This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through February 10)

This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through February 10)

Sam Altman Seeks Trillions of Dollars to Reshape Business of Chips and AI
Keach Hagey | The Wall Street Journal
“The OpenAI chief executive officer is in talks with investors including the United Arab Emirates government to raise funds for a wildly ambitious tech initiative that would boost the world’s chip-building capacity, expand its ability to power AI, among other things, and cost several trillion dollars, according to people familiar with the matter. The project could require raising as much as $5 trillion to $7 trillion, one of the people said.”

AI Is Rewiring Coders’ Brains. Yours May Be Next
Will Knight | Wired
“GitHub’s owner, Microsoft, said in its latest quarterly earnings that there are now 1.3 million paid Copilot accounts—a 30 percent increase over the previous quarter—and noted that 50,000 different companies use the software. Dohmke says the latest usage data from Copilot shows that almost half of all the code produced by users is AI-generated. At the same time, he claims there is little sign that these AI programs can operate without human oversight.”

Google Prepares for a Future Where Search Isn’t King
Lauren Goode | Wired
“[Sundar] Pichai is…experimenting with a new vision for what Google offers—not replacing search, not yet, but building an alternative to see what sticks. ‘This is how we’ve always approached search, in the sense that as search evolved, as mobile came in and user interactions changed, we adapted to it,’ Pichai says, speaking with Wired ahead of the Gemini launch. ‘In some cases we’re leading users, as we are with multimodal AI. But I want to be flexible about the future, because otherwise we’ll get it wrong.’”

Turbocharged CAR-T Cells Melt Tumors in Mice—Using a Trick From Cancer Cells
Asher Mullard | Nature
“The team treated mice carrying blood and solid cancers with several T-cell therapies boosted with CARD11–PIK3R3, and watched the animals’ tumors melt away. Researchers typically use around one million cells to treat these mice, says Choi, but even 20,000 of the cancer-mutation-boosted T cells were enough to wipe out tumors. ‘That’s an impressively small number of cells,’ says Nick Restifo, a cell-therapy researcher and chief scientist of the rejuvenation start-up company Marble Therapeutics in Boston, Massachusetts.”

OpenAI Wants to Control Your Computer
Maxwell Zeff | Gizmodo
“OpenAI is reportedly developing ‘agent software,’ that will effectively take over your device and complete complex tasks on your behalf, according to The Information. OpenAI’s agent would work between multiple apps on your computer, performing clicks, cursor movements, and text typing. It’s really a new type of operating system, and it could change the way you interact with your computer altogether.”

The New Car Batteries That Could Power the Electric Vehicle Revolution
Nicola Jones | Nature
“Researchers are experimenting with different designs that could lower costs, extend vehicle ranges and offer other improvements. …Chinese manufacturers have announced budget cars for 2024 featuring batteries based not on the lithium that powers today’s best electric vehicles (EVs), but on cheap sodium—one of the most abundant elements in Earth’s crust. And a US laboratory has surprised the world with a dream cell that runs in part on air and could pack enough energy to power airplanes.”


I Stopped Using Passwords. It’s Great—and a Total Mess
Matt Burgess | Wired
“For the past month, I’ve been converting as many of my accounts as possible—around a dozen for now—to use passkeys and start the move away from the password for good. Spoiler: When passkeys work seamlessly, it’s a glimpse of a more secure future for millions, if not billions, of people, and a reinvention of how we sign in to websites and services. But getting there for every account across the internet is still likely to prove a minefield and take some time.”

Momentary Fusion Breakthroughs Face Hard Reality
Edd Gent | IEEE Spectrum
“The dream of fusion power inched closer to reality in December 2022, when researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) revealed that a fusion reaction had produced more energy than what was required to kick-start it. According to new research, the momentary fusion feat required exquisite choreography and extensive preparations, whose high degree of difficulty reveals a long road ahead before anyone dares hope a practicable power source could be at hand.”

Meet ‘Smaug-72B’: The New King of Open-Source AI
Michael Nuñez | EnterpriseBeat
“What’s most noteworthy about today’s release is that Smaug-72B outperforms GPT-3.5 and Mistral Medium, two of the most advanced proprietary large language models developed by OpenAI and Mistral, respectively, in several of the most popular benchmarks. While the model still falls short of the 90-100 point average indicative of human-level performance, its birth signals that open-source AI may soon rival Big Tech’s capabilities, which have long been shrouded in secrecy.”

AI-Generated Voices in Robocalls Can Deceive Voters. The FCC Just Made Them Illegal
Ali Swenson | Associated Press
“The [FCC] on Thursday outlawed robocalls that contain voices generated by artificial intelligence, a decision that sends a clear message that exploiting the technology to scam people and mislead voters won’t be tolerated. …The agency’s chairwoman, Jessica Rosenworcel, said bad actors have been using AI-generated voices in robocalls to misinform voters, impersonate celebrities, and extort family members. ‘It seems like something from the far-off future, but this threat is already here,’ Rosenworcel told The AP on Wednesday as the commission was considering the regulations.”

Image Credit: NASA Hubble Space Telescope / Unsplash


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