Emojis Don’t Give Meaning to Our Deepest Feelings

We Need More Than Smiley and Frowny Faces to Avoid Misunderstandings

It’s been 35 years since Scott Fahlman, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, urged users of an online bulletin board to add two character sequences to their messages: ‘:-)’ to mark jokes; and ‘:-(‘ to indicate the preceding text was not meant humorously. The smiley (or emoticon) was born.

A mythology grew up around the importance of inserting graphic elements at the ends of written online text: Because we aren’t face-to-face with our interlocutor, we need to provide additional information to convey what our demeanor, body stance, or vocal intonation …

What the “Crowd-Work” Economy Taught Me About Community

The Perks and Pitfalls of Digital-Era Piece Work

If you’ve never heard of Amazon Mechanical Turk, my workplace of the last 11 years, you’re not alone. Most people know about Amazon—the massive conglomerate where you can do everything …

Why We Should Fear Emotionally Manipulative Robots

Artificial Intelligence Is Learning How to Exploit Human Psychology for Profit

“Keep going straight here!”

“Err, that’s not what the app is telling me to do.”

“Yes, but it’s faster this way. The app is taking you to the beltway. Traffic is terrible …

California Can Reconceive the Arts by Offering More Choices and Ways to Participate

Demographic and Technological Shifts Could Let Arts in the Golden State Better Serve Communities

California is undergoing massive changes in technology, demography, the nature of work and, thus, in leisure activity. So is its cultural sector, with consequences for how Californians experience art and …

Can a Small Slovenian Innovation Democratize the Art World?

A "Tinder for Art" Can Take Power from Critics and Gallerists—and Return It to the Masses

The art trade broadly, and art criticism more specifically, badly need a Reformation. The institutions of art are too much like the medieval Catholic Church.

Just as the Church has always …

Yes, Classroom Tech Can Tackle Inequality—but Change Takes Politics and Patience

Digital Education Is Lifting Students While Challenging Academics and Silicon Valley

Even as digital technology has grown exponentially more sophisticated, accessible, and integral to our lives, social inequality has cast a deeper shadow across the United States in recent decades. Simultaneously, …