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The Year Tech Workers Realized They Were Workers

2018 was the year that Big Tech’s mission statements came back to haunt it. When employees felt that their products were damaging the world and that management wouldn’t listen, they went public with their protests. At Google and Amazon, they challenged contracts to sell artificial intelligence and facial-recognition technology to …

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Why Are We So Surprised by Facebook’s Data Scandals?

Surveying the reactions to the latest revelation that Facebook played fast and loose with user data, it was hard not to harken back to what Scott McNally, the founding CEO of Sun Microsystems, told a group of reporters, including one from WIRED, in 1999: “You have zero privacy anyway. Get …

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Why 2018 Was a Breakout Year for Open Source Deals

At the beginning of 2018, it didn’t seem like the open source movement could get any bigger. Android, the world’s most popular mobile operating system; websites including Facebook and Wikipedia; and a growing number of gadgets have open source software under the hood—literally, in the case of cars. The world’s …

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Why It's Hard to Escape Amazon's Long Reach

In 1994, soon after Jeff Bezos incorporated what would become Amazon, the entrepreneur briefly contemplated changing the company’s name. The nascent firm had been dubbed “Cadabra,” but Bezos wanted a less playful, more accurate alternative: “Relentless.” (Relentless.com redirects to Amazon.com to this day.) Twenty-four years later, perhaps no adjective better …

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The Most-Read WIRED Business Stories of 2018

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2018 Was the Year That Tech Put Limits on AI

For the past several years, giant tech companies have rapidly ramped up investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning. They’ve competed intensely to hire more AI researchers and used that talent to rush out smarter virtual assistants and more powerful facial recognition. In 2018, some of those companies moved to …

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Juul Accepts Altria Investment and Embraces Big Tobacco

Juul’s deal to accept a big investment from the maker of Marlboro cigarettes will snuff out its chance to take the high road with critics, but it will buy the embattled e-cigarette company time and credibility with regulators. Juul said on Thursday it had accepted a $12.8 billion cash investment …

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The 'Future Book' Is Here, but It's Not What We Expected

The Future Book was meant to be interactive, moving, alive. Its pages were supposed to be lush with whirling doodads, responsive, hands-on. The old paperback Zork choose-your-own-adventures were just the start. The Future Book would change depending on where you were, how you were feeling. It would incorporate your very …

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