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The year in strange tech stories

What tickled our editors’ fancies in 2018.
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"Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral," said the historian Melvin Kranzberg. What technology often is, however, is weird.

As we watch tech pervade society and alter our basic ways of living, let's also not forget the plethora of bizarre trends and profound incompetence it's spawned, too. Looking back at 2018, the editors decided to round up a few of our favorite examples from Engadget and beyond of a peculiar year in tech news. We're sure there's more to come.

Japan's new cybersecurity minister admits he's never used a computer

Personally, I'd rather see this as one man's subversive critique of a metastasizing global technocracy as opposed to yet another paragon of bureaucratic ineptitude and entitlement. (It might be the latter).

This guy attached a telephoto lens to his Game Boy Camera

Said our reporter Nick Summers: "I respect his skills but also question his sanity."

Draw me like one of your French AI-generated nudes

Terrifyingly grotesque French nudes "painted" by Generative Adversarial Networks: The answer nobody wanted to a question nobody needed to ask. The MFA students and underground painters of the world may not be dreading an AI takeover just yet.

Why are people pretending to be dead on Instagram?

"A sick form of humor, but nonetheless, it's humor, and that's human," said a Stanford professor.

This Texas girl was arrested for weed. Now she's getting requests for makeup tutorials
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Thanks to the now-suspended Twitter account Mugshot Baes, whose posts consisted of exactly what it sounds like.

I love my unique, personalized Stitch Fix shirt—oh, you have one too
The Wall Street Journal

People Who Outsource Fashion Sense To Algorithm Somehow Surprised When Coworkers Wear Exact Same Outfit.

Samsung to develop real products with a fake Supreme

One could make a solid case that the entire brick-selling Supreme brand is actually a wry satire of consumer capitalism at the hypebeast's expense. If that's the case, Samsung's sad attempted collab with a "legal fake" version of the streetwear label really elevates the project to Banksy-level social commentary.

How a data request turned into a data breach

The time an Engadget reporter asked the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel for their data and received a complete stranger's romantic archives -- matches, preferences, attractiveness rating and all -- instead.

Why Silicon Valley billionaires are prepping for the apocalypse in New Zealand
The Guardian

Of course Peter Thiel has a 477-acre haven from the coming apocalypse in Oceania.

Elon Musk apologizes for calling cave diver a 'pedo guy'

Really, we could have picked anything out of Muskland, from selling flamethrowers to the misguided tweet that cost a $20 million SEC fine to smoking weed with Joe Rogan. It's the gift that keeps on horrifying.

In this article: gadgetry, gadgets, gear, yir2018
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Chris is associate features editor at Engadget focusing on in-depth stories about the cultural and societal impacts of technology. Raised in the UK and Hong Kong, he has worked for the Columbia Journalism Review, Reuters, and the South China Morning Post.


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