New York Times Research and Development

What does the R+D lab do?

How does one get a job at the lab?

How likely is it that these prototypes will ever make it to market?

Today we visited the research and development lab at the New York Times. There we were addressed by Noah Feehan, a maker in the R+D lab. Noah told us about the lab and what its purpose is. We were told that the lab looks beyond the current market and development cycle for products and instead looks at possible technologies that may emerge in three to five years. Within the lab we were shown various projects both for possible tech and for introspection within the New York Times. This included many programs that were built around streaming data such as a visual web showing article topic relations, and a global map showing current website traffic around the world. Many of these data streams were setup with a visual programming language that the R+D lab actually developed themselves called Streamtools. Noah also talked to us about the idea of semantic listening, and how transparency is important with such technologies.

I found this visit really interesting for a few reasons. I thought it was really unique to be able to look inside of the Times and see some of the ways that the corporation looks at itself. Primarily though I liked today because of the innovative technologies that we got to see in the lab. The listening conference table there was a great example. I think such a device would be a great thing to have in office and universities. I also found the introspective feed that runs there. The idea that one can see a real time feed of what they and their coworkers are looking at online is both really cool and incredibly useful as a designer. I look forward to seeing if these technologies do arrive on the market in the next few years.

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