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.
I just watched Biggie Smalls perform ‘live’ in the metaverse
For a moment on Friday, Biggie Smalls was the only man on stage. A spotlight shone on him in his red velvet suit, and amid pre-recorded cheers, he rapped the lyrics to “Mo Money Mo Problems,” swiveling to the beat in his orange sneakers.
You wouldn’t be wrong to be confused. Smalls died in 1997, leaving an outsize musical and cultural legacy as one of the greatest rappers of all time. But he was in fine form on Meta’s Horizon Worlds: heaving between stanzas, pumping his fist rhythmically, and seeming very much alive.
But Smalls’s hyper-realistic avatar is not just an impressive technical feat. It is also a crucial test of two big questions we’ll soon face if metaverse platforms gain traction: whether people will pay to see an avatar of a dead artist perform, and whether that business is ethical. Read the full story.
How to spot AI-generated text
This sentence was written by an AI—or was it? OpenAI’s new chatbot, ChatGPT, presents us with a problem: How will we know whether what we read online is written by a human or a machine?
ChatGPT generates remarkably human-sounding answers to questions that it’s asked. The trouble is, it’s merely predicting the most likely next word in the sentence. It hasn’t a clue whether something is correct or false, and confidently presents information as true even when it is not. Despite that, the internet is increasingly being flooded with AI-generated text.
We’re in desperate need of ways to differentiate between human- and AI-written text in order to counter potential misuses of the technology, and researchers are developing tools to do exactly that. But the rapid speed of AI development means we’re constantly playing catch up. Read the full story.
I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.
1 Twitter users have voted to remove Elon Musk in a poll
Whether Musk actually abides by its results remains to be seen. (FT $)
Twitter has banned links to rival social media sites. (The Verge)
Journalists’ accounts were banned and reinstated over a chaotic weekend. (NYT $)
What Musk wants from the writers he’s entrusted the Twitter Files to. (Slate $)
We’re witnessing the brain death of Twitter. (MIT Technology Review)
2 Sam Bankman-Fried should appear in a Bahamian court today
The FTX founder is expected to agree to extradition to the US to face fraud charges. (WP $)
Crypto evangelists in Puerto Rico are doubling down. (The Guardian)
However, investors in the US are throwing in the towel. (WSJ $)
3 Russian drones are targeting Kyiv’s power grid
It’s Moscow’s third attack on the city in less than a week. (Reuters)
Ukrainian developers are using sophisticated software to predict enemy troops’ movements. (The Guardian)
4 Digital mental health services are failing vulnerable users
Some LGBTQ+ users say they were assigned unsympathetic therapists. (WSJ $)
5 A teenage YouTuber is at the center of a child labor lawsuit
It’s highlighting just how loosely regulated social media is. (LA Times $)
6 Climate change-induced drought is sparking a food catastrophe
Millions of people living in the Horn of Africa are among the first to suffer. (Undark Magazine)
7 Silicon Valley is pulling the plug on its elaborate Christmas parties
Many companies feel it’s a bad look, given the sector’s recent lay-offs. (The Information $)
Big Tech’s legendary perks are disappearing too. (Insider $)
8 Portugal’s digital nomad dream is dying
Building a remote working village doesn’t necessarily mean said workers will turn up. (Wired $)
Our water infrastructure needs to change. (MIT Technology Review)
9 Instagram Notes is a harkback to the golden age of instant messaging
For millennials brought up on AIM, the nostalgia is overwhelming. (WSJ $)
10 How embroidery inspired the first computer program
Ada Lovelace was an algorithm pioneer. (Inverse)
Quote of the day
“I have never been able to kill stupid things before they cause damage.”
—John Carmack, a senior executive at Meta’s VR business, announced his departure from the company in a scathing memo criticizing its bureaucracy and lack of efficiency, Insider reports.
The big story
Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens
By: Rhiannon Williams
Title: The Download: metaverse ethics, and spotting AI text
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/12/19/1065609/download-metaverse-ethics-spotting-ai-text/
Published Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2022 13:10:00 +0000
Inside the hunt for new physics at the world’s largest particle collider
In 1977, Ray and Charles Eames released a remarkable film that, over the course of just nine minutes, spanned the limits of human knowledge. Powers of Ten begins with an overhead shot of a man on a picnic blanket inside a one-square-meter frame. The camera pans out: 10, then 100 meters, then a kilometer, and eventually all the way to the then-known edges of the observable universe—1024 meters. There, at the farthest vantage, it reverses. The camera zooms back in, flying through galaxies to arrive at the picnic scene, where it plunges into the man’s skin, digging down through successively smaller scales: tissues, cells, DNA, molecules, atoms, and eventually atomic nuclei—10-14 meters. The narrator’s smooth voice-over ends the journey: “As a single proton fills our scene, we reach the edge of present understanding.”
During the intervening half-century, particle physicists have been exploring the subatomic landscape where Powers of Ten left off. Today, much of this global effort centers on CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), an underground ring 17 miles (27 kilometers) around that straddles the border between Switzerland and France. There, powerful magnets guide hundreds of trillions of protons as they do laps at nearly the speed of light underneath the countryside. When a proton headed clockwise plows into a proton headed counterclockwise, the churn of matter into energy transmutes the protons into debris: electrons, photons, and more exotic subatomic bric-a-brac. The newly created particles explode radially outward, where they are picked up by detectors.
In 2012, using data from the LHC, researchers discovered a particle called the Higgs boson. In the process, they answered a nagging question: Where do fundamental particles, such as the ones that make up all the protons and neutrons in our bodies, get their mass? A half-century earlier, theorists had cautiously dreamed the Higgs boson up, along with an accompanying field that would invisibly suffuse space and provide mass to particles that interact with it. When the particle was finally found, scientists celebrated with champagne. A Nobel for two of the physicists who predicted the Higgs boson soon followed.
But now, more than a decade after the excitement of finding the Higgs, there is a sense of unease, because there are still unanswered questions about the fundamental constituents of the universe.
Perhaps the most persistent of these questions is the identity of dark matter, a mysterious substance that binds galaxies together and makes up 27% of the cosmos’s mass. We know dark matter must exist because we have astronomical observations of its gravitational effects. But since the discovery of the Higgs, the LHC has seen no new particles—of dark matter or anything else—despite nearly doubling its collision energy and quintupling the amount of data it can collect. Some physicists have said that particle physics is in a “crisis,” but there is disagreement even on that characterization: another camp insists the field is fine and still others say that there is indeed a crisis, but that crisis is good. “I think the community of particle phenomenologists is in a deep crisis, and I think people are afraid to say those words,” says Yoni Kahn, a theorist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
The anxieties of particle physicists may, at first blush, seem like inside baseball. In reality, they concern the universe, and how we can continue to study it—of interest if you care about that sort of thing. The past 50 years of research have given us a spectacularly granular view of nature’s laws, each successive particle discovery clarifying how things really work at the bottom. But now, in the post-Higgs era, particle physicists have reached an impasse in their quest to discover, produce, and study new particles at colliders. “We do not have a strong beacon telling us where to look for new physics,” Kahn says.
So, crisis or no crisis, researchers are trying something new. They are repurposing detectors to search for unusual-looking particles, squeezing what they can out of the data with machine learning, and planning for entirely new kinds of colliders. The hidden particles that physicists are looking for have proved more elusive than many expected, but the search is not over—nature has just forced them to get more creative.
n almost-complete theory
As the Eameses were finishing Powers of Ten in the late ’70s, particle physicists were bringing order to a “zoo” of particles that had been discovered in the preceding decades. Somewhat drily, they called this framework, which enumerated the kinds of particles and their dynamics, the Standard Model.
Roughly speaking, the Standard Model separates fundamental particles into two types: fermions and bosons. Fermions are the bricks of matter—two kinds of fermions called up and down quarks, for example, are bound
By: Dan Garisto
Title: Inside the hunt for new physics at the world’s largest particle collider
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2024/02/20/1088002/higgs-boson-physics-particle-collider-large-hadron-collider/
Published Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2024 10:00:00 +0000
Transforming document understanding and insights with generative AI
At some point over the last two decades, productivity applications enabled humans (and machines!) to create information at the speed of digital—faster than any person could possibly consume or understand it. Modern inboxes and document folders are filled with information: digital haystacks with needles of insight that too often remain undiscovered.
Generative AI is an incredibly exciting technology that’s already delivering tremendous value to our customers across creative and experience-building applications. Now Adobe is embarking on our next chapter of innovation by introducing our first generative AI capabilities for digital documents and bringing the new technology to the masses.
AI Assistant in Adobe Acrobat, now in beta, is a new generative AI–powered conversational engine deeply integrated into Acrobat workflows, empowering everyone with the information inside their most important documents.
ccelerating productivity across popular document formats
As the creator of PDF, the world’s most trusted digital document format, Adobe understands document challenges and opportunities well. Our continually evolving Acrobat PDF application, the gold standard for working with PDFs, is already used by more than half a billion customers to open around 400 billion documents each year. Starting immediately, customers will be able to use AI Assistant to work even more productively. All they need to do is open Acrobat on their desktop or the web and start working.
With AI Assistant in Acrobat, project managers can scan, summarize, and distribute meeting highlights in seconds, and sales teams can quickly personalize pitch decks and respond to client requests. Students can shorten the time they spend hunting through research and spend more time on analysis and understanding, while social media and marketing teams can quickly surface top trends and issues into daily updates for stakeholders. AI Assistant can also streamline the time it takes to compose an email or scan a contract of any kind, enhancing productivity for knowledge workers and consumers globally.
Innovating with AI—responsibly
Adobe has continued to evolve the digital document category for over 30 years. We invented the PDF format and open-sourced it to the world. And we brought Adobe’s decade-long legacy of AI innovation to digital documents, including the award-winning Liquid Mode, which allows Acrobat to dynamically reflow document content and make it readable on smaller screens. The experience we’ve gained by building Liquid Mode and then learning how customers get value from it is foundational to what we’ve delivered in AI Assistant.
Today, PDF is the number-one business file format stored in the cloud, and PDFs are where individuals and organizations keep, share, and collaborate on their most important information. Adobe remains committed to secure and responsible AI innovation for digital documents, and AI Assistant in Acrobat has guardrails in place so that all customers—from individuals to the largest enterprises—can use the new features with confidence.
Like other Adobe AI features, AI Assistant in Acrobat has been developed and deployed in alignment with Adobe’s AI principles and is governed by secure data protocols. Adobe has taken a model-agnostic approach to developing AI Assistant, curating best-in-class technologies to provide customers with the value they need. When working with third-party large language models (LLMs), Adobe contractually obligates them to employ confidentiality and security protocols that match our own high standards, and we specifically prohibit third-party LLMs from manually reviewing or training their models on Adobe customer data.
The future of intelligent document experiences
Today’s beta features are part of a larger Adobe vision to transform digital document experiences with generative AI. Our vision for what’s next includes the following:
Insights across multiple documents and document types: AI Assistant will work across multiple documents, document types, and sources, instantly surfacing the most important information from everywhere.AI-powered authoring, editing, and formatting: Last year, customers edited tens of billions of documents in Acrobat. AI Assistant will make it simple to quickly generate first drafts, as well as
By: Deepak Bharadwaj
Title: Transforming document understanding and insights with generative AI
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2024/02/20/1088584/transforming-document-understanding-and-insights-with-generative-ai/
Published Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2024 16:08:01 +0000
REVIVING LEGENDS: The Timeless Transformation of a ’66 Corvette Resto-Mod
Written by Nicole Ellan James
2024 PALM BEACH AUCTION – 1966 CHEVROLET CORVETTE CUSTOM CONVERTIBLE – NO RESERVE
Resto-Mods have surged in popularity within the collector car community, and it’s easy to see why. These vehicles, characterized by their classic appearance combined with modern upgrades, encompass everything from sleek bodywork to advanced technology and powertrain enhancements. In recent years, the appeal of Resto-Mods has skyrocketed among buyers, with Corvettes standing out as constant favorites within this category.
The fusion of yesteryear’s charm with today’s innovation presents enthusiasts with an enticing combination of nostalgia and exhilaration. Resto-Mods embody this harmonious union, delivering the timeless allure of vintage aesthetics alongside the excitement of modern driving experiences. They serve as a compelling tribute to automotive history, capturing the essence of bygone eras while embracing the advancements of the present day.
Imagine a stunningly restored 1960s Corvette, now boasting a fuel-injected powerhouse, enhanced suspension and state-of-the-art infotainment system. This is precisely the transformation custom builder Jeff Hayes orchestrated with this 1966 Chevrolet Corvette convertible Resto-Mod, a project finished in October 2022.
Under the hood, an LS3 V8 engine rated with 540 horsepower is the starting point. The LS3 is known for its formidable power and relentless performance. Paired seamlessly with a 4L70E automatic transmission, this dynamic duo ensures smooth acceleration with precise shifts, for what’s sure to be an incredible driving experience.
Beneath its sleek exterior, this Corvette rests upon an Art Morrison sport chassis, renowned for its exceptional strength, agility and precision engineering. This high-performance foundation offers modern stability and handling, allowing the Corvette to carve through corners with confidence and command the road with authority. Bringing this Resto-Mod’s performance to a smooth halt are 4-wheel Wilwood disc brakes. Whether you’re pushing the limits on the open road or cruising through city streets, these brakes can deliver consistent and reliable braking performance, providing peace of mind and control in almost any driving scenario.
Finished in Bright Red paint, the exterior of this Corvette is complemented by a Saddle Brazilian leather interior.
Completing the look are striking Schott wheels, which accentuate the classic lines of the vehicle while adding a touch of contemporary flair. The wheels are wrapped in custom red line tires that not only enhance the aesthetic appeal but also ensure a smooth and responsive ride.
Step inside, and you’ll find a sanctuary of modern comfort and convenience seamlessly integrated into the classic design. The interior of this Resto-Mod features a Vintage Air system, ensuring the climate inside the cabin is comfortable regardless of the weather outside. A cutting-edge AM/FM Bluetooth stereo system delivers crystal-clear sound, allowing you to soundtrack your journey with your favorite tunes wirelessly. Other amenities include power steering and power windows for modern convivences.
This 1966 Chevrolet Corvette is selling with No Reserve at the 2024 Palm Beach Auction, April 18-20 at the South Florida Fairgrounds. Register to bid today to take this one-of-a-kind Resto-Mod Corvette home with you.
Title: REVIVING LEGENDS: The Timeless Transformation of a ’66 Corvette Resto-Mod
Sourced From: www.barrett-jackson.com/Media/Home/Reader/reviving-legends-the-timeless-transformation-of-a-66-corvette-resto-mod/
Published Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2024 16:23:35 +0000
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