The Download: monitoring animals, and biotech crops


This is at present’s version of The Download, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a each day dose of what’s occurring on this planet of expertise.

How monitoring animal motion could save the planet

Animals have lengthy been in a position to supply distinctive insights in regards to the pure world round us, performing as natural sensors choosing up phenomena invisible to people. Canaries warned of looming disaster in coal mines till the Eighties, for instance.

These days, we’ve got extra perception into animal conduct than ever earlier than because of applied sciences like sensor tags. But the info we collect from these animals nonetheless provides as much as solely a comparatively slim slice of the entire image. Results are sometimes confined to silos, and for a few years tags had been huge and costly, appropriate just for a handful of animal species.

This is starting to alter. Researchers are asking: What will we discover if we comply with even the smallest animals? What if we may see how completely different species’ lives intersect? What may we be taught from a system of animal motion, repeatedly monitoring how creatures huge and small adapt to the world round us? It could also be, some researchers imagine, a significant device within the effort to avoid wasting our more and more crisis-plagued planet. Read the complete story.

—Matthew Ponsford 

This story is from the upcoming print challenge of MIT Technology Review, devoted to exploring hidden worlds. Buy a subscription to get your fingers on a replica when it publishes on February twenty eighth! Deals begin at simply $8 a month.

These are the biotech crops you should buy now

—Antonio Regalado

This spring I’m trying ahead to rising some biotech in my yard for the primary time. It’s attainable due to startups which have began promoting genetically engineered crops on to customers, together with a bright-purple tomato and a petunia that glows at the hours of darkness.

This week, for $73, I ordered each by urgent a couple of buttons on-line.

Biotech seeds have been an enormous enterprise for some time. In truth, by sheer mass, GMOs are most likely the one most important product of genetic engineering ever. But the distinction now could be that persons are in a position to plant and develop GMO houseplants of their properties. Read the complete story

Watch this robotic because it learns to sew up wounds

The information: A brand new AI-trained surgical robotic could make stitches by itself. A video taken by researchers on the University of California, Berkeley, reveals the two-armed robotic finishing stitches in a row on a easy wound in imitation pores and skin. It managed to make six stitches earlier than a human needed to intervene. 

Why it issues: It’s widespread for surgeons at present to get assist from robots, however we’re a great distance from them having the ability to absolutely substitute many duties. This new analysis marks progress towards robots that may function extra autonomously on very intricate, sophisticated duties. Read the complete story

—James O’Donnell

Three regularly requested questions on EVs, answered

Transportation is a crucial a part of the local weather change puzzle: it accounts for one thing like 1 / 4 of world emissions. And the automobiles that we use to shuttle round to work, college, and the grocery retailer in lots of components of the world are an enormous piece of the issue.

Last week, MIT Technology Review hosted an occasion the place we dug into the way forward for batteries and the supplies that go into them. We received so many nice questions, and we answered fairly a couple of of them (subscribers ought to try the recording of the complete occasion). 

But there have been nonetheless loads of questions, significantly about EVs, that we didn’t get to. So let’s check out a couple of of these

—Casey Crownhart

This story is from The Spark, our weekly e-newsletter all in regards to the expertise that might fight the local weather disaster. Sign up to obtain it in your inbox each Wednesday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to seek out you at present’s most enjoyable/vital/scary/fascinating tales about expertise.

1 The first US moon touchdown for over 50 years is due at present
If all goes to plan, Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus spacecraft will contact down at 5.30pm ET. (WP $)
Here’s how one can watch it. (NYT $)

2 ChatGPT had a meltdown yesterday
Which is just not essentially worrying in itself… however it isn’t nice that we do not know why. (Ars Technica)
Gab’s racist chatbots have been skilled to disclaim the Holocaust. (Wired $)
+ Soon, we is likely to be utilizing AI to do all kinds of duties for us. (NPR)

3 You should buy Vision Pro headsets in Russia 
Two years after Apple give up the nation. (NBC)

4 Google is racing to repair a brand new “overly woke” AI-powered device 
It was returning ladies and other people of colour when requested to provide pictures of America’s founding fathers, for instance. (BBC)
It’s pausing the power for Gemini AI to generate pictures till it’s mounted the difficulty. (The Verge)
These new instruments allow you to see for your self how biased AI picture fashions are. (MIT Technology Review
How it feels to be sexually objectified by an AI. (MIT Technology Review)

5 American winters are getting heat
They’re additionally getting shorter, and fewer predictable. (Insider $)

6 Instagram is a information web site, whether or not it likes it or not
And meaning it has a accountability to do content material moderation correctly. (NYT $)

7 Inside the bizarre world of Instacart’s AI-generated recipes
It’s changing into more durable and more durable to work out what’s been made by a human versus a machine. (404 Media)
Why Big Tech’s watermarking plans are some welcome excellent news. (MIT Technology Review)

8 We want safety from firms constructing tech to learn our minds
It’s not such a regarding challenge proper now, however it could possibly be earlier than you understand. (Vox)
How your mind information could possibly be used in opposition to you. (MIT Technology Review)

9 Why AM radio lingers on 📻

A surprisingly numerous group of individuals nonetheless depend on it, even because it heads in direction of obsolescence. (The Atlantic $)

10 Writing by hand has a constructive impression on reminiscence and studying ✍

I knew it! (Scientific American $)

Quote of the day

“Happy listening! 🎶 Happy listening! 🎶 Happy listening! 🎶 Happy listening! 🎶

—An instance of how ChatGPT went off the rails yesterday, screenshotted and shared by a person on X. 

The huge story

Inside the app Minnesota police used to gather information on journalists at protests

<a href="<<%20Test%20Link%20ID%20>>&utm_source=the_download&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=the_download.unpaid.engagement&utm_term=<dossier of journalist information concept

March 2022

Photojournalist J.D. Duggan was protecting a protest in Minnesota in April 2021 when law enforcement officials surrounded him and others, and informed them to get on the bottom.

Officers sorted the press from the protesters, walked them to a parking zone, and commenced photographing them, one after the other, with cellphones, which they informed Duggan could be saved in an app. 

An investigation by MIT Technology Review discovered the info was collected utilizing a device known as Intrepid Response, a simple option to nearly immediately de-anonymize protest attendees and maintain tabs on their actions. For some, the device’s use is a harmful step within the path of authoritarianism. Read the complete story.

—Sam Richards & Tate Ryan-Mosley

+ Fascinated by the tales on this grisly interactive map, which particulars murders dedicated in medieval London, York and Oxford. 
+ Terrible evening’s sleep final evening? Fear not, it’s attainable to salvage your day. (NYT $) 
+ This athletic fluffy cat is sure to deliver a smile to your face.
+ Some easy methods to make your weight loss program more healthy.


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