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2019 Year in Review: World of Technology

To recap 2019, is taking a look back at some of the most interesting stories we’ve covered this year.
Today we’re looking at stories that show how technology is changing our world.

Google’s Quantum Computer Takes Huge Step

Closeup picture of the Sycamore processor.
Google scientists say they have used a special “quantum computer” to complete a calculation that would take the fastest computers in the world up to 10,000 years to solve. It took Google’s computer 200 seconds.

Man Builds Brain-Controlled Robotic Hand

Glenn Cameron, wearing a brain interface, holds his robotic hand.
In elementary school, Glenn Cameron was very aware of the challenges faced by his friend, who was missing a hand. Now Mr. Cameron has built a robotic hand that can be controlled by a human brain.

Grocery Stores Try Self-Driving Delivery Cars

Nuro's R1 driving in traffic in Arizona.
Grocery stores are testing different ways of delivering orders using self-driving cars. Companies are experimenting more as self-driving cars get better and the pressure from online stores like Amazon gets stronger.

Faking Videos is Easy – and Dangerous

Side-by-side view of a deepfake putting Nicolas Cage's face on a video of Donald Trump speaking to Congress.
It has become very easy for people to use computer programs to make fake videos that seem real. Many people are very worried about how these tools might be misused.

Brazil to Sell Computer-Created Perfume

David Apel working on a fragrance.
A beauty company in Brazil will soon begin selling two brand-new perfumes. But there’s an unusual story behind the perfumes – the smells were created by a computer.

The Growing Problem of Ransomware

Cryptolocker ransomware This message is displayed when an user is infected with the Cryptolocker ransomware. If the user doesn't pay the 'ransom' the user's files are gone. Screen of Cryptolocker via Malwarebytes.
The computer systems of local governments, school districts, and businesses are being targeted more often by criminals, who lock the computer files, and refuse to unlock them until they are paid.

Sweden Begins Using Driverless Electric Trucks

An Einride driverless T-Pod drives down a highway.
A company called Einride has begun using driverless electric trucks on a public road in Sweden. The project is testing ideas that could bring important changes in transportation.

Mara Makes First ‘Made in Africa’ Smartphones

Technician examines phone circuitboard with magnifying camera.
In October, a Rwandan company called Mara opened two factories – one in Rwanda and the other in South Africa. The factories will produce the first smartphones built completely in Africa.

Company Turns Sunlight into Extreme Heat

Heliogen's Concentrated Solar Power facility in Lancaster, California.
A company called Heliogen has announced a new process that can reach extremely high temperatures using only the power of the sun. The process could help reduce the pollution that’s causing the climate crisis.

San Francisco Says “No” to Facial Recognition

San Francisco from the Marin Headlands in March 2019
San Francisco has decided that its city government workers can’t use computer programs that recognize faces. San Francisco is the first US city to take such a strong step to keep this technology under control.



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