The Download: Hong Kong’s crypto obsession, and digitizing India’s documents

This is today’s edition of The Download our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.

Why Hong Kong is still bullish on crypto

While Sam Bankman-Fried was waiting for the jury in his fraud trial to return their verdict last week, Hong Kong FinTech Week 2023, a new annual conference hosted by the local government, was well underway. 

Unlike people in the US, where the SBF trial is just one episode amid a prolonged crypto winter, those in Hong Kong were feeling much more optimistic. Attendees excitedly discussed the future of tokenized assets, central-bank digital currencies, and even NFTs—beaming with hopes that’d be hard to find elsewhere.

In Hong Kong, crypto execs have found a rare place where the government is welcoming. And for the city, this new digital frontier seems like an opportunity to rewire its economy. But moving this fast is a high-risk bet. Read the full story.

—Zeyi Yang

This story is from China Report, our weekly newsletter covering tech and power in China. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Tuesday.

The grassroots push to digitize India’s most precious documents

At the Gandhi Bhavan Museum in Bengaluru, workers sit in front of five giant tabletop scanners.

The museum building houses the largest reference library for Gandhian philosophy in the state of Karnataka, and over the next year, these workers will undertake the giant task of digitizing these books and recording their metadata on the Internet Archive: a searchable library of books, speeches, magazines, and other documents and media.

It’s an effort to make up for the scarcity of library resources in India, and to liberate access to libraries that aren’t generally freely accessible to the public. Read the full story.


This story is from our most recent print issue of MIT Technology Review, which is all about society’s hardest problems, and how we should tackle them. If you don’t subscribe already, sign up now to get future issues when they land.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Adobe users are selling AI-generated images of the Israel-Hamas conflict 
While some of the fake pictures are clearly marked as AI-made, others are not. (Motherboard)
Internet blackouts are being weaponized across Gaza. (Wired $)

2 Chinese VC firms are quietly investing in US startups
In spite of worsening geopolitical relations between the two countries. (The Information $)
At least the two nations are openly discussing the threat of nuclear arms. (Vox)

3 Amazon is secretly building its own ambitious AI model
Which is highly likely to end up bolstering its cloud services. (Reuters)
Google’s generative AI wizardry can now be harnessed to make ads. (The Verge)
What makes a chatbot “anti-woke,” exactly? (NY Mag $)

4 America’s fentanyl crisis has roots all over the globe 
The deadly synthetic opioid is produced in China and smuggled into the US via Mexico. (FT $)

5 The US is making more electric cars than ever before
But while sales are growing, they’re not exactly booming. (NYT $)
Why EVs won’t replace hybrid cars anytime soon. (MIT Technology Review)

6 No one wants to work in recycling
So robots and AI systems are stepping in to fill in the labor shortage. (WSJ $)
Think that your plastic is being recycled? Think again. (MIT Technology Review)

7 The sun is smaller than we thought
We don’t know what lurks inside it, either. (New Scientist $)
Inside NASA’s bid to make spacecraft as small as possible. (MIT Technology Review)

8 How your genetics determine what your face looks like
Researchers are starting to think they need to probe new ways to explain our unique facial features.(Knowable Magazine)

9 YouTube camps are teaching kids how to make it big online 
The primary motivation for the aspiring content creators? Making lots of money. (WP $)
Meet the wannabe kidfluencers struggling for stardom. (MIT Technology Review)

10 This Chinese restaurant is sick of one-star Google reviews
And it’s not afraid to fight back. (The Atlantic $)

Quote of the day

“I’ve begun to wonder what’s me, and what’s the depression, and what’s the stimulator.”

—An anonymous participant in a brain-computer interface study describes the difficulty they’ve had separating their sense of self from the changes brought about by their treatment, Insider reports.

The big story

The metaverse is the next venue for body dysmorphia online

Read More


By: Rhiannon Williams
Title: The Download: Hong Kong’s crypto obsession, and digitizing India’s documents
Sourced From:
Published Date: Wed, 08 Nov 2023 13:10:00 +0000

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