Tech

The Download: AI privacy risks, and cleaning up shipping


This is today’s edition of Download, Our weekday newsletter provides daily coverage of what’s happening in the tech world.

What does GPT-3 “know” about me?

One of the biggest stories in the tech industry this year was the rise of large language models (LLMs). These are AI models that generate text that humans could have written — sometimes so convincingly that they trick people into thinking they are sentient.

The power of these models comes from the multitude of man-made public texts that have been introduced on the internet. If you’ve posted anything even remotely personal in English on the internet, chances are your data could be part of some of the world’s most popular LLMs.

My colleague, Melissa Heikkilä, our AI reporter, recently began to wonder what data these models might have about her — and how it could be misused. A decade ago, a painful experience made her paranoid about sharing personal information online, so she put OpenAI’s GPT-3 to the test to see what it “knows” about her. . Read about what she found.

How Ammonia Can Help Clean Up Global Shipping

News: Bad-smelling ammonia seems like a difficult fuel to cut greenhouse gas emissions. But it could also play an important role in the decarbonization of global shipping, providing an efficient way to store the energy needed to power large ships on long journeys. .

What is happening: The U.S. Shipping Line recently approved the first phase of several ammonia-powered vessels and fuel infrastructure, meaning such ships could set sail within the next few years. While the fuel would require new engines and refueling systems, swapping it for the fossil fuels that ships burn today could lead to a significant reduction in global carbon emissions.

What’s next: Some companies are looking even further into the future, with New York-based Amogy raising nearly $50 million earlier this year for fuel cell chemicals that promise to cut emissions. waste more. If early tests for ammonia are carried out, these new technologies could help the shipping industry significantly reduce emissions. Read full story.

—Casey Crownhart

Things to read

I scoured the internet to find you today’s most interesting/important/scary/striking stories about tech.

1 Pakistan is reeling from terrible floods
Poor policymaking, combined with monsoons caused by climate change, has displaced millions and destroyed homes, food and livelihoods. (Vox)
+ These images highlight the extent of the devastation. (Guardians)
+ People are trying to salvage what belongs to them from the water. (BBC)

2 California passed new online child safety rules
The law will force websites and apps to add protections for people under the age of 18. (NYT $)
+The state also wants to punish doctors who spread health misinformation. (NYT $)

3 NASA will attempt to relaunch the Artemis rocket on Saturday
Incorrect sensor readings are believed to be the cause of Monday’s failure. (BBC)

4 Elon Musk has found a new tactic to try to back out of buying Twitter
He is using the whistleblower’s recent allegations. (FT $)
+ What you need to know about the upcoming legal battle. (WSJ $)
+ Twitter is failing to tackle self-harming content. (Ars Technica)

5 Deepfakes are breaking into the mainstream
Technology is improving day by day, and we should be worried. (WP $)
+ A horrifying new AI app turns women into porn videos with a single click. (MIT Technology Review)

6 Cyberinsurance is not equipped to deal with cyberwar
Insurance companies cannot agree on what should and should not be covered. (Wired $)

7 A program to clean up contaminated wetlands in Nigeria has made the problem worse
Ogoniland residents have to deal with oil wetlands. (Bloomberg $)
+ The companies that caused the oil spill in California were fined $13 million. (CNN)

8 How are giant isopods so huge
The genes of the roly-poly relative explain why it can grow to the size of a chihuahua. (Hakai Magazine)
+ The original Coelacanth is an energy-saving expert. (New Scientist $)

9 Gen Z Really Likes Making Collages
Of course, there’s an app for that. (Information $)

10 Dadcore fashions that went viral
Leaving a generation of iconic fishing fans in its wake. (Input)

Quote of the day

“I’ve certainly had days where I’ve achieved all of that, but it’s been exhausting.”

—Dynasti deGouville, 22, describes the pressure she felt when she signed up to the #ThatGirl lifestyle of early risers, strenuous exercise, and restrictive diets posted on TikTok clips of skinny white women with The Wall Street Journal.

Big story

Humanity is stuck in short-term thinking. This is how we escaped.

October 2020

Humans have evolved over millennia to capture an ever-expanding sense of time. We have minds capable of imagining a distant future. However, while we may have this ability, it is rarely implemented in everyday life. If our descendants were diagnosed with the ills of 21st-century civilization, they would observe a dangerous short-termism: a collective failure to escape the present moment and see farther forward.

The world is saturated with information and the standard of living has never been higher, but it is often a struggle to look beyond the next news cycle, political deadline or business quarter. How to explain this contradiction? Why are we stuck in the “now”? Read full story.

—Richard Fisher

We can still have good things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction during these strange times. (Any comments?Drop me a lineortweet ’em with me.)

+ This one dog slide looks like an infinite fun.
+ Three hours out of 90s hip hop Guaranteed to bring you a good mood.
After two years of rest, World Gravy Wrestling Championship has returned!
+ Electric icon Gary Numan There are some interesting words of wisdom.
+ Perseverance Rover is digging for evidence of past life on Mars.





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