When Robo-Cars crash, It’s Your Fault

The self-driving car is just around the corner—run for your life!

The Virtues of Corruption

On Feb. 1, 2006, after meeting with world leaders in London, the Afghan government signed a pledge to “expand its capacity to provide basic services to the population throughout the country.” It vowed to “recruit competent and credible professionals to public service on the basis of merit.” It also pledged to fight corruption, uphold justice and promote human rights.

Uber Lures Robot Gurus From Carnegie Mellon

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University is scrambling to recover after Uber Technologies Inc. poached 40 of its researchers and scientists earlier this year, a raid that left one of the world’s top robotics research institutions in a crisis.

Nature’s Perfect Criminal

In the classic noir film “The Third Man,” Harry Lime steals penicillin from sick children to sell on the black market, justifying his unscrupulous behavior by explaining that “for 30 years under the Borgias” Italy had murder and bloody warfare but produced the Renaissance, whereas in Switzerland “they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democrac

Gazing Into the Abyss

As a boy, I was obsessed with black holes. I read all of the books about them I could find, from the semi-technical to the semi-crackpot, not really able to distinguish the difference. The first time I had to write a report, in eighth grade, I begged my dubious teacher to let me do it on black holes.

Magna Carta: Eight Centuries of Liberty

Eight hundred years ago next month, on a reedy stretch of riverbank in southern England, the most important bargain in the history of the human race was struck. I realize that’s a big claim, but in this case, only superlatives will do.

Neural Implants Let Paralyzed Man Take a Drink

DOWNEY, Calif.— Erik Sorto was shot in the back 13 years ago and paralyzed from the neck down. Yet recently the father of two lifted a bottle of beer to his lips and gave himself a drink, even though he can’t move his arms or legs.

Technology Isn’t a Job Killer

The issues at the heart of “Learning by Doing” come into sharp relief when James Bessenvisits a retail distribution center near Boston that was featured on “60 Minutes” two years ago. The TV segment, titled “Are Robots Hurting Job Growth?,” combined gotcha reporting with vintage movie clips—scary-looking Hollywood robots—to tell a chilling tale of human displacement and runaway job loss.

At Zappos, Banishing the Bosses Brings Confusion

Brironni Alex was so good at answering telephone calls and emails from customers at Zappos.com Inc. that the company promoted her to customer-service manager.

New Computer Bug Exposes Broad Security Flaws

A dilemma this spring for engineers at big tech companies, including Google Inc., Apple


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