This is the current edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that gives a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.
Our favorite stories of 2022
We like to think we had a great year here at MIT The Tech Warrior. Our stories have won numerous awards (this story from our magazine won gold in the AAAS awards) and our research has helped expose unjust policies.
So this year, we asked our writers and editors to comb back the last 12 months and try to pick just one story they loved the most — and then tell us why. This is what they said.
What’s next for AI
In 2022, AI got creative. AI models can now produce remarkably compelling pieces of text, images, and even videos, with just a little prompting. It’s only been nine months since OpenAI sparked the generative AI explosion with the launch of DALL-E 2, a deep-learning model that can produce images from text instructions. This was followed by a breakthrough from Google and Meta: AIs that can make videos from text. And it’s only been a few weeks since OpenAI released ChatGPT, the latest major language model that set the internet ablaze with its startling eloquence and coherence.
The pace of innovation this year has been remarkable and at times overwhelming. Who could have seen it coming? And how can we predict what the future holds?
Our in-house experts Will Douglas Heaven and Melissa Heikkilä tell us the four biggest trends that are expected to shape the AI landscape in 2023. Read the full story
Brain stimulation may be more invasive than we think
Today, there are plenty of neurotechnologies that can read what’s going on in our brains, change the way they function, and change the wiring. For example, in deep brain stimulation, electrodes are implanted deep in the brain to stimulate neurons and control the way brain regions fire. It is considered quite invasive, in a medical sense.
Other treatments, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, in which a figure-eight device is passed over a person’s head to send a magnetic pulse to parts of the brain and disrupt its activity, are classed as “non- considered invasive” because they act from the outside. the brain. But if we can get into a person’s mind even without piercing the skull, how non-invasive is the technology really? Read the full story.
Jessica’s story comes from The Checkup, her weekly newsletter covering everything the biotech is worth knowing. Sign up and receive it in your inbox every Thursday.
Podcast: The future of agriculture is in space
AI is being used in agriculture to accurately control weeds and optimize irrigation practices. It’s also being used in ways you might not expect, such as for tracking the health of cow pastures – from space. We travel from test farms to orchards in the first of a two-part series on agriculture, AI and satellites.
Listen on Apple Podcasts or wherever you normally get your podcasts from.
The must reads
I’ve scoured the internet to find you the funniest/most important/scariest/fascinating stories about technology today.
1 Sam Bankman-Fried has been released on $250 million bail
He faces house arrest pending trial. (BBC)
+ It is one of the largest bail bonds in US history. (Bloomberg$)
Crypto Twitter is unimpressed by its soft conditions. (Coin Telegraph)
2 A severe storm forces US airlines to cancel flights
+ Disrupt Christmas travel left, right and center. (WSJ$)
+ It will cross most of the US and Canada. (TheTechWarrior $)
3 We don’t know how effective nasal covid vaccines are
And because we’re not collecting the right kind of data, we may never know. (The Atlantic $)
+ Two inhaled covid vaccines have been approved, but we don’t yet know how good they are. (MIT The Tech Warrior)
+ Life expectancy in the US has fallen again. (Axis)
4 Twitter starts showing how many people have seen your tweets
It’s another one of Elon Musk’s wheezes. (TheTechWarrior)
+ Twitter looks like it’s crumbling right now. (The Atlantic $)
+ We are witnessing Twitter’s brain death. (MIT The Tech Warrior)
5 ByteDance follows journalists
The staff improperly accessed their IP addresses to try and find out if they had crossed paths with ByteDance employees. (Forbes)
After all that, the company found no leaks. (FT$)
+ TikTok is desperately trying to ingratiate itself in the US (Reuters)
6 NFTs are at a crossroads
Their value has plummeted, but evangelists refuse to give up. (TheTechWarrior $)
+ Some crypto believers are trying to take their losses on the chin. (Vice)
7 Immigrant tech workers who have been laid off are trapped in limbo
Losing their jobs also leaves their families unable to work, leaving many with no choice but to leave the US. (The guard)
For this startup founder, having his company go bankrupt was a bit of a relief. (The information $)
8 This was a milestone year for electric cars
They are not just synonymous with Tesla anymore. (Vox)
+ Why EVs won’t replace hybrid cars any time soon. (MIT The Tech Warrior)
9 The Japanese space agency sends a toy-like rover to the moon
The cute ball was designed by the popular toy maker Tomy. (New York $)
+ The Perseverance rover has delivered its first sample tube. (The register)
10 We are experiencing the very first BeReal Christmas
Unfortunately, originality is vanishingly rare. (Vice)
Quote of the day
“Against all odds and doomsday scenarios, Ukraine did not fall. Ukraine is alive and kicking.”
—Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanks the US Congress for its financial support to Ukraine and its people ten months after Russia invaded, CNN reports.
The big story
Startups race to reproduce breast milk in the lab
Like many mothers, Leila Strickland found breastfeeding difficult. She struggled to feed her son, and three years later her daughter, and spent all day, every day nursing or pumping to boost her milk flow.
Strickland, a professor of vascular physiology at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, began thinking about how she could use a process like the one developed by Dutch food technology company Mosa Meat to create artificial beef, but for cells that produce breast milk.
For years she struggled to keep the project funded, and she almost abandoned the idea. But in May 2020, Biomilq, a company she founded, received $3.5 million from a group of investors led by Bill Gates. Biomilq is now in a race with competitors to shake up the world of infant nutrition in a way not seen since the birth of the now $42 billion formula industry. Read the full story.
— Haley Cohen Gilliland
We can still have fun things
A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these strange times. (Have any ideas? Message me orshe tweets to me.)
+ I have to admit, I had never heard of it flirt with onion emojis until now.
Even millennials are starting to cringe millennials.
+ An intrepid guide to all of Netflix’s cheap party movies – watch at your own risk.
+ This chef bravely reinvents the Italian Christmas classic panettone, with a little Silician flair.
+ How to make New Year’s resolutions that you will actually stick to.