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When a commercial ship travels from the port of Ras Tanura in Saudi Arabia to Tokyo Bay, it’s not only carrying cargo; it’s also transporting millions of data points across a wide array of partners and complex technology systems.

Consider, for example, Maersk. The global shipping container and logistics company has more than 100,000 employees, offices in 120 countries, and operates about 800 container ships that can each hold 18,000 tractor-trailer containers. From manufacture to delivery, the items within these containers carry hundreds or thousands of data points, highlighting the amount of supply chain data organizations manage on a daily basis.

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Until recently, access to the bulk of an organizations’ supply chain data has been limited to specialists, distributed across myriad data systems. Constrained by traditional data warehouse limitations, maintaining the data requires considerable engineering effort;

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MIT Technology Review’s What’s Next series looks across industries, trends, and technologies to give you a first look at the future. You can read the rest of them here.

Thanks to the boom in artificial intelligence, the world of chips is on the cusp of a huge tidal shift. There is heightened demand for chips that can train AI models faster and ping them from devices like smartphones and satellites, enabling us to use these models without disclosing private data. Governments, tech giants, and startups alike are racing to carve out their slices of the growing semiconductor pie. 

Here are four trends to look for in the year ahead that will define what the chips of the future will look like, who will make them, and which new technologies they’ll unlock.

CHIPS Acts around the world

On the outskirts of Phoenix, two of the world’s

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Almost all keyboard apps used by Chinese people around the world share a security loophole that makes it possible to spy on what users are typing. 

The vulnerability, which allows the keystroke data that these apps send to the cloud to be intercepted, has existed for years and could have been exploited by cybercriminals and state surveillance groups, according to researchers at the Citizen Lab, a technology and security research lab affiliated with the University of Toronto.

These apps help users type Chinese characters more efficiently and are ubiquitous on devices used by Chinese people. The four most popular apps—built by major internet companies like Baidu, Tencent, and iFlytek—basically account for all the typing methods that Chinese people use. Researchers also looked into the keyboard apps that come preinstalled on Android phones sold in China. 

What they discovered was shocking. Almost every third-party app

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Some time before the first dinosaurs, two supercontinents, Laurasia and Gondwana, collided, forcing molten rock out from the depths of the Earth. As eons passed, the liquid rock cooled and geological forces carved this rocky fault line into Pico Sacro, a strange conical peak that sits like a wizard’s hat near the northwestern corner of Spain.

Today, Pico Sacro is venerated as a holy site and rumored, in the local mythology, to be a portal to hell. But this magic mountain has also become valued in modern times for a very different reason: the quartz deposits that resulted from these geological processes are some of the purest on the planet. Today, it is a rich source of the silicon used to build computer chips. From this dusty ground, the mineral is plucked and transformed into an inscrutable black void of pure inorganic technology, something

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