Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology in print and on the web. Some weeks, you'll also find short reviews of books dealing with the subject of technology that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.Artificial intelligence has been in the public consciousness for decades now, due in no small part to fictional incarnations like 2001's HAL 9000, but it's been getting more attention than ever due to IBM's Watson, Apple's Siri and other recent developments. One constant figure throughout much of that time is AI pioneer Douglas Hofstadter, who's profiled at length in this piece by James Somers for The Atlantic. In it, Somers talks to Hofstadter and other key figures from the likes of IBM and Google, while examining his approach to the field, which is as much about studying the human mind as replicating it.
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by Ewen Macaskill and Gabriel Dance, The Guardian
There's as much watching and listening as reading here. This interactive feature from The Guardian offers one of the most comprehensive looks at what's now known as a result of the NSA leaks, backed up by interviews with key lawmakers, former NSA officials and security experts.
The New York Times
This column has previously featured essays on how technology is changing writing -- here, The New York Times turns to a number of well-known authors for their opinions, including Margaret Atwood, Frederick Forsyth and Douglas Coupland, the latter of whom suggests we're in an era that's "scary and wondrous at the same time."
by Matt Buchanan, The New Yorker
With longtime technology columnists Walt Mossberg and David Pogue departing their respective newspapers for new ventures, Matt Buchanan takes a look at their legacy and the current state of technology criticism, and why the profession itself may be due for a reconsideration.If you're not fully up to speed on the problems with Healthcare.gov (or even if you are), this piece from Tim Carmody offers a look at exactly what went wrong with the website and where things stand today. It also asks how many of the problems can be pegged on "bad compromises" at the outset.