Looking back at the year’s most-read WIRED business stories, one theme clearly emerges: people are very concerned with the future of work. Will the robot revolution will eradicate positions? (It’s more complicated than that.) What are the right skills for future-proofing ourselves? (Learn code.) Could implementing a universal basic income really work? (A real-world case study suggests it might.)
Other stories captured our readers attention too, of course. People seem to be equally concerned with how social media is retraining human brains and upending social norms. They’re curious to know how artificial intelligence will evolve. And they’re fascinated by what Big Data means for society at large.
It’s been a tectonic year for the business of tech, and that is certainly reflected below in our list of WIRED’s 17 most-read business stories of the year.
As the technological challenges of tech companies get bigger and badder, a crowd of physicists is moving in on the engineer headcount.
—Cade Metz, January 16, 2017
What if we regarded code not as a high-stakes, sexy affair, but the equivalent of skilled work at a Chrysler plant?
—Clive Thompson, February 8, 2017
The Gray Lady is embarking on an ambitious plan, inspired by the strategies of Netflix, Spotify, and HBO, to make a subscription to the Times indispensable.
—Gabriel Snyder, February 12, 2017
These guys didn’t care if Trump won or lost the White House. They only wanted pocket money. But the consequences of what they did shook the world.
—Samanth Subramanian, February 15, 2017
For months, he recorded his dying father’s life story. Then he used it to re-create his dad as an AI.
—James Vlahos, July 18, 2017
The founder of a nonprofit aimed at stopping tech companies from “hijacking our minds” says internet users must rise up and reclaim their humanity.
—Nicholas Thompson, July 26, 2017
A mathematician-turned-criminal unleashes his agents on casinos around the world. But there’s money in the extortion racket, too.
—Brendan Koerner, August 5, 2017
Leaked internal messages show that several coworkers rallied around James Damore’s now-infamous Google memo.
—Ashley Feinberg, August 8, 2017
Everyone thinks automation will take all our jobs. The evidence disagrees.
—James Surowiecki, August 16, 2017
Startup CEO Matt Bencke, 45, thought he’d thrown out his back. Then he went to the ER and received the most sobering news of his life.
—Matt Bencke, August 24, 2017
A big jump in resolution will help software understand street signs and business names.
—Tom Simonite, September 5, 2017
MIT’s Senior House was a haven for creative outsiders. Administrators said it was dangerous and shut it down.
—Emily Dreyfuss, September 10, 2017
Inside the grueling, rootless lives of the RV dwellers who are spending their golden years working in the e-tail behemoth’s warehouses.
—Jessica Bruder, September 14, 2017
Google’s Geoff Hinton helped catalyze the current AI boom—and says he knows how to make machines smarter at understanding the world.
—Tom Simonite, November 1, 2017
Thanks to a profitable casino, an Indian tribe gives its members sizable cash payments. It’s called a basic income and might be the solution to job losses brought on by automation and globalization.
—Issie Lapowsky, November 12, 2017
The FCC move to eliminate net-neutrality rules opens the door to preferential deals for some content providers, closed doors for others.
—Klint Finley, November 22, 2017
China is taking the idea of a credit score to the extreme, using big data to track and rank what you do—your purchases, your pastimes, your mistakes.
—Mara Hvistendahl, December 14, 2017