, and I spot- manufacturing. Small-time “factories”—
ted a web address on a small orange sticker on the pump. It was some just one room with a machine—sold
an ad of some kind; I don’t remember what for, but I do remem- direct to citizens around the world. In
ber having a realization: The mass adoption of the internet was 2000, Craigslist—once just Craig New-
real. Against all odds, a disturbance in the force had unleashed mark’s emailed list of events around San
an entirely new culture outside the established channels, and now commerce Francisco—expanded its free classifieds,
was flocking to where the action was. But the main event had hardly started. and within a few years it was in 32 cit-
The main event—the great cascade that was unthinkable before it became ies in North America. By 2001, eBay was
obvious—was what you might call the rise of the bottom. In the late ’90s and reportedly hosting 200 million auctions
early 2000s, masses of people who had previously been ignored as inert, a year. Then it bought PayPal, a secure,
dumb, or passive were awakened by a new level of power. Members of the person-to-person virtual payment sys-
once dormant TV audience now created and shared their own shows online. tem. Within eBay, just about anyone could
The lowly readers of magazines and newspapers wrote their own news in sell anything, globally. Manufacturers
the form of blogs, by the millions, on nearly every subject, all free. In 1999, could sell directly to customers, bypass-
Napster launched the first music-sharing site. Now music fans—not execu- ing traditional retailers.
tives or critics or agents, but ordinary fans—could broadcast their favorite The rise of the small also created
tunes to each other, sharing what they loved, song by song, ditching pack- entirely new kinds of giants. Google,
aged albums. Oh, and the music was free. born in 1998, was not the first search
This bottom-up, peer-to-peer, noncommercial distribution system exploded engine, but it was the first major search
in popularity and shocked the established players. The ancient business engine to rank results based on the num-
model of paying for a copy was dying. And if music was the first fatality in ber and quality of links to pages. Each
this revolution, other media businesses felt they would be murdered next. time someone linked to another site,
The powers that be promptly and fiercely shut Napster down. That, of course, they were making Google better, fuel-
did not stop the rising tide. ing its rise to dominance. Although we
In 2001, Wikipedia erupted. It was the dumbest idea in history—that have forgotten it, the first large-scale
unknown amateurs anywhere in the world could write a reliable and useful social network to exploit people’s con-
encyclopedia with little supervision. Everyone knew that only nections to each other was Friendster,
world-class experts overseen by ruthless editors could do that. launched in 2002. LinkedIn, in 2003,
But Wikipedia steadily swelled in size and depth and quality. found a way to create a business out of
Retail commerce, too, was rapidly being overrun by the networking regular workers together.
same bottom-uprising. In 1997 a San Jose-based site called Kevin Kelly YouTube would launch a couple years
(@kevin2kelly) is
AuctionWeb sold its millionth item and renamed itself eBay. WIRED’s founding later and demonstrate, once and for all,
In 1999, Alibaba launched in China, close to the epicenter of executive editor. that the most powerful force that has
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been released by tiny chips is not speedy 1998 and 2003 delivered many other new technologies will permit us to
compute cycles but the creations of ordi- bright, shiny gifts. During these years expand the scope of our collaboration,
nary people. we got camera phones, early podcasts, increase the dimensions in which we
There were setbacks of course—for a the full human genome sequence, tab- can coordinate, and refine our ability
time, the tech boom stalled under its own let computers, reliable in-car GPS, MP3 to cooperate across space and cultures.
acceleration, and 9/11 threw the nation players, and home Wi-Fi. Yet none of One day in, say, 2043 we’ll wake up to
into crisis—but, curiously, the dotcom these superpowers, cool as they may be, discover that a million people around
bust didn’t affect the steady growth of can match the superpower of humans the globe, all working remotely in real
the digital masses. The astounding num- connected to one another in real time. For time, will have created something stu-
ber of new people jumping online kept the first time on our planet, hundreds of pendous in a mere six months. We’ll be
increasing. Moore’s law continued. Com- millions of minds were linked together in amazed that such a vast project could
puters got more powerful, bandwidth thousands of novel ways, each arrange- have been accomplished by so many
kept expanding. When it came to the ment yielding potential benefit. amateurs with so little oversight in so
internet, there was a long boom. And even today, the main event has little time. And then it will be obvious
The grand migration to bits between barely started. In the coming decades, that this is only the beginning. 

HARRY BUTT

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WIRED@25

Give People I realized all this daily life data is sit-

Some Credit
ting right on our phones. When I pay my
electricity bill, I get a text message con-
firming it. When I buy a bus ticket or my
paycheck gets deposited, I get a notifica-
Shivani Siroya’s app uses phone data to decide tion. These messages amount to a record
who gets a loan, giving untapped populations of my daily life.
access to life-changing capital. We built that observation into an
Android app. With users’ permission,
the app looks at their phone
usage patterns, their behavior

M
Weird alarm
elinda Gates knows that successful tech clock habit:
within our app, and other data.
companies have a way of minting money. “I always We scan texts for receipts and
set it for a
A computer scientist, she joined Micro- time ending transactions, for example, and
soft, the company that her future husband in an odd try to understand communica-
number.”
cofounded, in 1987. She has spent the past two tion patterns and habits. This
decades directing the riches her family accrued information allows us to estab-
toward helping others through the Bill & Melinda lish trust and provide unsecured credit
Gates Foundation. More recently, she started her to customers we have never met.
own firm, Pivotal Ventures, which helps women We’re now in five countries on three
succeed in tech. In January, Gates traveled to Kenya, continents, and our repayment rate is
where she met Shivani Siroya, the founder of a 92 percent. We’ve delivered more than
startup that calculates its version of a credit score 9 million loans of $100 each, on average,
and grants small loans. Gates and Siroya share a that are paid back in roughly a month.
belief that technology, paired with resources and Our system is not all that different from
creativity, can help generate wealth everywhere. a digital credit card or a working line of
capital, but for an untapped population.
To ensure that we’re building an eth-
ical system, we’re conducting a univer-
sity study on fair lending and algorithmic
SHIVANI SIROYA: I was working in India when
bias. We don’t want to include things in our
I started lending people money in my spare
models that could bias us against custom-
time. Maybe $300 at a time, $500 max. I
ers unfairly. We don’t add gender. We don’t
wanted to help out entrepreneurial peo-
add location. We don’t add the num-
ple—a tilemaker, for example—who I
Biggest ber of languages someone speaks.
thought would benefit from a little extra career doozy:
“Remember
Data can hold enormous power.
Dream job cash to invest in their businesses.
Microsot For our customers, it’s unlocking
(ater current These individuals didn’t have credit Bob …?”
one): CIA agent access to global markets. But it’s
scores. So I looked at other things. I lent
our responsibility to use it wisely.
to one woman, for instance, who I knew
—As told to Jessi Hempel
saved 30 percent of her income every
month for her son’s computer class. I’d
observed that she bought her
Favorite
inventory every third Thursday outdoor place:
of the month, and that people in “In a kayak on
Seattle’s Lake
her community spent more time Washington.”
in her store than any other place
N O M I N AT E S on her block. A friend of mine
SHIVANI SIROYA noted that I was underwriting
Founder and CEO of Tala, her by analyzing her daily life.
which grants small loans to The phrase stuck with me.
people underserved by banks
Shivani Siroya

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WHO’S NEXT

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WIRED@25

Remaking
Reality
VR, defense tech, DIY biohacking.
Palmer Luckey is just getting started.
b y N i c h o las Thompson

P
eter Thiel sometimes seems bored by main-
stream tech. “You have as much computing
power in your iPhone as was available at the
time of the Apollo missions,” he said during
a debate in 2013. “But what is it being used for? It’s
being used to throw angry birds at pigs.” ¶ It was per-
haps this sense of unfulfilled potential that drew him
to Palmer Luckey, the never boring inven-
tor who made the first prototypes of the First part of
Oculus Rift as a home-schooled 17-year- me that will go
cyborg: “My big
old. Luckey has since created Anduril, a toe. I injured
it recently in
military tech company also funded by one a bike accident
of Thiel’s VC firms. He talked with wired and briefly con-
sidered augment-
about his visions of the future. ing it with a
pressure pad.”

WHEN DID YOU MEET PETER THIEL?


I was 19 years old, maybe 20. Founders Fund was one of the first
investors in Oculus. VR was kind of a dead technology then, so it
was reasonable for them to ask, “Why are you guys different?”
IF CHINA CAME TO YOU AND SAID, “WE’D LIKE
WHAT WAS YOUR ANSWER?
TO LICENSE EVERYTHING YOU’VE BUILT
Times had changed. We had better computers, better displays,
AT ANDURIL,” WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?
better sensors. In the old days of VR hype, many of the people
I’m 100 percent focused on the US and our allies.
who were most excited about VR hadn’t actually tried it.
WHAT’S THE CRAZIEST THING YOU’VE EVER
WHAT WILL IT TAKE FOR VR TO REACH MASS ADOPTION?
TRIED TO BUILD?
A lot of people insist on price, but if the VR available today were
A bypass for my peripheral nervous system.
as good as The Matrix, price wouldn’t be the issue. It’s going to
Rather than waiting a few hundred millisec-
be a combination of better software and better hardware. Right
onds for a signal to travel from my brain to my
now free isn’t cheap enough for most people.
extremities, I tried to capture it closer to the
DO YOU REGRET SELLING OCULUS TO FACEBOOK? source and relay it electronically.
It was the best thing that’s ever happened to the VR industry. It
WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO DO WITH THAT?
drove billions of dollars in investment into other startups.
Click a mouse faster.
BUT DO YOU WISH PALMER LUCKEY STILL RAN IT?
WHAT’S SOMETHING THAT YOU THINK HAS A
I want what’s best for virtual reality.
FIFTY-FIFTY CHANCE OF BEING BUILT IN
AFTER OCULUS, YOU STARTED ANDURIL. WHY GET INTO THE NEXT 25 YEARS?
DEFENSE TECH? Autonomous air taxis that can take off and land
The US is really good at spending money on aircraft carriers vertically. It’s really interesting technology.
and manned fighter planes, but those probably aren’t going Of course, if VR does
to win the next major conflict. I was concerned that we were WIRED ICON everything I believe
falling behind in technology. it’ll do, then it’ll largely
PETER THIEL
YOU’RE A LIBERTARIAN. DO YOU HAVE ANY UNEASE ABOUT Cofounder of PayPal and Palantir, replace the need for
WORKING WITH A HUGE GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRACY? prominent libertarian many face-to-face
I’m generally a fan of smaller government and of intervention N O M I N AT E S interactions. And if that
only when it’s strictly needed. At the same time, I think the US PALMER LUCKEY happens, well, what’s
is still generally a force for good in the world. Founder of Oculus and Anduril an air taxi for? 

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Because
moving water
is more powerful
when you move
it to where
it’s needed.
VECTUS IS A BEST-RUN BUSINESS.
In India, millions live without clean water.
With SAP S/4HANA®, Vectus was able
to streamline operations and increase
efficiency. So they could eliminate water
waste and offer more reliable service to
those in India who desperately need it.
THE BEST-RUN BUSINESSES
MAKE THE WORLD RUN BETTER.
For more, go to sap.com/cleanwater
Source: Water.org. © 2018 SAP SE or an SAP affiliate company. All rights reserved.
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Sean Parker

SEAN PARKER: I first learned about the thera-


peutic potential of Crispr a few years ago,
and back then it really only allowed us to
remove a gene or prevent it from func-
tioning. The ability to completely repro-
gram a cell’s functions seemed like an
ambitious, distant possibility.
ALEX MARSON: Yeah, for the past few years
we could only use Crispr to make cuts
inside of cells and snip away portions
of DNA. But now we have a paste func-
tion. We showed in a Nature paper in July
that if we mix our Crispr components in
just the right recipe, we can zap the T
cells with a bit of electricity to send in
the genome-editing machinery. Then
we can make edits that are about 750
nucleotides long at multiple sites, which
starts to give us enough flexibility and real
estate to give cells dramatic new func-
tions. We’re now able to paste in a new
T cell receptor, which is designed to rec-
ognize an antigen found on some cancer
cells, giving us T cells that attack only the
cells that carry that signal.
PARKER: This was total science fiction up until
very recently! But because of your break-
through, we can now get into the source
code and fundamentally alter the capa-
bilities of not just T cells but any cell type.
When I first started reading WIRED in the
1990s, one of the big ideas was that nano-

DNA Is the
technology was going to cure all diseases
with little silicon-based robots circulating
in our bloodstream. Twenty years later

Next C++
W
hen Sean Parker was young, he cofounded Napster and
changed the way we listen to music. In his twenties,
he helped jump-start Facebook and changed the way
we interact with each other. Now, at age 38, he’s set on WIRED ICON

changing something else: the way we treat disease. The Parker SEAN PARKER
Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, which he founded in 2016, Napster cofounder
has dedicated $250 million toward using new technologies like N O M I N AT E S
Crispr to teach the human body to vanquish cancer. Alex Mar- ALEX MARSON
son is a scientist building the tools to do just that. His research Biologist and infectious
at UC San Francisco and the Parker Institute rejiggers the DNA disease doctor at
UC San Francisco
of T cells—your immune system’s sentinels—to better recognize
and attack malignant mutineers. Parker and Marson sat down to
talk about Crispr, genome editing, and the most exciting coding
language today: DNA. —Megan Molteni

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WHO’S NEXT

Just Outta Beta

DEBUT: AUG 1995 | RETIREMENT: DEC 2001


APPEARANCES IN PRINT: 75

by Michael Calore

its vertical takeof and


landing capabilities,
you can skip the run-
way and touch down
in the oice parking
lot. The 13-foot, 5-inch
electric “personal
aerial vehicle” gets
25 miles per charge
and tops out at the
Astronomer federally mandated
(Release: 2018) limit of 62 mph. Each
one costs as much as
Alex Pietrow made a an SUV, but just think
splash in 2017 when what you’ll save on
he published endear- bridge tolls.
ingly lo-res photos of
the moon and Jupi-
ter shot with a 2-bit
Game Boy camera.
The Dutch PhD stu-
dent quadruples his
bit count with his latest
retro project, an astro-
photography video-
game he developed
for the Atari 2600. You
can buy the cartridge
for $18 and plug it into
Alex Marson
the late-’70s console, Silent-Yachts
or just play for free Silent 79 Cruiser
online. To earn points, (Release: 2019)
swing the beam of a
telescope through the Circle the globe—sans
night sky to photo- the diesel fumes—in
graph a moving celes- this solar-powered
Path not yacht. Photovoltaic
taken: tial object. But watch
Culinary
it turns out those tiny machines out for those pesky panels on the roof of
school are actually cells taken from our clouds, which can the 79-foot catama-
block your target— ran feed the 200 kWh
own bodies, reprogrammed, and battery. Dual 80 kW
and vaporize your
put back in. high score. electric motors can
MARSON: You’re making me realize that what propel you from Bos-
ton to Bali, as long as
I’m really trying to do in the lab is create you don’t mind drop-
tools that make a more flexible program- ping anchor each
ming system for the field more broadly. night. The luxe cabin
hosts up to 10 fel-
That’s what Crispr has the potential to low sun-worshippers.
offer: to make it easier to write new code $3,946,528 and up.
in the language of genetics.
PARKER: You know, the advice I would give
young people today is not to go into com-
Opener BlackFly “Just Outta Beta inevitably
puter science; a much more exciting place (Release: 2019) served as an unholy
sanctuary for product
to be is the world of biology. It’s going managers outta their minds.
Quadcopters make But once in a while, we
through the same kind of transformation
fine toys, but true fly- identified a next big thing,
right now that occurred in information ing cars need eight like ReplayTV and PayPal.”
technology 20 years ago.  rotors. Opener’s —Bob Parks, FORMER EDITOR
single-seat octocopter OF JUST OUTTA BETA
classifies as an ultra-
light plane, but with

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WHAT IT IS WHAT’S NEXT

Location-based entertainment It’s not all virtual roses: IMAX


encomp a s s es them e p a r ks , recently shut down two sites in its
arcades, entertainment centers like VR pilot program. But the spread
Dave & Buster’s, and even movie continues worldwide, with giant
theaters. In this context, VR can be facilities opening in places such
as simple as a business buying a few as Guizhou, China, and Dubai this
Oculus Rifts and PCs and charging year. According to VR research firm
people to play popular games in Greenlight Insights, the market will
public. However, companies like balloon to more than $8 billion in
the VOID and Dreamscape Immer- North America by 2023. While we’ll
sive have set themselves apart by all be much more used to headsets
breaking through arcade walls and by then, we’ll also want something
creating bespoke, high-end expe- special from time to time—some-
riences where people can roam thing we just can’t get at home.
freely. Users can even share real-
world props that are tracked in VR.

WHY IT WORKS

It’s not that people don’t want


to use VR—it’s that doing it at
home is still the province of
early adopters. We likely won’t
see fully immersive, fully wire-
less stand-alone headsets until
early next year. And even after
that, dedicated facilities will
likely always offer more than
what you can do in your living
room. It’s why people still go
to movie theaters, and it’s why
location-based VR has been the
savior of the industry thus far.

“The dotcom crash had


happened, and there wasn’t a
I L L U S T R AT I O N B Y R O B E R T B E AT T Y

lot of business or tech news


to spin. We reconceived the
front of the magazine as what
I used to call ‘idea service
journalism’—news you can
use. Cheat Sheet was a way
to get people up to speed on
an idea in 500 words or less.”
—Thomas Goetz, FORMER
EXECUTIVE EDITOR
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Favorite WFIRST, set for launch in 2025. Tarter wonders


sci-i ilm:
“Contact with what advanced telescopes are actively looking
Jodie Foster. for—beyond just distant celestial bodies. Sur-
A sequel
is definitely veys of the heavens, Tarter suggests, could be
overdue.”
scanning for signs of sophisticated extrater-
restrial civilizations. She presents a few ideas
about what forms that may take. Aliens could
have shiny orbital mirrors circling their planets.
Or nuclear waste in their stars. Or spacecraft
powered by laser pulses brighter than the sun.
“Does any of this make sense, Maggie?” Tarter
asks. Turnbull nods, head down as she writes.
“I’ve heard tell of some of these things over the
years,” she says. “But when you’re separated
from the SETI community for a while, you lose
track of what’s going on.”
At the very least, Turnbull intends to use
WFIRST to study the chemical signatures of
nearby planets, in the hope of identifying ones
that might harbor life. The telescope’s corona-
graph blocks a foreign star’s bright light to reveal
the dim planets circling it. Images of these exo-
planets would be considerably sharper, Turnbull
notes, if NASA would also send up the starshade.
This piques Tarter’s interest. Prototypes of the
sci-fi-sounding instrument look like a meters-
wide sunflower. Flying some 40,000 kilome-
ters from WFIRST, it would cast a shadow over
the telescope, further obscuring far-off sun-
shine. Then we could see and
photograph smaller Earth-size
Identiies as:
“Earthling. You planets, the kind where aliens
Jill Tarter are one (if are more likely to be. “It would be
you’re not, be
sure to let enough new information to keep
me know). You

The Alien
a whole generation of astrono-
should proudly
declare that mers busy,” Turnbull says. Alas, to
fact on
social media.” date, “the starshade is not officially
part of the mission,” Turnbull tells

Alliance Tarter, who shakes her head.


The women have an idea. Existing telescopes
can spot all sorts of strange cosmic phenom-
ena—maybe even some of the possibilities
ET hunters join forces to probe the heavens. Tarter rattled off earlier. If Turnbull can work to
connect her colleagues to SETI, helping explore

W hen she met Jill Tarter more than two decades ago,
one of Margaret Turnbull’s first questions was, “How
can somebody work with you?” Tarter was leading the
and communicate what their tools are capable
of detecting, perhaps next-gen astronomers
could pick up the existence of ETs. And what
Center for SETI Research at the time; Turnbull was an astronomy would that be like? the two wonder. “What do
student. The next summer, Tarter took Turnbull on as an intern. you think everybody is going to do after the
So began their hunt for aliens and alien tech, and in 2003 champagne is poured?” Turnbull asks.
they published a catalog of potentially habitable star systems. Contact, Turnbull decides: Contact would be
Over the years, though, Turnbull moved away from like Contact—the 1997 movie in which
the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. A NASA- WIRED ICON Jodie Foster plays a version of Jill Tarter.
funded astrobiologist, Turnbull now lives in Wiscon- Some fanatics in vans would freak out
JILL TARTER
sin and studies planets that might support life of any Cofounder of the SETI Institute
about the apocalypse. Others would
sort. Tarter, based in California, doesn’t want her praise alien saviors. There will be as
N O M I N AT E S
starry-eyed former intern to forget about intelligent many reactions as there are humans.
aliens. I arrange a Skype call between the old friends. MARGARET TURNBULL And, perhaps, on some distant planet, as
Astronomer investigating
At the moment, Turnbull says, she’s part of the alien biology many reactions to our existence as there
project team for a NASA space telescope called are alien residents. — Sarah Scoles

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The floater
pipe for Ocean
Cleanup’s Not everyone is so sanguine.

Mop It Up
plastic-eating I always
Experts warned that one of Slat’s carry:
machine.
early designs, involving seabed A roll of
duct tape.
anchors, wouldn’t work (the team
scrapped it) and fretted that bio-
fouling—the gradual accumulation of kelp

A
and slime—would cause the tube to sink
(unlikely, according to the company’s tests,
though they’re looking into the possibility
of adding a coating to keep sea-stuff from
attaching to the screen). Others noted that
18, he gave a TedX talk outlining a tantalizing way to filter plastic Slat’s approach, targeting the top 3 meters
waste out of the oceans’ gyres, vortices where sea-junk tends to of the gyre, would do little to address the
accumulate. A few months later, Slat dropped out of engineering problem of microplastic, the tiny frag-
school, founded the nonprofit Ocean Cleanup, and ments that now suffuse the seas and get
began to design in earnest. Most eaten by fish—and then by us. (He counters
inconvenient
Slat’s goal was to build a system that uses ocean quality: that the gyre’s surface contains the most
currents to push trash into a “passive collector,” which “I get seasick.” plastic by weight, and also that remov-
acts like an enormous lint trap, snaring everything ing larger pieces will prevent them from
from discarded fishing nets to scraps of plastic a few millime- degrading into trillions of additional
ters across. By the time you read this, the current prototype—a pieces of microplastic.)
600-meter-long, U-shaped floating tube suspending a stiff, 3-meter- WIRED ICON Eventually, Slat hopes to
deep screen—should have already deployed to the Great Pacific expand the project to all
MARC BENIOFF
Garbage Patch, a pair of swirling trash fields located between the Founder, chair, and five ocean gyres, with the
US and Japan. If it works, then roughly every seven weeks, the co-CEO of Salesforce option for corporations and
trash will be taken out by boat and recycled. N O M I N AT E S private groups to sponsor
That matters because, well, the oceans are currently a mess. part of the cleanup array.
BOYAN SLAT
Marc Benioff, whose foundation contributed to the $22 million Founder of Ocean Cleanup For now, t hough, he is
that Ocean Cleanup raised last year, calls the problem of plastic focused on the beta test. The
pollution “out of control.” Noting that plastics have been in wide- Pacific Ocean is a notoriously rough
spread use for only about 50 years, he adds, “Where are we going environment, and parts of the Garbage
to be in another 50?” Already, one of Ocean Cleanup’s Patch are more than a thousand nautical
first projects—a 30-boat trawl and airborne survey of First sotware miles offshore. “The goal, first, is to prove
business:
the GPGP—concluded that the patch contains around “At 14 I wrote the technology,” Slat explains. “We’ve
a program
80,000 metric tons of plastic, far more than previously really tried to eliminate every possible
called How
believed. Still, in five years, Slat estimates, an array of to Juggle. I risk, but the only way to be absolutely sure
made $75!”
60 such tubes could remove almost half of it. is to do it.” —Jennifer Kahn

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2 3

ON A RECENT

MASTERING
BALMY
SUMMER
EVENING IN
COGNAC,
FRANCE, JUST
OUTSIDE AN
EARLY 19TH

THE FUTURE by Peter Sims


CENTURY
CHÂTEAU, THE
PAST COLLIDED
WITH THE
FUTURE.
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PREVIOUS PAGE 1 + 2| During the session on artificial intelligence,


the barrel cellar was illuminated with data visualizations describing
the blending and aging process. 3| Every cask is labeled by hand
with the year of the eau de vie inside. THIS PAGE 4| Designer
John Maeda facilitated a rousing conversation about diversity and
inclusion. 5| Physicist Tammy Ma and Hennessy CMO Thomas
Moradpour during an exercise in the distillery. 6| Rochelle King
speaks about user experience design and her personal experiences
as Netflix’s VP Global Product Creative. 7| Kaki King performs
a composition inspired by the Hennessy distillation process.
FOLLOWING PAGE 8| Renaud Fillioux de Gironde, Hennessy’s
Master Blender, explores the vineyards with participants. 9| A
mirrored oasis in the vineyard was the setting for a discussion
about time and creativity. 10| Guests slept in Black Tomato’s
7 inflated bubbles for maximum interaction with the environment.
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Hennessy had invited more than a dozen minds from design, science, I learned during the trip is that building
technology, music, business, aerospace, and the culinary arts to gather a culture of mastery may be more
at its headquarters on the banks of the Charente River to celebrate the crucial to long-term success than the
200th Anniversary of Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège. But this was a party with en vogue “culture of performance”
a purpose. The guests flew across the world for a series of conversations, that’s rampant in Silicon Valley.
workshops, and experiences to explore a single question: What is the
Most discussions about innovative
future of mastery? You see, while the attendees came from very diverse or creative businesses focus on tech,
backgrounds with highly specific expertise, they are all creative masters
media, and fashion brands that don’t
in their own fields. And like Hennessy, all of them continuously learn
have Hennessy’s 250-year-old history
from the past even as they are making the world of tomorrow. to inform their strategy. Imagine
For example, designer and architect Camiel Weijenberg marries fine that, a 250-year-old company. Today,
woodworking with digital fabrication to craft otherworldly structures. Hennessy is still growing, evolving. It
Composer Kaki King transforms traditional acoustic guitar performance is of-the-moment in its timelessness.
into a percussive symphony of experimental melodies and captivating rhythms. It’s truly sustainable.
Plasma physicist Tammy Ma of the historic Lawrence Livermore National
“Sustainability” is just another
Laboratory conducts laser experiments that could someday lead to new abstraction unless the value is tied
sources of clean energy. Entrepreneur Billie Whitehouse augments the ancient
deeply to nature. Surrounded by
practice of yoga with smart clothing integrating sensors and haptic technology.
vineyards in Cognac, our senses
After just two days together, the future of mastery was never clearer: couldn’t help but be pierced by the
Mastery is, and always will be, about connecting the deep history of true sweltering noontime sun. As we
artisanship with the astonishing possibilities of tomorrow. looked in every direction, there would
Renaud Fillioux de Gironde pulls that thread masterfully. It’s his job. Renaud be no 200th Anniversary of V.S.O.P if
is Hennessy’s Master Blender. Hennessy did not have deep respect
for nature, and its caretakers. Just
Renaud grew up surrounded by Cognac’s as a chef seeks to master farm-to-
culture of craftsmanship, a landscape of table, the grapes of Cognac are highly
centuries-old architecture and backyard sought after as the raw material for
grapevines. At the age of 23, he came back Hennessy’s product. It takes some
home to Cognac to pursue mastery in a
craft refined over two centuries. Following THE 32,000 hectares and 1,600 farmers to
produce Hennessy’s new raw inputs
a rigorous apprenticeship lasting over ten
years, he was selected to follow his uncle’s
fifty-year tenure as Master Blender. Renaud
BARREL each year.
Hennessy delivered 7.5 million cases
is the chief product officer for one of the
oldest and most recognized luxury brands.
Each day, he enters the Maison Hennessy
CELLAR last year and could easily sell more,
but there’s a limited supply of its most
precious commodity: the eaux-de-vie
tasting room in Cognac, France, just as his
ancestors have done for seven generations.
IS OUR (French for “water of life”) essence that
is worthwhile of transforming through
time into Hennessy cognac.
“The major tool is the nose,” Renaud says.
Renaud, supported by a multigenerational
DATA “My biggest fear is a CEO who says
go for volume over quality,” Renaud
committee of six experts, tastes a selection of
ten samples, drawn from barrels of Hennessy
cognac that have been stored in handmade
CENTER. told me. He has nothing to worry
about today. He and Hennessy CEO
Bernard Peillon, as well as the broader
barrels for months, years, even decades. LVMH team, are relentlessly focused
Renaud is seeking mastery in each sip. on quality above all. Indeed, creative
During the event in Cognac, former Rhode Island School of Design president mastery is their strategic locus.
John Maeda described creative mastery as pushing into “the essence of the “We’re entering an age where quality
essence of the essence” of what one is creating. Maeda learned this concept has an even higher value,” says Ian
by studying the generations of carpenters who built Kyoto temples. It’s a Rogers, the Chief Digital Officer of
concept that resonates with Renaud, who aspires to deepen his mastery LVMH. “And taste is folklore that’s
every day. His eyes and mind are open to myriad masters of different crafts, passed down.”
from a shoemaker’s relentless search for quality supplies to a computer
scientist’s ingenious use of AI to find the hidden insights in raw data,
Renaud said.
“The barrel cellar is our data center,” he added.
I have never seen a company so earnestly dedicated to intergenerational
excellence and legacy as Hennessy. Perhaps the most important thing
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Like so many other creative

Imported Cognac Hennessy® 40% Alc./Vol. (80º), ©2018 Imported by Moët Hennessy USA, Inc., New York, NY. Please drink responsibly.
masters, Renaud Fillioux de
Gironde’s is on a never-ending
quest for perfection even when
he knows there may be no
such thing. He’s playing the
long game, open to new tools
and technologies like robotics
in the vineyards or big data in
the cellars, but confident that
what keeps Hennessy alive is its
connection to humanity, and its
transmission of that savoir-faire
into the future.
Mastery is an art form, just as
the best forms of art reflect
mastery. And the future of
mastery is inextricably linked to
9
the past, even as it depends on
every action that we take today.

Peter Sims is the founder and CEO of Parliament,


Inc., an accidental author, and a founder of BLK SHP.
His latest book is Little Bets: How Breakthrough
Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE


FUTURE OF MASTERY AT
WRD.COM/HENNESSY.

10
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JULY 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | JUNE 2008 I s s u e s 1 1.0 7 – 1 6.0 6

FISK PROJECTS

93–98 | 98–03 | 03–08 | 08–13 | 13–18 0 5 9


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The
Tipping
Point
We predicted a digital revolution with all the fervor of
true believers. Then the revolution conquered all. That meant our responsibilities
changed too. During the first half of
by Adam Rogers WIRED ’s lifespan, the magazine largely
functioned as a discovery engine, show-
ing readers revelations, inventions, or

W
e won, was the problem. subcultures that didn’t show up on the
WIRED tumbled into the mid-2000s in a whirlwind of vali- mainstream’s radar. Like I said, the fringe.
dation and confusion. The main justification for our claim that Now we’d turn, in part, to explanation—
the digital revolution would reshape the world had been brash to opening an access port on the world
confidence and what our founding editor in chief calls “mili- our readers inhabited and showing them
tant optimism” (see page 26). And then, somewhere around 2003, it turned how it was wired together. To keep it all
out to be true. Everyone got email—on their phones! Genomes were getting vivid, we welded a mechanistic, engi-
sequenced. Songs were getting downloaded. Algorithms were getting refined. neer’s view of the world to a screewrit-
The people we’d covered because they were merely interesting, ambitious, er’s sense of storytelling.
or cool were now famous and influential. Companies we’d written about for WIRED would stick to the notion of opti-
their good ideas were solidly profitable and worth giant, sticky gobs of money. mism, but that didn’t necessarily mean we
So, yay! But also, uh-oh. The dog had caught the car. Back then, as now, had to be comforting or naive. It meant
WIRED editors would ask each other if their ideas were “WIRED enough.” But in we’d use possible solutions as vehicles
a world getting taken over by YouTube, Facebook, and iPhones … what wasn’t to cover the world’s real problems—
wired? The victory of the digital over the real sparked an acute identity crisis. that we’d be rigorous and clear-eyed in
At least, that’s the way it seemed when I showed up for work at WIRED , our descriptions of how everything fit
about 10 years after the magazine’s birth. The office was the same junky tree together, how the gears of culture and
house fort it had been since the start, but the crew in charge was mostly new. politics and business and science meshed
The new editor in chief had been on the job for just a couple of years; half the with technology and innovation. As an
assigning editors were even newer. editor, I used to tell writers: WIRED doesn’t
So month after month, with every new story, we built a new make predictions. Write about things
identity. If the whole world is driven by technological change, that are happening right now, today—
by scientific discovery, we realized, then the answer to the the unevenly distributed upwellings of
question of what WIRED covers is: everything. WIRED’s subject the future here in the present, to borrow
Adam Rogers
wasn’t a counterculture anymore. We didn’t cover the fringe; (@jetfocko) is WIRED’s from William Gibson. Our stories sound
we covered the center. deputy editor. like science fiction. But they’re true.
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An editor at a great magazine once sug- as important as actual innovations and missteps is now very much part of the
gested to me, ungently, that WIRED was achievements, and sometimes covering larger story we cover.
still way too optimistic about technology. what we thought was the center meant we Optimism means we’re invested in
We were cheerleading, he implied—blind missed a much more compelling fringe. good outcomes, not that we ignore a sea
to some possible outcomes and conse- And for a while there, almost everyone in of troubles. We wanted to tell the truth
quences. I’ve come to see his point. We charge at WIRED was a white man. Even about change, about a chaotic system. So,
thought we were talking about rational- the most well-intentioned of us might in some ways, the world of today is one
ity and data, and we forgot that human not have understood how dangerous the we were always meant to cover. Tech-
beings can be awful when they get rich online worlds we touted could become nology underpins every aspect of society,
or powerful. Increased connectivity dis- to other kinds of people. and our planet faces the threat of multi-
rupted business, culture, and politics, Not coincidentally, those same blind ple apocalypses, but our mandate hasn’t
as we promised, but that enabled new spots and mistakes—being naive, changed. If anything, it’s more relevant
monopolies to arise and corporate- obsessed with company valuations, than ever. Things turned out exactly the
funded sociopathy and narcissism to overly optimistic, exclusionary—were way we said they would.
take political power. We started think- the ones made by the tech industry itself. We won. And then things changed again.
ing investments and valuations were Today’s unfolding reckoning for those That just gives us more to write about. 

SCOTT GELMAN

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Jony Ive

WIRED ICON

JONATHAN IVE
Chief design oicer at Apple

N O M I N AT E S

EVAN SHARP
Cofounder and head of
design, product, and
marketing at Pinterest

Evan Sharp

WIRED: Jony says he likes your work on Pinter-

Keep It est, that the design brings a sense of order to


a chaotic bunch of images and text.
EVAN SHARP: The layout of Pinterest is designed

Simple
to give you control over browsing. If you think
about browsing as a concept, animals browse
for food in the jungle. They literally look for
leaves and pick out the good ones. It’s this

A
s Apple’s head of design, Jony Ive is very genetic, very deep impulse that we have
responsible for everything from the to browse. Pinterest is just a digital manifes-
curves at the edge of the iPhone’s screen tation of that behavior. A lot of the beauty of
to the haptic bup of an Apple Watch noti- Pinterest isn’t the way it looks. It looks fine,
fication. When asked to name a person who will but it’s really the impact it has, the way it gives
make a measurable impact on our future, Ive points people a sense of clarity about what their
to Evan Sharp of Pinterest. “He understands that dreams might look like. It gives them a sense
complex problems can be simplified and often of control over what their future could be.
resolved visually,” Ive says. “Nuance and subtlety WIRED: So you’re saying that by giving people
characterize his work. He doesn’t just address a agency over this domain they’ve created, you
functional imperative.” —Michael Calore can make them feel good?

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Secret SHARP: That’s what I hear from users.


obsession:
“Growing It’s hopefully a positive place where they
flowering feel creatively inspired. I think people
vines up
and over grossly underestimate how much the way
everything
an environment is designed can affect the
in my yard.”
way they behave and feel. We have an eth-
ical responsibility to create environments
that let people feel empowered, inspired, and encouraged
rather than these behavior-modification empires that are
SMART THINGS
being built.
WIRED: That must be an interesting part of the job—balancing
the urge to get people to spend more time in the app with
D E B U T: O C T 2 0 0 7 | R E T I R E M E N T: J U N 2 0 1 4
the desire to build something that serves its purpose and APPEARANCES IN PRINT: 26
then gets out of the way.
SHARP: Pinterest isn’t just an entertainment app. We’re not
trying to get you to spend five more hours a day on it. We About Gorilla Glass
decided not to be in the rat race of just “time spent.” I guess by Rebecca Heilweil

“time invested” would be a phrase that makes more sense


to me. How do we make this a place where you want to
invest your time because you get a return that is greater
than what you contributed, rather than spend the time that
A chemist at Corning accidentally created
you’ve saved up? I just made that up, but I like it. what would become Gorilla Glass in 1952
WIRED: What are some other key elements that go into mak- when a furnace overheated by 300 degrees,
producing the world’s first synthetic, shat-
ing a design work?
terproof glass-ceramic. A decade later, the
SHARP: As a user, you shouldn’t have to think about what the company’s researchers bolstered its com-
different concepts are. “That’s my feed, and those are my position with aluminum oxide, then treated
it to a scorching salt bath, which shoves
messages, and that’s my profile.” It just gets in the way. A
aside small sodium ions in favor of larger
great tool is intuitive; you just hammer the nail. In archi- potassium ions.
tecture, there are all these “form and function” sayings—
you know, “form follows function.” With something like
an app, form needs to communicate function for it to be
really simple. Then there’s another F that we don’t talk
enough about, and that’s “fit.” The app should fit into your The same glass that shields smartphones is
also whizzing around the speedway in the
life in a way that’s meaningful and healthy and beneficial.
windshield of Ford’s GT race cars, tucked
W I R E D : Personalization, rec- beneath a layer of conventional glass. In
ommendations—those things tests, the hybrid material withstood the force
Chill-out routine:
“Playing Frisbee with of a 1.75-inch hailstone hurled at 55 mph
help with fit.
my rat terrier Felix, from an ice canon.
who can jump 5-plus SHARP: One of the biggest rev-
feet in the air.”
elations for me has been work-
ing closely with machine-learning
teams. The Pinterest home feed for me is this unbeliev-
ably magical, intuitive surface where it shows me things I The latest version, Gorilla Glass 6, first graced
could never consciously articulate but that are very related smartphones from Chinese brand Oppo in
August. In preparation, Corning battered
to my taste, very related to what’s happening in my life. It
glass swatches in handbag simulators filled
doesn’t always get it right, but it gets better and better every with scratchy items and dumped them onto
six months. Then you see something you like, and you go 180-grit sandpaper to mimic concrete. Corn-
ing claims GG6 can survive an average of 15
in this rabbit hole of exploration. ¶ Industrial design is like
drops from a selfie height of 1 meter; mean-
architecture: You have to have knowledge of materials, while, the shattered-screen-toting masses
materiality, and production. You go study samurai swords. are withholding judgment.
That’s how you master your craft. And I think in software
right now there’s an equivalent with machine learning. The
quality of software is much more about machine learning “
3 Smart Things grew out of the way W I R E D
now than it is about anything else. There’s also the user editors would talk to each other. In meetings,
experience—I’m not trying to say that’s not important. It’s someone would inevitably say, ‘You know
what’s cool about that …’ Now it’s become
vital. But no one does it well. All software is shit, including this horrifying thing on Twitter: some blow-
Pinterest. I’m just being very candid. It will be much bet- hard swooping in and going, ‘Actually …’

ter in 20 years.  —Adam Rogers, DEPUTY EDITOR

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And hey, the scientists and eggheads back you


MR. KNOW-IT-ALL up too. William James—a guy who is often called
“the father of American psychology”—argued
that we contain many selves and break them
D E B U T: D EC 2 0 0 5 | RE T I RE MEN T: D E C 2017 out in different circumstances. “Properly speak-
APPEARANCES IN PRINT: 139 ing, a man has as many social selves as there
are individuals who recognize him,” he mused.
Decades later, the sociologist Erving Goffman
described everyday life as a theater performance:
How true does my online persona We prepare ourselves in pri-
vate backstage, then jump
have to be? I like to be really “When WIRED first
frontstage to perform. When
decided to publish an
curated. But my significant other advice column, it didn’t context changes, so do we.
have a name. Mr. Know- Me, when I hang out with
is very honest. Too honest if you It-All was something
old friends, I’m a looser guy,
my sister used to call
ask me. Who’s right? me.” —Mark Robinson, dropping exuberantly filthy
FEATURES EDITOR curse words. On Twitter I’m
by Clive Thompson a cheerful, PG-rated Mr. Sci-
ence Journalist, marveling
gee-whiz at the magisteria of human knowledge.
Which one is the “real” me? Both! “What’s
wrong with identity play?” says Nancy Baym,
a social scientist with Microsoft Research who
just published Playing the Crowd, a book about
how musicians manage their online identi-
ties (tl;dr: they struggle with this too). Curat-
ing our identities on Pinterest or Facebook is
a way to figure out who we are, what selves
we contain, Baym says. There isn’t only one
“authentic” you.
Now, one can, of course, go overboard with
curation. Maybe you’re spending hours on joy-
less personal upkeep just to look enviable and
amass followers. “Are you promoting these
impossible ideals?” asks Judith Donath, author
of The Social Machine and an adviser at Har-
vard’s Berkman Center. If so, I’m siding with your
partner: That way madness lies. Just behold the
grim parade of failed would-be “influencers” on
YouTube and Instagram, frantically deforming
their lives in the endless hunt for clicks. Don’t
turn yourself into a brand.
While we’re being fair to your partner, let’s
also note that there’s value in being candid.
When we share the truth of our lives online,

S
hould we be our raw authentic selves, or strike a “it’s a signal of trust,” Donath notes. It draws
pose? This feels like a quintessential dilemma of the people closer. And when it comes to any online
digital age, but artists and philosophers have been situation where there’s a transaction at hand—
grappling over this one for centuries, really. ¶ And renting an Airbnb, say—basic honesty is the
you will be happy to know that the artists generally side with best policy. (The same with dating sites. Gen-
you! As Oscar Wilde once quipped, “Man is least himself when tle white lies are common—and, alas, pretty
he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell gendered, with women lying about being thin-
you the truth.” Wilde meticulously crafted his image as a ner, men about being taller, studies show—but
Victorian poncy intellectual aesthete, posing for brooding since the goal is to meet F2F, curation here
emo publicity shots in a huge fur-fringed coat. (The dude may turn around and bite you.)
would have killed it on Snapchat.) For him, trying on new The bottom line? In moderation, curate
identities was a key part of self-expression, a cornerstone away. Goffman had this right: Nourish your
of civilization itself. “It is only shallow people,” he wrote, private moments, your life out of the spot-
“who do not judge by appearances.” Curation FTW, so far. light—but enjoy each turn upon the stage. 

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and by her mid-twenties she’d WIRED ICON

raised more than $2 million in ALEXIS OHANIAN


seed funding, cut deals with Cofounder of Reddit and

Vision Quest distributors and retailers to


integrate Partpic software into
their mobile apps and web-
Initialized Capital
N O M I N AT E S

JEWEL BURKS
Jewel Burks’ search for spare parts and sites, and demonstrated her Cofounder of Partpic,
diversity in tech. tech to President Obama. (He’s
now at Amazon

still thinking about becom-


by Alexis Ohanian ing a VC, right?) Eventually she sold her
Entrepreneurial
inspiration: company to Amazon, where she’s now

J
Masters of Doom,
ewel Burks can fix just about anything. I met her by David Kushner
the team lead of visual search.
in 2014, while producing my online show Small It’s not just Burks’ talent that impresses
Empires, which profiled entrepreneurs. We’d seen a lot of me—it’s how she has emerged as a cham-
pitches for early-stage AI companies, but most were more artifi- pion for representation and access in the
cial than they were intelligent, claiming to have AI solutions that tech industry. The stats are alarm-
were really just humans doing the work under a few layers of soft- ing: While black women’s business
Role model:
ware. Burks’ company, Partpic, was an exception. Burks and her ownership is growing fast, less than “My grandfather,
William Burks
team had built an app that let you point the camera on your smart- 1 percent of VC funding goes to Jr., who
phone at any bit of hardware—nuts, bolts, screws, whatever—to women of color. Women hold only started 10-plus
businesses in
find a replacement from a massive catalog of parts, in real time. “I 11 percent of executive positions Mobile, Alabama,
certainly would not bet against Jewel,” I said on camera at the time. at Silicon Valley companies. Burks in the 1960s.”

Sourcing repair parts isn’t the most glamorous problem, but it’s fights to change this by mentoring
been a major pain point for industrial distributors like McMaster- female founders and other women of
Carr, where Burks had worked as a supervisor. To find the right color in tech and is a board member of
replacement, staffers had to flip through thick catalogs looking for Goodie Nation, a community using tech
a match, sometimes without knowing the part number or supplier to solve civic problems like access to edu-
name. Burks jumped in. She had no experience with computer vision cation and health care.
(she studied marketing at Howard University). But she learned about We need leaders who are also tena-
the technology by reading academic papers and watching videos. She cious community builders. Burks is one—
started attending events at Georgia Tech and recruited PhDs to help and she’s only 29. Imagine the impact
her build a visual search app. She left McMaster-Carr to start Partpic, she’ll have in the next 29 years. 

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Michigan Economic Development Corporation


congratulates Wired on 25 years of innovation.
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First mobile

Lofty Ideals
phone: Danger
Hiptop

Preferred
mode of
transit:
Sebastian Thrun on optimism, flying cars, Bicycle
ON FLYING VEHICLES: About 100
and Sam Altman’s work in AI. Fun fact:
years ago we went from horse-
Human saliva
drawn carriages to cars. When boils at

A
63,000 feet
t 51, Sebastian Thrun has already had enough
PHOTOGRAPH BY PHUC PHAM (DANGEROUS OBJEC T )

these new things emerge they’re


careers for three lifetimes. The computer sci- clunky, they’re noisy,
entist and Stanford professor did pioneering they break. But eventually
work in artificial intelligence and helped invent WIRED ICON they dominate. I think this
self-driving cars. (His Stanford team was the first to win will happen for transportation
SEBASTIAN THRUN
the Darpa autonomous vehicle challenge, and he went Winner of the Darpa Grand again, specifically for daily,
on to create Google’s self-driving initiative.) He then Challenge in 2005 short-range, urban trans-
cofounded a distance-education company. In 2010 he N O M I N AT E S portation. We’ve built and
launched Kitty Hawk, a startup that is testing two personal released two vehicles. Cora is
SAM ALTMAN
airborne vehicles. Yes, essentially flying cars. The future, President of Y Combinator the bigger one and is a totally
from his perspective, is all blue sky. —Mark Robinson and cofounder of OpenAI self-driving plane. The Flyer

9 3 – 9 8 | 9 8 – 0 3 | 0 3 – 0 8 | 0 8 –1 3 | 1 3 –1 8
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Sebastian Thrun
in his Flyer
D E B U T: M AY 2 0 0 7 | R E T I R E M E N T: A P R 2 0 1 3
APPEARANCES IN PRINT: 47

MOST DANGEROUS
OBJECT IN THE
OFFICE THIS MONTH

a system for salespeople that can distill


how to behave from the highest perform-
ers and then present that best behavior to
the lower-performing salespeople, who
become top agents in, like, a day. So you
don’t have to spend 10,000 hours learning
something. That can be a super exciting
vision. Just imagine you could become a
world-class doctor in one day.

ON OPTIMISM: Maybe only 1 percent of inter-


esting stuff has been invented yet. That’s
something I think people often don’t
digest. We take technological progress
and new inventions for granted. They
come along, we love them, we want them,
we can’t imagine living without them. But
somehow people think that progress is Segway Drift
going to stop there. Or it’s going to be bad W1 E-Skates
or threatening. Yes, there’s a danger of
by Arielle Pardes
abuse, no question. Almost any technol-
ogy has a danger of abuse. You can abuse
First there were exploding
a kitchen knife and kill somebody. But we hoverboards. Then came the
always find a way to make things useful e-scooter wars. Now Segway
in some kind of positive way. is courting the “mobility”
market with these $400
electric skates. Unlike the
ON SAM ALTMAN: Sam is impressive in all clunky Rollerblades of your
dimensions—in his thoughtfulness, in youth, these gliders have no
boots or straps—just grippy
his sheer intellect, in his drive, in his abil- platforms that hold your
ity to make magic happen. His present shoes in place. (That is, until
is a hybrid. The controls are so easy that I work focuses on artificial intelligence. you hit a minuscule crack
in the sidewalk, at which
can teach you to fly it in five minutes. You And while most of us in AI say let’s do one point you’ll be catapulted
have a joystick for forward, backward, thing—like build self-driving cars—Sam forward, praying you’ll stick
left, and right, and for your other hand wants to solve all of intelligence at OpenAI, the landing.) Each hefty,
8-pound skate gyro-balances
you have a lever that lets you go up and where he has dozens of researchers and on a single wheel; you control
down. You let go of the controls and you engineers working on a safe autono- the direction and speed by
stay where you are. mous future. So he has a box that could pressing down with your toes.
If you’re brave, you can reach
be good at playing Go or chess, could drive 7.5 mph, just fast enough to
ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: I don’t want to a self-driving car, could help dermatol- elicit swerves and expletives
downplay the theoretical concern that we ogists find skin cancer. I think that step when you’re barreling down
the bike lane like a self-
might make systems that make bad deci- toward general artificial intelligence is destructive Paul Blart. Helmet
sions. But I always look at technology as a enormously important. If he succeeds, and knee pads sold separately.
way to make current people into super- then this will transform society at a big-
humans. You can take off from Califor- ger scale than the steam engine or pen- “Increasingly, interns were being asked
nia and be in Europe in 10 hours. That’s a icillin. You cannot get any grander than to do genuinely dangerous things. We
knew the format had run its course when
superhuman capability. With AI, we could that. And even if he has only a 5 percent the ‘objects’ graduated to explosives
turn people into instant experts. There’s chance of success, it’s worth trying.  and grappling hook guns.” —Adam
Rogers, DEPUTY EDITOR, WHO CONCEIVED
MOST DANGEROUS OBJECT IN THE OFFICE

0 7 5
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Mark Zuckerberg and Beast

“During the photo shoot,


Mark’s dog, Beast, stayed
by photographer Michelle
Groskopf’s side the entire
time… until she asked Mark
to sit in a chair in his sun-
room. At that point, Beast
leapt across the room onto
Mark’s lap. He responded
with an ‘oof!’ and we all
laughed.” —Anna Alexander,
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY

A few years ago, I taught a class on entrepreneurship at a


local middle school. I quickly realized that some of my
best students—ones with the motivation and talent to
Over the next 25 years, Dreamers like New
could have a big impact on the world. People
like them already have. Almost half of the top
build great businesses—weren’t even sure they’d be able to go to 500 companies in the US—and a lot of leading
college. They were undocumented immigrants, brought here as tech companies—were founded by immigrants
children. You know them as Dreamers. I’ve gotten to know other or their children. Dreamers know the sacrifices
Dreamers over the years and have always been inspired by their it can take to get to a better future. But they could
strength, sense of purpose, and optimism. They have a special love be denied the opportunity to participate fully
for the United States because they can’t take living here for granted. in the life of our country. Once we help them
Take Jirayut “New” Latthivongskorn. Born in Bangkok, he came reach their full potential
to the US with his parents when he was 9, eventually becom- WIRED ICON here—in the only country
ing the first undocumented medical student to attend UC San MARK ZUCKERBERG most of them have ever
Francisco. He helped set up Pre-Health Dreamers, a network Cofounder of Facebook known—they will write
to support and mentor undocumented students in health and N O M I N AT E S a large part of America’s
the sciences. When he graduates, he plans to practice in under- DREAMERS next chapter. —As told
served urban communities. Undocumented youth to Steven Levy

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Advertisement

IMPLEMENTING
THE INTUITIVE
ENTERPRISE
T hat’s thanks to the sheer amount of
data available today: According to one
report1, the world created 16.1 zettabytes
of data in 2016 (for context, one zettabyte
equals 36 million years of HD video). What’s
more, emerging technologies can use all
of that data (to store, to learn from, and,
in some cases, to act from), challenging the
traditional workflow with which many of us
are comfortable.

“ Within the next few years, entire


workforces and workplaces will be
reconfigured around technology.”

JEFF SCHWARTZ
Deloitte Consulting’s U.S. leader for the future of
work and global leader for human capital marketing,
eminence, and brand

Workplace change—and the fear associated


with it—isn’t a new narrative. The first time
that automation threatened our jobs was
back in the 1700s, with the advent of the
Industrial Revolution. But fears were quelled
when new types of jobs (and the factories
that provided them) arose.

Today, technologies—such as advanced MANUFACTURING & THE


computing power and machine learning,
to name a few—threaten to supplant AUTOMATION ADVANTAGE
human workers. But workers shouldn’t be
afraid. These emerging technologies will
free up time to guide the change in ways
that are creative and customer-focused. I t seems ironic, but the same industry that slashed so many jobs in the 1980s due to
automation is now embracing technology to help its human employee population be
more productive. In the age of big data and the Internet of Things, connected devices
This won’t happen organically, however.
As automation and digitization accelerate, and the data they collect are boosting eiciency.
organizations must accept and adopt
technological advancements if they hope “ With this technology, sensors are attached to physical assets. Those
to remain relevant. sensors gather data, store it wirelessly, and use analytics and machine
We call this new way of humans working
learning to take some kind of action.”
with disruptive technology “the intuitive
enterprise,” where speed, agility and ROBERT SCHMID
constant iteration are the new normal. Deloitte Digital IoT chief technologist
The intuitive enterprise marks a of sea
change in business—and entire industries That data feed optimizes a wide range of industrial activities, including better production
will reap its benefits. forecasting, machine utilization planning, and even predictive failure analysis.

1. www.seagate.com/www-content/our-story/trends/files/Seagate-WP-DataAge2025-March-2017.pdf
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We’ve reached an inflection point in


the way that work, well, works.

HEALTHCARE
GETS A
DIGITAL
MAKEOVER
B y 2020, the total volume of medical
information will double every 73 days2.
With the help of technologies like machine
learning, healthcare professionals can mine this
data to inform more-accurate diagnoses and
more-personalized treatment plans.

“ The volume of data that a physician needs to


comb through during a patient visit has grown
tremendously over just the past few years,
particularly for the most complex and high-risk
patients,” says Dr. Mitesh Patel, an assistant
professor at the University of Pennsylvania
and director of the Penn Medicine Nudge Unit.
“There’s a significant opportunity to better
leverage algorithms and data analytics to help
inform medical decision-making.”

2. www.ibm.com/industries/healthcare/datadilemma
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Advertisement

HOSPITALITY MEETS W hile loyalty-rewards programs have existed for years,


the current ways of reaping these rewards are ineicient
BLOCKCHAIN due to the multiple middlemen (such as banks) required for
reward redemption.

Hospitality companies have the opportunity to use emerging


technologies to ensure that their loyalty programs keep customers
happy and coming back. According to Brian Shniderman, principal
and global payments practice lead at Deloitte Consulting LLP,
those working in the hospitality industry can use blockchain to
provide consumers with the on-demand experiences they crave
through real-time, seamless reward-point redemption.

AUTOMATING THE MEET


AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY JOURNALISM 2.0

A utonomous vehicles have brought the auto industry to the


brink of extreme change. The technology powering these
vehicles relies heavily on data and compute power, so if the
L ike many professions, journalism experienced a digital
makeover at the dawn of the Internet. And as with other
professions, business models shifted and strained, leaving
industry is to have a say in the development of these vehicles, journalists either out of work or clawing to keep up. Adopting
rapid implementation of new types of technology is key. emerging technologies like digital reality could be the industry’s—
and its workers’—saving grace.
This means figuring out how to harness the data that these
vehicles create and gather. Because of latency issues, traditional One way that journalists and publications can leverage this
cloud software can’t be the sole data-crunching solutions technology is in the fight against false news. While it’s true
that autonomous vehicles rely on. So automotive engineers that emerging technologies can perpetuate false news, experts
are turning to a new solution to supplement the cloud: edge believe that augmented reality and virtual reality could offer
computing, where compute power exists closer to the source a clearer picture to consumers by giving them the ability to
of data either in the device itself or in server stations nearby. choose what they see, coming to their own conclusions in
a given situation.
“ There’s a misunderstanding that there’s
competition between edge and cloud. They can “ I don’t want to be limited by the 4-by-2-inch
work hand in hand, and indeed they have to. You frame you think is important. I want to be able
really want edge computing at the times when you to have a broader, more experiential perspective
can’t count on the network being there.” from which to decide what I think is important.”

DAVID LINTHICUM ALLAN V. COOK


Chief cloud strategy officer at Deloitte Digital Managing director of Deloitte Digital’s digital reality practice, says of the traditional
article view on a mobile device

THE INTUITIVE E merging technologies and expansive data are at the forefront
of the change that enterprises face. To succeed, they will
ENTERPRISE PROMISE have to integrate these technologies into their workflows.

“ All of us have to ask: ‘What do I need to do in my company


or industry to have relevant skills to work with new technologies?’
If you’re not spending 60 to 80 hours a year learning and
redeveloping yourself,” Schwartz says, “you aren’t going
to succeed.”

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of our legal structure. Certain services may not be available to
attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting. This publication contains general information only and Deloitte is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment,
legal, tax, or other professional advice or services.
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This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may
affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. Deloitte shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication.
Copyright © 2018 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.
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qww

This December our annual Men of the Year issue comes


to life, with a GQ shop in L.A., exclusive events, and live
interviews with some of the best and brightest of the year.

DECEMBER 7 & 8 • LOS ANGELES


JOIN US • GQ.COM/GQLIVE
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I s s u e s 1 6.0 7 –2 1.0 6
JULY 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | JUNE 2013

FISK PROJECTS

93–98 | 98–03 | 03–08 | 08–13 | 13–18 0 8 3


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The Age of
Awareness
Status update: We are all now sci-fi telepaths, deafened
crash-landing in the Hudson River, fists
by the blaring thoughts of humanity.
raised in the Arab Spring, a baby biting a
by Clive Thompson kid’s finger. Our focus wasn’t just on our
friends anymore; we were refreshing the
feed, waiting for the next mesmerizing

W
hen it came into being in 2006, Twitter seemed perplexing. Pub- moment. Sometimes—increasingly—it
lishing teensy, 140-character updates? Whatever was that good was the spectacle of a pile-on: Justine
for? Twitter seemed like a ghastly mashup of the preening nar- Sacco making what she thought was a
cissism and nanosecond attention spans that defined the worst joke about AIDS, Africa, and white peo-
trends in digital culture. Tim Ferriss, writer of productivity books, called it ple, then getting off her plane to global
“pointless email on steroids.” Who cares what you had for lunch? But critics condemnation; a woman calling out two
misunderstood it. What Twitter truly portended wasn’t small, it was huge. As I male coders at a conference, then field-
argued in my first-ever WIRED column more than a decade ago, Twitter repre- ing death threats for months.
sented a massive shift in the way we pay attention to one another. The status Our global attention was now fully
update took off and we entered the era we still inhabit: the age of awareness. cyborg, which meant, of course, that it
Before the age of awareness, people conversed via blog posts, threads in was hackable. Political actors of all stripes
discussion forums, email chains. You read someone’s missive, pondered it, neatly intuited this—from #blacklives-
wrote back. It was newfangled and digital, sure, but it nonetheless echoed matter activists moved to action by
the tempo of industrial life—the postal service in the Victorian period, bick- Trayvon Martin’s death to #gamergate’s
ering with fellow citizens in letters to the editor. Utterances were infrequent venomous nerds dog-piling on Anita Sar-
and somewhat lengthy. keesian. News stopped being something
Twitter inverted that proposition. The posts were microscopic, and they you looked at occasionally; it was live and
came in a constant spray. Sure, each update was so short as to seem mean- interactive, all day long. Something could
ingless, if considered on its own. But that’s the thing: Their power was in the blow up into the national consciousness
aggregate. Follow someone’s updates for weeks, months, or years and you’d at any instant, Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes
develop a rich sense of that person’s internal life. It was like hearing them think of fame compressed to 15 seconds.
out loud, all day long. Which is, really, the subtlest problem of
Or, like a “superpower, like a sixth sense or something,” as Biz Stone, the our status world: It has made us prisoners
Twitter cofounder, told me in 2008. “I know where everyone is. I know what of the here and now. Status updates work
their current mood is.” The status update allowed people to engage in flock- on two levels: We get insight into individ-
ing behaviors, both online and off. Twitter made flash mobs a part of life. “You ual brains over the long haul, and there’s
become like a macroorganism,” Stone said. always some new piece of gossip, some
Pretty soon it wasn’t just Twitter. All social media reformed itself OMG moment to react to. It becomes hard
around the status update: Facebook’s News Feed became a stream to look away. Harold Innis, the Canadian
of just-in-time missives; Instagram, a stream of photos. (Tim Ferriss media theorist who laid the groundwork
joined Twitter and now has 1.54 million followers.) for Marshall McLuhan’s thinking, famously
The hashtag emerged—producing a new and even bigger zone of Clive Thompson predicted that modern media would make
(@pomeranian99)
awareness, bursts of joint attention where a million people would is a longtime colum- us “present-minded,” unable to focus on
suddenly drop what they were doing to gawk at something: a plane nist for WIRED. anything except what’s happening right
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now. Bingo. President Trump, in this sense, nomics make it unlikely: The social net- cultural saturation point where we tire of
is a leader for our times: He’s a master at works are making bank right now, so there’s being so tightly connected and voluntarily
using a single outrageous tweet to instantly little incentive for them to seriously revamp slow down our broadcasts?
hijack the nation’s consciousness. their attentional mechanics. Looking fur- It’s not impossible. People like Tristan
Our new powers are almost too potent. ther into the future, it’s possible a more Harris and organizations like the Center
We’ve become like those sci-fi telepaths drastic change could come externally, with for Humane Technology are talking about
who can’t quite control their abilities some new upstart service that crafts an it. But the truth is, we remain devout users
and struggle to screen out the blaring entirely new form of update—one so entic- of updates because—despite their trib-
thoughts of humanity. ing that it kills off the tweet, the snap, the ulations—they’re so useful. They’re how
So now it’s time to cope and adapt, and Facebook post. (Though odds are Facebook friends ambiently broadcast news of births
forge the next phase in our age of aware- would simply phagocytose such an innova- and deaths and sicknesses (and coordinate
ness. What will that be? tion, putting us back at square one.) Con- support); how we discover bands and news
In the short run, we’re likely to see ever- gressional action could compel changes to and trivia and idiotically brilliant memes.
more AI sprayed at the problem. Facebook our awareness-o-sphere, but that would More to the point, they feed what is human
has promised to rejigger its feed to show us require, well, congressional action. about us. We are social creatures to the
more truly useful and rewarding things (and Or perhaps change will come from bone, nosy and curious about each other,
less crap designed to game our national within. Might our own appetite for end- eager to find our place among our kind.
attention). This might work, but the eco- less updates wane? Could we reach some We are status seekers on any platform. 

YOSHI SODEOKA

0 8 5
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0
0
0

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WHO’S NEXT

Worst miss:
“A chart placing Trump STATGEIST
as the most colorful but
least electable 2016
presidential candidate.”
DEBUT: JAN 2009 | STATUS: ONGOING
Weirdest Statgeist chart
point: APPEARANCES IN PRINT: 102
“A sexual position I’d
never heard of called
the modified T-square,
which I worked into a
scatter plot with the
Charting the
axes ‘Popularity’ and
‘Religiousness.’ ”
WIRED World
—Jon J. Eilenberg,
ARTICLES EDITOR WHO HAS
WRITTEN CHARTGEIST, NÉE How AI Will Impact
STATGEIST, SINCE 2015
Our Lives

Tweet All Help

About It! Help until


Jack Dorsey on the experimental future of media. we’re
complacent,
then harm

Harm

I discovered ProPublica about two years ago and


became interested in it right away because of its mis-
sion: To expose abuses of power and betrayals of the
public trust by government, business, and other institutions, To create very
Why We Got Into important,
using the moral force of investigative journalism. It’s indepen-
Journalism meticulously
dent, it’s nonpartisan, and it’s powered mainly by philanthropy. To make reported
tragicomic stories that
ProPublica actually measures success by whether it sparks pie charts could make a
real-world change. This was a new take on a business model real impact

that I hadn’t really thought a lot about.


To provide
The most recent ProPublica story that stood a veneer of
out to me was the publication of the audiotape of legitimacy
Tweet by @jack for when we To write
on 8/8/18: “We immigrant children being held in a US Customs and leave to pursue SEO-guided
certainly have our passion clickbait
a lot of work Border Protection facility. There have also been for content
to do to help marketing—
journalists do
a number of stories on wrongfully convicted folks
and making
their jobs bet- that have prompted cases to be reopened. money
ter. That’s our
intent. Help I’ve watched how they use Twitter’s technology.
with reach,
balance, and Twitter’s superpower is conversation; it’s carrying To craft very
economic incen- the chatter. So traditionally, journalists write a few important Twitter
tives. We’re threads
behind on those characters and tweet a link to their article and that’s
last two.”
it. But ProPublica threads the key parts of an arti-
cle, so you end up with a thread that’s 10 tweets long. We asked
them why they do that and they said, “We’re going to meet peo- Tech Diversity Efforts
Actually
ple where they are. They’re coming to a service that is focused hiring more Proclaiming
on brevity, so we need to translate our stories into that format.” than just that your
white guys company
It’s a creative use of a technology that doesn’t intuitively seem will aim to
to fit with traditional journalism. That’s definitely more of a risk hire more
than just
if your business is based on advertising and sending people to white guys
your site. But ProPublica has been Saying
“diversity is
doing this for over 10 years. And I important”
WIRED ICON think there’s a lot for us to learn in and not
releasing
JACK DORSEY terms of what that means for media. any diversity Showcasing
Cofounder of Twitter data
A donation-driven news outlet may your all-
N O M I N AT E S female social
seem extreme, but it’s important media team
Hiring a
PROPUBLICA right now to experiment. This is an “diversity Donating 0.0001% of
Investigative journalism consultant” revenue to diversity-
experiment that’s done quite well. focused nonprofits
nonprofit
—As told to Lauren Goode

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Jennifer Pahlka

ANAND GIRIDHARADAS: “The nine most terri-


fying words in the English language are:
I’m from the government, and I’m here
to help,” Ronald Reagan said a long time
ago. But time necessitates revi-
Indispensable sion. Today the nine most terrify-
book-writing
ing words in the English language
t o o l : Scrivener
might be: I’m rich, and I’m here to
Indispensable
shut-off- change the world.
the-internet- Many of the richest Americans
so-I-can-
actually-write are generous, giving away moun-
t o o l : Freedom
tains of money. But in recent years
app
they have also taken up new forms
of making a difference. They do
impact investing, earning a return for
themselves while claiming to benefit
humankind. They become social entre-
preneurs, solving public problems through
for-profit businesses. In Silicon Valley they
speak of “disrupting” things, and thanks
to profit generated by the possibly illegal
market power of their tech monopolies,
they plan to beam internet to the under-
served through balloons.
When these winners engage in change,
they lift up nonthreatening projects that
suit their tastes. They call them “win-
wins.” They favor forms of change that
Favorite
meme:
bypass government and rely on the pri-
”That Most vate sector and its charitable spoils. They
Interesting
Man in the are warier of collective, democratic fixes,
World guy.” which can mean higher taxes, tighter reg-
ulation, and reduced profits.
A Goldman Sachs program to empower
the poor: good. Higher
taxes on Goldman
- WIRED ICON Sachs executives: ew.
JENNIFER PAHLKA A children’s fitness
- Founder of Code for America program donated by
N O M I N AT E S a fast-food company:
great. A government
ANAND GIRIDHARADAS
Author of Winners Take All effort to protect chil-
dren from fast food
that harms their
- health: absolutely not. In other words,
if helping others means making a buck
or buffing your reputation, it’s fine. But
making a sacrifice to help others without
getting credit? No way.
The problem with outsourcing change
to these economic winners is that you end
up with fake change. Real change happens
Guilty in the arena of politics and policy, and if
tech
perhaps, is that government is accountable to the public; companies addiction: you aren’t working to reform our common
Instagram
are not. Anand reminds us that we live in a democracy, but that it life in this era of extreme inequality and
is up to all of us to put money and effort into making our govern- social fracture and democratic unraveling,
ment work for everyone. you’re probably not “changing the world.”

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WHO’S NEXT

People always ask, “Well, what can we do?” I think, above all, we must
do everything we can to go back to “changing the world” in the arena
of political life, not through private deeds. Instead of building that
one charter school, build an organization that lobbies for an end to
the funding of public schools according to the value of the homes in
the city where the child lives. Instead of scolding women to lean in,
scold your government to put in place the family policies that have
been proven in other countries to empower women.
Then there’s the question of what the win-
“Male writers ners can do. Is it possible to give privately in ANGRY NERD
spread the myth
that children ways that create real change? Yes, and it starts
ruin writing. with an attitude evolution, from the idea of
They need a D E B U T: J U N 2 0 1 0 | R E T I R E M E N T: O N G O I N G
better excuse.” “giving something back” to one of “giving APPEARANCES IN PRINT: 75
something up.” This means being willing to
sacrifice your own privileges, make a little less money, pay higher We’re All Sunk
taxes for the sake of the common good. And it means evolving from
“crowding government out”—that is, creating your own unaccountable Furious pop cultural obsessiveness seemed
pet projects that reduce pressure on government to act—to “crowd- like righteous, antagonistic fun when we
started this column
ing government in.” Use the freedom that private action gives you to eight years ago. But
test things that might work for us all, then finish the job by using your somewhere along the “I had a reputation around
the oice for being this
influence to implant the idea in policy.  line, that particular
nitpicking pop culture
strain of hyperbolic fan- pedant. I was raised that
boy zealotry curdled. way. When I was a little kid
Maybe it’s because seeing Star Wars for the
geek culture is no lon- first time, I remember my
Anand Giridharadas with his
dad leaning over during
7-month-old daughter. ger niche—quibbling
the climactic scene to
about Wakanda’s vibra- tell me that, scientifically,
nium reserves is difer- there would be no air to
ent when Black Panther carry the sound of the
has evolved from an Death Star’s explosion in
the vacuum of space.”
obscure comic into a
—Chris Baker,
billion-dollar block- FORMER SENIOR EDITOR
buster. Maybe it’s the AND WRITER OF ANGRY NERD
access and amplifica- FROM 2010 TO 2016
tion aforded by social
media. When I stag-
gered out of the execrable Pearl Harbor in
2001, I didn’t have the option of tweeting
“@michaelbay you are a witless explosion-
monger” and entertaining the hope that the
Dark One himself might actually see my
post. Or maybe it’s that the banal, clichéd
megahit Big Bang Theory has rendered all
forms of geek-rage banal and clichéd. All
I know is that angry nerdery no longer fills
me with a sacred sense of purpose. And it’s
not just that these newly empowered nerds
have sucked all the fun out of pop culture
pedagogy; it’s that they’re actively ruining
society. Fulminating about the canonical
importance of Greedo not shooting first
has metastasized into badgering fledg-
ling stars off the internet for having the
temerity to be female. (Don’t even get me
started on Kekistan Pepes, deploying their
red pills and sociopathic edgelord hate
memes to own the normies.) Meanwhile,
wealthy, entitled egotists—the “Notch” Pers-
sons and Travis Kalanicks of the world—
are giving geeks a bad name. Nerds rule
the world now, but they’re doing a shit job
of it. And that, my fellow didactic dweebs,
makes me really angry. —Chris Baker

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Words by Megan Molteni WIRED ICON

Germs Gone Good Art by Keith Rankin


Science by Janelle Ayres
ELIZABETH BLACKBURN
Nobel-winning biologist
N O M I N AT E S
Your body wants to expel nasty bugs. So you puke, you poop, you run a fever. But these bugs just wanna JANELLE AYRES
survive—and some will start doing nice things in the right circumstances. Elizabeth Blackburn’s nominee, Molecular physiologist at
Janelle Ayres, studies this radical new approach to treatment … the Salk Institute

SWEET DEAL HAVING ENOUGH FOOD TO MUNCH ON


CALMS THE MEAN BACTERIA DOWN.
Nom- Good day, gents. Nothing to see here!
nom-
CITROBACTER IS HANGRY! IT’S IN YOUR BELLY
AND CAUSING BLOATING AND THE RUNS.
nom.

Who has time


to be mad when
there’s so
LESSON: GIVE CITROBACTER WHAT IT
Once I block these absorption much to eat?
channels, tasty sugars will WANTS—SUGAR! TAMING THE TUMMY
stay put in the gut! Mwahahaha. HAS NEVER BEEN SWEETER.

BUT THE SALMONELLA BUGS NEED TO EAT—AND SOME


HAVE THE POWER TO OVERRIDE THE SYSTEM.
GUT PUNCH
GOOD SALMONELLA COULD REACTIVATE
WHEN SALMONELLA Wait. If I secrete a spe-
cial protein, slrp, I can YOUR APPETITE, STYMIEING THE BAD
CAUSES FEVER, YOUR GUYS. FEELING FOOD-POISONED AND
block those hunger-kill-
OVERTAXED IMMUNE ing signals to the brain. UNHUNGRY? SLURP DOWN SOME SLRP!
SYSTEM TELLS YOUR
B R A I N TO S H U T O F F
YOUR APPETITE.

Grrr. If I don’t Feeeed meeee.


get food soon,
me and the other
salmonella will
pollute this
entire body.

WAR RAGES WITHIN—EVIL BURKHOLDERIA


GROWTH FORMULA THAILANDENSIS HAS INVADED THE LUNGS.
Ro ger that.
Pro ductio n
co mmencing.
BOT H T HESE MIC E H AVE PNEUMONIA— As we attack this
BUT O N LY ONE IS WASTING AWAY. bo dy, let’s deprive
it o f the pro tein
its muscles need
to stay muscley!
I have special
friends inside me.

Hoo ray!
We’re
We need you saved!
fat cells to
DOWN IN THE INTESTINES, make growth
FRIENDLY E. COLI SENSE DANGER. protein! That’ll
I am les curtail invaders. A SIMILAR STRAIN OF E. COLI LIVES
m o usérables. Eek! Our ho meland will IN HUMANS AND COULD ONE DAY BE
shrivel up unless we GIVEN AS A PROBIOTIC TO COUNTER-
recruit so me fat cells. ACT MUSCLE WASTING.
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Advertisement

From one innovator to another,


FRQJUDWXODWLRQVRQ\RXUƬUVW\HDUV
Looking forward to the next 25!
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WIRED@25

First computer hack:


“In 1980 I wrote a
password guesser and
WIRED ICON
got most of my friends’
passwords, then I
KAI-FU LEE
used their accounts to
post silly messages on AI reseacher turned VC
bulletin boards.” N O M I N AT E S

FEI-FEI LI
AI researcher and activist

The AI Pioneer ...


by Maria Streshinsky

I n 1990, Kai-Fu Lee packed his bags and left Carnegie


Mellon University, where he had been teaching artifi-
cial intelligence and speech recognition. He headed
Secret
rabbit-hole
obsession:
west to his first Silicon Valley job, running a new group trying “I was once
addicted to
to build speech interface technol- Dance Dance Face++, the facial recognition and surveil-
ogies at Apple. Revolution
and was lance software, and VIP Kids, a remote
“Microsoft saw this market would Eight years later, Lee was hired by really good.” online education platform). In 2016, Lee,
become important. Among the Microsoft with a specific mission: to who mostly lives in Beijing, took a team of
people I hired back then are the go to China, start a research group, Chinese entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley. On
current president of Baidu,the and develop a technology hub—and that trip, he met Fei-Fei Li, an AI researcher
chairperson for technology for talent. (Lee was born in Taiwan and working at Google and Stanford. H
Alibaba, and Microsoft’s head lived there until he was 11, when he
of AI and research.” moved to Tennessee.) “She talked about wanting
the future of AI to be a lot
more than just the simple
replacement of humans. “Her human-
In a now infamous move, Lee left Microsoft and—after She talked about a symbi- ity is refresh-
prevailing against the company otic AI-human relationship.” ing, and often
when it sued him for violating a “I did a lot of things to try to persuade Google missing in AI
noncompete agreement— what it would take to win in China. I took my researchers,” Lee says. “Not because the
- team on the No. 1 TV entertainment show. people are not good people, but most AI
First AI
Our team sang and danced. I was originally researchers are very nerdy; they want to project:
“Natural
In 2009, after more than 25 going to cook a wonderful dish. But then the write papers, show results, and then go language.
years working (largely) in AI, Lee CCTV tower caught on fire, and the govern- back to their labs. Few would stand and In 1980, I
wrote an
started his own venture firm, ment said no more cooking on the shows. I call for things that were important for Eliza that
Sinovation. A few years in, he can’t sing, can’t dance. So I learned a magic the future of mankind. She is among the mimicked my
professor.”
started focusing on entrepre- card trick. We embedded Google products very few. She has a big heart. She is the
neurs using AI in new ways (like in our show. And then the next day, Google’s conscience of AI, calling out things we
Megvii, the company that built servers almost broke.” have to work on.”

DATASTREAM // PROCESSING “Not everything needs to be a steak dinner.


Sometimes the best part of the meal is one of
POWER OF VARIOUS ENTITIES, DEBUT: SEP 2008 | STATUS: ONGOING the appetizers.” —Carl De Torres, FORMER
BY NUMBER OF “NEURONS” APPEARANCES IN PRINT: 172
SENIOR ART DIRECTOR AND CREATOR OF DATASTREAM

Sea sponge (640 million years ago): 0 // Adaline (1960): 1 // SNARC (1951): 40 // Roundworm (400 million years ago): 302 // LeNet-5 (1998):
8,094 // Fukushima’s Neocognitron (1980): 11,064 // Fruit fly (120 million years ago): 100,000 // AlexNet (2012): 650,000 // Cockroach (200
million years ago): 1 million // COTS HPC system (2013): 1.2 million // Digital reasoning neural network (2015): 8+ million // Rat (5–6 million
years ago): 200 million // Homo sapiens (315,000 years ago): 86 billion // Elephant (4 million years ago): 257 billion

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WHO’S NEXT

Princeton, Li had embarked on a project to teach

... and the computers to read pictures. It was an endeavor


so ludicrous, laborious, and expensive that Li
had trouble getting funding. The project required

Researcher Bringing people to tag millions of images; for more than


a year, this work was the largest employer for

Humanity to AI
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. The resulting data-
base, ImageNet, became the key tool for train-
ing machines to recognize images; it’s part of the
reason Facebook can tag you in a photo or Way-
mo’s self-driving cars can recognize street signs.
As long as she has studied computer science, Li
has advocated for working across disciplines to
by Jessi Hempel
make artificial intelligence more useful. At Stan-
ford, she worked with medical school research-
ers to improve hospital hygiene. When she left

I n 2012, Fei-Fei Li was thinking about two seemingly


unrelated but troubling issues. She was on maternity
leave from Stanford University and reflecting on her
Stanford for a two-year stint as chief scientist for
AI in Google’s Cloud division, she helped lead the
rollout of developer tools that let anyone create
experience of being one of the only women on the faculty at
machine-learning algorithms.
the AI lab. At the same time, she grew concerned about some
This fall, Li returns to Stanford as a professor
of the stereotypes about AI. “There was already a little bit of
of computer science, though she continues to
rumbling about how AI could be dangerous,” she says. It clicked
advise Google, and will help launch an initiative
that these concerns were connected. “If everybody thinks we’re
combining AI and the humanities. Her field, she
building Terminators, of course we’re going to miss many peo-
says, needs to work with researchers in neuro-
ple”—including women—who might otherwise be interested in
science, psychology, and other disciplines to cre-
AI but would be turned off by its aggressively negative image,
ate algorithms with more human sensitivity. This
Li adds. “The less we talk about the human mission, the less
also means working with government institutions
diversity we’ll have, and the less diversity we have, the more
and businesses to ensure that AI helps people do
likely the technology will be bad” for humans.
their jobs rather than replace them. Li believes
This was particularly upsetting to Li because she had played
AI has the potential to free us from more mun-
a foundational role in the contemporary emergence of the
dane tasks, so we can focus on things that require
field. In 2007, as an assistant computer science professor at
creativity, critical thinking, and connection. A
nurse, for example,
might be freed from
managing medical
equipment so he can
spend more time with
a patient. “If you look
at the technology’s
potential,” she says,
“ i t ’s u n b o u n d e d .”
But only, she notes,
if you put humans at
the center. 

Fei-Fei Li

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WIRED@25

WIRED ICON

KEVIN SYSTROM
Cofounder of Instagram

N O M I N AT E S

KARLIE KLOSS
Founder of Kode With Klossy

Close the
Gender Gap
Kevin Systrom and Karlie Kloss on
what it’ll take to get more women
working in Silicon Valley.

W
hen Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom diverse. Women make up half
80 percent of
met Karlie Kloss through friends in the world, so why aren’t they half Instagram users live
outside the US.
2012, he had no idea who the super- of technology workers as well?
model was. He had launched his KLOSS: A lot of the feedback we get
mobile photo-sharing app two years before, Apple or from our young coders is that
Android?
and he was a “typical tech guy,” he says, “I have to
they were one of only a couple
oblivious to culture. She was a jet-setting have both, girls who signed up for a com- First time
to be able I saw the
entrepreneur with an interest in coding. to build for puter science class at school, internet:
“AOL Instant
(They spent a morning making pancakes for both, so I and they felt stupid asking a Messenger.
have a phone
friends; Systrom’s now wife, Nicole Schuetz, number for question. It’s about gaining the I lived in
each.” those chat
later filled him in.) Three years later, par- confidence to see yourself in an rooms.”
tially inspired by her friendship with Sys- industry where there might not be
trom, Kloss founded Kode With Klossy, a lot of people that look like you.
which hosts a free camp where teenage girls SYSTROM: So there’s the tangible
learn the fundamentals of Ruby, JavaScript, way of measuring progress, but
HTML, CSS, and Swift. The pair got together there’s also the intangible: Are we
to discuss the tech gender gap—from the top using our voices to raise aware-
down and the ground up. —Lauren Murrow ness about this issue?
K L O S S : That’s a great place to
4 percent of
start, but it’s important to go students taking
the AP Computer
beyond that conversation to Science exam
KEVIN SYSTROM: Many people on this ensure equal access to opportu- in 2017 were
Hispanic and
list have nominated amazing tech- nity and learning. Latina girls, and
2 percent were
nologists, but diversity is one of SYSTROM: Those are metrics we look
black girls.
Favorite the most important trends in tech at internally. How do we recruit,
meme:
”A golden right now. grow, and keep amazing women
retriever KARLIE KLOSS: I’m not a technologist, working at Instagram? The ulti-
sitting with
a chemistry but I started taking coding classes mate goal is to watch those num-
set, wearing
goggles. It
in 2014. I had millions of girls fol- bers trend toward 50 percent, at
says ‘I have lowing me on Instagram, so I put a faster and faster pace. And it’s
no idea what
I’m doing.’” out a video saying “If you want to not just about representation, it’s
learn how to code, I’m underwrit- about representation in senior
ing scholarships.” We had thou- leadership roles.
sands of girls apply for 20 spots. KLOSS: I think the young women I
Women make
SYSTROM: The truth is we don’t have work with recognize the power
Kode With up fewer than
Klossy hosted enough women in technology; we and potential that exists in tech, 24 percent of
50 camps in Apple or tech roles at six
25 cities this
all acknowledge that. You can’t Android? both as future entrepreneurs and of the largest
summer. build great products if you just “I love as drivers of social change. Cod- tech companies
Apple iOS. (Apple, Google,
have a bunch of men sitting in a It’s what ing is a logic-based language, but Intel, Microsoft,
inspired Twitter, and
room, making decisions about we really focus on how creative Facebook, which
me to learn
a community that is vast and Swift.” and applicable it is to real life.  owns instagram).

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Learn more at ai.intel.com

CONGRATULATIONS WIRED
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I s s u e s 2 1.0 7 –2 6.1 0
JULY 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | OCTOBER 2018

FISK PROJECTS

93–98 | 98–03 | 03–08 | 08–13 | 13–18 0 9 9


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2006, but on its site you can still find trea-


sures from GeoCities entries to forgotten
role-playing games, including Abandoned

Long Live Places: A Time for Heroes. And who doesn’t


love the dancing hamsters that went viral
after they appeared on the website of a
Canadian art student?
It’s astounding to think that in 2001, the

the Web
web’s notions and fancies were already
being frozen in amber. But what the
Machine truly preserves is the sentiment
felt at a crux in the internet’s development—
the end of the beginning. This thing of ours,
which seems so permanent now, was frail
Things break and decay on the internet, as in all human
and unsteady. Everyone knew the sub-
endeavors. And then they are replaced.
strate was nothing but digital drywall and
rusted siding. The Wayback Machine would
by Virginia Heffernan
remember the web at its best.
My favorite response to the Wayback
hat’s more alive—library stacks or the internet? Seems plain as Machine at its launch came from Kendra
day: The living one clamors and bleats. The one that’s dark and Mayfield, in WIRED: “Imagine being able
smells of mildew is dead. to travel back in time to an era when the
But it hasn’t always been obvious. At the turn of the century, digital publishing euphoria had just begun
when the web was a wake for victims of dotcom crib death—Pets. and the dotcom boom was in full swing.”
com, eToys.com, gazoontite.com—it was a morbid place to be. An era! It had been eight years!
Occasionally it could seem alive, sure, as brush fires are alive. Bright, but not Today the Wayback Machine looks
long for this world. No one knew if even Amazon and Priceline would survive, weathered, dated, especially the Rocky
and they almost didn’t. and Bullwinkle kitsch. Sometimes cached
Grooved into the nervous systems of anyone who came of age in the ’80s and pages won’t load; its UX, though recently
’90s was also a persistent fear of disappearing data. “Computers” were iden- redesigned, is as idiosyncratic as the early
tified with caprice. Everyone knew the ice-blood dread of having whole term web. But it is still a favorite warm-woolen-
papers disappear from MacWrite or Word. (You were cautioned not just to back mittens place in the thunderdome. Still
up but to print, at every juncture.) Then came the hard lesson of the century’s staffed up, still on the job, the Machine is
end: Economies could vanish too. The crash of the dotcom market reinforced a monument to the idealism of that bol-
the impression that the internet was itself a soap bubble. shevik dawn, when information longed
Into this existential panic came the Wayback Machine, launched weeks after for freedom (ha) and when that freedom,
9/11 by the Internet Archive, a nonprofit labor of love built by Brewster Kahle in turn, was believed to be the royal road
and Bruce Gilliat. That fall, both the nation and the internet seemed to hang in to human liberation (sob).
the balance. By putting nonmaterial culture on digital tape, as was the founders’ On a whim I looked up my name on the
original intention, the archive might lend immortality to internet ephemera. Wayback Machine not long ago. I was hop-
Kahle and Gilliat thus made sure that “I Can Has Cheezburger?” “HelloMyFu- ing to find stuff I’d written for web zines
tureGirlfriend” and “All Your Base Are Belong to Us”—which seemed like fleeting in the ’90s, including Stim.com, a slightly
hallucinations—would outlive us and delight humankind forever. gonzo site owned by Prodigy, a now defunct
The archive further ladled nostalgia on nostalgia by cribbing the Wayback tech company. But I found almost nothing
Machine’s moniker from the Rocky and Bullwinkle shows. Even as they had from before 2006. I skimmed one 2006
made millions creating and selling businesses, including the Alexa Internet, article, which was neither incriminating
Kahle and Gilliat were communitarians, and they ran the Machine on open nor interesting, and I tried to remember
source Linux nodes. Today it still preserves cached web pages writing it. Nothing. From the start, writing
in various iterations (now that takes a high level of crawling for the web has had a place between writ-
tech, as well as internet piety). ing and talking; it’s almost as easy to forget
The Machine’s holdings blow the mind: more than 20 petabytes a blog post as it is to forget a conversation.
of data. By some estimates, the entire written works of humankind, Virginia Heffernan For at least a century, the proof of the
(@page88) has been
from the beginning of recorded history, in all languages, add up a regular contributor inferiority of newspapers to books was that
to 50 petabytes. The Machine abandoned digital tape storage in since 2017. newspapers were ephemeral. Books had
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moral heft and actual heft—thick paper, universe of nonsense if we tried. the original handy. Its founders, like all
heavy binding, hardwood housing. They If I’m honest, I started out, a long time founders, plan for it never to break, but
enjoyed eternal life. By contrast, a news- ago, wanting permanence from the inter- that’s a tall order. The Roman Library of
paper—cheap pulp printed with the day’s net—a place to show up and inscribe my Celsus in Turkey, among the most impres-
news—began to rot almost the second it name in the Book of Life. But that desire sive in the ancient world and built to last,
saw daylight. A day-old newspaper had its is gone. Now there are far, far too many fell into desuetude after less than 200
most promising chance at life extension as Vines and tweets and afterthought photos. years. The internet empire is much more
a wrap for deep-fried haddock. And if this stuff seems permanent, it’s not. vast and populous than ancient Rome,
Now it’s books that seem to be denied a Even if the FBI can disinter some of our but will it be more permanent? The Way-
full life. Entombed, the out-of-print ones old digital contraptions, things break and back Machine keeps betting yes—that,
go unconsulted, as nothing outside the decay on the internet in unexpected ways. against all odds, the web can be pro-
internet must be thought to exist. Online The Wayback Machine is perpetually grammed to prevent its own collapse. Our
it is digital artifacts that are said to last for- finding new uses. Last year, the directory web will remember itself, the Wayback
ever. The YouTube noodling, pamphlets, for the Office of Refugee Resettlement Machine keeps insisting—and, what’s
quips—it seems we couldn’t compost this suddenly vanished—but the Machine had more, remember itself fondly.

BLAKE KATHRYN

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WIRED@25

tic terrorist and foreign radical sus-


pects.” If that seems like ancient history,
consider that after the 9/11 attacks, the
New York City Police Department sent
informants and plainclothes officers into
mosques, bookstores, restaurants, and
Muslim student groups, instructing them
to initiate conversations about “jihad.”

Watch the
Even more recently, the Department of
Homeland Security began tracking the
movements of Black Lives Matter activ-
ists who were protesting police shoot-

Watchers ings of unarmed civilians.


Malkia’s organizations help to safe-
guard groups like Black Lives Matter
against surveillance. Their work is a
“Turnkey tyranny” has never been closer. For some reminder that if we want to have a sense
communities, it feels like it’s already here. of how the future may feel for all of us,
we need to examine how the past and
b y E d w ard Snowden present have felt for some of us. For most
of history, surveillance was costly and
resource-intensive, so governments
had to be selective in whom they tar-

P eople generally associate the word radical with


extreme. But I prefer to think of the word in reference
to its Latin origin: radix, the root of the issue.
Favorite
rabbit hole:
geted. Today, sur-
veillance is digital,
automated, a nd
Camera gear.
“I spend an
My friend Malkia Cyril is a radical in the truest sense of the p e r v a s i ve , a n d
unreasonable
word. Malkia’s work goes right to the root of government sur- amount of governments can
time reading
veillance: that it’s fundamentally about power and control, not reviews of some a f fo r d to t r a c k
simply safety and security. mirrorless and record nearly
Nikon I’ll
Malkia is the founder and executive director of the Center never buy.” everyone.
for Media Justice and cofounder of the Media Action Grassroots W hen I first
Network, a national network of racial and economic justice came forward, I warned that the sur-
organizations working to ensure equal access to technology veillance system the government had
and communication. Among other things, created had terrible potential for abuse.
WIRED ICON they give digital security training to black In the wrong hands, it offered the oppor-
activists, immigrant activists, and Mus- tunity for “turnkey tyranny.” Nothing
EDWARD SNOWDEN
NSA whistle-blower
lim Americans. that has occurred since has changed that
When I came forward in 2013 with assessment. Much of it has deepened
N O M I N AT E S
evidence that the NSA had been uncon- my concern.
MALKIA CYRIL stitutionally intercepting the communica- This is not science fiction—it is happen-
Founder of the Center for Media
Justice, cofounder of Media tions of ordinary Americans, many were ing now, with those on the edge of soci-
Action Grassroots Network shocked. Not Malkia. Born to a mother ety knowing all too well what it means
who was a member of the Black Panther to live under the unblinking eye of judg-
Party and raised in Brooklyn in an environment of political ment. Truly understanding their experi-
ferment and police scrutiny, Malkia was fighting against the ence may be our last chance to stay free.
surveillance of activists and people of color before anyone Malkia’s radical lesson is about the nature
knew my name. While the broader public debated whether the of rights: The best way to protect some-
government should be collecting information about millions body is to protect everybody—especially
of innocent people, Malkia reminded us that some minority the most vulnerable among us. 
communities—African American activists, Muslim
Americans, and others—have long been deemed ”My sister and
“perpetually guilty.” I made a FOIA
request for
In an assessment written just two days after Mar- my mother’s
tin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech, FBI file.
They located
the FBI named him “the most dangerous negro” in 1,422 pages
responsive to
the country and a threat to our national security; our request.”
Malkia Cyril (right) with
soon thereafter, the NSA put him on a list of “domes- spouse Alana Devich Cyril

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WIRED@25

Nobody
Left Behind How to Design an
Inclusive Office
With mindful tech and design, companies can
“I have team members in power
better serve customers—and employees— wheelchairs, who are blind, who
with disabilities. by Jenny Lay-Flurrie are deaf, who have autism, the
whole gambit,” Lay-Flurrie says.
Here are her tips on how to help

I
them all thrive.

ENTRIES AND EXITS


don’t have some hearing loss. ¶ When I joined Microsoft, in Doors should be powered and the
areas around them uncrowded, so
2005, I led European operations that provided customer service
that a wheelchair can easily turn
for Hotmail and other products. I also became a leader in the around. Lay-Flurrie recommends
company’s disability community. At one point, I wrote a white adding tactile strips on the ground
to guide blind people.
paper on accessibility and later launched
The father of a a support department for customers with
son w ith special
needs, Nadella has
disabilities called the Disability Answer
pushed Microsoft Desk. It now takes around 200,000 calls
to empower people
w ith disabilities. per year. The people who staff it know the
etiquette, the language, the technologies
to use—for example, using video to chat
with deaf customers so they can use sign language. ¶ I believe
we’re getting better at designing services and technologies to
be inclusive. You can move a mouse with your eyes. I can click a
button to get captioning on a PowerPoint presentation. We have
an app that allows the blind to navigate using 3-D audio cues.
Technology has so much potential to revolutionize the world
for people with disabilities. —As told to Lauren Goode

WIRED ICON
SATYA NADELLA
Microsoft CEO

N O M I N AT E S
JENNY LAY-FLURRIE
Microsoft chief
accessibility oicer

First
computer:
Sinclair
ZX8O
Secret
rabbit hole
obsession:
Action
movies

Satya Nadella and


Jenny Lay-Flurrie

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WHO’S NEXT

FIRST TO MARKET

SEATING AND WINDOWS


DEBUT: NOV 2013 | RETIREMENT: OCT 2015
Seat placement makes a diference.
APPEARANCES IN PRINT: 12
If you are hearing impaired, back-
lighting from bright windows can
obscure others’ faces and make lip-
reading challenging.
Facial Recognition
Smartphone users who unlock their device
with a glance already understand the
FURNISHINGS AND COLORS creeptastic potential of facial-recognition
Avoid thick rugs, which can snag technology. In China, so do shoppers, air-
wheelchairs. Furniture and carpeting line passengers, ride-share hailers, and
“When I was
should not be too close in color— students. Unconstrained by strict privacy
assigned First
a tripping hazard for those with low to Market, I had protections and buoyed by AI-enabled state
vision. Glass walls are also a risk; no idea how surveillance—and hefty government invest-
adding visual markers helps. VC funding ment—Chinese startups are leading the race
really worked. to ID your face. —Caitlin Harrington
I prepared by
LIGHTING AND SOUND watching Shark
Tank to learn an impressive—
Some people may benefit from desk about valuation.”
SenseTime
and necessary—
lamps that soften fluorescent lighting —Victoria $620 million,
feat. Because
or noise-cancelling headphones that Tang,FORMER Series C, Yitu’s AI is behind
dampen ambient sound. Consult with WIRED RESEARCH May 2018
EDITOR AND FIRST services such as
employees individually to learn how VCs and state ATM authenti-
TO MARKET WRITER
they work best. investors contrib- cation, medical
uted millions to imaging, and polic-
make this com- ing, false positives
pany the highest could be disas-
valued AI startup, trous.
worth more than
$4.5 billion. That Megvii’s
money funds
Asia’s largest AI Face++
training database, $600 million,
fueled by more private equity,
than 8,000 GPUs, July 2018
which is used for Recognized as
everything from the world’s largest
checkout-free facial recognition
shopping to Big platform, Face++
Brother-esque is employed by
CCTV monitoring. more than 300,000
developers in tasks
Yitu ranging from ver-
ifying ride-share
Technology drivers to warding
$300 million, of trespassers.
Series C, June Face++ also helps
and July 2018 power China’s
This Shanghai- video surveillance
based artifi- system, unironi-
THE SIGN cial intelligence cally dubbed Sky-
FOR “LEAD” startup won the net. In a December
accuracy award demo, the tech
from the National tracked down a
Institute of Stan- BBC reporter in just
dards and Tech- seven minutes.
nology last year,
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“I figured out the


upside of fake
RE AL O R FA KE news long before
2016. Easiest

YouTube
money I’ve ever
made freelancing.”
—Elise Craig,
FREQUENT WRITER OF
REAL OR FAKE

Sensations
JuanGTA, a Colombian Grand

Since 2009, Dude Perfect—five narrating backstories for


guys from Texas A&M—have
spent their lives creating trick-
shot videos with everything OR language writer for the
from basketballs to boomerangs
and crossbows. Millions of out in 2020.
subscribers have watched them
break world records.

British YouTuber KSI’s original


shtick was recording himself
playing FIFA, but 4 billion or
so views later, he moved on
to a very public feud with a Roommates at Kansas State
controversial vlogger/wannabe created EpicFAIL, whose
actor that culminated in a pay- Jackass-type skits about post-
OR college dating have 16 million
per-view boxing match.
subscribers. Get hot tips every
“sexy Wednesday,” along with
face-plants and crotch shots on
“I kept finding new things that were stranger than fiction. Why not play with that? See if we could “OH SNAP Monday.”
confuse people?” —Caitlin Roper, FORMER ARTICLES EDITOR AND CREATOR OF REAL OR FAKE

In 2007, Annie Walker and Kari


Okaze introduced the world
to their Mary-Kate and Ashley
Olsen parodies. In 2014, Mary-
Ryan ToysReview is pretty Kate herself made a cameo; the
self-explanatory: A small child video hit 14 million views, and
named Ryan reviews toys. He SNL came calling. Walker has
OR been a writer there since 2015.
has one of the top 50 most-
viewed videos of all time, “HUGE
EGGS Surprise Toys Challenge
with Inflatable water slide.”

—Roper The Meet the Morgans!


channel includes videos like
“Best Proposal Ever!!!,” “OMG
Jenna Marbles’ channel (18 gender reveal!!,” “Casting
million followers) features My Pregnant Belly,” and
videos like “Drunk Makeup “Puppy Meets Baby Cuteness
Tutorial,” “Things Guys Lie OR Explosion,” which have all
About,” “What’s the Best hit between 10 million and 12
Mascara to Cry In,” and our million views. They recently
personal fave, “I Let My Dogs teased a second pregnancy.
Walk Me for a Day.” She also
posts reaction videos of herself
… watching her old videos.

D E B U T: J U L 2 0 1 2 | S TAT U S : O N G O I N G
APPEARANCES IN PRINT: 15

Jenna Marbles Ryan ToysReview KSI Dude Perfect Real:


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WHO’S NEXT

Susan Wojcicki (left)


and Geetha Murali

The Evolution of
Calpurnia Tate
by Jacqueline
Kelly
The tale of a
19th-century girl
exploring the
secrets of Charles
Lab Girl Darwin’s book
by Hope Jahren On the Origin of
This memoir Species. I love
describes the how the heroine
geobiologist’s is driven by her
relationships own curiosity.
with her scientist
father and, later, a
female coworker.
I like that it shows
a girl having
mentors that are
male and female.

Girls Think
of Everything:
Stories of

Six Books to Get Ingenious


Inventions
by Women
by Catherine

Girls Into Tech Brazen: Rebel


Ladies Who
Rocked
Thimmesh
Did you know a
woman invented
the World the windshield
Room to Read CEO Geetha Murali on her favorite page- by Pénélope wiper blade?
turners for future scientists and engineers. Bagieu
A graphic novel
in which women

G
Guilty tech rebel against
addiction: societal norms
“Asking Alexa and conquer their
and Siri to respective fields,
tell me jokes.”
from exploration
to invention.

says. “She instilled that obsession in me.” Murali went on Good Night
to earn two master’s degrees (in statistics and South Asian Stories for
Rebel Girls
studies) and a PhD. In 2013, as the chief development offi- by Elena
cer of literacy nonprofit Room to Read, she Favilli and
WIRED ICON Francesca
Cavallo
SUSAN WOJCICKI My 9-year-old
CEO of YouTube daughter loves
Headstrong: this book because
N O M I N AT E S 52 Women it makes her
GEETHA MURALI Who Changed imagine herself
CEO of Room to Read, an Favorite meme: Science and as the hero of
“A Kermit meme the World her own story.
education nonprofit
that reads, by Rachel
‘COME TO THE
Swaby
DARK SIDE. WE
HAVE COOKIES.’” Swaby shines a Former
light on dozens WIRED
of pioneers research
in science and editor
mathematics.

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Jennifer Doudna (left) and Jiwoo Lee

Taming Crispr How I was asked to


prom: “‘PROM?’ spelled
To keep gene editing under control, says Jennifer Doudna, out with growth
medium in a grid of
the biologists of tomorrow must study ethics today. mini test tubes.”

T wo years after biochemist Jennifer Doudna helped introduce the Biggest lab she’s cautious. “I think there’s a really
snafu: MIT,
world to the gene-editing tool known as Crispr, a 14-year-old from 1990. “I was slippery slope between therapy and
New Jersey turned it loose on a petri dish full of lung cancer cells, conducting enhancement,” Lee says. “Every cul-
a chemical
disrupting their ability to multiply. “In high school, I was all on the Crispr experiment and ture defines disease differently.” One
didn’t realize
bandwagon,” says Jiwoo Lee, who won top awards at the 2016 Intel Inter- the pressure country’s public health campaign
national Science and Engineering Fair for her work. “I was like, Crisprize had built up could be another’s eugenics.
until there
everything!” Just pick a snippet of genetic material, add one of a few cut-and- was a huge That’s why Lee wants to under-
paste proteins, and you’re ready to edit genomes. These days, though, Lee explosion!”
stand the mechanics of Crispr bet-
describes her approach as “more conservative.” Now a sophomore at Stan- ter before plowing into any more
ford, she spent part of her first year studying not just the science of Crispr but real-world applications. (She’s cur-
also the societal discussion around it. “Maybe I matured a little bit,” she says. rently investigating the technique’s
Doudna and Lee recently met at the Innovative Genomics Institute in unintended consequences in yeast
Berkeley to discuss Crispr’s ethical implications. “She’s so different than cells.) In a way, it’s the same approach
I was at that age,” Doudna says. “I feel like I was completely clueless.” For that led Doudna to Crispr in the
Lee’s generation, it is critically important to start these first place—the pursuit of knowl-
conversations “at as early a stage as possible,” Doudna WIRED ICON edge for knowledge’s sake. “When
adds. She warns of a future in which humans take charge JENNIFER DOUDNA I think about the kind of science we
of evolution—both their own and that of other spe- Crispr pioneer do in my lab, we’ve always asked
cies. “The potential to use gene editing in germ cells N O M I N AT E S the ‘how’ questions,” she says. “In
or embryos is very real,” she says. Both women believe the end, when you understand how
JIWOO LEE
Crispr may eventually transform clinical medicine; Crispr wunderkind, something works, it opens the door
Lee even hopes to build her career in that area—but Stanford sophomore to different ideas.” —Katie M. Palmer

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WHO’S NEXT

The career choice


I didn’t pursue:
“Architecture. I
still enjoy playing
tive spots and bleeding in with Legos!”
the retina, the light-sensing

Every Eye tissue at the back of the eye. Then they


began feeding it new data from Aravind’s
centers. When supplied with a patient’s

Tells a Story
retinal photos, the algorithm can spit
out a diagnosis in a matter of seconds.
For now, Aravind’s doctors still check its
work, but soon—once it receives regu-
Algorithms can reveal when patients are going latory approval—the AI will go solo. Is
blind—but that’s just the beginning. Kim worried about losing his job to auto-
mation? “Not really,” he says. The easier

T en cents won’t get you much in the American health


care system—maybe a Band-Aid, if your HMO is feel-
ing generous—but in parts of India, where nearly a
screenings get, the more patients will get
screened. “I have a feeling that we’ll be
put to more work when AI comes into
quarter of the world’s blind population lives, it will cover the
play, because it’s going to detect many
more problems,” Kim says. Similar tools
could soon spot glaucoma and other
vision-killing conditions.
Eyes have been called many things
by many people—the interpreters of
the mind (Cicero), the lamps of the body
(Saint Matthew), the windows to the soul
(anyone with a keyboard). In strictly
rai, nearly 2,000 patients take advantage of these services
neurological terms, though, your reti-
every day. Yet he foresees an even breezier ophthalmic future,
nas are extensions of your central ner-
one powered by artificial intelligence: “You put a coin in a
vous system. They’re rooted in the brain,
vending machine at the airport or the railway station, it takes
and they have all sorts of stories to tell
pictures, and within a few seconds it tells you ‘Hey, you have
about what’s going on beneath your
this problem in your eye.’”
skull. Earlier this year, for instance,
Four years ago, a joint team of researchers from Google
Google debuted an algorithm that can
and Aravind began work on an automated tool for detect-
identify a person’s sex and smoking sta-
ing diabetic retinopathy, one of the
tus and predict the five-year risk of a
leading causes of blindness world-
WIRED ICON heart attack, all on the basis of retinal
wide. (India is home to 74 million
imagery. (The same AI can also “infer
people with diabetes.) First, they
ethnicity.”) As Kim notes, what makes
trained an algorithm to recognize
these results so exciting is that the algo-
the signs of the disease—distinc-
rithm picked up on problems that the
R. KIM people who trained it couldn’t. “This is
Chief medical oicer of
Aravind Eye Hospital not something the human eye can see
at this point,” he says. “There’s some-
thing beyond that the machine is see-
ing.” Medical researchers are actively
Silicon Valley trope
studying the retina as an early-warning
that is every bit
as absurd as people system for dementia, multiple sclero-
think: “The ubiquity
of kale. It really is sis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and even
everywhere. I don’t schizophrenia. To understand the body,
believe people who
say they like it.” look to the eye. –Anthony Lydgate

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ASK A FLOWCHART by Robert Capps

Will My Technology Make


DEBUT: MAR 2009 | RETIREMENT: AUG 2017
the World Better? APPEARANCES IN PRINT: 56

BUT NO
THEY KEEP
ACTUAL SLURS?
HOW DO PEOPLE ON CALLING ME
LOOKIT PROFESSOR LIKE
TWITTER TREAT YOU? “GARBAGE SCIENCE!
POPULARITY OVER MONSANTO?
HUMAN.”
HERE!

DEMOCRACY!
OH, I GET TONS NO, GOOD
OF ADMIRATION SCIENCE.
AND RESPECT. WHAT IDEAL DO
YOU SERVE? GREAT!
LYING SO YOU LIVE
DOESN’T HELP IN AND PARTICIPATE
ANYTHING. IN A DEMOCRACY,
RIGHT?
ALGORITHMS
DO YOU MAKE
TESLAS?
USERS
YES NO I CAN’T EVEN
VISIT A MAJOR
DEMOCRACY.

BECAUSE
FREE TECHNOLOGY THEY MAKE YOUR
WHAT DO PRODUCTS BETTER? SO, LIKE NASA?
AND EMPOWERMENT
USERS WANT?
FOR ALL, OF COURSE.
YES NO
WHY NOT?

OHHHH.
GOTCHA.
SOME
YES, AND WE ALGORITHMS
THAT SOUNDS MEASURE JUST MAKE THE MY PRODUCT
LOVELY. SUCCESS BY WORLD BURN. WAS USED TO
MARKET CAP. UNDERMINE
THEIR ELECTIONS.

YES!
OH, YEAH, BUT SO WHY
THERE’S EVERYTHING IS DO YOU SERVE
MAYBE, BUT
ADVERTISING. FREE? THEM?
YOU’RE KIND OF
A JERK.
NO

SO YOU YES, THAT’S BECAUSE


MANIPULATE HOW WE SERVE THEY’RE IN
THEM. OH, SO SPACE
FINE, BUT THE USERS? CHARGE! FORCE?!
ALGORITHMS
ARE GOING
TO WIN! UGH,
NEVER MIND.

WE SERVE HOW
ARE YOU
THEM TO DOES THAT
OK? YOU SEEM
SHAREHOLDERS! SERVE USERS?
NERVOUS.

NO, I SAID
YEAH, I AM!
NEVER MIND. SCIENCE.
HOW ABOUT A
NICE GAME SHHH. THEY’LL
OF CHESS? HEAR YOU.
HMM. MAYBE
YOU’RE THE HERO
SILICON VALLEY
DESERVES.

“Every month we’d try to take


on a serious issue plaguing
WAS THAT …
ACTUAL HUMILITY? I the tech world. Of course, it
HONESTLY DIDN’T EXPECT TO YES was always a bit of just being a
WHAT THE USE THIS BUTTON. smart-ass about these things.”
NO WAY—I’M NO
HELL DOES
HERO. —Robert Capps, FORMER
THAT MEAN?
HEAD OF EDITORIAL

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THE
FUTURE
WAS
SO
DELICIOUS,
I ATE BY DAVI D KARPF

IT
ALL
ILLUSTRATION BY
DEANNE CHEUK

To write the history of how our culture thinks about tomorrow,


one obsessed academic sat down to read every issue of WIRED in chronological order.

HERE ARE HIS FIN DINGS.


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police brutality on the fly. Just as interesting were the things


WIRED saw coming that never did. The November 1999 cover
story held up a company called DigiScent, which hoped to
launch the next web revolution by sending smells through
the internet. (“Reekers, instead of speakers.”)
But more than just scoring hits and misses, I was interested
in identifying those visions of the future that remained always
on the horizon, the things that WIRED —and, by extension,
the broader culture—kept predicting but which remained
always just out of reach. Again and again, the magazine held
that the digital revolution would sweep away a host of old
social institutions, draining them of their power as it rendered
them obsolete. In their place, WIRED repeatedly proclaimed,
the revolution would bring an era of transformative abun-
dance and prosperity, its foothold in the future secured by
the irresistible dynamics of bandwidth, processing power,
and the free market.
At the same time, an animating tension has always run
through the magazine, one that stretches all the way back
flanked by two men wearing neckties. All are blindfolded, stricken with
to Schrage’s 1994 essay. The cover loudly suggests the death
terror. Together they face a firing squad of mismatched TV remotes. The
of the analog order; the text anticipates how the old order
cover line reads: “Is Advertising Finally Dead?”
will adapt, graft itself onto the digital revolution, and alter its
By all appearances, the cover promised yet another gleeful epitaph
trajectory. Cutting against the magazine’s exuberance—but
for the declining institutions of the analog age. In just over a year, WIRED
also propelled along by it—is a heretical strain of gimlet-eyed,
had already predicted the imminent demise of public education and The
anxious ambivalence about who will pay for the future. It’s
New York Times. Michael Crichton proclaimed in the fourth issue that
this tension that has produced some of WIRED ’s moments
“it is likely that what we now understand as the mass media will be gone
of greatest foresight.
within 10 years. Vanished, without a trace.” Advertising, it seemed, was
the next industry marked for obsolescence.
But the cover story itself—an essay by MIT Media Lab fellow Michael ,
Schrage—was not, in fact, an epitaph at all.
Instead, the article imagines how advertisers
WIRED S first issue appeared
four years after the Berlin Wall fell and two years after the
will adapt to, and eventually come to dominate, Soviet Union dissolved. The Cold War was over, but WIRED
digital media. Read with the benefit of hindsight insisted that this would be anything but a period of calm.
today, the piece has an almost Cassandra-like Networked computers would forge a new world culture and
quality, foretelling a future both unpleasant and ensure mass prosperity—in a series of dramatic overthrows.
unavoidable—a future that feels a bit too much The inaugural issue opened with a manifesto: “The Digi-
like now. It may be the most eerily prescient tal Revolution is whipping through our lives like a Bengali
story that WIRED published in its early years. typhoon—while the mainstream media is still groping for
How do I know? This past summer, I pulled up the snooze button.” Technology promised to unleash “social
a chair—for a time at the Library of Congress— changes so profound their only parallel is probably the dis-
and read every issue of the magazine’s print covery of fire.” That WIRED was rooting for these changes was
FEBRUARY 1994
edition, chronologically and cover to cover. My never in doubt. The magazine’s trademark move throughout
aim was to engage in a particular kind of time the ’90s was to shout, “Brace yourself!” while also promis-
travel. Back when founding editor Louis Rossetto was recruiting the first ing, with a wild grin, that beyond this patch of turbulence
members of the WIRED team in the early 1990s, he said he was “trying to is a better world.
make a magazine that feels as if it has been mailed back from the future.” Everything was up for transformation. A 1994 profile of
I was looking to use WIRED ’s back catalog to construct a history of the the Electronic Frontier Foundation asked,
future—as it was foretold, month after month, in the magazine’s pages. “How hard could it be to hack government?”
In part, the fun was in recognizing what W I R E D saw coming—the In 1997, Jon Katz argued that we were wit-
flashes of uncanny foresight buried in old print. Back in the mid-’90s, a nessing the “primordial stirrings of a new
David Karpf
time when most Americans hadn’t even sent an email, the magazine was (@davekarpf) is an kind of nation—the Digital Nation—and the
already deep into speculation about a world where everyone had a net- associate professor in formation of a new postpolitical philoso-
worked computer in their pocket. In 2003, when phones with cameras the School of Media phy.” The old left-right politics of Ameri-
and Public Affairs at
were just a novelty in the US (but popular in Asia), Xeni Jardin was pre- the George Washing- can democracy were sure to subside in the
dicting a “phonecam revolution” that would one day capture images of ton University. face of this new digital polity. “The Digital

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Nation points the way toward a more rational, less dogmatic


approach to politics. The world’s information is being liber-
ated, and so, as a consequence, are we.”
SOMEHOW, WIRED’S
The notion that the future of politics might, with the inter-
net, become less rational and more dogmatic was scarcely OPTIMISM CAME
explored. Yet somehow, WIRED ’s optimism didn’t come across
as saccharine, but as swaggering. For the June 1995 issue,
then-executive editor Kevin Kelly sat down with Kirkpat-
ACROSS NOT AS
rick Sale, a self-described “neo-Luddite,” for a tart, extended
ideological showdown on the subject of the technological SACCHARINE,
future. Near the end of the Q&A, Sale predicted that indus-
BUT AS SWAGGERING.
trial civilization would, in the next couple of decades, suffer
economic collapse, class warfare, and widespread environ-
appreciate tomorrow’s multimedia networks, don’t look to the Bob Metcalfes,
mental disaster. In response, Kelly pulled out his checkbook.
Ted Nelsons, and Vint Cerfs for ideas and inspiration. Those techno-wonks
“I bet you US$1,000 that in the year 2020, we’re not even
won’t set the agenda,” he wrote. “The economics of advertising, promotion,
close to the kind of disaster you describe,” Kelly said. “I’ll bet
and sponsorship—more than the technologies of teraflops, bandwidth,
on my optimism.”
and GUI—will shape the virtual realities we may soon inhabit.” The article
The magazine’s July 1997 cover story announced “The
imagined a world where smartphones (well, PDAs) were ubiquitous and
Long Boom: A History of the Future 1980–2020.” On the
pulsing with ad-driven content. “No doubt, many PDA digimercials will
cover, a smiling globe holds a flower in its mouth, next to
prove to be the annoying equivalent of junk mail and those idiotic auto-
the words: “We’re facing 25 years of prosperity, freedom,
mated telemarketing calls. But so what … there’ll be a nice market in soft-
and a better environment for the whole world. You got a
ware that screens out the junk and highlights what PDA owners want.”
problem with that?”
Between those lines, you can catch an early, primordial glimmer of the
By the following year, WIRED wasn’t just betting on tech-
basic idea behind AdSense and Facebook—a future that is at least more
nological optimism—it was giving readers tips on how to
complicated than it is obviously liberating.
bet on it themselves, with their own money. The magazine
But in WIRED , exuberance was almost always given the final word. In
launched the “WIRED Index,” a portfolio of companies at
September 1999, the magazine published an essay by Kevin Kelly that
the heart of the so-called New Economy, “a broad range of
squarely acknowledged widespread public fears of an impending stock
enterprises that are using technology, networks, and infor-
market crash—and smiled in the face of incipient panic. The tech boom,
mation to reshape the world.” It would increase by 81 per-
he insisted, would not end. “Picture 20 more years of full employment,
cent over the course of the next 12 months, outpacing every
continued stock-market highs, and improving living standards. Two more
other broad-based financial index.
decades of inventions as disruptive as cell phones, mammal cloning, and
And yet, beneath the boisterous optimism that marked
the Web. Twenty more years of Quake, index funds, and help-wanted signs.
WIRED ’s covers and its biggest proclamations, the maga-
Prosperity not just for CEOs, but for ex-pipe-fitters, nursing students, and
zine also trafficked occasionally in dark, deadpan warnings.
social workers as well.”
Back in February 1994, the writer R.U. Sirius mused about the
Six months later, the dotcom bubble began to burst.
coarse dynamics that had already begun to present them-
selves in an online world where anyone can be a publisher.
“As more and more people get a voice, a voice needs a spe-
cial stridency to be heard above the din,” he wrote. “On the
FOR A WHILE, even WIRED sobered
up. The April 2000 cover story was a brooding essay by Sun Microsys-
street, people tolerate diversity because they have to—you’ll tems cofounder Bill Joy, “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us.” It envisioned
get from here to there if you don’t get in anybody’s face. But a world where artificial intelligence and automation might mark human-
the new media environment is always urging you to mock
up an instant opinion about The Other … You can
be part of the biggest mob in history. Atavistic fun,
guys. Pile on!” In January 1997, Tom Dowe wrote
an essay warning about, well, fake news: “The Net
is opening up new terrain in our collective con-
sciousness, between old-fashioned ‘news’ and
what used to be called the grapevine—rumor,
gossip, word of mouth. Call it paranews—infor-
mation that looks and sounds like news, that might
even be news. Or a carelessly crafted half-truth.”
Schrage’s 1994 essay on advertising was less
dystopian, but it certainly wasn’t boisterous. “To

JULY 1997 JANUARY 1998 APRIL 2000

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ity itself for obsolescence. In 2009, Demand Media was the future of news. This future
The June 2001 update to the seemed inevitable, if not particularly desirable. Demand
W I R E D Index opened, “OUCH.” Media was one of the largest content farms on the web, pub-
Not long thereafter, Kevin Kelle- lishing 4,000 videos and articles per day through sites like
her wrote an essay titled “Death eHow and Cracked.com. What content did it farm? Whatever
of the New Economy, RIP.” “In the its algorithm told it to. As Daniel Roth reported in November
end,” he wrote, “what really bruised 2009 for WIRED , Demand Media tracked what people were
the notion of a new economy is the searching for on the internet, what search terms advertisers
figment that, by definition, it was were paying for, and which subjects competing online outlets
NOVEMBER 2003 going to make the world better. were publishing about. Once the algorithm selected a topic,
The real new economy is merely articles and video were assigned to an army of freelancers,
agnostic: If business cycles are shorter, they are also sharper and more who were paid rock-bottom rates ($15 for an article, $1 for
painful on the way down.” When the September 11 attacks happened, it fact-checking, 25 to 50 cents for video quality control). As The
shook the magazine’s punchy faith in a networked world even further. New York Times seemed to teeter on the brink, Demand was
But by 2003, the digital revolution had turned exciting again. The spread reaping huge profits from digital ads. The future of media,
of Wi-Fi and the growth of the open source movement kindled a thou- WIRED said, was “fast, disposable, and profitable as hell.”
sand speculative business ideas. “Software is just the beginning,” WIRED The videos and how-tos that Demand Media’s freelancer
declared in November 2003. “Open source is doing for mass innovation network put together were predictably shoddy. But that
what the assembly line did for mass production. Get ready for the era didn’t matter. The company didn’t need to provide good
when collaboration replaces the corporation.” answers to your Google search; it just had to provide rele-
Chris Anderson, who had become WIRED ’s editor in chief in 2001, artic- vant answers that placed well in search rankings. When the
ulated the new optimism of the Web 2.0 era in a series of iconic articles. company went public in January 2011, it was valued at $1.5
In “The Long Tail” (October 2004) and “Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of billion—reportedly worth more than The New York Times!
Business” (March 2008), he argued that the new reality of infinite, too- But its status as the future of media would be short-lived.
cheap-to-meter digital storage would fundamentally change the entire Soon after the initial public offering, Google announced a
economy. The internet would radically increase the scope and reach of change to its search algorithm specifically meant to down-
niche entertainment markets, he wrote in “The Long Tail.” Books, music, grade content farms. Demand Media’s business model would
movies, and television would transcend the limited selection space never recover. Within a few years, the original executive team
imposed by the physical inventory of bookstores and record stores. “Free” quietly left. The company sold some of its big domains and
offered the more radical argument that the new digital economy was rebranded as Leaf Group in 2016. Demand’s brief moment
fundamentally organized around the economics of abundance rather in the zeitgeist proves Schrage’s point—that “the future of
than scarcity. In this era, the dominant business models would revolve media is the future of advertising.” But in Demand Media’s
around services that were, in one way or another, free. case, the future of advertising was subject to the whims of
At the peak of the Web 2.0 era, in June 2008, WIRED celebrated its 15th Google’s engineering team.
anniversary. Founding editor Louis Rossetto returned with a reflection on In retrospect, the larger lesson from Demand Media’s
what early WIRED had gotten right and wrong. He admitted that predic- brief reign concerns fragility. In the rush to identify the next
tions of media’s demise had been premature. “Governments,” he added, industry that will be disrupted by the digital revolution, we
“are still here, presumptuous and bossy as ever.” But the Long Boom was underrate how fragile the business models of the disruptors
a big call that he confidently declared they had gotten right. “The boom themselves tend to be. They usually have as much to fear as
began with the introduction of the personal computer, and it will continue their old and lumbering counterparts.
until at least 2020,” he wrote. “There’s a lot of noise in the media about Consider: Napster didn’t kill the music business; the courts
how the world is going to hell. Remember, the truth is out there, and it’s killed Napster. Then a dozen Napster-like flowers bloomed
not necessarily what the politicians, priests, or pundits are telling you.”
The Wall Street collapse began three months later. It would seem that
invoking the Long Boom in WIRED is a bit like saying “Macbeth” in a the-
ater. It is best not to tempt the fates. THE FUTURE
WILLIAM GIBSON is said to have JUST KEEPS
remarked that “the future is already here—it’s just not evenly distrib-
uted.” Paging through the first 25 years of WIRED , what’s most striking
is that the future never becomes evenly distributed. Sure, everyone gets
ARRIVING,
on Facebook and uses Google, but the dinosaurs never die outright, and
the new age of abundance never quite gains its inviolable foothold. The
future just keeps arriving, mutating, bowing to the fickle pressures of
MUTATING,
advertising markets and quarterly earnings reports.
BOWING TO FICKLE
PRESSURES.
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The Colophon in WIRED’s first issue was a list of the hardware and software used to produce the magazine. It mentioned the music too: Seal, k.d. lang,
Thelonious Monk. Over the years, Colophon has credited fashion blunders, cheap thrills, and other distractions for helping to get the issue out. Then, in
2007, Colophon was put on ice—and readers raised hell. A few months later, it reappeared. That month’s topic? “Readers who helped get Colophon back.”
—Joanna Pearlstein, DEPUTY EDITOR FOR NEWSROOM STANDARDS

in its place. But they were a mess, and they had little money By now, the digital revolution isn’t
to invest in improvements. Then iTunes, Rhapsody, and just the future; it has a history. Digital
(later) Spotify built business models that included a (reduced,
different) role for record labels. Nothing ever quite seems
technology runs our economy. It orga-
nizes our daily lives. It mediates how
COLOPHON
to fulfill its imagined revolutionary potential, and nothing we learn information, tell each other THINGS THAT WILL HELP US
ever quite seems to die. The New York Times is still alive stories, and connect with our neigh- GET OUT THE NEXT 25 ISSUES:
(and—contra Anderson—doesn’t cost $0.00 online anymore bors. It’s how we control and harass Flawless voice-to-text transcription tech;
either, having instituted a paywall along with numerous and encourage one another. It’s a tool Steven Universe, season six; cookies, cakes,
crisps, cobblers, and crumbles; a candy
other publications, including WIRED ). Webzines, the blogo- of both surveillance and resistance. drawer stocked with CBD gummies and
airplane bottles of rum; Fallonberg Heavy
sphere, and Demand Media were all supposed to kill the You can almost never be entirely offline Industries; Alyssa Walker; fond memories of
news business. Each proved at least as fragile as the indus- anymore. The internet is setting the Chelsea Leu; the death of social media; hate-
speech-free Twitter; a slew of new, private
try it was disrupting, a leaf on the changing winds of digi- agenda for the world around us. Pinterest boards; billionaire investors; paying
subscribers; atheism; the cooling, caffein-
tal advertising markets. Yesterday’s imagined futures just The digital revolution’s track ated, nutrient broth our disembodied brains
will float in; Joanna’s spreadsheet-perfected
keep accruing, providing sedimentary layers that today’s record suggests that its arc doesn’t cookie recipe; keyboards that deliver trans-
future can be built atop. always bend toward abundance—or dermal microdoses of LSD; all the cofee; Fer-
gus rocking it at sailing; selective listening;
in a straight line at all. It flits about, fact-checking and copyediting by the Steve
Jobs Memorial Content Integrity Group (an
responding to the gravitational forces
LOOKING BACK at WIRED’s
early visions of the digital future, the mistake that seems
of hype bubbles and monopoly power,
warped by the resilience of old insti-
Apple subsidiary); Oprah for President 2020
campaign swag; the underground USB-drive
network that emerges after a series of increas-
ingly severe hurricanes and wildfires plunges
the world into chaos; the blockchain.
most glaring is the magazine’s confidence that technology tutions and the fragility of new ones.
WIRED is a registered trademark of
and the economics of abundance would erase social and Today’s WIRED seems to have learned Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. Copy-
economic inequality. Both Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 imagined these lessons. right ©2018 Condé Nast. All rights reserved.
Printed in the USA. Volume 26, No. 10.
a future that upended traditional economics. We were all Perhaps because of all that accrued WIRED (ISSN 1059–1028) is published
monthly by Condé Nast, which is a division
going to be millionaires, all going to be creators, all going to history, the digital present affords less of Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. Edi-
torial oice: 520 Third Street, Ste. 305,
be collaborators. But the bright future of abundance has, time room for open-ended, boisterous opti- San Francisco, CA 94107-1815. Principal
oice: Condé Nast, 1 World Trade Cen-
and again, been waylaid by the present realities of earnings mism. Back in 1995, when Kevin Kelly ter, New York, NY 10007. Robert A. Sau-
reports, venture investments, and shareholder capitalism. On made his $1,000 bet with Kirkpatrick erberg, Jr., President and Chief Executive
Oicer; David E. Geithner, Chief Financial
its way to the many, the new wealth has consistently been Sale that in 2020 we wouldn’t even Oicer; Pamela Drucker Mann, Chief Reve-
nue & Marketing Oicer. Periodicals post-
diverted up to the few. be close to economic collapse, class age paid at New York, NY, and at additional
mailing oices. Canada Post Publications
In 2010, Clive Thompson wrote about the potential of warfare, or widespread environmen- Mail Agreement No. 40644503. Canadian
“peer-to-peer renting.” A French company called Zilok was tal disaster, the pages of WIRED told a Goods and Services Tax Registration No.
123242885 RT0001.
allowing people to “post possessions they’re willing to rent story that supported his confidence. POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS (see DMM
out, along with a price,” he wrote. “Want to use someone’s Judging from WIRED ’s recent report- 707.4.12.5); NONPOSTAL AND MILITARY
FACILITIES: Send address corrections to
car for the day? That’s $60, cheaper than most auto-rental ing—about the climate, discourse on WIRED, PO Box 37617, Boone, IA 50037-
0662. For subscriptions, address changes,
agencies.” These were the innocent, early days of the shar- social media, and international rela- adjustments, or back issue inquiries: Please
write to WIRED, PO Box 37617, Boone, IA
ing economy. “We’re seeing a new relationship to property tions—the bet has, at the very least, 50037-0662, call (800) 769 4733, or email
where access trumps ownership,” Thompson wrote. “We’re gotten a lot more interesting. (“He is subscriptions@WIRED.com. Please give both
new and old addresses as printed on most
using bits to help us share atoms.” obviously losing,” Kelly says of Sale. recent label. First copy of new subscription
will be mailed within eight weeks after
When Uber and Airbnb first arrived, they wore the halo “We should find him to make sure his receipt of order. Address all editorial, busi-
ness, and production correspondence to
of this broad sharing phenomenon. In July 2012, Alexia check is still good.”) WIRED Magazine, 1 World Trade Center,
New York, NY 10007. For permissions and
Tsotsis penned a glowing early profile of Uber in WIRED . Old W I R E D said the swaggering, reprint requests, please call (212) 630 5656
“If this new model of resource maximization succeeds, it optimistic stuff out loud and muttered or fax requests to (212) 630 5883. Visit us
online at www.WIRED.com. To subscribe to
won’t just put extra money in the pockets of everyday peo- its critical, dystopian remarks in wry other Condé Nast magazines on the web,
visit www.condenet.com. Occasionally, we
ple,” she wrote. “It will also change the way we think about stage whispers. New WIRED has almost make our subscriber list available to carefully
screened companies that ofer products and
work and consumption, with every purchase becoming a reversed that formula. The first issue services that we believe would interest our
potential investment, every idle hour a potential paycheck.” began by describing a typhoon no one readers. If you do not want to receive these
ofers and/or information, please advise us at
These early views of the sharing economy were accurate else could see. Today, everyone sees it, PO Box 37617, Boone, IA 50037-0662, or call
(800) 769 4733.
depictions of the moment, but poor visions of the future. and the magazine reports on the effects
WIRED is not responsible for the return or
Within a few short years, many of those Uber drivers would and movements of the storm. It still loss of, or for damage or any other injury
to, unsolicited manuscripts, unsolicited art-
be stuck paying off their cars in sub-minimum-wage jobs voices plenty of enthusiasm around work (including, but not limited to, drawings,
with no benefits. What began as an earnest insight about bits the edges. But WIRED is no longer sim- photographs, and transparencies), or any
other unsolicited materials. Those submit-
and atoms quickly turned into an arbitrage opportunity for ply cheering the imminent arrival of ting manuscripts, photographs, artwork, or
other materials for consideration should not
venture capitalists eager to undercut large, lucrative mar- the future. It seems to recognize that send originals, unless specifically requested
to do so by WIRED in writing. Manuscripts,
kets by skirting regulations. To meet the growth and mone- behind this patch of turbulence is prob- photographs, artwork, and other materi-
tization demands of investors, yesterday’s sharing economy ably another one. als submitted must be accompanied by a
self-addressed, stamped envelope.
became today’s gig economy. Enjoy the ride. 

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DEBUT: FEB 2002 | RETIREMENT: MAY 2007
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