Tech

The Merge arrives, and China’s AI image censorship


  • The dark secret behind the cute AI-generated animal images. Google Brain unveiled its own image-generating AI, called Imagen, earlier this year. But don’t expect to see anything unhealthy. Read full story.
  • This butter armchair could be the future of AI. Last year, OpenAI expanded GPT-3 with two new models that combine NLP with image recognition for its AI to better understand everyday concepts. Read full story.

Things to read

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

1 The biggest social media companies appear before the US Senate
Past and current Meta, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube employees answered questions about the impact of social media on homeland security. (TechCrunch)
+ Getting the user’s attention is the main purpose of their algorithm. (Protocol)
+ TikTok representatives avoid pledging to cut off China’s access to US data. (Bloomberg $)

2 China wants to reduce dependence on Western technology
Investing heavily in local companies is just one part of the company’s multi-year plan. (FT $)
+ Cybercriminals are increasingly interested in the personal data of Chinese citizens. (Bloomberg $)
+ The FBI accused him of spying for China. It ruined his life. (MIT Technology Review)

3 California is suing Amazon
Allegedly it caused price spikes across the state. (WSJ $)
+ A two-year battle to stop Amazon from selling facial recognition to police. (MIT Technology Review)

4 Russia is waging a surveillance war on its own citizens
Its administration is increasingly targeting ordinary people, not known dissidents or journalists. (Slate $)
+ Russian troops are still fleeing from northern Ukraine. (Guardians)

5 Dozens of AIs debated 100 years of climate negotiations in seconds
They are assessing which policies are most likely to be embraced globally. (New Scientist $)
+ The owner of Patagonia gave the company to fight climate change. (Guardians)

6 Iranian hackers stole victims’ printers to transfer ransom
These three men have been accused of targeting people in the US, UK and Iran. (Motherboard)

7 DARPA’s Tiny Aircraft Can Spy From Almost Anywhere
Unmanned vehicles can also carry small bombs. (WP $)
+ The Taliban shot down a helicopter abandoned by the US military. (Motherboard)

8 Listening to the stars helps astronomers assess what’s inside them
The spooky-sounding sound waves transmit a lot of data. (Economist $)
+ The James Webb Space Telescope has discovered newborn stars. (Space)
+ The next head of the Space Force said that the US needed a constellation of satellites to counter China. (Nikkei Asia)

9 We’ll never be able to flip and flip like a cat
But the best divers and gymnasts are the closest we can meet. (Atlantic $)
+ The best jumping robot is inspired by nature. (Quanta)

These 10 Robots Are Laughing
Even if it’s not very convincing. (Guardians)

Quote of the day

“Tesla has yet to produce anything even remotely approaching a fully autonomous vehicle.”

—Briggs Matsko, a Tesla owner, explains his reasoning for suing the company over the “deceptive” way in which it markets its driver-assistance systems, according to Reuters.



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