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These Had been Our Favourite Tech Tales From Across the Net in 2023


Each Saturday we put up a collection of articles from the week. With 2023 nearing its finish, we dug by all these posts once more to floor 25 tales value revisiting. Right here you’ll discover a deep dive on OpenAI, a have a look at the approaching golden age in medication, a shocking rationalization of Nvidia’s AI success, a shocking snapshot of SpaceX’s orbital dominance, an ode to bodily encyclopedias, and a few back-of-the-napkin math on Dyson spheres.

Comfortable studying. See you in 2023.

Does Sam Altman Know What He’s Creating?
Ross Andersen | The Atlantic
i‘We might have gone off and simply constructed this in our constructing right here for 5 extra years,’ [Altman] mentioned, ‘and we might have had one thing jaw-dropping.’ However the public wouldn’t have been in a position to put together for the shock waves that adopted, an final result that he finds ‘deeply disagreeable to think about.’ Altman believes that individuals want time to reckon with the concept that we could quickly share Earth with a robust new intelligence, earlier than it remakes all the pieces from work to human relationships. ChatGPT was a approach of serving discover.”

Abruptly, It Appears Like We’re in a Golden Age for Drugs
David Wallace-Wells | The New York Instances
“Hype springs everlasting in medication, however recently the horizon of recent risk appears virtually blindingly shiny. …’It’s gorgeous,’ says the immunologist Barney Graham, the previous deputy director of the Vaccine Analysis Middle and a central determine within the improvement of mRNA vaccines, who has recently been writing a couple of ‘new period for vaccinology.’ ‘You can’t think about what you’re going to see over the subsequent 30 years. The tempo of development is in an exponential part proper now.’i

Humanoid Robots Are Coming of Age
Will Knight | Wired
“Eight years in the past, the Pentagon’s Protection Superior Analysis Initiatives Company organized a painful-to-watch contest that concerned robots slowly struggling (and sometimes failing) to carry out a sequence of human duties, together with opening doorways, working energy instruments, and driving golf carts. …Immediately the descendants of these hapless robots are much more succesful and swish. A number of startups are creating humanoids that they declare might, in just some years, discover employment in warehouses and factories.”

The Secret to Nvidia’s AI Success
Samuel Okay. Moore | IEEE Spectrum
“[Nvidia] has managed to extend the efficiency of its chips on AI duties a thousandfold over the previous 10 years, it’s raking in cash, and it’s reportedly very laborious to get your fingers on its latest AI-accelerating GPU, the H100. How did Nvidia get right here? …Moore’s Regulation was a surprisingly small a part of Nvidia’s magic and new quantity codecs a really massive half. Put all of it collectively and also you get what Dally referred to as Huang’s Regulation (for Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang).”

Open Your Thoughts to Unicorn Meat
Annie Lowrey | The Atlantic
“Is it hen? It’s hen greater than it’s anything. To be particular, it’s what occurs if you take a hen’s cells, place them in a vat crammed with a slurry of vitamins and amino acids, allow them to multiply, wash them, chill them, form them, and prepare dinner them. This sort of meat is the longer term, or at the least a part of the longer term. Throughout the previous decade, cultivated meat has gone from science-fictional to hyper-expensive to market-ready, fueled by billions of {dollars} of start-up spending.”

The Finish of the Googleverse
Ryan Broderick | The Verge
“Google formally went on-line…in 1998. It shortly grew to become so inseparable from each the way in which we use the web and, ultimately, tradition itself, that we virtually lack the language to explain what Google’s affect during the last 25 years has truly been. It’s like asking a fish to clarify what the ocean is. And but, throughout us are indicators that the period of ‘peak Google’ is ending or, probably, already over.”

Subsequent Up for CRISPR: Gene Enhancing for the Lots?
Jessica Hamzelou | MIT Know-how Assessment
“We all know the fundamentals of wholesome dwelling by now. A balanced weight loss plan, common train, and stress discount will help us keep away from coronary heart illness—the world’s largest killer. However what if you happen to might take a vaccine, too? And never a typical vaccine—one shot that might alter your DNA to supply lifelong safety? That imaginative and prescient will not be far off, researchers say. Advances in gene enhancing, and CRISPR know-how particularly, could quickly make it doable.”

I Simply Purchased the Solely Bodily Encyclopedia Nonetheless in Print, and I Remorse Nothing
Benj Edwards | Ars Technica
“Each morning as I await the children to prepare for college, I pull out a random quantity and browse. I’ve refreshed my information on many topics and benefit from the deliberate stability of the data expertise. I really feel assured utilizing it as an occasional private reference as the net world slides additional into AI-augmented noise. And it’s positively extra correct than an AI massive language mannequin in the intervening time.”

What Occurs When AI Has Learn All the pieces?
Ross Andersen | The Atlantic
“Synthetic intelligence has lately proved itself to be a fast research, though it’s being educated in a fashion that might disgrace probably the most brutal headmaster. Locked into hermetic Borgesian libraries for months with no lavatory breaks or sleep, AIs are informed to not emerge till they’ve completed a self-paced pace course in human tradition. On the syllabus: an honest fraction of all of the surviving textual content that now we have ever produced.”

Sphere and Loathing in Las Vegas
Charlie Warzel | The Atlantic
“I wished to be cynical in regards to the Sphere and all it represents—our telephones as appendages, screens as a mediated type of experiencing the world. There’s lots to dislike in regards to the factor—the impersonal flashiness of all of it, its $30 tequila sodas, the possible staggering electrical energy payments. However it is usually my solemn responsibility to report back to you that the Sphere slaps, a lot in the identical approach that, say, the Tremendous Bowl slaps. It’s gaudy, overly commercialized, and funky as hell: a brand-new, non-pharmaceutical sensory expertise.”

SpaceX Broke Its File for Variety of Launches in a Yr
Stephen Clark | Ars Technica
“SpaceX is main the world not simply within the variety of launches, but additionally within the whole payload mass the corporate has launched into orbit this yr. Within the first half of 2023, SpaceX delivered about 447 metric tons of cargo into orbit, roughly 80 p.c of all the fabric launched into orbit worldwide, in accordance with knowledge from the area analytics agency BryceTech. Musk mentioned SpaceX will launch about 90 p.c of the world’s whole payload mass into orbit subsequent yr, based mostly on the corporate’s launch manifest for 2024.”

CRISPR Crops Are Right here
Paolo Pononiere | proto.life
“Had it been coined deliberately for the aim of promoting contemporary produce, the acronym CRISPR would have been a stroke of promoting genius. In spite of everything, who wouldn’t need their salad to be crisper? However the true genius of this gene-editing know-how could possibly be its means to leap straight to client cabinets, sidestepping all of the controversies which have tripped up its cousin GMO, with which it shares its biotechnological roots.”

A few of the Thorniest Questions About AI Will Be Answered in Court docket
Ryan Tracy | The Wall Road Journal
“Congress and the White Home are speaking about regulating synthetic intelligence, however courts may nicely resolve a few of the most economically important questions in regards to the booming know-how. Because the late 2022 launch of ChatGPT, the viral AI-powered chatbot, a flurry of fits has focused AI purveyors together with OpenAI, Microsoft, Google, and Meta Platforms.”

A Daring Plan to Beam Photo voltaic Vitality Down From House
Ramin Skibba | Wired
“Whether or not you’re masking deserts, ugly parking heaps, canals, and even sunny lakes with photo voltaic panels, clouds will sometimes get in the way in which—and day-after-day the solar should set. No downside, says the European House Company: Simply put the photo voltaic arrays in area. The company just lately introduced a brand new exploratory program referred to as Solaris, which goals to determine whether it is technologically and economically possible to launch photo voltaic constructions into orbit, use them to harness the solar’s energy, and transmit power to the bottom.”

AI Is Dreaming Up Medicine That No One Has Ever Seen. Now We’ve Bought to See if They Work.
Will Douglas Heaven | MIT Know-how Assessment
“There at the moment are a whole lot of startups exploring using machine studying within the pharmaceutical business, says Nathan Benaich at Air Road Capital, a VC agency that invests in biotech and life sciences corporations: ‘Early indicators have been thrilling sufficient to draw large cash.’ Immediately, on common, it takes greater than 10 years and billions of {dollars} to develop a brand new drug. The imaginative and prescient is to make use of AI to make drug discovery sooner and cheaper.”

Individuals Are Talking With ChatGPT for Hours, Bringing 2013’s Her Nearer to Actuality
Benj Edwards | Ars Technica
“Within the movie, Joaquin Phoenix’s character falls in love with an AI character referred to as Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), and he spends a lot of the movie strolling by life, speaking to her by wi-fi earbuds paying homage to Apple AirPods, which launched in 2016. In actuality, ChatGPT isn’t as situationally conscious as Samantha was within the movie, doesn’t have a long-term reminiscence, and OpenAI has performed sufficient conditioning on ChatGPT to maintain conversations from getting too intimate or private. However that hasn’t stopped folks from having lengthy talks with the AI assistant to go the time anyway.”

Welcome to the Oldest A part of the Metaverse
John-Clark Levin | MIT Know-how Assessment
“Immediately’s headlines deal with the metaverse as a hazy dream but to be constructed, but when it’s outlined as a community of digital worlds we will inhabit, its oldest extant nook has been already working for 25 years. It’s a medieval fantasy kingdom created for the net role-playing recreation Ultima On-line—and it has already endured a quarter-century of market competitors, financial turmoil, and political strife. So what can this recreation and its gamers inform us about creating the digital worlds of the longer term?”

Ethereum Moved to Proof of Stake. Why Can’t Bitcoin?
Amy Castor | MIT Know-how Assessment
“A single Bitcoin transaction makes use of the identical quantity of power as a single US family does over the course of practically a month. However does it must be that approach? The Bitcoin group has traditionally been fiercely resistant to alter, however strain from regulators and environmentalists fed up with Bitcoin’s huge carbon footprint could pressure them to rethink that stance.”

Has the 3D Printing Revolution Lastly Arrived?
Tim Lewis | The Guardian
i‘What occurred 10 years in the past, when there was this huge hype, was there was a lot nonsense being written: “You’ll print something with these machines! It’ll take over the world!”’ says Hague. ‘Nevertheless it’s now changing into a very mature know-how, it’s not an rising know-how actually any extra. It’s broadly applied by the likes of Rolls-Royce and Normal Electrical, and we work with AstraZeneca, GSK, an entire bunch of various folks. Printing issues at residence was by no means going to occur, nevertheless it’s developed right into a multibillion-dollar business.’i

Would Constructing a Dyson Sphere Be Price It? We Ran the Numbers.
Paul Sutter | Ars Technica
“What if we determined to construct a Dyson sphere round our solar? May we do it? How a lot power would it not price us to rearrange our photo voltaic system, and the way lengthy would it not take to get our funding again? Earlier than we put an excessive amount of thought into whether or not humanity is able to this superb feat, even theoretically, we must always resolve if it’s definitely worth the effort. Can we truly obtain a internet acquire in power by constructing a Dyson sphere?”

A New Strategy to Computation Reimagines Synthetic Intelligence
Anil Ananthaswamy | Quanta
“By imbuing monumental vectors with semantic which means, we will get machines to cause extra abstractly—and effectively—than earlier than. …That is the start line for a radically totally different method to computation often known as hyperdimensional computing. The secret’s that every piece of knowledge, such because the notion of a automobile, or its make, mannequin or shade, or all of it collectively, is represented as a single entity: a hyperdimensional vector.”

No, Fusion Vitality Gained’t Be ‘Limitless’
Gregory Barber | Wired
“…because the physics progresses, some at the moment are starting to discover the possible sensible and financial limits on fusion. The early conclusion is that fusion power ain’t going to be low-cost—definitely not the most cost effective supply of electrical energy over the approaching many years as extra photo voltaic and wind come on-line. However fusion should discover its place, as a result of the grid wants power in numerous varieties and at totally different instances.”

They Cracked the Code to a Locked USB Drive Price $235 Million in Bitcoin. Then It Bought Bizarre
Andy Greenberg | Wired
“Stefan Thomas misplaced the password to an encrypted USB drive holding 7,002 bitcoins. One crew of hackers believes they’ll unlock it—if they’ll get Thomas to allow them to. …Thomas had already made a ‘handshake deal’ with two different cracking groups a yr earlier, he defined. …’We cracked the IronKey,’ says Nick Fedoroff, Unciphered’s director of operations. ‘Now now we have to crack Stefan. That is turning out to be the toughest half.’i

Discover the Historic Aztec Capital in This Lifelike 3D Rendering
Anna Lagos | Wired
“Digital artist Thomas Kole, initially from Amersfoort, Netherlands, has re-created the capital of the Aztec, or Mexica, empire with a lot element that it appears like a dwelling metropolis. ‘What did the traditional, monumental metropolis constructed atop a lake seem like?’ questioned Kole, as he explored Mexico Metropolis on Google Maps. …For a yr and a half, he turned to historic and archaeological sources as he sought to carry Tenochtitlán again to life whereas remaining as trustworthy as doable to what we all know in regards to the metropolis.”

Precisely How A lot Life Is on Earth?
Dennis Overbye | The New York Instances
“What’s in a quantity? In line with a latest calculation by a crew of biologists and geologists, there are extra dwelling cells on Earth—one million trillion trillion, or 10^30 in math notation, a 1 adopted by 30 zeros—than there are stars within the universe or grains of sand on our planet.”

Picture Credit score: Robin Canfield / Unsplash

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