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Fast Company

Prof. Emeritus Tim Berners-Lee spoke at Lisbon’s Web Summit conference about Solid, an “open-sourced gambit to reinvent the web through new decentralized privacy-minded tools for wrangling data,” reports Harry McCracken for Fast Company. Solid was originally started as an MIT research project.

The Washington Post

The MIT Educational Justice Initiative has developed a 12-week program called Brave Behind Bars that teaches inmates “basic coding languages such as JavaScript and HTML in hopes of opening the door for detainees to one day pursue high-paying jobs,” reports Washington Post reporter Emily Davies. “The level of 21st century technology skills they just learned, I can’t do those things,” said Amy Lopez, deputy director of college and career readiness for the D.C. Department of Corrections. “They are transferrable, employable skills.”

Wired

Wired reporter Will Knight spotlights a study by researchers from MIT and other universities that finds judges are turning to Wikipedia for guidance when making legal decisions. “The researchers also found evidence that the use of Wikipedia reflects an already stretched system,” writes Knight. “The legal decisions that included Wikipedia-influenced citations were most often seen in the lower courts, which they suspect reflects how overworked the judges are.”

Independent

Researchers from CSAIL and elsewhere have found that Irish judges are using Wikipedia articles as a source in their rulings, reports Shane Phelan for Independent. “This work shows that Wikipedia reaches even farther than that, into high-stakes, formalized processes like legal judgments,” says research scientist Neil Thompson. “The worst outcome would be for a judge’s reliance on Wikipedia to lead them to decide a case differently than they would have if they had read either an expert secondary source or the cited precedent itself.”

Popular Science

Researchers from CSAIL, Cornell University, and Maynooth University have released a study concluding that judges in Ireland are utilizing Wikipedia articles to help inform their decisions, reports Colleen Hagerty for Popular Science. Based on their findings, the researchers suggest “the legal community increases its efforts to monitor and fact-check legal information posted on Wikipedia.” 

Scientific American

In a recent case study, Steven Gonzalez Monserrate PhD ’22 makes the case that the environmental cost of computer science, specifically computer cloud storage and data centers, are huge and will only continue to rise, reports Naomi Oreskes for Scientific American. “The cloud, he [Monserrate] contends, is a ‘carbonivore’: a single data center can use the same amount of electricity as 50,000 homes,” writes Oreskes. “The entire cloud has a greater carbon footprint than the entire airline industry.”

The Wall Street Journal

Prof. Stuart Madnick writes for The Wall Street Journal about how flaws in a company’s cybersecurity defenses can lead to cyberattacks. “Every decision regarding cybersecurity must weigh the benefits of not doing something (cost savings or the faster growth) against the increased risk to the organization,” writes Madnick.

Scientific American

Steven Gonzalez Monserrate PhD ’22 writes for Scientific American about the ecological and environmental implications of our digital lives. “As [the cloud] continues to expand, its environmental impact increases, even as the engineers, technicians, and executives behind its infrastructures strive to balance profitability with sustainability,” writes Gonzalez Monserrate.

WCVB

Prof. Stuart Madnick speaks with WCBV-TV reporter David Bienick about concerns surrounding Russian cyberattacks. “Madnick suggests that in order to protect themselves from cyberattack, people should update their computer protection systems and be extra leery of suspicious emails and links,” says Bienick.

Bloomberg

Prof. David Rand and Prof. Gordon Pennycook of the University of Regina in Canada found that people improved the accuracy of their social media posts when asked to rate the accuracy of the headline first, reports Faye Flam for Bloomberg. “It’s not necessarily that [users] don’t care about accuracy. But instead, it’s that the social media context just distracts them, and they forget to think about whether it’s accurate or not before they decide to share it,” says Rand.

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Aaron Pressman spotlights Prof. Tim Berners-Lee’s startup, Inrupt, for creating open-sourced based software applications that protect and maintain digital data. “The idea is that a person or company could stash important personal or business data in a digital space, kind of like an online locker,” writes Pressman.

Politico

Politco reporter Catherine Boudreau explores a study by researchers from MIT’s Real Estate Innovation Lab offers suggestions on how people can reduce their carbon footprints when shopping. “My biggest takeaway is to be a more mindful consumer. Try not to get in the car to go shop. If you do, make it a big shopping trip to avoid multiple trips. Walking and biking always wins,” explains research scientist Andrea Chegut. 

Boston Magazine

Boston Magazine reporter Tom McGrath spotlights Prof. Tim Berners-Lee’s crusade to rethink the Web and build a new platform that can help users control the digital data they share. Berners-Lee’s platform, Solid, is aimed at ensuring that for the “first time ever, we users—not big tech companies—will be in control of our data, which means that websites and apps will be built to benefit us and not them,” writes McGrath. “That, in turn, could mean revolutions in things that really are consequential, from healthcare and education to finance and the World Wide Web itself.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Mark Wilson writes that MIT researchers have developed a new online search engine that allows users to “type in one of 1,757 different technologies, and get one sharp number, which is its expected rate of improvement each year.”

Forbes

Forbes contributor Roslyn Layton spotlights a new paper by CSAIL researchers that explores the market for domain names. “The authors observe that the intellectual property associated with domain names and the value of DNS itself as embedded, reliable infrastructure,” writes Layton. “However, changing behavior is reducing the value and function of DNS by separating names from addresses.”