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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.

Yann LeCun has a bold new vision for the future of AI

Around a year and a half ago, Yann LeCun realized he had it wrong.

LeCun, who is chief scientist at Meta’s AI lab and one of the most influential AI researchers in the world, had been trying to give machines a basic grasp of how the world works—a kind of common sense—by training neural networks to predict what was going to happen next in video clips of everyday events. But guessing future frames of a video pixel by pixel was just too complex. He hit a wall.

Now, after months figuring out what was missing, he has a bold new vision for the next generation of AI.

In a draft document shared with MIT Technology Review, LeCun sketches out an approach that he thinks will one day give machines the common sense they need to navigate the world.

For LeCun, the proposals could be the first steps on a path to building machines with the ability to reason and plan like humans—what many call artificial general intelligence, or AGI.

His vision is far from being comprehensive; indeed, it may raise more questions than it answers. The biggest question mark, as LeCun points out himself, is that he does not know how to build what he describes. Read the full story.

—Melissa Heikkiläa & Will Douglas Heaven

The smart city is a perpetually unrealized utopia

In a new essay, Chris Salter, an artist and professor of immersive arts at the Zurich University of the Arts, talks about how the concept of the smart city has always changed through the decades.

In it he also asks what role people should play in future cities. He writes: “When we assume that data is more important than the people who created it, we reduce the scope and potential of what diverse human bodies can bring to the “smart city” of the present and future. But the real “smart” city consists not only of commodity flows and information networks generating revenue streams for the likes of Cisco or Amazon.

The smartness comes from the diverse human bodies of different genders, cultures, and classes whose rich, complex, and even fragile identities ultimately make the city what it is.” Read the full essay.

The must-reads

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

1 The Online Privacy Bill is gathering momentum
The bill aims to curb businesses’ collection of users’ personal data, as well as helping them opt out of targeted advertising. (WSJ $)

2 Carbon capture isn’t the quick fix we want it to be
Experts think it’s smarter to channel time, effort and funding into renewables instead. (WP $)
The UK wants to capture CO2 and turn it into baking soda. (New Scientist $)
Carbon removal hype is becoming a dangerous distraction. (MIT Technology Review)
Climate change is altering the way that wine tastes. (Knowable Magazine)

3 A UK musician has successfully sued his record label over streaming royalties
Kieran Hebden, better known as Four Tet, argued that the rate he received was unfair. (BBC)
Spotify is still waiting for its podcasting gamble to pay off. (Bloomberg $)
The platform is testing a social feature to share what you’re listening to. (TechCrunch)

4It’s getting harder to access China’s internet from abroad
The tighter restrictions seem to coincide with the country’s covid-induced isolation. (LA Times)
Now China wants to censor online comments. (MIT Technology Review)

5 A recession could make some workers too nervous to work from home
Prompting them to head back into offices to prove their worth to their employers. (The Atlantic $)
Remote workers want to re-create those watercooler moments. (MIT Technology Review)

6 Controversial crypto founder Do Kwon is staging a comeback
Just weeks after his stablecoins imploded, he’s launched a new version of his embattled Terra blockchain network. (WSJ $)
Hackers have stolen $100 million from crypto bridge Horizon. (Bloomberg $)

7 Even DALL·E mini’s creator doesn’t know why it’s obsessed with women in saris
But the program’s dataset is the most probable culprit. (Rest of World)
Popular text-to-image AI generators are staring down the barrel of a safety reckoning. (Time)

8 How an AI app could help detect early dementia
It identifies early signs of mild cognitive impairment in under five minutes. (Neo.Life)

9 An excitable NFT conference fell for a fake Snoop Dogg called Doop Snogg
There’s a lesson in this, somewhere. (The Guardian)
NFT.NYC sounds completely unhinged. (Motherboard)
NFTs of canned ice tea is the industry’s hottest property right now. (The Information)
I tried to buy an Olive Garden NFT. All I got was heartburn. (MIT Technology

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By: Rhiannon Williams
Title: The Download: Yann LeCun’s AI vision, and smart cities’ unfulfilled promises
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/06/24/1054826/download-yann-lecun-interview-ai-general-intelligence-meta-smart-cities/
Published Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2022 12:13:52 +0000

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LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys

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Bitso, a leading cryptocurrency platform operating in Latin America, and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), today announced the joint launch of the first collectible NFT of the Mexico National Team’s jerseys that was acquired in cryptocurrencies.

This morning through their social media platforms, the FMF and Bitso announced the opportunity to acquire the new official National Team fan jerseys ahead of the team’s participation in the 2022 World Cup. In just 20 minutes, the entire collection sold out.

bitsonftjeysey
The NFTs of the jerseys have an exclusive design for the metaverse – each is unique on the blockchain and can be resold by its owner in subsequent transactions.

The collection consisted of 100 official physical jerseys, each with a corresponding NFT version of the jersey that fans’ avatars can wear within the Decentraland metaverse. Each physical and NFT jersey set sold for the equivalent of $1,800 MXN in ethers.

“Our mission is to make cryptocurrency useful in the everyday life of Mexicans; we are committed to spreading the technology through innovative opportunities that help people throughout the country familiarize themselves with this new world. We are very excited to offer the incredible, historic opportunity for the fans of our National Team so that through their Bitso account, they can wear the colors of the National Team on and ‘off’ the field in the metaverse.”
– Bárbara González Briseño, General Director of Bitso México

Jersey NFTs

Created by Bitso, the virtual jersey sports the official colors of Mexico and the new National Team shield, characteristics that will make it stand out when users wear it in the virtual world of Decentraland.

The post LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/29/latam-crypto-exchange-bitso-and-fmf-launch-nft-of-mexicos-national-team-jerseys/
Published Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2022 15:19:02 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.mansbrand.com/the-download-a-breakthrough-climate-bill-and-twitters-terrible-trends/

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Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth

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EXMO, a crypto exchange platform operating since 2014, announced this week a rebranded visual identity with includes a new logo, brand colors, and design features. This new branding comes as EXMO continues to grow its crypto platform while also seeking to expand its presence in other jurisdictions.

Some new developments underway at EXMO:

Soon, users will be able to earn passive income from EXMO’s new staking platform.Plans to launch an EXMO crypto debit card.Expansion of its services in international markets with the opening of offices in Poland and Lithuania.

EXMO’s new logo

The rationale for the re-brand:

“At EXMO, we have a vision of a world where crypto is in every wallet. Hassle-free. We want to achieve this by making crypto as simple and accessible to everyone as possible. And we know that you already appreciate EXMO for offering user-friendly services and helpful support. Also for the opportunity to trade anywhere and anytime, closing deals in just a few taps. Such important changes required a rethinking of our corporate style, which has long needed a massive upgrade. So today we are introducing a new brand identity for EXMO with a completely new visual concept. We are launching a new logo, brand colors, and design elements. Our key design principles are simplicity, boldness, and a pinch of fun. But most importantly, we have changed our logo. Simple and easily recognizable, it represents the humanity of our brand. The logo stands out due to the wavy letter ‘m’ which symbolizes exchange rate charts and also resembles a spring that will launch you into the crypto world.”
– The EXMO Team regarding the re-branding

The post Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/26/long-running-crypto-exchange-exmo-unveils-lively-rebrand-amidst-growth/
Published Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 08:10:38 +0000

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https://www.mansbrand.com/stitching-together-the-grid-will-save-lives-as-extreme-weather-worsens/

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Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens

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The blistering heat waves that set temperature records across much of the US in recent days have strained electricity systems, threatening to knock out power in vulnerable regions of the country. 

The electricity has largely stayed online so far this summer, but there have been scattered problems and close calls already. 

Heavy use of energy-sucking air-conditioners is the biggest problem. But intense heat can also reduce the output of power plants, blow transformers, and force power lines to sag. Severe droughts across large parts of the country have also significantly reduced the availability of hydroelectric power, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). 

It’s unlikely to get better soon. A number of grid operators may struggle to meet peak summer demand, creating the risk of rolling blackouts, the NERC report notes.

The nation’s isolated and antiquated grids are in desperate need of upgrades to keep the lights, heat, and air-conditioning on in the midst of extreme weather events that climate change is making more common, severe, and dangerous. One clear way to ease many of these issues is to more tightly integrate the country’s regional grids, stitching them together with more long-range transmission lines. 

If electricity generated in one area can be more easily shared across much wider regions, power can simply flow to where it’s needed at those moments when customers crank up air-conditioners en masse, or when power plants or fuel supply lines fail amid soaring temperatures, wildfires, hurricanes, or other events, says Liza Reed, a research manager focused on transmission at the Niskanen Center, a Washington, DC, think tank.  

The problem is it’s proved difficult to build more long-range transmission and grid interconnections for a variety of reasons, including the permitting challenges of erecting wires through private and public lands across cities, counties, and states and the reluctance of local authorities to forfeit control or submit to greater federal oversight.

The case of Texas

The unreliability of the US grid is not a new problem. Severe heat and winter storms have repeatedly exposed the frailty of electricity systems in recent years, leaving thousands to millions of people without power as temperatures spiked or plunged.

One of the fundamental challenges is that the grids today are highly fragmented. There are three main electricity networks within the US: the Eastern Grid, the Western Grid, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). But there are numerous regional transmission organizations within those first two systems, including the California Independent System Operator, Southwest Power Pool, PJM Interconnection, New York ISO, and more. 

These grids form a complex web of networks operating under different regulators, rules and market structures, and often with limited connections between them.

Map USA grid
A variety of regional transmission organizations oversee different parts of the nation’s aging and fragmented grids, which operate under different rules and with often limited connections between them.
legend

ERCOT is especially isolated, in part because of the desire among local politicians, citizens, and power companies to avoid added competition, the hassle of following other states’ rules, and oversight from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). But the state offers a case study in why that can be a serious problem amid increasingly harsh climate conditions, Reed says.

The Texas grid operator pleaded with customers several times earlier this month to cut electricity use as blistering summer temperatures created  demand surges that threatened to outstrip supply and require rolling blackouts.  Low wind conditions, cloud cover, and outages at fossil-fuel power plants added to the strains.

Shutting off the electricity needed to run air-conditioning in triple-digit temperatures

Read More

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By: James Temple
Title: Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/07/28/1056483/stitching-together-the-grid-will-save-lives-as-extreme-weather-worsens/
Published Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 08:00:00 +0000

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