The Year in Tech, 2012

Atlantic writers survey the biggest stories and ideas on their beats. See full coverage

Technology changes year to year, phone to phone, quarter to quarter. Here at The Atlantic, we like to focus on how those changes happen, the ideas that animate them, the people that execute them, the users who transform them. The last year saw massive change in this broad definition of the technology landscape -- from how we elect presidents to how we fight wars, from how we keep in touch with friends to how we read in solitude. This year wasn't like 2011 in which a few key stories dominated headlines from month to month (WikiLeaks, the revolutions in the Middle East and north Africa); it was a year in which there could have been 20 stories on this list as the the industry and its watchers groped for an organizing narrative beyond "the rise of social media," the arrival of tablets, and the dominance of Apple. So, we left out the well organized protests against SOPA/PIPA that kicked the year off and the ongoing patent wars that define which companies can make what products, but these themes below reflect our obsessions, the things we've been thinking about, and hearing about from you. They provide a guided tour to how people used technology in 2012, for good, for bad, and for profit.

Presented by

Alexis C. Madrigal, Megan Garber, and Rebecca J. Rosen edit and write for The Atlantic's Technology Channel.

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Video

Maine's Underground Street Art

"Graffiti is the farthest thing from anarchy."

Video

The Joy of Running in a Beautiful Place

A love letter to California's Marin Headlands

Video

'I Didn't Even Know What I Was Going Through'

A 17-year-old describes his struggles with depression.

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

More in Technology

Just In