AUTHOR ARCHIVES

Alexis Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a staff writer for The Atlantic.
Results 1-10 of 131

A Long-Term Solution for Scooter Sharing

October 16, 2018 On Monday, after the great Scooter Wars of the spring and the hotly contested permitting process of the summer, e-scooters will relaunch in San Francisco. The SF Municipal Transportation Agency blessed two companies—Skip and Scoot—of the 12 that applied for a license with the right to operate a pilot program...

Big Tech's Newest Experiment in Criminal-Justice Reform

August 29, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow On the 5th floor of Slack’s new building, overlooking the fancy Salesforce Park, a standing-room-only crowd of employees had gathered. Almost universally young and San Francisco casual, but not universally white and male, they were there to see John Legend, and to celebrate Next Chapter, a new partnership the chat...

Waymo’s Robot Cars, and the Humans Who Tend to Them

August 24, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Google’s self-driving corporate sibling, Waymo, is preparing to launch a commercial robotaxi service outside Phoenix. As that’s happened, the focus of the program has shifted from the technical details of lasers and sensors to the operational details of how to build the system that surrounds the driverless vehicles. And although...

Wikipedia, the Last Bastion of Shared Reality

August 7, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The ever-widening maelstrom surrounding tweets by Sarah Jeong, the latest hire by the New York Times editorial board, may consume all the atoms in the known universe, and as Wikipedia is of this world, it, too, must be a place to immortalize (or attempt to immortalize) Jeong as racist. Over...

Tech’s Fractal Irresponsibility Problem

July 26, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow It’s Thursday, so there’s another small scandal in the tech world. Hate groups that Facebook had booted from its platform after the murder of Heather Heyer have slithered back into the blue-and-white universe, The Guardian reported. The Southern Poverty Law Center gave an exasperated quote; Facebook forcefully averred, “As organized...

Why Facebook Wants to Give You the Benefit of the Doubt

July 20, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In an unusually revealing moment for Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg told Recode’s Kara Swisher on Wednesday that he didn’t support taking down content about Holocaust denial on Facebook. Zuckerberg is Jewish, and he finds such denials “deeply offensive,” he said. But Holocaust deniers were not “intentionally getting it wrong.” When...

Civic Tech in a Time of Technopessimism

June 26, 2018 “When I look back at 2010 me, I think I had this naïve idea that tech would save government,” confessed Jen Pahlka, the founder of Code for America, a civic-tech nonprofit. In its early days, Code for America’s mission was to persuade people at the big tech companies to take...

Civic Tech in a Time of Technopessimism

June 26, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow “When I look back at 2010 me, I think I had this naïve idea that tech would save government,” confessed Jen Pahlka, the founder of Code for America, a civic-tech nonprofit. In its early days, Code for America’s mission was to persuade people at the big tech companies to take...

Why No One Answers Their Phone Anymore

May 31, 2018 The telephone swept into Americans’ lives in the first decades of the 20th century. At first, no one knew exactly how to telephone. Alexander Graham Bell wanted people to start conversations by saying, “Ahoy-hoy!” AT&T tried to prevent people from saying “hello,” arguing in Telephone Engineer magazine that it was...

Uber’s Self-Driving Car Didn’t Malfunction, It Was Just Bad

May 29, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow On March 18, at 9:58 p.m., a self-driving Uber car killed Elaine Herzberg. The vehicle was driving itself down an uncomplicated road in suburban Tempe, Arizona, when it hit her. Herzberg, who was walking across the mostly empty street, was the first pedestrian killed by an autonomous vehicle. The preliminary...