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Alexis Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a staff writer for The Atlantic.
Results 11-20 of 121

Waymo Maintains Lead in Self-Driving Car Race

January 31, 2018 There is a lot of smoke, many mirrors, and a ton of investment dollars in self-driving cars right now. Everyone has a story to tell about their technology or data or approach. But the only hard numbers, required by regulation, come from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which asks...

8 Overly Confident, Mostly Pessimistic Predictions About Tech in 2018

January 2, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow It was a very strange year for technology companies. They have become a “bipartisan whipping boy,” a new sexist institution, responsible for the muddying of the presidential election, “ripping apart the social fabric,” destroying a generation, and “hijacking people’s minds.” And damn, they made a lot of money! Revenue was...

The People Who Read Your Airline Tweets

December 21, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Ten years ago, someone was wrong on the internet. And Morgan Johnston, sitting at his desk with the JetBlue communications team, wanted to set that person straight. These were the early days of Twitter, and JetBlue had begun to monitor the platform, even if they weren’t hopping in yet to...

Google's Mass-Shooting Misinformation Problem

November 6, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow It happened again. After a horrifying mass shooting, searching for the shooter’s name on Google surfaced an editor of the conspiracy site InfoWars, Julian Assange claiming the shooter had converted to Islam, and a “news” Twitter feed that’s tweeted a few dozen times since it was created last month. All...

15 Things We Learned from the Internet Giants

November 4, 2017 During three Congressional hearings spread over two days, we heard a lot of bluster from senators and pat answers from tech-company lawyers about the role their firms played in the 2016 election. Scattered among all the questions, some new facts entered the public record. Here we attempt to catalog the...

15 Things We Learned From the Tech Giants at the Senate Hearings

November 3, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow During three Congressional hearings spread over two days, we heard a lot of bluster from senators and pat answers from tech-company lawyers about the role their firms played in the 2016 election. Scattered among all the questions, some new facts entered the public record. Here we attempt to catalog the...

Are Facebook, Twitter, and Google American Companies?

November 2, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow On Tuesday’s technology-executive hearings before the Senate Intelligence Committee, a key tension at the heart of the internet emerged: Do American tech companies, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google, operate as American companies? Or are they in some other global realm, maybe in some place called cyberspace? In response to...

Facebook’s Evidence of Russian Electoral Meddling Is Only ‘the Tip of the Iceberg’

October 23, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow If Congress regulates social networks in new ways following the 2016 election, no single person will have been more responsible than Senator Mark Warner of Virginia. In the aftermath of the election, it was Warner who pushed Silicon Valley executives to delve more deeply into their data, looking for signs...

The Computer That Predicted the U.S. Would Win the Vietnam War

October 6, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow At just about the halfway point of Lynn Novick and Ken Burns’s monumental documentary on the Vietnam War, an army advisor tells an anecdote that seems to sum up the relationship between the military and computers during the mid-1960s. “There’s the old apocryphal story that in 1967, they went to...

What, Exactly, Were Russians Trying to Do With Those Facebook Ads?

September 26, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Many questions remain about the ads purchased by Russian-linked accounts during the 2016 presidential election. Earlier this month, the company announced that Russian-linked accounts had purchased $100,000 worth of advertising. The scale of this advertising buy is mysterious. In an election where billions of dollars were spent, why even bother...