This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekly newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s happening in the world of technology.
The US and China are pointing fingers at each other over climate change
The UN climate conference ended last weekend after long marathon negotiations. The most notable result was the creation of a fund to help poor countries pay for climate damage, which was seen as a victory. In addition, some leaders are concerned that not enough progress has been made in this year’s talks.
So everyone is pointing fingers, blaming others for not acting fast enough on climate finance. Activists call the US a “colossal fossil fuel,” while American leaders complain that they are being blamed while China is the leading emitter.
But when it comes to determining who and what should pay for climate damage, we need to look beyond current emissions. When you add up the historical emissions, it becomes very clear: the US is the largest total emitter, accounting for about a quarter. Read the story in its entirety.
— Casey Crownheart
Casey’s story is from Spark, her weekly newsletter that delves into the tricky science of climate change. Sign up to get it delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.
We may run out of data to train AI language programs
What is happening? Large language models are one of the hottest areas of AI research right now, and companies are rapidly churning out programs like GPT-3 that can write impressively coherent articles and even computer code. But according to a team of artificial intelligence forecasters, a problem looms on the horizon: We may be running out of information to train them on.
How long do we have? As researchers build more powerful models with greater capabilities, they have to find more and more texts to train on. The types of data commonly used for these models could be used in the near future — as early as 2026, according to a paper by researchers at Epoch, an artificial intelligence research and forecasting organization. Read the story in its entirety.
— Tammy Xu
Podcast: Want a Job? AI will see you now.
Hiring decisions used to be made by people. Today, some of the key decisions that lead to whether someone gets a job or not are made by algorithms. In this episode of our award-winning podcast, Inside the Machines We Trust, we meet some of the big players behind this technology, including the CEOs of HireVue and myInterview, and check out some of these tools ourselves.
Listen to it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you want.
A must read
I’ve combed the web to find the funniest/important/scary/interesting tech stories for you today.
1 The collapse of FTX should be a major caution for the crypto industry
Unfortunately, this will not necessarily improve the rules. (New Yorker $)
+ After all, crypto isn’t known for heeding bad omens. (vox)
+ FTX invested millions in, err, a tiny bank. (NYT$)
+ Sam Bankman-Fried’s favorite ideology of “long-termism” rings false. (motherboard)
+ Nor did he do the effective altruism movement any favors. (Atlantic dollar)
2 Elon Musk probably won’t file for bankruptcy
However, this does not mean that his financial backers can rest easy. (Atlantic dollar)
+ Here’s who’s paying for Twitter right now. (NYT$)
+ Former Twitter employees fear the platform may only last a few weeks. (MIT Technology Review)
3 Measles is a growing global threat
Vaccination rates are falling and it’s incredibly contagious. (Axios)
4 Maybe it’s time to stop automatically trusting billionaires
Exercising healthy cynicism is not the same as being a hater. (vox)
+ Many big tech bosses mistakenly assumed their covid peak would last forever. (Slate $)
5 The Real Cost of America’s War on China’s Chips
The more expensive the components, the more expensive the final product will be. (FT$)
+ Workers at the world’s largest iPhone factory are rioting. (Bloomberg $)
+ Inside the software that will be the next battlefront in the US-China chip war. (MIT Technology Review)
6 Rocks on Mars suggest that it may once have been habitable
Organic molecules found in rocks can support life forms. (WP$)
+ A British-made rover is returning to the Red Planet. (BBC)
7 Why future concrete can contain bacteria
Bioconcrete is durable and, importantly, more environmentally friendly. (Economist $)
+ These living bricks use bacteria to build themselves. (MIT Technology Review)
8 Shopping on Amazon really sucks these days
And because everything is advertising. (WP$)
9 What it’s like to love technology that the world has left behind
From the Walkman to the BlackBerry, these die-hard fans don’t let go. (The Guardian)
+ Smartphones have survived all attempts to replace them. (The Verge)
10 YouTube video comments are a work of art
Literally, the artist turned them into real art. (New Yorker $)
Quote of the day
“He’s always trying to make people laugh, so he makes all his cars suicidal.”
– Drill, one of the bright faces of the humorous corner of “weird Twitter”, reflects on the surreal leadership of Elon Musk in the Washington Post.
A great story
What does the Big Tech disruption really mean?
For Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet, COVID-19 has been an economic boon. Although the pandemic has plunged the global economy into a deep recession and reduced the profits of most companies, these companies, often referred to as the “Big Four” of technology, have not only survived, but also thrived.
But at the same time, they have come under unprecedented attack from politicians and government regulators in the US and Europe in the form of new lawsuits, proposed bills and regulations. There’s no denying that pressure is mounting to curb the power of Big Tech. But what would that entail? Read the story in its entirety.
— James Suravetsky
We can still have nice things
A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these strange times. (Any ideas? Email me orshout at me.)
+ This kitten goalkeeper it’s just awesome.
+ I really like it color combinations this Twitter bot comes up with (thanks Niall!)
+ Atara Ben-Tovim sounded like an extremely inspiring music teacher.
+ How to expand your horizon of watching movies and delve into something new.
+ After the recent chess cheating scandal, I can no longer trust anyone. This is how to recognize a cunning opponent.