The biggest technology failures of 2021

The drug sold by Biogen is an antibody that attaches to brain plaques. Aduhelm flop in a large human trial that showed no tangible benefit to patients with brain disease. Yet the company and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration decided to move forward in June, taking into account the objections of the agency’s expert advisers. Many resigned. One, Aaron Kesselheim, called the episode “probably the worst drug approval decision in recent US history.”

Yes, we need new treatments for Alzheimer’s. But this approval marked the relevant trend for approving drugs using weak types of evidence known as “surrogate markers”. Because eduhelm causes measurable reductions in brain plaques જે a marker of dementia-the FDA concludes that there is a “reasonable probability” that patients will benefit. One problem with such assumptions is that no one knows if these plaques cause disease or one of its symptoms.

Aduhelm, the first new Alzheimer’s drug in 20 years, is already a fiasco. Very few patients are getting it, biogen sales are low, and at least one person has died from brain swelling. After approval, the company has halved the price of the drug, and its head of research has abruptly resigned.

Rread more, “How Uncertified Alzheimer’s Medicine Approved,” New York Times.

Zillow’s home buying algorithm

“Don’t overdo it on your own supplies” is a familiar business maxim. Real estate listing company Zillow did the same with catastrophic results.

The company’s real-estate listing site is popular, as is its computer-generated house value, known as “Zestimet”. The company’s mistake was using its estimates to buy homes, appear invisible, flip them over and collect transaction fees. Zillow soon learned that his algorithm did not accurately predict a change in housing prices. And that wasn’t the only problem.

Zillow was competing with other digital bidders, known as “iBuyers”. So he did what any home hunter decided to bargain for: he was paid more. By this year, the district was listing hundreds of homes at less than its own purchase price. In November, the company closed its iBuying unit Zilo Offers, cut 2,000 jobs, and received $ 500 million in writing for what the Wall Street Journal described as “one of the sharpest events of the American corporate retreat.”

Zillow will stick to its core business of selling ads to real estate brokers. His gestures still have a home on site.

read more, “What’s wrong with Zilo?” A real-estate algorithm derails its big claim, “the Wall Street Journal reported.

Ransomware

Ransomware is malicious software that hijacks a company’s computer files by encrypting them. Criminals then demand money to restore access. It is a booming business. According to cybersecurity company SonicWall, ransomware set a new record in 2021 with more than 500 million attacks.

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