Tech

We’re used to hearing about how web sites use our data to target ads or tweak the news we see. But sometimes, researchers use similar kinds of data to gain a better understanding of our world and how we interact with each other and the environment around us. 

Ines Álvarez Fdez / unsplash

We’ve been manufacturing at home for millennia, from stone tools to clothes and textiles – sewn, knit, woven. Today, most of us purchase more than we make. But one technology expert says that tariffs on imports from China could change that, by making even small, everyday plastic items cheaper to make than to buy. 

A new survey suggests that many Americans think that robots are coming to take our jobs. The Brookings Institution asked 2000 Internet users whether they thought robots would be able to take over most human activities within 30 years, and over half said they thought it was somewhat or very likely. 

University of Michigan / The Robot Report

Robotics experts will be gathering in Boston this week for the 2018 Robotics Summit and Showcase. It’s an event targeted at professionals, but robots are becoming a bigger and bigger presence in all of our lives. We spoke with Steve Crowe, editor of The Robot Report, to get a preview. 

More than 12 million people have had their DNA analyzed by direct-to-consumer genealogy tests like 23andMe and ancestry.com. That number more than doubled last year, giving the industry a huge boost.

Millions of people use social media, many overuse it, and some are actually clinically addicted. Isaac Vaghefi, assistant professor at the Binghamton University School of Management, says that about fifteen to twenty percent of the college students he works with fall into the problematic category. But who is most likely to develop a social media problem?

Johannes Plenio / unsplash

When it comes to artificial intelligence, a lot of attention has been focused on issues of privacy and economics – what happens if AI makes human workers obsolete. Now, a new report from the non-profit Environmental Law Institute highlights the potential environmental impacts of AI-driven technologies, from autonomous cars to smart thermostats.

Alex Knight / bit.ly/2HrMhgq

The PyeongChang Olympics are likely to be remembered for the joint Korean team, wind delays, and robots. Yes, robots. South Korea is taking advantage of the international spotlight to show off its leadership in robotics, with eleven different types of robots – eighty five, in all – in action at the Olympics. And that’s not counting the swarm of drones featured in the Opening Ceremonies.

Werner Kunz bit.ly/1x4pWxO

It’s no secret that Massachusetts has an affordable housing problem. In his 2018 State of the Commonwealth address, Governor Charlie Baker noted that “it has been decades since this state produced enough housing to keep up with demand.”