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The Download: Chinese robotaxi drivers, and AI gun detection

When Liu Yang started his current job, he found it hard to return to driving their own car: I instinctively went for the passenger seat. Or when I was driving, I’d expect the automobile to brake alone, says the 33-year-old Beijing native, who joined the Chinese tech giant Baidu in January 2021 as a robotaxi driver.

Robotaxi driver can be an occupation that only exists inside our time, the consequence of an evolving technology thats advanced enough to eliminate a drivermost of that time period, in controlled environments however, not sufficient to convince authorities they can get rid of human intervention altogether.

Liu is among the a huge selection of safety operators utilized by Baidu, driving five days weekly in Shougang Park. But despite having only worked for the business for 19 months, he already must consider his next career move, as his job is going to be eliminated inside a couple of years. Browse the full story.

Zeyi Yang

Podcast: Can AI keep guns out of schools?

Amid an evergrowing epidemic of gun violence over the US, can AI participate the answer? In the most recent bout of our award-winning podcast, In Machines We Trust, we look at a number of the weapons detection technologies schools are employing to attempt to keep students safe, and explore whether theyre delivering on the promise. Pay attention to it on your own.

The must-reads

Ive combed the web to get you todays most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 ByteDances US news app reportedly pushed pro-China messaging

Former employees say these were also instructed to censor criticism of Beijing. (Buzzfeed)

+ Smartphone sales in China are in their lowest level for ten years. (The Register)

2Mark Zuckerberg is certainly going into overdrive

To make the metaverse work, he needs his employees to work even harder. (NYT $)

+ Hes to be worriedMeta will probably report its first-ever revenue drop today. (Reuters)

+ Facebook workers longing for extra days off can reconsider. (The Verge)

+ Meta is raising the costs of its Quest 2 VR headset, too. (ZDNet)

+ A metaverse security update is annoying its early users. (Motherboard)

3 An AI convincingly masqueraded as a philosopher

That could be incredibly dangerous in the incorrect hands. (Motherboard)

+ The brand new version of GPT-3 is way better behaved (and really should be less toxic). (MIT Technology Review)

4 How Ticketmasters dynamic pricing algorithm experiment backfired

Charging Bruce Springsteen fans around $5,000 per ticket had not been an excellent move. (Variety $)

+ How pricing algorithms figure out how to collude. (MIT Technology Review)

5 The brand new psychedelic drug renaissance is here now

But critics are wary its fueling psychedelic capitalism. (Wired $)

+ What do psychedelic drugs do to your brains? AI may help us learn. (MIT Technology Review)

6 Russia says itll withdraw from the ISS partnership in 2024

NASA says it hasnt been officially told, though. (The Verge)

+ Spacetime warped round the Sun could contain the key to discovering alien life. (Motherboard)

7 New Yorks e-bikes keep catching fire

Lithium-ion batteries from China seem to be at fault. (Motherboard)

+ How bike parking pods will make US cities better for cyclists. (MIT Technology Review)

8 Floating plastic in the ocean is harboring nasty bacteria

Urinary system, skin and stomach infections are simply a number of the less-than-pleasant illnesses they might cause. (Hakai Magazine)

+ A kidney-stone eating pseudo-parasite seems to have abandoned parasitism. (The Atlantic $)

9 Undersea internet cables could soon detect tsunamis

And track them instantly to greatly help swerve future disasters. (New Yorker $)

10 Works out that dead spiders make excellent robots

Specifically hydraulic grippers. (Spectrum IEEE)

+ This robot taught itself to walk entirely alone. (MIT Technology Review)

Quote of your day

In Biggies mind, the metaverse already existed.

Wayne Barrow, a pal of the late Biggie Smalls, explains why releasing an NFT assortment of the rappers signature looks may be the perfect solution to honor his legacy to the Washington Post.

The big story

Is Ginkgos synthetic-biology story worth $15 billion?

August 2021

The Boston genetic engineering company Ginkgo Bioworks and its own CEO, Jason Kelly, have already been spectacularly successful selling a tale: that synthetic biology will transform the manufacture of physical products. What computers did for information, Kelly says, biology can do for the physical world.

Given his confident spiel, it really is surprising that 13 years after it had been founded, Ginkgo cant name an individual significant product that’s manufactured and sold which consists of organisms. The companys success in telling its story and raising money without introducing any major products has some skeptics wondering whether it’ll be next in line to crater once reality sets in. Unsurprisingly, Kelly doesnt quite see items that way. Browse the full story.

Antonio Regalado

We are able to still have nice things

A location for comfort, fun and distraction in these weird times. (Got any ideas? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ These American Dream photos taken almost six decades apart are beautifully melancholic.

+ Did you know starfish embryos cluster together in ordered, repeated patterns to develop a living crystal?

+ As legendary Australian soap opera Neighbors concludes this week, have a look back at the storylines so wild they make Dallas look dull.

+ How is Gangnam Style 10 yrs . old!?

+ Crow Monthly is really a sweet Twitter account showcasing the very best of our feathered friends.

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