Silicon Valley’s competing philosophies on tech ethics with The New Yorker’s Andrew Marantz

“If Silicon Valley is going to keep telling itself the story that the only uses of their technology will be the most optimistic, the most hopeful, the most salubrious, the most prosocial,” New Yorker staff writer Andrew Marantz told me in Part 1 of this recent conversation for Extra Crunch, “you can try to rebut […]

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Softly, softly, catchy jelly: This ‘ultragentle’ robotic gripper collects fragile marine life

The creatures of the depths live in a very different world — one lethal to us. But our world is lethal to them as well, all sharp edges and rapid movements. If we’re to catch and learn about the soft-bodied denizens of the deep, our machines too must be soft — and that’s what this Harvard robotics research is all about.

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How ‘ghost work’ in Silicon Valley pressures the workforce, with Mary Gray

The phrase “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” was originally meant sarcastically. It’s not actually physically possible to do — especially while wearing Allbirds and having just fallen off a Bird scooter in downtown San Francisco, but I should get to my point. This week, Ken Cuccinelli, the acting Director of the United States […]

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These robo-shorts are the precursor to a true soft exoskeleton

When someone says “robotic exoskeleton,” the power loaders from Aliens are what come to mind for most people (or at least me), but the real things will be much different: softer, smarter, and used for much more ordinary tasks. The latest such exo from Harvard is so low-profile you could wear it around the house.

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Why AI needs more social workers, with Columbia University’s Desmond Patton

Sometimes it does seem the entire tech industry could use someone to talk to, like a good therapist or social worker. That might sound like an insult, but I mean it mostly earnestly: I am a chaplain who has spent 15 years talking with students, faculty, and other leaders at Harvard (and more recently MIT […]

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The rise of the new crypto “mafias”

Ash Egan Contributor Ash Egan leads crypto investing at Accomplice. He formerly was a VC at ConsenSys Ventures and Converge. In the early 2000s, journalists popularized the term “PayPal mafia” to describe the PayPal founders and employees who left to start their own wildly successful tech companies, including Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman, and Elon Musk. […]

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Tiny Robobee X-Wing powers its flight with light

We’ve seen Harvard’s Robobee flying robot evolve for years: After first learning to fly, it learned to swim in 2015, then to jump out of the water again in 2017 — and now it has another trick up its non-existent sleeve. The Robobee X-Wing can fly using only the power it collects from light hitting its solar cells, making it possible to stay in the air indefinitely.

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Providing supplemental educational videos online nets Osmosis $4 million

With over one million YouTube subscribers and 500,000 registered users for its supplemental educational videos, Osmosis, which bills itself as the Khan Academy of healthcare, has raised $4 million in new funding. The round was led by Felicis Ventures, with participation from previous Osmosis investors including Greycroft, Coverys, FundRx, Figure 8, Social Starts, and LearnStart, “By reimagining medical education, Osmosis is […]

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On the Internet of Women with Moira Weigel

“Feminism,” the writer and editor Marie Shear famously said in an often-misattributed quote, “is the radical notion that women are people.” The genius of this line, of course, is that it appears to be entirely non-controversial, which reminds us all the more effectively of the past century of fierce debates surrounding women’s equality. And what […]

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