Essays and Reviews

Learning to Live With AI

Learning to Live With AI

With investors and developers pouring resources into artificial intelligence, we can’t avoid AI. We can make it useful, however. In “Co-intelligence,” Wharton professor Ethan Mollick shows how.

April 3, 2024

Follow the Mavericks

Follow the Mavericks

The old way of doing things has often been a blueprint for dysfunction. In “The Geek Way,” Andrew McAfee proposes a radical rethink along the lines of companies like Amazon and Netflix.

December 11, 2023

Telling Ourselves a Good Story

Telling Ourselves a Good Story

Even our most vivid memories are less like photographs than sketches. Between the lines, imagination fills in much of what’s missing. “The Self Delusion,” by Gregory Berns.

November 2, 2022

Swept Away by the Stream

Swept Away by the Stream

“Is the Albanian army going to take over the world?” Old-media conglomerates famously dismissed Netflix when it was a fledgling startup. Time Warner, Blockbuster: Where are they now?

April 22, 2022

After the Disruption

September 23, 2021

The digital transition was always going to be a messy one—look at the antitrust fights that followed the telephone during the analog era. “System Error,” by Rob Reich, Mehran Sahami and Jeremy Weinstein.

The New Big Brother

January 14, 2019

Tech companies have shown themselves to be increasingly cavalier with our personal data. Are we handing over too much information? “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism,” by Shoshana Zuboff.

The story of VR, the most immersive communications technology since cinema, as told by two of its pioneers, Jeremy Bailenson of Stanford and the charismatic inventor Jaron Lanier.

When Machines Run Amok

August 29, 2017

The author was taken aback when he observed an AI program teach itself to play an arcade game—and play it much better than its human designers. Frank Rose reviews “Life 3.0,” by Max Tegmark of MIT.

Apple’s iPhone—a 21st-century American icon—could not exist without the labors of Bolivian miners and Chinese factory workers. “The One Device,” by Brian Merchant.

There’s a cultural bias in business and technology against any information that can’t be quantified. Frank Rose reviews “The Fuzzy and the Techie,” by Scott Hartley, and “Sensemaking,” by Christian Madsbjerg

We are at a hinge moment, when the relationship between people and their data will be defined for future generations. Frank Rose reviews a pair of books about consumer data and privacy: “Data for the People” by Andreas Weigend and “The Aisles Have Eyes” by Joseph Turow.

“Streaming, Sharing, Stealing: Big Data and the Future of Entertainment,” by Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang.

Beyond Our Control

November 29, 2015

Matt Ridley argues that the emergence of big ideas has little to do with top-down direction: “The Evolution of Everything,” by Matt Ridley.

Will Hollywood’s road to success be paved with ever-fewer, ever-more-expensive mega-movies?

Word Travels Fast

November 3, 2013

Twitter and Facebook are just the latest incarnations of a tradition that dates back 2,000 years, Tom Standage says: “Writing on the Wall,” by Tom Standage.

The Selfish Meme

October 1, 2012

Twitter, dopamine, and the evolutionary advantages of talking about oneself.

Let the Seller Beware

December 21, 2006

With MySpace, YouTube and blogs, the customer is always right and online.

The Lost Boys

August 1, 2004

Online gaming all night: Cool. Hour after hour downloading MP3s and porn: No problem. Thirty seconds so you can try to sell me something? Outta here. How the 18-34 male is reinventing advertising.

A century ago, the American seaside resort was practically invented at Newport. Today, Rhode Island’s coastal towns are still defining themselves against its strange and alluring myth.

Why Elvis?

October 2, 1994

Forget the messiah with the guitar—the King was just a sweet mama’s boy whose vague dreams of stardom took him places he’d never dreamed of.

Men of Steel

May 19, 1991

“American Steel: Hot Metal Men and the Resurrection of the Rust Belt,” by Richard Preston

Minimal and Mystical

March 16, 1985

What does “Einstein on the Beach” have to say to us in this post-Minimal era?

A Rotten Success Story

September 1, 1981

Public Image Ltd.: Are they committing rock’n’roll suicide, or are they simply boring?

Load More…