This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through February 24)

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Nvidia Hardware Is Eating the World
Lauren Goode | Wired
“Talking to Jensen Huang should come with a warning label. The Nvidia CEO is so invested in where AI is headed that, after nearly 90 minutes of spirited conversation, I came away convinced the future will be a neural net nirvana. I could see it all: a robot renaissance, medical godsends, self-driving cars, chatbots that remember.”

The Odysseus Lunar Landing Brings NASA One Step Closer to Putting Boots on the Moon
Jeffrey Kluger | Time
“The networks made much of that 52-year gulf in cosmic history, but Odysseus was significant for two other, more substantive reasons: it marked the first time a spacecraft built by a private company, not by a governmental space program, had managed a lunar landing, and it was the first time any ship had visited a spot so far in the moon’s south, down in a region where ice is preserved in permanently shadowed craters.”

First Gene-Edited Meat Will Come From Disease-Proof CRISPR Pigs
Michael Le Page | New Scientist
“Pigs that are immune to a disease estimated to cost farmers $2.7 billion a year globally look set to become the first genetically modified farm animals to be used for large-scale meat production. ‘We could very well be the first,’ says Clint Nesbitt of international breeding company Genus, which has created hundreds of the CRISPR-edited pigs in preparation for a commercial launch.”

Artificial Investment
Elizabeth Lopatto | The Verge
“The AI marketing hype, arguably kicked off by OpenAI’s ChatGPT, has reached a fever pitch: investors and executives have stratospheric expectations for the technology. But the higher the expectations, the easier it is to disappoint. The stage is set for 2024 to be a year of reckoning for AI, as business leaders home in on what AI can actually do right now.”

Scientists Claim AI Breakthrough to Generate Boundless Clean Fusion Energy
Mirjam Guesgen | Vice
“There are many stumbling blocks on the racetrack to nuclear fusion, the reaction at the core of the sun that combines atoms to make energy: Generating more energy than it takes to power the reactors, developing reactor-proof building materials, keeping the reactor free from impurities, and restraining that fuel within it, to name a few. Now, researchers from Princeton University and its Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory have developed an AI model that could solve that last problem.”

Google’s AI Boss Says Scale Only Gets You So Far
Will Knight | Wired
“‘My belief is, to get to AGI, you’re going to need probably several more innovations as well as the maximum scale,’ Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis said. ‘There’s no let up in the scaling, we’re not seeing an asymptote or anything. There are still gains to be made. So my view is you’ve got to push the existing techniques to see how far they go, but you’re not going to get new capabilities like planning or tool use or agent-like behavior just by scaling existing techniques. It’s not magically going to happen.’”

The Quest for a DNA Data Drive
Rob Carlson | IEEE Spectrum
“Data is piling up exponentially, and the rate of information production is increasing faster than the storage density of tape, which will only be able to keep up with the deluge of data for a few more years. …Fortunately, we have access to an information storage technology that is cheap, readily available, and stable at room temperature for millennia: DNA, the material of genes. In a few years your hard drive may be full of such squishy stuff.”

SECURITY

GPT-4 Developer Tool Can Hack Websites Without Human Help
Jeremy Hsu | New Scientist
“That suggests individuals or organizations without hacking expertise could unleash AI agents to carry out cyber attacks. ‘You literally don’t need to understand anything—you can just let the agent go hack the website by itself,’ says Daniel Kang at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. ‘We think this really reduces the expertise needed to use these large language models in malicious ways.’”

TECH

It’s the End of the Web as We Know It
Christopher Mims | The Wall Street Journal
“For decades, seeking knowledge online has meant googling it and clicking on the links the search engine offered up. …But AI is changing all of that, and fast. A new generation of AI-powered ‘answer engines’ could make finding information easier, by simply giving us the answers to our questions rather than forcing us to wade through pages of links. Meanwhile, the web is filling up with AI-generated content of dubious quality. It’s polluting search results, and making traditional search less useful.”

Is This New 50-Year Battery for Real?
Rhett Allain | Wired
“Wouldn’t it be cool if you never had to charge your cell phone? I’m sure that’s what a lot of people were thinking recently, when a company called BetaVolt said it had developed a coin-sized ‘nuclear battery’ that would last for 50 years. Is it for real? Yes it is. Will you be able to buy one of these forever phones anytime soon? Probably not, unfortunately, because—well, physics. Let’s see why.”

Image Credit: Luke Stackpoole / Unsplash

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