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.
We have enough materials to provide the world with renewable energy
News: Supplying the world with renewable energy will require a lot of raw materials. The good news is that when it comes to aluminum, steel and rare earth metals, there’s plenty to go around, according to a new analysis.
Bigger Pay: Although emissions are an inevitable side effect of extracting materials, they account for less than a year of global fossil fuel emissions over the next 30 years. Experts are confident that the upfront cost of emissions will be more than offset by savings from clean energy technologies that replace fossil fuels.
But there is a catch: While we technically have enough of the materials needed to build a renewable energy infrastructure, extracting and processing them can actually be a challenge. If we do not do so responsibly, the conversion of these materials into a usable form may result in harm to the environment or violation of human rights. Read the story in its entirety.
— Casey Crownheart
Can ChatGPT do my job?
— Melissa Heikil, senior AI reporter
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about whether journalists and copywriters can be replaced by AI. So far, newsrooms have taken very different approaches to integrating ChatGPT’s most high-profile new tool into their work: tech news site CNET secretly used it to write articles, and BuzzFeed (more transparently) announced plans to use it to generate answers to questions.
But here’s the dirty secret of journalism: a surprisingly large amount of it can be automated. It’s not necessarily a bad thing if we can outsource some of the boring and repetitive parts of work to artificial intelligence. The real problems come when you give the AI too much control. Read the story in its entirety.
Melissa’s story is from The Checkup, her weekly newsletter that brings you the scoop on all things AI. Subscribe to receive it in your inbox every Monday.
A must read
I’ve combed the web to find the funniest/important/scary/interesting tech stories for you today.
1 Elon Musk wants to turn Twitter into a fintech platform
All this is part of his plan to make money not only from advertising. (FT $)+ Former Twitter employees don’t know what to do with their old laptops. (Wired $)
+ The company made its first interest payment on its large debt. (Bloomberg $)
2 Inside the shadowy PR companies of FTX influence
New documents reveal an undisclosed network of influential political figures. (The Intercept)
+ Things are getting even messier for the collapsed crypto exchange. (NY Mag$)
+ FTX victims are still furious. (Atlantic dollar)
3 The US stopped allowing companies to export to Huawei
This is just the latest in a series of China-related sanctions. (BBC)
4 The battle for AI supremacy is heating up
But one can only guess whether American or Chinese laboratories will win. (Economist $)
+ Generative artificial intelligence is changing everything. But what remains when the hype is gone? (MIT Technology Review)
5 You don’t necessarily need a headset to enter the meta universe
Our everyday reality is getting closer to dystopia every day. (Atlantic dollar)
+ Kpop can help improve the image of the meta universe. (NYT$)
6 Deepfake Celebrity Voices Chosen to Spew Racist Hate
This, unfortunately, seemed inevitable. (motherboard)
+ The AI voice actors sound more human than ever. (MIT Technology Review)
7 Boeing made its last ever 747 aircraft
Once a symbol of affordable travel, it will probably end up carrying cargo. (NYT$)
+ Hydrogen-powered planes take off with startup’s test flight. (MIT Technology Review)
8 Social media has a dark obsession with being #good
Is it really a good thing if you shoot it for clickbait? (The Guardian)
9 Spanish language live streamers are very popular right now
Twitch is thriving across Latin America, creating new opportunities for gamers. (Bloomberg $)
10 Dogs love to swallow AirTags
Keeping track of your furry friend is not without its dangers. (WSJ$)
Quote of the day
“I could press the red button, close the laptop and get under the covers for a couple of hours.”
— Phoebe Gavin, former executive director of talent and development at the news site Vox, discusses with the Wall Street Journal the virtues of firing via video call rather than in person.
A great story
The private security service regularly sent disinformation about the protesters to Minnesota police
When U.S. Marshals shot and killed a 32-year-old black man named Winston Boogie Smith Jr. in a parking garage in Minneapolis on June 3, 2021, the city was already in the midst of a full-scale police crisis. George Floyd was killed by a police officer last May. When protests broke out again across the city, the police could not keep up.
Into the void stepped private security teams hired primarily to prevent property damage. But the organizations often ended up directing protest activity, a task usually reserved for the police and for which most private security guards are not trained.
One company, Conflict Resolution Group (CRG), routinely provided Minneapolis police with information about activists that was sometimes false and deeply politicized. Read the story in its entirety.
— Tate Ryan-Mosley and Sam Richards
We can still have nice things
A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these strange times. (Got ideas? Email me or tweet them to me.)
+ This one page calendar seriously impressed me.
+ I love that the actors are rehearsing Shakespeare in the dystopian video game Fallout (thanks Will!)
+ Quick – I need emergency help photo of a bearcondition!
+ Can you believe that these impressive plants are carved from wood?
+ Ambient is massive right now and I can see why.