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Alexis Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a staff writer for The Atlantic.
Results 21-30 of 123

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...

Facebook's New 'AI Camera' Team Wants to Add a Layer to the World

September 21, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Take a video of a birthday cake’s candles sparkling in an Instagram story, then tap the sticker button. Near the top of the list you’ll see a slice of birthday cake. It’s a little thing. This simple trick is not breathtaking nor magical. But it is the beginning of something...

Why the New iPhone Is So Important

September 12, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The iPhone is the single most successful consumer product of all time. It’s generated $762 billion of revenue for Apple, the most valuable company listed on the American stock exchanges. It has made Apple, more or less, the iPhone company. And the model that the iPhone established—phone-on-glass, apps-on-phone—is “eating the...

More Than 10 Million People Lost Power in Florida

September 11, 2017 Hurricane Irma slammed the west coast of Florida on Sunday, making landfall first in the Keys and then at Marco Island, 15 miles south of Naples. Since then, it’s been making its way northward, visiting destruction on the state as it weakens. As the storm progressed through Florida, it knocked...

Southwest Florida's Electrical Grid Will Need a 'Wholesale Rebuild'

September 11, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Hurricane Irma slammed the west coast of Florida on Sunday, making landfall first in the Keys and then at Marco Island, 15 miles south of Naples. Since then, it’s been making its way northward, visiting destruction on the state as it weakens. As the storm progressed through Florida, it knocked...

What We Don't Know About What Facebook Knows

September 7, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Facebook claims it can reach more young people in the United States with advertisements than are actually alive, according to a new report. Last week, a trade magazine in Australia looked at the “reach” statistics that Facebook gave for that country, and found that the company estimated it could reach...

Inside Waymo's Secret World for Training Self-Driving Cars

August 24, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In a corner of Alphabet’s campus, there is a team working on a piece of software that may be the key to self-driving cars. No journalist has ever seen it in action until now. They call it Carcraft, after the popular game World of Warcraft. The software’s creator, a shaggy-haired,...

Would You Doxx a Nazi?

August 22, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow After Charlottesville, white supremacists’ physical and digital presences—and the tactics used to combat them—are under renewed scrutiny. There have been attempts, most prominently by Logan Smith, who runs the Twitter account Yes, You’re Racist, to tack real names and identities onto the pictures of people who showed up to rally...

DARPA's Ex-Leader's Speculative Dream of Mind-Melding Empathy

June 30, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The former head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arati Prabhakar, has a dream. It’s a civilian utopian neuroscience dream that’s kind of the inverse of the scenarios the far-out research wing of the military normally develops. In a presentation at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is co-hosted by...