The Obtain: introducing the Ethics subject

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That is right now’s version of The Obtain, our weekday publication that gives a every day dose of what’s occurring on this planet of expertise.

Introducing: the Ethics subject 

As expertise is embedded deeper and additional into our lives, it’s changing into more and more necessary for us to correctly grapple with moral considerations. For instance, how can we nurture the event of AI in a method that avoids societal hurt? Who ought to get entry to cutting-edge, experimental medicine? If a machine tells troopers when to drag the set off, who’s accountable? These are simply a number of the questions we discover within the newest version of our print journal. If nothing else, this subject is assured to make you assume. 

It’s price diving in and studying the entire journal cover-to-cover, however if you happen to’re pressed for time, I’d suggest kicking off with these knock-out items:

+ This characteristic seems on the difficult, painful questions that encompass who must get entry to which experimental medical remedies (it may be a far more durable choice than you may think.)

+ An article about All Tech Is Human, a nonprofit group dedicated to selling ethics and duty in tech, which varieties a type of non-religious congregation for our trendy occasions. 

+ This characteristic delves into the advanced and messy ethics of constructing warfare with machines—a urgent subject as cutting-edge tech is being examined in Ukraine, typically with little-to-no oversight. 

+ This story examines the often heated debates that go on behind the scenes within the open supply neighborhood, and the place it appears to be heading subsequent. + Our on-line lives are plagued with scams, hacks and fraud. And expertise is rarely going to magically repair that—it’s all the way down to us, as this piece explains.

The fascinating evolution of typing Chinese language characters

Again within the ’80s, there was no method of processing Chinese language characters on private computer systems. It posed a tough downside to repair, however one Chinese language engineer named Wang Yongmin had a stab. He developed the primary common option to enter Chinese language characters into a pc in 1983, by breaking down a personality into totally different strokes and assigning a number of strokes to every letter on the QWERTY keyboard.

It was helpful, however got here with a giant draw back: customers must memorize which keys correspond to which strokes, so the training curve is sort of steep. The following step within the evolution of Chinese language IMEs was the invention of typing by phonetic spelling within the ‘90s. However that additionally got here with its personal bother, as a whole lot of Chinese language characters can share the identical phonetic spelling.

Finally, way more environment friendly predictive keyboard software program got here alongside in 2006, and now that varieties the muse for the way Chinese language folks work together with applied sciences and one another. However once more (you guessed it) there’s an issue: these apps are a privateness nightmare. Learn the total story

—Zeyi Yang

This story is from China Report, Zeyi’s weekly publication supplying you with the within observe on what’s occurring in China. Join to obtain it in your inbox each Tuesday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to search out you right now’s most enjoyable/necessary/scary/fascinating tales about expertise.

1 India is about to attempt to land on the moon 🚀
If it succeeds, it’ll change into the primary nation to achieve the lunar south pole. (FT $)
In case you’re a fan of high-stakes house livestreams, watch it proper now. (Engadget)

2 Meta launched an AI mannequin that may translate a ton of languages
These types of instruments are bettering at a dizzying tempo. (TechCrunch)
Meta’s new AI fashions can acknowledge and produce speech for greater than 1,000 languages. (MIT Know-how Assessment)

3 The US is preventing excessive climate on many fronts
Floods, wildfires, hurricanes and warmth waves are making for a turbulent time in each nook of the nation. (NBC)
Local weather change is redrawing the catastrophe map. (The Verge)

4 What did the €600 million Human Mind Challenge obtain? 🧠
It didn’t handle to simulate the entire human mind (a tall order)—however it nonetheless stacked up some helpful findings. (Nature)
How large science didn’t unlock the mysteries of the human mind. (MIT Know-how Assessment)

5 Elon Musk is ridiculously highly effective 
Ignore all of the noise round X, and have a look at his intergovernmental attain through tasks like Starlink. (New Yorker $)

6 Contained in the AI porn market the place everyone seems to be on the market
Generative AI instruments make it terrifyingly simple to create non-consensual pictures of anybody. (404 Media)
Ideas for ‘jailbreaking’ AI are already in all places on-line. (New Scientist $)
Scammers used ChatGPT to spam X with dodgy hyperlinks. (Wired $)
3 ways AI chatbots are a safety catastrophe. (MIT Know-how Assessment)

7 LinkedIn is kinda… cool now
If company blandness is as dangerous because it will get, it nonetheless beats the unappealing options. (Bloomberg $)

8 What we will study from Taiwan’s myopia epidemic 
Poor eyesight is a rising downside around the globe, however there are methods to cease it changing into even worse. (Wired $)

9 ‘Subliminals’ declare to rework teenagers’ lives 
These movies may make you higher and extra engaging. They could additionally do nothing. And even make you’re feeling worse. (The Atlantic $)

10 Your encrypted apps may not be as non-public as you assume
The satan, as all the time, is within the particulars. (WP $)

Quote of the day

“As a result of he’s following his rules, he’s actually now subsisting on bread and water.”

—Spare a thought for Sam Bankman-Fried, alleged to have defrauded folks out of billions of {dollars} through his firm FTX, who his lawyer says isn’t getting the vegan eating regimen he requested, Reuters stories. 

The massive story

The struggle for “Instagram face”

screenshot of the SculptGL interface


August 2022

By magnificence filters, platforms like Instagram are serving to customers obtain more and more narrowing magnificence requirements—although solely within the digital world—at a stunningly speedy tempo. There may be proof that extreme use of those filters on-line has dangerous results on psychological well being, particularly for younger women.

“Instagram face” is a acknowledged aesthetic: ethnically ambiguous with the flawless pores and skin, large eyes, full lips, small nostril, and completely contoured curves made accessible largely by filters. And whereas Instagram has banned filters that encourage cosmetic surgery, large demand for magnificence augmentation on social media is complicating issues. Learn the total story.

—Tate Ryan-Mosley

We are able to nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction in these bizarre occasions. (Obtained any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ Do I would like extra salt in my eating regimen? In all probability not. Do I nonetheless need to strive a salted soda anyway? Uh, sure.
+ The origin of the phrase ‘hangover’ could also be extra literal than I’d imagined. 
+ Photographer Ken Hermann’s portraits are wonderful. 
+ Continuously surrounded by screens? Don’t neglect to breathe. (NYT $)

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