Bytes: What’s new in tech
Moore’s Law survives, again
“The limits of silicon have not been reached quite yet,” said Brian Barrett in Wired.com. An IBM-led group of researchers has made a major breakthrough in transistor design that should allow even more transistors to be squeezed onto a single computer chip—“which was no sure thing.” Chipmakers have been struggling against the laws of physics to keep up with Moore’s Law, which holds that the number of transistors roughly doubles every two years, allowing computers to become exponentially smaller and more powerful. IBM’s new process involves stacking layers of newly designed “silicon nanosheets” on top of one another. New chips built with the design are expected to be roughly 40 percent more powerful than the current generation, smoothing the way for technologies like artificial intelligence and superfast 5G internet.
Connecting constituents and officials
Facebook is wading deeper into politics, with new tools to help elected officials connect with their constituents, said Sarah Perez in TechCrunch.com. Elected representatives will now be able to gather feedback with targeted posts or polls that can be seen only by people living in their district. Another feature, called Constituent Insights, will show officials which local news stories are popular in their district so they can weigh in with thoughts on their own pages. Facebook users will also be able to display “constituent badges” when they like or comment on representatives’ posts, so that officials can easily sort constituent comments from those of others. Of course, whether or not officials “treat these sentiments with the same degree of importance as they would a phone call, email, or letter remains to be seen.”
Google’s advertising ultimatum
Before Google’s new ad-blocking tool is released next year, publishers will have at least six months to purge their sites of annoying ads, said Jack Marshall in The Wall Street Journal. The search giant will reportedly introduce a built-in ad blocker to its Chrome web browser sometime in 2018, threatening to cut off a vital source of revenue for publishers. The new tool “will prevent all ads from appearing on websites that are deemed to provide a bad advertising experience for users,” including pop-ups, autoplaying video ads with sound, and ads that count down before showing the page’s main content. To help, Google will provide a tool that will alert publishers “to offending ads on their sites.” ■