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Ideas

The Future Could Be Blissful—If Humans Don’t Go Extinct First

WIRED talked with long-termist philosopher William MacAskill about human extinction, Elon Musk, and his new book, What We Owe the Future.

The Unintended Consequences of OTC Hearing Aids

Over-the-counter hearing aids will be available by October. They’ll benefit many but could lead to stigmatization, inadequate testing, and even hearing loss.

Google Search Is Quietly Damaging Democracy

A series of incremental changes over the years has transformed the tool from an explorative search function to one that is ripe for deception.

The History of Predicting the Future

Humans have long tried to determine the shape of what’s to come. But even the most advanced technology can’t solve the fundamental issues with predictions.

If AI Is Predicting Your Future, Are You Still Free?

Part of being human is being able to defy the odds. Algorithmic prophecies undermine that.

Predicting Death Could Change the Value of a Life

New technology promises to forecast the length of your life. But for disabled people, measuring mortality can prove fatal.

Crime Prediction Keeps Society Stuck in the Past

So long as algorithms are trained on racist historical data and outdated values, there will be no opportunities for change.

The Creepy TikTok Algorithm Doesn’t Know You

The uncanny, addictive AI has turned math into a mystical force—and flattened humanity into a series of codes.
Ideas

Birth Control TikTok Is a Symptom of Medicine's Bigger Problem

Influencers are encouraging people to ditch hormonal contraception. Fixing feeds will require mending mistrust between doctors and patients.
Ideas

To Fix Tech, Democracy Needs to Grow Up

Calls to “democratize technology” ring hollow when both systems seem to be failing. The key is realizing that democracy is not yet in its final form.
Ideas

How Can Society Prepare for the Moral Norms of Tomorrow?

The moral framework of future generations may be a radical departure from the past—and the present. Axiological open-mindedness could help bridge that gap.
Ideas

Facebook's Message Encryption Was Built to Fail

The chat between a teen and her mom about an alleged abortion helped police build their case. Default end-to-end encryption would help others avoid their fate.
Opinion

How the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago Raid Could Expose Trump’s Secrets

The former president tried to connect the raid to the Watergate burglars. His privacy problems do relate to Nixon’s scandal—but not in the way he thinks. 
Ideas

In Humanity's Collective Unconscious, the Body Is a Bad Dream

When DALL-E Mini presented a powerful new canvas, people's imaginations drifted in a clinical direction. Why?
Ideas

Humanity's Biggest Problems Require a Whole New Media Mode

In this era of climate change and crisis, it's time for formats as varied, animal, and leafy as the world they seek to represent.
Ideas

The Secret to Being Lucky

Everything happens for no reason.
Ideas

BeReal and the Doomed Quest for Online Authenticity

The buzzy “anti-Instagram” app is the natural next step in a social media cycle that’s played out many times before—and it’s unlikely to work.
Ideas

Alex Jones’ Accidental Text Dump Is Hilarious—and Alarming

The conspiracy theorist's breathtakingly silly blunder underscores the urgent need to revamp ediscovery in US law.
Ideas

Protest Hides in Plain Sight in Hong Kong

25 years after the UK handed the city over to China, Hong Kong's suppressed and surveilled people keep freedom alive creatively and furtively.
Ideas

Forget Disruption. Tech Needs to Fetishize Stability

Breaking things is an ethos for the bored, for people who live in reasonable climates and don’t have tanks in the street. That isn’t us anymore.
Ideas

2 Refugee Crises—and Their Dark Lessons for the Coming Famine

Disinformation dehumanized one group of refugees as a 'demographic weapon,' even as another was welcomed with open arms.
Ideas

VR Still Stinks Because It Doesn’t Smell

Scent is the realest sense. For virtual reality to feel truly immersive, it needs to start stinking it up.
Ideas

After Going Solar, I Felt the Bliss of Sudden Abundance

My rooftop panels showed me that a world powered by renewables would be an overflowing horn of plenty, with fast, sporty cars and comfy homes.
Opinion

Who Will Own the Art of the Future? 

OpenAI has announced that it's granting Dall-E users the right to commercialize their art. For now.
Ideas

Against ‘Public Health’

Everything is supposedly a "public health" issue in the US, but this buzzword does little to address real challenges.
Cloud Support

Am I an Idiot for Wanting a Dumber Phone?

WIRED’s spiritual advice columnist offers counsel to a reader overwhelmed by apps, dings, and beeps.
Ideas

Pandemic Death Counts Are Numbing. There’s Another Way to Process

Data visceralization goes beyond mortality statistics to help people grieve.
Ideas

A Lawsuit Against Meta Shows the Emptiness of Social Enterprises

Foreign-owned organizations like Sama and Tala offer feel-good promises but take advantage of weak labor protections and poor accountability.