MIT Technology Review
|Editor in Chief||Jason Pontin|
|Frequency||Bimonthly magazine/daily web site|
|Company||Technology Review Inc.
(owned by MIT)
|Based in||Cambridge, Massachusetts|
MIT Technology Review is a magazine published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was founded in 1899 as The Technology Review, and was re-launched without the "The" in its name on April 23, 1998 under then publisher R. Bruce Journey. In September 2005, it underwent another transition under the current editor-in-chief and publisher, Jason Pontin, to a form resembling the historical magazine.
Before the 1998 re-launch, the editor stated that "nothing will be left of the old magazine except the name." It is therefore necessary to distinguish between the modern and the historical Technology Review. The historical magazine had been published by the MIT Alumni Association, was more closely aligned with the interests of MIT alumni, and had a more intellectual tone and much smaller public circulation. The magazine, billed from 1998 to 2005 as "MIT's Magazine of Innovation," and from 2005 onwards as simply "published by MIT", focused on new technology and how it is commercialized; was mass-marketed to the public; and was targeted at senior executives, researchers, financiers, and policymakers, as well as MIT alumni.
Original magazine: 1899–1998
Technology Review was founded in 1899 under the name "The Technology Review" and relaunched in 1998 without the "The" in its original name. It currently claims to be "the oldest technology magazine in the world."
- We give a cordial welcome to No. 1 of Vol. I of The Technology Review, a Quarterly Magazine Relating to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, published in Boston, and under charge of the Association of Class Secretaries. As far as make-up goes, cover, paper, typography and illustrations are in keeping with the strong characteristics of the Institution it represents. This magazine, as its editors announce, is intended to be "a clearing house of information and thought," and, as far as the Institute of Technology is concerned, "to increase its power, to minimize its waste, to insure [sic] among its countless friends the most perfect co-operation."
The career path of James Rhyne Killian illustrates the close ties between Technology Review and the Institute. In 1926, Killian graduated from college and got his first job as assistant managing editor of Technology Review; he rose to editor-in-chief; became executive assistant to then-president Karl Taylor Compton in 1939; vice-president of MIT in 1945; and succeeded Compton as president in 1949.
The May 4, 1929 issue contained an article by Dr. Norbert Wiener, then Assistant Professor of Mathematics, describing some deficiencies in a paper Albert Einstein had published earlier that year. Wiener also commented on a cardinal's critique of the Einstein theory saying:
- The pretended incomprehensibility of the Einstein theory has been used as capital by professional anti-Einsteinians. Without prejudice to the cause of religion, I may remark that theological discussions have not at all times been distinguished by their character of lucidity.
The historical Technology Review often published articles that were controversial, or critical of certain technologies. A 1980 issue contained an article by Jerome Wiesner attacking the Reagan administration's nuclear defense strategy. The cover of a 1983 issue stated "Even if the fusion program produces a reactor, no one will want it," and contained an article by Lawrence M. Lidsky, associate director of MIT's Plasma Fusion Center, challenging the feasibility of fusion power (which at the time was often fancied to be just around the corner). The May 1984 issue contained an expose about microchip manufacturing hazards.
As late as 1967, the New York Times described Technology Review as a "scientific journal." Of its writing style, writer George V. Higgins complained:
- Technology Review, according to [then-editor] Stephen [sic] Marcus... [subjects] its scientific contributors to rewrite rigors that would give fainting spells to the most obstreperous cub reporter. Marcus believes this produces readable prose on arcane subjects. I don't agree.
In 1984, Technology Review printed an article about a Russian scientist using ova from frozen mammoths to create a mammoth-elephant hybrid called a "mammontelephas.". Apart from being dated "April 1, 1984," there were no obvious giveaways in the story. The Chicago Tribune News Service picked it up as a real news item, and it was printed as fact in hundreds of newspapers.
A radical transition of the magazine occurred in 1996. At that time, according to the Boston Business Journal, in 1996 Technology Review had lost $1.6 million over the previous seven years and was "facing the possibility of folding" due to "years of declining advertising revenue."
R. Bruce Journey was named publisher, the first full-time publisher in the magazine's history. According to previous publisher William J. Hecht, although Technology Review had "long been highly regarded for its editorial excellence," the purpose of appointing Journey was to enhance its "commercial potential" and "secure a prominent place for Technology Review in the competitive world of commercial publishing." John Benditt replaced Steven J. Marcus as editor-in-chief, the entire editorial staff was fired, and the modern Technology Review was born.
Boston Globe columnist David Warsh described the transition by saying that the magazine had been serving up "old 1960s views of things: humanist, populist, ruminative, suspicious of the unseen dimensions of new technologies" and had now been replaced with one that "takes innovation seriously and enthusiastically." Former editor Marcus characterized the magazine's new stance as "cheerleading for innovation."
Under Bruce Journey, Technology Review billed itself as "MIT's Magazine of Innovation." Since 2001, it has been published by Technology Review Inc., a nonprofit independent media company owned by MIT.
Intending to appeal to business leaders, editor John Benditt said in 1999, "We're really about new technologies and how they get commercialized." Technology Review covers breakthroughs and current issues on fields such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, and computing. Articles are also devoted to more mature disciplines such as energy, telecommunications, transportation, and the military.
Since Journey, Technology Review has been distributed as a regular mass-market magazine and appears on newsstands. By 2003, circulation had more than tripled from 92,000 to 315,000, about half that of Scientific American, and included 220,000 paid subscribers and 95,000 sent free to MIT alumni. Additionally, in August 2003, a German edition of Technology Review was started in cooperation with the publishing house Heinz Heise (circulation of about 50,000 as of 2005). According to The New York Times, as of 2004 the magazine was still "partly financed by M.I.T. (though it is expected to turn a profit eventually)."
Technology Review also functions as the MIT alumni magazine; the edition sent to alumni contains a separate section, "MIT News," containing items such as alumni class notes. This section is not included in the edition distributed to the general public.
The magazine is published by Technology Review, Inc, an independent media company owned by MIT. MIT's website lists it as a MIT publication, and the MIT News Office states that "the magazine often uses MIT expertise for some of its content." In 1999 The Boston Globe noted that (apart from the alumni section) "few Technology Review articles actually concern events or research at MIT." However, in the words of editor Jason Pontin:
- Our job is not to promote MIT; but we analyse and explain emerging technologies, and because we believe that new technologies are, generally speaking, a good thing, we do indirectly promote MIT's core activity: that is, the development of innovative technology.
From 1997 to 2005, R. Bruce Journey held the title of "publisher"; Journey was also the president and CEO of Technology Review, Inc. Editors-in-chief have included John Benditt (1997), Robert Buderi (2002), and Jason Pontin (2004).
The magazine has won numerous Folio! awards, presented at the annual magazine publishing trade show conducted by Folio! magazine. In 2001, these included a "Silver Folio: Editorial Excellence Award" in the consumer science and technology magazine category and many awards for typography and design. In 2006, Technology Review was named a finalist in the "general excellence" category of the annual National Magazine Awards, sponsored by the American Society of Magazine Editors.
On June 6, 2001, Fortune and CNET Networks launched a publication entitled FORTUNE/CNET Technology Review. MIT sued FORTUNE's parent corporation, Time, Inc. for infringement of the Technology Review trademark. The case was quickly settled. In August the MIT student newspaper reported that lawyers for MIT and Time were reluctant to discuss the case, citing a confidentiality agreement that both sides described as very restrictive. Jason Kravitz, a Boston attorney who represented MIT in the case, suggested that the magazine’s change of name to Fortune/CNET Tech Review, a change that occurred in the middle of the case, may have been part of the settlement.
Many publications covering specific technologies have used "technology review" as part of their names, such as Lawrence Livermore Labs's Energy & Technology Review, AACE's Educational Technology Review, and the International Atomic Energy Agency's Nuclear Technology Review.
In 2005, Technology Review, along with Wired News and other technology publications, was embarrassed by the publication of a number of stories by freelancer Michelle Delio containing information which could not be corroborated. Editor-in-chief Pontin said, "Of the ten stories which were published, only three were entirely accurate. In two of the stories, I'm fairly confident that Michelle Delio either did not speak to the person she said she spoke to, or misrepresented her interview with him."  The stories were retracted.
Modern magazine: 2005-present
On August 30, 2005, Technology Review announced that R. Bruce Journey, publisher from 1996 to 2005, would be replaced by the current Editor in Chief, Jason Pontin, and would reduce the print publication frequency from eleven to six issues per year while enhancing the publication's website. The Boston Globe characterized the change as a "strategic overhaul." Editor and publisher Jason Pontin stated that he would "focus the print magazine on what print does best: present[ing] longer-format, investigative stories and colorful imagery." Technology Review's Web site, Pontin said, would henceforth publish original, daily news and analysis (whereas before it had merely republished the print magazine's stories). Finally, Pontin said that Technology Review's stories in print and online would identify and analyze emerging technologies. This focus resembles that of the historical Technology Review.
MIT Top 10 Breakthrough Technologies of the Year
- 2006: 
- Nanomedicine - James Baker designs nanoparticles to guide drugs directly into cancer cells, which could lead to far safer treatments.
- Nanobiomechanics - Measuring the tiny forces acting on cells, Subra Suresh believes, could produce fresh understanding of diseases.
- Epigenetics - Alexander Olek has developed tests to detect cancer early by measuring its subtle DNA changes.
- Comparative Interactomics - By creating maps of the body's complex molecular interactions, Trey Ideker is providing new ways to find drugs.
- Diffusion Tensor Imaging - Kelvin Lim is using a new brain-imaging method to understand schizophrenia.
- Cognitive Radio - To avoid future wireless traffic jams, Heather "Haitao" Zheng is finding ways to exploit unused radio spectrum.
- Pervasive Wireless - Can't all our wireless gadgets just get along? It's a question that Dipankar Raychaudhuri is trying to answer.
- Universal Authentication - Leading the development of a privacy-protecting online ID system, Scott Cantor is hoping for a safer Internet.
- Nuclear Reprogramming - Hoping to resolve the embryonic-stem-cell debate, Markus Grompe envisions a more ethical way to derive the cells.
- Stretchable Silicon - By teaching silicon new tricks, John Rogers is reinventing the way we use electronics.
- 2007: 
- Peering into Video's Future - The Internet is about to drown in digital video. Hui Zhang thinks peer-to-peer networks could come to the rescue.
- Nanocharging Solar - Arthur Nozik believes quantum-dot solar power could boost output in cheap photovoltaics.
- Invisible Revolution - Artificially structured metamaterials could transform telecommunications, data storage, and even solar energy, says David R. Smith.
- Personalized Medical Monitors - John Guttag says using computers to automate some diagnostics could make medicine more personal.
- Single-Cell Analysis - Norman Dovichi believes that detecting minute differences between individual cells could improve medical tests and treatments.
- A New Focus for Light - Kenneth Crozier and Federico Capasso have created light-focusing optical antennas that could lead to DVDs that hold hundreds of movies.
- Neuron Control - Karl Deisseroth's genetically engineered "light switch," which lets scientists turn selected parts of the brain on and off, may help improve treatments for depression and other disorders.
- Nanohealing - Tiny fibers will save lives by stopping bleeding and aiding recovery from brain injury, says Rutledge Ellis-Behnke.
- Digital Imaging, Reimagined - Richard Baraniuk and Kevin Kelly believe compressive sensing could help devices such as cameras and medical scanners capture images more efficiently.
- Augmented Reality - Markus Kähäri wants to superimpose digital information on the real world.
- 2008: 
- Modeling Surprise - Combining massive quantities of data, insights into human psychology, and machine learning can help manage surprising events, says Eric Horvitz.
- Probabilistic Chips - Krishna Palem thinks a little uncertainty in chips could extend battery life in mobile devices—and maybe the duration of Moore's Law, too.
- NanoRadio - Alex Zettl's tiny radios, built from nanotubes, could improve everything from cell phones to medical diagnostics.
- Wireless Power - Physicist Marin Soljacic is working toward a world of wireless electricity.
- Atomic Magnetometers - John Kitching's tiny magnetic-field sensors will take MRI where it's never gone before.
- Offline Web Applications - Adobe's Kevin Lynch believes that computing applications will become more powerful when they take advantage of the browser and the desktop.
- Graphene Transistors - A new form of carbon being pioneered by Walter de Heer of Georgia Tech could lead to speedy, compact computer processors.
- Connectomics - Jeff Lichtman hopes to elucidate brain development and disease with new technologies that illuminate the web of neural circuits.
- Reality Mining - Sandy Pentland is using data gathered by cell phones to learn about human behavior.
- Cellulolytic Enzymes - Frances Arnold is designing better enzymes for making biofuels from cellulose.
- 2009: 
- Intelligent Software Assistant - Adam Cheyer is leading the design of powerful software that acts as a personal aide.
- $100 Genome - Han Cao's nanofluidic chip could cut DNA sequencing costs dramatically.
- Racetrack Memory - Stuart Parkin is using nanowires to create an ultradense memory chip.
- Biological Machines - Michel Maharbiz's novel interfaces between machines and living systems could give rise to a new generation of cyborg devices.
- Paper Diagnostics - George Whitesides has created a cheap, easy-to-use diagnostic test out of paper.
- Liquid Battery - Donald Sadoway conceived of a novel battery that could allow cities to run on solar power at night.
- Traveling-Wave Reactor - A new reactor design could make nuclear power safer and cheaper, says John Gilleland.
- Nanopiezoelectronics - Zhong Lin Wang thinks piezoelectric nanowires could power implantable medical devices and serve as tiny sensors.
- HashCache - Vivek Pai's new method for storing Web content could make Internet access more affordable around the world.
- Software-Defined Networking - Nick McKeown believes that remotely controlling network hardware with software can bring the Internet up to speed.
- 2010: 
- Real-Time Search - Social networking is changing the way we find information.
- Mobile 3-D - Smart phones will take 3-D mainstream.
- Engineered Stem Cells - Mimicking human disease in a dish.
- Solar Fuel - Designing the perfect renewable fuel.
- Light-Trapping Photovoltaics - Nanoparticles boost solar power's prospects.
- Social TV - Relying on relationships to rebuild TV audiences.
- Green Concrete - Storing carbon dioxide in cement.
- Implantable Electronics Dissolvable devices make better medical implants.
- Dual-Action Antibodies - Fighting cancer more efficiently.
- Cloud Programming - A new language will improve online applications.
- 2011: 
- Social Indexing - Facebook remaps the Web to personalize online services
- Smart Transformers - Controlling the flow of electricity to stabilize the grid
- Gestural Interfaces - Controlling computers with our bodies
- Cancer Genomics - Deciphering the genetics behind the disease
- Solid-State Batteries - High-energy cells for cheaper electric cars
- Homomorphic Encryption - Making cloud computing more secure
- Cloud Streaming - Bringing high-performance software to mobile devices
- Crash-Proof Code - Making critical software safer
- Separating Chromosomes - A more precise way to read DNA will change how we treat disease
- Synthetic Cells - Designing new genomes could speed the creation of vaccines and biofuel-producing bacteria
- 2012: 
- Egg Stem Cells - A recent discovery could increase older women's chances of having babies.
- Ultra-Efficient Solar - Under the right circumstances, solar cells from Semprius could produce power more cheaply than fossil fuels.
- Light-Field Photography - Lytro reinvented the camera so that it can evolve faster.
- Solar Microgrids - Village-scale DC grids provide power for lighting and cell phones.
- 3-D Transistors - Intel creates faster and more energy-efficient processors.
- A Faster Fourier Transform - A mathematical upgrade promises a speedier digital world.
- Nanopore Sequencing - Simple and direct analysis of DNA will make genetic testing routine in more situations.
- Crowdfunding - Kickstarter is funding the commercialization of new technologies.
- High-Speed Materials Discovery - A new way to identify battery materials suitable for mass production could revolutionize energy storage.
- Facebook's Timeline - The social-networking company is collecting and analyzing consumer data on an unprecedented scale.
- 2013: 
- Deep Learning - With massive amounts of computational power, machines can now recognize objects and translate speech in real time. Artificial intelligence is finally getting smart.
- Temporary Social Media - Messages that quickly self-destruct could enhance the privacy of online communications and make people freer to be spontaneous.
- Prenatal DNA Sequencing - Reading the DNA of fetuses will be the next frontier of the genomic revolution. But do you really want to know about the genetic problems or musical aptitude of your unborn child?
- Additive Manufacturing - Skeptical about 3-D printing? GE, the world’s largest manufacturer, is on the verge of using the technology to make jet parts.
- Baxter: The Blue-Collar Robot - Rodney Brooks’s newest creation is easy to interact with, but the complex innovations behind the robot show just how hard it is to get along with people.
- Memory Implants - A maverick neuroscientist believes he has deciphered the code by which the brain forms long-term memories. Next: testing a prosthetic implant for people suffering from long-term memory loss.
- Smart Watches - The designers of the Pebble watch realized that a mobile phone is more useful if you don’t have to take it out of your pocket.
- Ultra-Efficient Solar Power - Doubling the efficiency of a solar cell would completely change the economics of renewable energy. Nanotechnology just might make it possible.
- Big Data from Cheap Phones - Collecting and analyzing information from simple cell phones can provide surprising insights into how people move about and behave – and even help us understand the spread of diseases.
- Supergrids - A new high-power circuit breaker could finally make highly efficient DC power
- 2014: 
- Agricultural Drones - Relatively cheap drones with advanced sensors and imaging capabilities are giving farmers new ways to increase yields and reduce crop damage.
- Ultraprivate Smartphones - New models built with security and privacy in mind reflect the Zeitgeist of the Snowden era.
- Brain Mapping - A new map, a decade in the works, shows structures of the brain in far greater detail than ever before, providing neuroscientists with a guide to its immense complexity.
- Neuromorphic Chips - Microprocessors configured more like brains than traditional chips could soon make computers far more astute about what’s going on around them.
- Genome Editing - The ability to create primates with intentional mutations could provide powerful new ways to study complex and genetically baffling brain disorders.
- Microscale 3-D Printing - Inks made from different types of materials, precisely applied, are greatly expanding the kinds of things that can be printed.
- Mobile Collaboration - The smartphone era is finally getting the productivity software it needs.
- Oculus Rift - Thirty years after virtual-reality goggles and immersive virtual worlds made their debut, the technology finally seems poised for widespread use.
- Agile Robots - Computer scientists have created machines that have the balance and agility to walk and run across rough and uneven terrain, making them far more useful in navigating human environments.
- Smart Wind and Solar Power - Big data and artificial intelligence are producing ultra-accurate forecasts that will make it feasible to integrate much more renewable energy into the grid.
- 2015: 
- Magic Leap - A startup is betting more than half a billion dollars that it will dazzle you with its approach to creating 3-D imagery.
- Nano-Architecture - A Caltech scientist creates tiny lattices with enormous potential.
- Car-to-Car Communication - A simple wireless technology promises to make driving much safer.
- Project Loon - Billions of people could get online for the first time thanks to helium balloons that Google will soon send over many places cell towers don’t reach.
- Liquid Biopsy - Fast DNA-sequencing machines are leading to simple blood tests for cancer.
- Megascale Desalination - The world’s largest and cheapest reverse-osmosis desalination plant is up and running in Israel.
- Apple Pay - A clever combination of technologies makes it faster and more secure to buy things with a wave of your phone.
- Brain Organoids - A new method for growing human brain cells could unlock the mysteries of dementia, mental illness, and other neurological disorders.
- Supercharged Photosynthesis - Advanced genetic tools could help boost crop yields and feed billions more people.
- Internet of DNA - A global network of millions of genomes could be medicine’s next great advance.
MIT Technology Review has become well known for its annual TR35 list of the top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35. In 1999, and then in 2002–2004, TR produced the TR100, a list of "100 remarkable innovators under the age of 35." In 2005, this list was renamed the TR35 and shortened to 35 individuals under the age of 35. Notable recipients of the award include Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, Geekcorps creator Ethan Zuckerman, Linux developer Linus Torvalds, BitTorrent developer Bram Cohen, MacArthur "genius" bioengineer Jim Collins, investor Micah Siegel and Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen.
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