News trends make sense when they can be traced back to specific events, developments, or monumental moments. Other times, the minds of journalists and writers seem to collectively coalesce around some idea that is difficult to point to.
Over the past week or so, it seemed like everywhere we turned the focus was on technology above (including our stories on 3D printing in space, a flying car, and the comet probe’s success). For one reason or the other, we’re all looking up.
Enjoy this week’s stories!
DRONES: It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s—AAAACK! The unexpected dangers of drones
Seth Stevenson | Slate
“Despite the new, badass nomenclature, remote control aircraft have been around for decades. I suspected these new drones were still just toys with a scarier name, and that buying one made the user less a slick paramilitary operative and more a dorky model plane enthusiast.”
TRANSPORTATION: The future is finally here: We have jetpacks
Stefan Constantinescu | Quartz
“For decades, the jetpack has been one of the iconic symbols of the future that was always just around the corner. Now, finally, it is on the way to becoming a real, commercial thing—though probably not for you.”
EXPONENTIAL TECH: How the Pentagon’s Skynet Would Automate War
Nafeez Ahmed | Motherboard
“The NDU study warns that while accelerating technological change will ‘flatten the world economically, socially, politically, and militarily, it could also increase wealth inequality and social stress,’ and argues that the Pentagon must take drastic action to avoid the potential decline of US military power.”
CULTURE: The Slippery Slope of Silicon Valley
Nick Bilton | The New York Times
“While (most) start-ups have been on better behavior this year, there have been dozens of instances when they acted poorly, even unethically — sometimes playing fast and loose with our personal information, other times taking advantage of the lack of government oversight.”
START-UPS: Startups Get the Kinks Out of Drones, Online Shopping, Mobile GPS and Other Techs
Tekla Perry | IEEE Spectrum
“The Demo conference is no longer a unique launchpad for startup companies….but because Demo attracts a broader range of companies than many of the startup launchpads—hardware and software, consumer and enterprise—it is a good place to take the temperature of the latest trends.”
CROWDFUNDING: Should Crowdfunding Sites Do More to Vet Projects?
Nick Shchetko | The Wall Street Journal
“While paying close attention to equity crowdfunding, regulators have largely stayed away from project crowdfunding on sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and instances of fraud—when a company or an individual has no intention of delivering a product—are ‘very rare,’ said Mr. Mollick. The Federal Trade Commission, which oversees consumer protection laws, said it has received a ‘few hundred’ complaints involving crowdfunding last year but declined to comment whether it is actively looking into them.”
PRIVACY: Americans Relatively Sanguine About Online Privacy, Study Says
Ian Austen | The New York Times
“While the Internet was an American creation, Americans are comparatively a little less in its thrall than citizens of other nations. Seventy-seven percent of Americans agreed that affordable Internet access ‘should be a basic human right.'”
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