Profile

Cover photo
Verified name
Steven Levy
Works at Medium
Attended Temple University
Lives in New York City
1,676,915 followers|3,436,682 views
AboutPostsPhotosVideosReviews

Stream

Steven Levy

Shared publicly  - 
 
Chris Urmson, director of Google's self driving car program, reports that after 1.7 million miles (over a million driven by the car itself), there were 11 accidents, all minor, no injuries.  And not one was Google's fault.  The problem is that human driver are pretty crappy (my reading of what he says between the lines here).  He illustrates the post with amusing graphics that show that Mountain View drivers must have Boston DNA.  HIs big message is that the sooner we drive by wire, the better.  I was happy to let him present this data on Backchannel.

 https://medium.com/backchannel/the-view-from-the-front-seat-of-the-google-self-driving-car-46fc9f3e6088
After 1.7 million miles we’ve learned a lot — not just about our system but how humans drive, too.
104
18
Tau-Mu Yi's profile photoAotum Alvarado's profile photoAdrian Lloyd Flanagan's profile photoKevin Pierce's profile photo
13 comments
 
Rno q
Add a comment...

Steven Levy

Shared publicly  - 
 
60 years ago, Albert Einstein died.  His brain was removed before cremation, ostensibly for study.  And then it disappeared.  Until I found it, over 20 years later.  Here is that story.


https://medium.com/backchannel/yes-i-found-einstein-s-brain-c3834429e4d5
Sixty years ago, Albert Einstein died. But for his brain, it was the start of a long, looney and unseemly journey. Here’…
94
19
Abhishek Ghosh's profile photoRalf Haring's profile photoHelena K's profile photoRyan Menzies's profile photo
5 comments
 
Great story, Steven. Thanks for sharing.
Add a comment...

Steven Levy

Shared publicly  - 
 
I belong to a very small club of reporters who had a close relationship -- sometimes contentious but I believe ultimately one of respect on both sides -- with Steve Jobs.. Brent Schlender was one of those (you could count us on one hand) and maybe knew Jobs the best. Now he has co-written a book on Jobs, and it benefited mightily from the cooperation of Apple and Jobs's widow--because those who knew Steve best were outraged at the Isaacson biography and wanted, in their view, to set the record straight. Here's my take on the new book and the controversy.

https://medium.com/backchannel/the-war-over-who-steve-jobs-was-92bda2cd1e1e
Walter Isaacson’s official biography of Apple’s genius leader is being challenged by a new book, supported by Jobs’s inn…
140
37
MERA SHIVA's profile photoMaureen Wallace's profile photoDavid Williams's profile photoJoseph Porrovecchio's profile photo
24 comments
 
Good friends 
Add a comment...

Steven Levy

Shared publicly  - 
 
I've been following the fortunes of Pebble ever since meeting its CEO Eric Migicovsky at Y Combinator in early 2011.  A blowout Kickstarter campaign put the smart-watch company to an early lead in the wrist war but giants Apple and Google are assumed to take control.  Not so fast, says Eric, introducing a watch called Time--on Kickstarter again.  Here's the first of an occasional series on Pebble as it takes on the big guys.

https://medium.com/backchannel/time-bandit-pebble-s-new-weapon-in-its-battle-with-apple-and-android-watches-6e6f4cc6d372
The “indie” wearable company goes back to Kickstarter. Can Pebble Time claim your wrist before big competitors get there…
51
9
Davis Vicente Garcés Naranjo's profile photoPierre Savoie's profile photoMartin Cahn's profile photoClive Richards's profile photo
3 comments
 
We'll
Add a comment...

Steven Levy

Shared publicly  - 
 
Here's a tale that reads like a thriller.  The team that won a 2007 DARPA contest hoped its crowdsourcing model would win the tougher 2011 challenge--but a lone hacker fatally disrupted them.  Here's how they painstakingly recreated what happened. And for the first time we hear from the hacker. Big lessons about crowdsourcing, espionage and human nature.

https://medium.com/backchannel/how-a-lone-hacker-shredded-the-myth-of-crowdsourcing-d9d0534f1731
High-tech analysis of a 2011 DARPA Challenge suggests that far from being wise, crowds can’t be trusted
65
50
Ed S's profile photoRaimo Salomaa's profile photoAliaksei Chapyzhenka's profile photoRakesh Barve's profile photo
6 comments
 
It is almost as if the social sciences have something to contribute to the design of computing and information systems.  :-)
Add a comment...

Steven Levy

Shared publicly  - 
 
In its quest for a perfect News Feed, Facebook now wants to go beyond algorithms and user behavior and directly ASK users what they want to see. The first part of this project is employing 30 people in Knoxville TN, fulltime, to go through their News Feed and say what they like and don't. The study now has expanded to several hundred remote raters, and soon FB may ask everybody what they want to see. Here's my Backchannel report.


https://medium.com/backchannel/revealed-facebooks-project-to-find-out-what-people-really-want-in-their-news-feed-799dbfb2e8b1
29
5
Michael Haubenwallner's profile photoMatt Dragon's profile photo冯俊峰's profile photoPia Adibe's profile photo
5 comments
 
You think Prime time is messed up now wait til these people get into affecting it.
Add a comment...
Have him in circles
1,676,915 people
melese altaye's profile photo
Natalie Knowles's profile photo
Sushant Shrestha's profile photo
alejandra marin's profile photo
Sayeed Khan's profile photo
Apipah Siti's profile photo
Sarah Matlock's profile photo
RUSDIANTO HAMID's profile photo
Paige Smith's profile photo

Steven Levy

Shared publicly  - 
 
Delighted to publish in Backchannel this piece by historian Leslie Berlin nailing the elements of Silicon Valley that made it the center of our economy -- and looking forward to see what threats may or may not prevent its sustaining dominance. Some fascinating stuff on east coast companies versus west, as well as a cameo by Steve Jobs, who during discussion about the Valley with Leslie, came up with a quote from Schopenhauer!

https://medium.com/backchannel/why-silicon-valley-will-continue-to-rule-c0cbb441e22f
The Valley’s premier historian looks back to the past to envision its bright future — with an assist from Steve Jobs.
67
16
Marcelo Freitas's profile photoWilliam Rutiser's profile photoEugene Goldfarb's profile photoRicardo Blanco (Mr. White)'s profile photo
5 comments
 
A few details missed or incorrect in the linked article:
1) Left out 1930-1940s: radio.  This was the real foundation (not 1940s instrumentation) of Silicon Valley.

2) Biotech didn't succeed in the valley because of the promixity to technology and talented technologists attracted to the area by Terman, etc.  It was an independent development, completely due to academic activity at UCSF, Berkeley, and Stanford, in the late 60's and early 70's.  Those players had absolutely zero connection to computers- they worked in wet labs with pencil and paper, and their skills are very different from what computer hardware and software people had.
Add a comment...

Steven Levy

Shared publicly  - 
 
Fascinating look inside DoctorX's Barcelona drug testing labs, which vets the chemical purchases made on the blackmarket deep web, no questions asked.  Its purpose is health, but dealers want to use it to brand their wares for purity. 

https://medium.com/backchannel/inside-the-deep-web-drug-lab-9718cd0fe504
Welcome to DoctorX’s Barcelona lab, where the drugs you bought online are tested for safety and purity. No questions ask…
29
3
Steve Esterly's profile photoNelly Parra Sandoval's profile photoOliver Fisher's profile photogeorge oloo's profile photo
2 comments
 
Very reminiscent of Pharmchem's testing of street drugs during the 70's (until the DEA outlawed it). IIRC some radio stations even ran weekly summaries of Pharmchem's test results.
https://www.erowid.org/ask/ask.php?ID=3043
Add a comment...

Steven Levy

Shared publicly  - 
 
I met Marissa Mayer in the early 2000s and got to know her as she became a key part of Google.   I thought she was a great choice for Yahoo and ever since she became CEO in 2012 have been waiting to do a big story on what she's up to there.  Today, on Yahoo's 20th anniversary, I got that story.   Marissa says that there has been real progress at Yahoo, particularly on mobile.  But this is only Step One.  And investors are pushing a different direction.

  https://medium.com/backchannel/marissa-mayer-has-completed-step-one-71dc31912855
EXCLUSIVE: On Yahoo’s 20th Anniversary, its CEO talks about turning around — and maybe transforming — an Internet icon
58
10
Matt Dragon's profile photothomaso del kuzmano's profile photoPiotr Jaśniewicz's profile photoSaffah Faroog's profile photo
6 comments
 
Excellent article, please revisit her next year to see how this 2015 ends and to report (if any) what she did or intends to do with the Microsoft's deal.
Add a comment...

Steven Levy

Shared publicly  - 
 
We all hate data charges on our phones, right? So what if certain apps offered to cover those charges if we used them? Is this an evil back-door kind of attack on net neutrality? Or a way to avoid those burdensome fees that's good for all? Like it or not, a company with serious muscle behind it is pushing this model -- and of course you can read it in Backchannel

https://medium.com/backchannel/should-your-smart-phone-have-congestion-pricing-153b4f7b6ba9
23
5
Reva Hamilton's profile photoMeghdutt Brahmachari's profile photoChantiele C's profile photoLuis Carrillo's profile photo
7 comments
 
Ok sir
Add a comment...

Steven Levy

Shared publicly  - 
 
For a special issue of their magazine commemorating Moore's Law, the Computer History Museum asked me to write an essay.  I chose to address how the phenomenon Moore described made Google possible--and continues to make the impossible not only possible but inevitable. Those like Larry Page who feel this in their bones have a huge advantage, especially when they are able to brush off criticisms that their ideas are "crazy." 

https://medium.com/backchannel/how-moores-law-made-google-possible-93d52457c5c9
The Intel co-founder drew the blueprint for the digital revolution. Larry Page read it well.
95
51
Brandon Vale's profile photoFrank Gainsford's profile photoKhalfani DoBosu's profile photoMRS GEORGE's profile photo
7 comments
 
Very soon. Rumors say in about 15 years we will have personal computing devices that provide 1:1 sensory data to us. With more storage and speed than we can handle those awesome devices will just get smaller and cheaper. I cant wait :)
Add a comment...

Steven Levy

Shared publicly  - 
 
Some time ago, I wrote an article called Googlenomics, describing how Google makes its money.   Here's part one of a series for Backchannel called Twitternomics, largely describing how their surprisingly successful ad system works (BTW  it borrows some aspects of AdWords).  This is contrast to Twitter's struggles with user growth.

https://medium.com/backchannel/how-twitter-found-its-money-mojo-1d170e3df985
The not-so-dismal science of Twitternomics
41
7
Piotr Jaśniewicz's profile photoMo Jo's profile photo
Add a comment...
People
Have him in circles
1,676,915 people
melese altaye's profile photo
Natalie Knowles's profile photo
Sushant Shrestha's profile photo
alejandra marin's profile photo
Sayeed Khan's profile photo
Apipah Siti's profile photo
Sarah Matlock's profile photo
RUSDIANTO HAMID's profile photo
Paige Smith's profile photo
Work
Occupation
Writer
Employment
  • Medium
    Editor in Chief, tech hub, 2014 - present
  • Wired
    Senior Writer, 2008 - 2014
  • Newsweek
    Chief Technology Correspondent, 1996 - 2008
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
New York City
Previously
Philadelphia
Links
Contributor to
Story
Tagline
Still writing after all these years
Introduction
I write about technology. I work for Wired Magazine as a senior writer; previously I was the tech writer for Newsweek. My books include Hackers, Artificial Life, Crypto, Insanely Great, and The Perfect Thing.  I have just come out with a new one, In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives.  
Bragging rights
Am a question card in Trivial Pursuit. Oh, and the Washington Post called me "the premier technology journalist in America."
Education
  • Temple University
    English, 1968 - 1972
  • Pennsylvania State University
    Literature (MA), 1972 - 1974
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Other names
stevenjayl
1 review