WHAT HAPPENED: “The Merge”, a major upgrade to the Ethereum cryptocurrency platform, was finally completed in the early hours of this morning after six years of accumulation. Ethereum now uses Proof of Stake, a way to approve new transactions that promises to reduce the blockchain’s energy requirements by 99.9% and usher in a new era for the second-largest cryptocurrency.
Why it matters: The level of excitement in the industry about this transition cannot be overstated. Many hope it will both restore the cryptocurrency’s reputation for skeptics, and increase the efficiency of Ethereum’s vast ecosystem of businesses and developers, reducing fees and helping it scale.
What’s next? : We won’t know right away whether the merger is delivering on its transformative promise. Power dynamics remain an issue, and some of the scaling efficiencies that proponents are most excited about may not materialize until 2023. But there is no doubt that investing in a less disruptive and more efficient ecosystem by one of the biggest players in cryptocurrency is a huge achievement in itself. Read the full article.
There is no new Chinese image making AI in Tiananmen Square
Using ERNIE-ViLG, a new artificial intelligence developed by Chinese technology company Baidu, you can generate images that capture the characteristics of Chinese culture.
But there are many things — like Tiananmen Square, China’s second-largest city square and the emblematic political center — that AI refuses to show you.
It’s not uncommon for AIs like this to restrict users from generating certain types of content. Open AI’s DALL-E 2 prohibits pornography, faces of public figures, or medical images. But the ERNIE-ViLG case highlights the question of where the line between moderation and political scrutiny lies. Read the full article.
- The dark secret behind those adorable AI-generated animal images. Google Brain unveiled its own image-making AI earlier this year, called Imagen. But don’t expect to see anything unhealthy. Read the full article.
- This avocado armchair could be the future of artificial intelligence. Last year, OpenAI expanded GPT-3 with two new models, combining NLP with image recognition to give its AI a better understanding of everyday concepts. Read the full article.
- Patagonia’s boss has Send companies to fight climate change. (Guardian)
6 Iranian hackers hijacked victims’ printers to send ransom notes
The three are accused of targeting individuals in the US, UK and Iran. (Motherboard)
7 DARPA’s Small Aircraft Can Spy From Almost Anywhere
Unmanned vehicles can also carry small bombs. (WP $)
+ The Taliban shot down a helicopter left by the US military. (Motherboard)
8 Listening to the stars helps astronomers evaluate inside The stuff they
- sounds weird and the sound waves transmit a lot of data. (The Economist$)
+ The James Webb Space Telescope has discovered newborn stars. (Space)
- + Next The Space Force chief believes the United States needs a constellation of satellites to counter China. (Nikkei Asia)
9 We can never roll over like a cat
- But the best divers and gymnasts are the closest we can get. (The Atlantic $)
+ The best robotic jumpers are inspired by nature . (Quanta)
10 This robot is laughing
- even if it’s not very convincing. (The Guardian)
Quote of the day
“Tesla hasn’t made anything yet, even if It’s a long-range approach to a fully self-driving car.”
– Tesla owner Briggs Matsko explains his case for suing the company for “deceptive” Way to sell its driver assistance systems, according to Reuters.
The Soviets turned the Volga into a machine. Then the machine broke.
The approximately 2,300-mile Volga River—sometimes referred to as the “Volga Mother”—is the longest river in the U.S. and Europe and maximum water flow. The history of the Great Volga Project is, in a sense, the history of Soviet industrialization. It’s also a history of competition with the United States, which for decades competed with the Soviet Union to build bigger and more impressive dams.
But the project tries to do too much. Rivers have been polluted, silted and flooded with invasive species. The water is flowing at one-tenth the speed it was before the dam was built, and widespread toxic algal blooms are now prevalent.
Now that the Volga River Basin has been identified as one of the regions with the highest risk of drought caused by climate change, it is not an exaggeration to say that Russia’s mother river is broken. Read the full article.
— Olga Dobrovidova
We can still have good things
A comfortable , interesting place to distract in these strange times. (Any ideas? Leave me a comment or tweet me.)
+Wait, they’re rebooting The Crow? !
+ Are you ready for chaotic cooking? I do not have either.
+ Yes, you can take off a leather jacket. Methods as below.
+ These small towns in Italy are beautiful and the perfect vacation inspiration.
+ Wow, Brendan Fraser is grabbing the heart of the internet.
I scoured the web for the funniest/most important/scary/fascinating tech stories of the day.
1 Social Media’s Largest Company Appears in the U.S. Senate
Past and current Meta, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube employees answer questions about the impact of social media on homeland security. (TechCrunch)
+ Keeping the user’s attention is the main purpose of their algorithm. (Agreement)
+ TikTok representative Avoid committing the act of cutting off Chinese access to U.S. data. (Bloomberg $)
2 China wants to reduce reliance on Western technology
Investing heavily in local businesses is only part of its multi-year plan. (FT $)
+ Cybercriminals are increasingly concerned about the personal data of Chinese citizens interest. (Bloomberg $)
+ FBI Accused him of spying for China. Ruined his life. (MIT Technology Review)
3 California sues Amazon
accused it of triggering price increases across the state. (WSJ $)
+ Two years of fight to stop Amazon from selling facial recognition technology to it police. (MIT Technology Review)
4 Russia is waging a surveillance war on its own citizens
Its authorities are increasingly targeting ordinary people rather than prominent dissidents or journalists. (Slate $)
+ Russian troops are still fleeing northern Ukraine. (Guardian)
5 Dozens of AIs debate 100 years of climate talks in seconds
They are evaluating which policies are most likely to be popular globally. (New Scientist $)