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Review of 2016

Take a look at the ideas, products, and visuals that shaped us in 2016.

Ideas

Creative AI: In recent years, there has been an explosion of research and experiments that deal with creativity and A.I. Almost every week, there is a new bot that paints, writes stories, composes music, designs objects or builds houses: Artificial Intelligence systems performing creative tasks?

Trust Me: Societies where people trust one another are healthier and wealthier. In the U.S. (and the U.K. and elsewhere), social trust has been falling for decades — in part because our populations are more diverse. What can we do to fix it?

Silicon Values: The New Museum has adopted the start-up incubator model for its New Inc residency program. Has it also taken on the goals and thinking of today’s venture capitalists?

The Strange Inevitability of Evolution: Good solutions to biology’s problems are astonishingly plentiful.

Welcome To Airspace: How Silicon Valley helps spread the same sterile aesthetic across the world.

Barack Obama, Neural Nets, Self-Driving Cars, and the Future of the World: The President in Conversation With MIT’s Joi Ito and WIRED’s Scott Dadich

Products

Thngs: A tool for the preservation and structuring of data about physical things, a Noah’s ark for the tangible world.

Firechat/a>: The messaging service allows you to chat with people around you even when there is no regular Internet connection.

Spector: A tool that captures typefaces and colors in the real world, and then transfers them directly to InDesign.

Quartz Glass: This eternal 5D data storage could preserve the history of humankind for ages to come.

Drifting Cycles: Made of red algae, the bottle can break down with time—avoiding the need for more waste to be created.

Visuals

Mixing Metaphors: A new digital exhibition mounted by New York’s Guggenheim Museum asks visitors to reconsider the meaning of architecture by placing bets on a speculative future.

David Bowie’s Relationship With Graphic Design: David Bowie leaves a towering creative legacy, but what of his influence on graphic design? Lynda Relph-Knight examines Bowie’s relationship with designers and the impact his music, artwork and even stage personas made on visual design.

Art After Silicon Valley: What does it mean for art to function within a technology development scenario, and not be relegated to a separate transcendental space?

The Mission To Save Vanishing Internet Art: As web browsers and computer operating systems stopped supporting the software tools they were built with, many works have fallen victim to digital obsolescence.

The Refugee Nation Olympic Flag: The official flag for The Refugee Nation, a team of ten refugees currently competing in the Rio Olympics, draws its colour scheme and design from lifejackets.


Levi Brooks is the CEO/Co-founder of Use All Five.
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