This is today’s download., Our weekly newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s happening in the world of technology.
How the Supreme Court’s decision on Section 230 could end Reddit as we know it.
When the Supreme Court hears a landmark case on Section 230 in February, all eyes will be on the big players in tech — Meta, Google, Twitter, YouTube.
The case may have different outcomes. One of the consequences is that these companies may be forced to change their approach to community content moderation.
Many sites rely on users to edit, format, remove, and promote other users’ content online—think Reddit votes or changes to a Wikipedia page. Experts warn that if those users are forced to take legal risks every time they make a content decision, it could have a devastating effect on online discourse communities. Read the full story.
– Tat Ryan-Mosley
An extinction company is trying to resurrect the dodo.
The news: The dodo bird is large, flightless and sweet. They help explain why it all disappeared around 1662. Now a US biotechnology company has announced plans to bring the dodo back to life.
Why dodo? It’s the third species chosen by Austin, Texas-based Colossal Biosciences for its technology “to eradicate extinction.” The company is working on transforming modern elephants into woolly mammoths and using large-scale genome engineering to reintroduce the Tasmanian tiger.
How are you doing? The company obtained detailed DNA data from a 500-year-old Dodo remains housed in a museum in Denmark. He plans to gradually transform the bird’s closest relative, the Nicobar pigeon, into a dodo and possibly “re-breed” the animal in its native habitat. The problem is that it’s easy to gene-edit bird cells in the lab, but it’s hard to put carefully edited cells back into a bird. Read the full story.
– Antonio Regalado
Who will become a technology entrepreneur in China?
We live in an era where the concept of being an entrepreneur is ever expanding. It’s often hard to fit careers — hosting a podcast, driving for Uber, even having an OnlyFans account — into traditional definitions of employment and entrepreneurship.
Of course, this is not strictly a Western phenomenon; It’s happening all over the world. And in China, it’s changing how people work — but with the country’s own twist.
Our China Correspondent Zei Yang talks with author Lin Zhang about her new book, which explores the growth and social impact of successful Chinese entrepreneurs (at least for the time being). Read the full story.
This story is from China Report, a weekly newspaper that covers all the latest news from China. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Tuesday.
It should be read
I’ve scoured the internet for the most entertaining/important/scary/amazing stories about technology today.
1 OpenAI has released a tool that detects AI-generated text
Unfortunately, it’s not very good. (WSJ$)
+ The tool returns many both false positives and false negatives. (Axios)
+ It correctly identified only 26% of what was written by AI. (Bloomberg $)
+ What the human brain can teach us about AI. (Atlantic $)
+ It looks like Google is testing its own ChatGPT rivals. (CNBC)
+ Watermarking of chatbots can expose text written by AI. (MIT Technology Review)
2 The US defense industry is struggling to arm Ukraine.
The supply chain is straining against the demand for weapons. (FT$)
+ How Russia is Secretly Bypassing Oil Sanctions. (Economist $)
3 Elon Musk’s Twitter feed is the echo chamber.
Although he insists that the broad platform should be more open and diverse. (NYT$)
+ Twitter isn’t happy about the cost of private jets. (Bloomberg $)
+ We are witnessing the death of Twitter’s head. (MIT Technology Review)
4 A streamer is caught watching a co-worker’s pornographic film.
Discordant videos show the dangers of the technology. (motherboard)
+ Scary new AI app turns women into sex videos with a click. (MIT Technology Review)
5. It seems that covid is weakening our immune system
Even mild infections seem to disrupt our immune system. (Slate$)
+ How to work out how healthy your immune system is. (New Scientist $)
6 Tracking trucks has not made long distance driving any safer
However, it has ushered in a new era of surveillance. (New York Dollar)
7 What’s next for laid-off tech workers?
Their skills are highly valued—especially in non-tech businesses. (Vox)
+ Anonymous App is the hottest place for blind job search. (CNN)
+ The US is weaning itself off being a nation of jobs. (Atlantic $)
Assembling 8 iPhones in Foxconn’s factory is a thankless task.
It produces good results, but the stressful working conditions challenge the workers every day. (rest of the world)
9 Airport protocols are increasing rapidly.
E-gates and biometric passports make it easy to get through quickly. (WP$)
10 Reporting a UFO sighting is easier than ever.
Simply launch the Enigma Labs app. (Wired $)
Quote of the day
“As I watched, it was hard not to laugh out loud at the absurdity of those hands and teeth.”
—Programmer Miles Zimmerman told BuzzFeed he recalled a fantasy experiment he did with the generative AI model Mindjourney, which created images of people with multiple fingers and teeth.
The big story
This $1.5 billion startup promises to provide clean fuels as cheap as gas. Experts are very skeptical.
Last summer, Prometheus Fools founder and CEO Rob McGinnis gathered investors and gave a theatrical demonstration of the technology. Prometheus promises to transform both the waste and conventional fuel sectors by extracting greenhouse gases from the air and converting them to carbon-neutral fuels.
But despite investors throwing money at the company, reaching a valuation of more than $1.5 billion, there’s little evidence it can live up to its lofty claims. Read the full story.
– James Temple
We can still have something good.
A place of comfort, relaxation and distraction in these strange times. (Got ideas? Drop me a line or tweet me.)
+ It’s fair to say I didn’t see a twist in any of these letters from my aunt (thanks Jess!).
+ Some choices are hard to ponder, and This It is one.
+ What can board games teach us? More than you can imagine, actually.
+ Watch for the green comet heading for Earth tonight – if you miss it, you’ll have to wait another 50,000 years.
+ A cup of coffee with these three angels is my idea of a perfect day.