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ON THE COVER
RANTS AND RAVES • In our July/August issue, Tom Simonite wrote about researcher Timnit Gebru’s contentious ouster from Google after she warned the company that its AI systems would produce racist results. Also, Lauren Smiley rode along with former Uber driver Jeffrey Fang, who gained national attention after his car was stolen during a DoorDash delivery—with his children inside. And in June, Jason Kehe extolled the little-known science fiction genius of R. A. Lafferty.
ALIVE AND SLACKING • Immerse yourself in Tik Tok and you’ll see a raucous reboot of Gen X. Or not. Whatever
Ground Truth • As much as I try to lose myself in technology and abstraction, it’s all just nature in the end.
Class Struggle • Social media seems like a rudeness machine. But it could push us toward a more thoughtful future.
Fish Eye • Creatures in the ocean perform the most epic mass movement on the planet. Now, a new robot is watching.
READOUT • The world, quantified.
Smell Ya Later • The futuristic stink of Amazon’s science fiction.
Cool for School • Whether you’re piled into a triple with strangers or you scored a single, these college dorm essentials will elevate your higher educational experience.
WIRED RECOMMENDS • The latest picks from our reviews team.
DEAR CLOUD SUPPORT: I Think My Robot Loves Me
MACHINES OF LOVING GRACE • We hope that, if we put robots together the right way, consciousness will simply emerge—nature will step in and finish the job.
A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF BLACK TWITTER IN THREE ACTS
1 COMING TOGETHER • As early web forums like BlackVoices, Melanet, and NetNoir fizzled out in the mid-2000s, online spaces that catered to Black interests were scarce. BlackPlanet and MySpace failed to fill the void, and Facebook didn’t quite capture the essence of real-time communication. Users were looking for the next thing.
2 RISING UP • Following the death of Trayvon Martin, Black Twitter launched an online campaign in support of Martin and his family. As outcry swelled, George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot Martin, was arrested—laying the groundwork for what would become the biggest social justice movement of our time.
3 GETTING THROUGH • By the end of the Obama era, Black Twitter seemed like a fully realized world, with its own codes and customs. As it reached new levels of visibility and influence, though, deep-rooted problems began to reassert themselves. Users were hardly surprised.
Flower Vs. Power • On a high desert ridge in central Nevada, there’s enough lithium to produce millions of batteries for electric vehicles. The one roadblock to mining it: a rare species of buckwheat teetering on the verge of extinction.
Undone • You want to be productive. Software wants to help. But even with hundreds of to-do apps claiming to make us all into taskmasters, we almost never master our tasks.
STRANGE PASSAGE • NATHAN CARMAN TOOK HIS MOTHER OUT DEEP-SEA FISHING OFF THE COAST OF RHODE ISLAND. A WEEK LATER, HE WAS FOUND DRIFTING INALIFERAFT—A LONE. WAS IT A TRAGIC ACCIDENT, OR MURDER? THE OCEAN IT SELF MAY POINT TO THE TRUTH.
IN SIX WORDS, WRITE A STORY ABOUT A CASUAL ENCOUNTER WITH ALIENS: SO, ABOUT...