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Remaking the World for Robots

Over time, we will design physical spaces to accommodate robots and augmented reality

2 min read
Photo of robot arm grabbing door handle.
Photo-Illustration: Edmon de Haro

Every time I’m in a car in Europe and bumping along a narrow, cobblestone street, I am reminded that our physical buildings and infrastructure don’t always keep up with our technology. Whether we’re talking about cobblestone roads or the lack of Ethernet cables in the walls of old buildings, much of our established architecture stays the same while technology moves forward.

But embracing augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, and robots gives us new incentives to redevelop our physical environments. To really get the best experience from these technologies, we’ll have to create what Carla Diana, an established industrial designer and author, calls the “robot-readable world.”

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
An illustration of a series
Carl De Torres

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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