Technology & Digital Life

Business
5:09 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Mechanical Turk Workers: Secret Cogs In The Internet Marketplace

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 7:32 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Michel Martin, Going There
6:50 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

#MotorCityDrive: Is Detroit's Economic Engine Roaring Back To Life?

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 8:29 pm

For generations of Americans, Detroit was the place where people made things: powerful cars, amazing architecture, beautiful music. But now Detroit is entering a new chapter. After months of often tense and difficult negotiations, Detroit is now formally out of bankruptcy. Millions of dollars of contributions from private foundations and corporations helped the city preserve its acclaimed art collection. A new generation of artists and entrepreneurs, doers and makers is calling Detroit home. So we'd like to ask, what's next? What will drive Detroit's future now?

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NPR History Dept.
10:43 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Muddled Messages In America's Past

Telegraph operator, 1908.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 6:17 pm

Do you ever feel like communication — in this Age of Communication — is more confused and confusing than ever? Does anybody even read whole messages anymore — beyond the subject line or the first screen? Do you get tangled up in threads and bewildered by attachments? Do txt msgs n-furi-8 u?

Here's the real question: Are all these communication devices truly improving interaction between humans or just providing more opportunities for miscommunication?

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Asia
5:24 am
Wed May 20, 2015

U.S. Charges 6 Chinese Nationals With Stealing Tech Secrets

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 12:09 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Planet Money
3:28 am
Wed May 20, 2015

An NPR Reporter Raced A Machine To Write A News Story. Who Won?

Ariel Zambelich/NPR, Justin Cook for NPR

Originally published on Fri May 29, 2015 6:00 am

Even the most creative jobs have parts that are pretty routine — tasks that, at least in theory, can be done by a machine. Take, for example, being a reporter.

A company called Automated Insights created a program called WordSmith that generates simple news stories based on things like sporting events and financial news. The stories are published on Yahoo! and via the Associated Press, among other outlets.

We wanted to know: How would NPR's best stack up against the machine?

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All Tech Considered
3:24 am
Wed May 20, 2015

How A Bigger Lunch Table At Work Can Boost Productivity

A view of the central area of Atlassian's office in San Francisco. The software company found that desks were used only 20 percent of the workday — half as much as conference rooms were used.
Atlassian

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 3:09 pm

The loftlike San Francisco office of software maker Atlassian has an open central amphitheater, where all-staff gatherings and midday boot camp exercises are held.

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All Tech Considered
7:06 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Reddit's New Harassment Policy Aimed At Creating A 'Safe Platform'

A Reddit mascot is shown at the company's headquarters in San Francisco. Reddit has published a new policy aimed at harassment on the site.
Robert Galbraith Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 8:20 pm

Reddit, billed by its founders as "the front page of the Internet," has long been known as a place of unbridled free speech on the Web where users, known as Redditors, post text, pictures and videos.

But that unbridled free speech sometimes spills over into harassment, sexism and racism. Over the past couple of years, Reddit has been at the center of several controversies concerning harassment, including the release of hundreds of private celebrity photos. It's also become infamous for its unbridled vitriol.

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Planet Money
4:42 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Robots Are Really Bad At Folding Towels

UC Berkeley Robot Learning Lab

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 7:06 pm

Seven years ago, Pieter Abbeel set out on a quest: to teach a robot how to fold laundry. This proved to be a remarkably difficult task — and the difficulty of the task illuminates some key things about the limits of machines.

Abbeel, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, named his robot BRETT — short for the "Berkeley Robot for the Elimination of Tedious Tasks."

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Goats and Soda
4:30 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Eyes In The Sky: Foam Drones Keep Watch On Rain Forest Trees

A man and his drone: Carlos Casteneda of the Amazon Basin Conservation Association prepares to launch one of his plastic foam planes.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 7:46 pm

A couple of toy planes are out to catch illegal loggers and miners in the Amazon.

It's an awesome responsibility.

Every year, illegal logging and mining in the Peruvian Amazon destroy tens of thousands of acres of rain forest. The deforestation in remote parts of the jungle is difficult to detect while it's going on.

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The Two-Way
3:51 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

As Congress Haggles Over Patriot Act, We Answer 6 Basic Questions

The National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 8:18 pm

The rest of the month is setting up to be pretty dramatic in the Senate.

A key section of the Patriot Act — the part of law the White House uses to conduct mass surveillance on the call records of Americans — is set to expire June 1. That leaves legislators with a big decision to make: Rewrite the statute to outlaw or modify the practice or extend the statute and let the National Security Agency continue with its work.

As the Senate debates, we answer six questions that'll get you up to speed:

1. What's Congress debating here?

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