Soon, software will know how you feel—and will use that data to sell you things. The gig economy will go global (but it’s not Uber-take-all). The tech industry will finally be inclusive. AI will achieve something like common sense, and it will be open source too. But that future won’t build itself. Actual people (at least for now) have to make these things happen, and they aren’t the C-suite hotshots you always hear about. The 25 people in these pages are the unsung creative, technical, and social visionaries working to bring the incredible world of tomorrow to you today. Get to know them now. Welcome to our second annual Next List.
Encryption has mass appeal
Founder | Open Whisper Systems
Vector, Anki’s New Home Robot Sure Is Cute. But Can It Survive?
Surveillance is about to get much harder for overly snoopy governments. In November 2014 the Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp made a big change to its Android app: It encrypted messages so that even Facebook can’t descramble them, no matter how many court orders the company receives. (Facebook recognized that transmitting unencrypted messages was a liability that put users’ privacy at risk.) But the crypto software wasn’t written by a Facebook employee. It was created by Moxie Marlinspike and his grant-funded software outfit, Open Whisper Systems. Marlinspike, who left his job as Twitter’s security guru three years ago, wants to make the Internet more secure for everyone. That’s why he lets any company use his software for free. WhatsApp has since expanded encryption to many of its 220 million users on iOS and other platforms worldwide, and Marlinspike says he’s in talks to bring the software to several other companies. Crypto: It’s not just for geeks anymore. —Klint Finley
Percent of traffic that is encrypted, by country