Meet Betabeat’s 2012 Tech Insurgents

(Illustration: Robert Grossman)

Jack Dorsey, cofounder of Twitter and Square, recently tried to disabuse the tech industry of its infatuation with the word ‘disruption.’ “We don’t want ‘disruption,’ where we just move things around. We want a direction. We want a purpose,” he said on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt, humbly suggesting the biannual conference change its name. But it’s more than just semantics. The tech sector’s claim to produce world-changing products and services often gets drowned out in a chorus of me-too companies solving problems no one ever complained about. The umpteenth nightlife-recommendations tool or empty real-time dating app can obscure the whirr of a nascent robotics sector in Manhattan or a futuristic, even revolutionary, experiment in manufacturing in Queens. Read More


Tech Insurgents 2012: Valery Komissarova

Ms. Komissarova.

Rallying the Robots

When longtime Wired editor in chief Chris Anderson left his post earlier this month, it wasn’t for another Condé title or a sabbatical to write his fourth book. He decamped for a robotics startup. It’s just the latest sign, along with drones appearing on the cover of every magazine from The New Yorker to The Economist, that robotics is no longer relegated to science fiction.

New York has never been known as a robotics capital, unlike Boston, with its MIT hackers, or Pittsburgh, with its Carnegie Mellon engineers. But one Russian oligarch wants to change that. Read More