The Download: Climate Responsibility and the Lack of Data on AI Formation

The Download: Climate Responsibility and the Lack of Data on AI Formation

This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s happening in the tech world.

The United States and China point fingers at each other on climate change

The UN climate conference wrapped up over the weekend after a marathon of negotiations that has long since ended. The most notable achievement was the establishment of a fund to help poor countries pay for climate damage, which was hailed as a victory. In addition, some leaders fear that there has not been enough progress in this year’s talks.

As a result, everyone is pointing fingers, blaming others for not acting fast enough on climate finance. Activists are calling the US the ‘colossal fossil’, while US leaders complain they are being blamed while China is the current top emitter.

But when it comes to understanding who should pay what in accepting responsibility for climate damage, we need to look beyond current emissions. When you add up the historical emissions, it’s super clear: The US is by far the largest total emitter, responsible for about a quarter. Read the full story.

—Casey Crownhart

Casey’s story is taken from Spark, his weekly newsletter that delves into the deceptive science of climate change. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Wednesday.

We may run out of data to train AI language programs

What is happening? Large language models are one of the hottest areas in AI research right now, with companies racing to release programs like GPT-3 that can write remarkably consistent papers and even computer code. But there’s one problem looming on the horizon, according to a team of AI forecasters: We may run out of data to train them on.

How long do we have? As researchers build more powerful models with greater capabilities, they must find more and more texts to train them on. The types of data typically used for these models could be depleted in the near future, as early as 2026, according to a paper by researchers at Epoch, an artificial intelligence research and forecasting organization. Read the full story.

—Tammy Xu

Podcast: Do you want a job? The AI ​​will see you now.

In the past, hiring decisions were made by people. Today, some key decisions that determine whether or not someone gets a job are made by algorithms. In this episode of our award-winning podcast, In Machines We Trust, we meet some of the big players making this technology, including the CEOs of HireVue and myInterview, and test some of these tools ourselves.

Listen to it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you usually listen.

Required reading

I’ve scoured the internet to find you today’s funniest/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 The FTX crash should be a major cautionary tale for the cryptocurrency industry
Unfortunately, it won’t necessarily result in better regulations. ($New Yorkers)
+ After all, Crypto is not known for paying attention to bad omens. (Voice)
+ FTX has invested millions in, ahem, a small bank. (NYT$)
+ Sam Bankman-Fried’s favorite “long term” ideology sounds phony. (motherboard)
+ It hasn’t done the actual altruism movement any favors, either. (The Atlantic $)

2 Elon Musk probably won’t file for bankruptcy
That doesn’t mean its lenders can rest assured, though. (The Atlantic $)
+ Here’s who’s paying for Twitter right now. (NYT$)
+ Former Twitter employees fear the platform could only last for weeks. (MIT Technology Review)

3 Measles is a growing global threat
Vaccination rates are down and it’s incredibly contagious. (Aces)

4 Maybe it’s time we stopped automatically trusting billionaires
Exercise healthy cynicism is not the same thing as hate. (Voice)
+ Many big tech bosses mistakenly thought their covid-highs would last forever. (List $)

5 The True Cost of America’s War Against China’s Chips
The more expensive the components, the more expensive the final product will be. (FT$)
+ Workers at the world’s largest iPhone factory are rioting. (Bloomberg$)
+ Inside the software that will become the next battlefront in the US-China chip war. (MIT Technology Review)

6 rocks on Mars suggest it could once have been habitable
Organic molecules found in rocks may have supported life forms. (WP$)
+ A UK-made Mars rover is returning to the red planet. (BBC)

7 Why future concrete may contain bacteria
Bio-cement is strong and most importantly greener. (Economist $)
+ These living building blocks use bacteria to build themselves. (MIT Technology Review)

8 The shopping experience on Amazon really sucks these days
And that’s because everything is an advertisement. (WP$)

9 What it’s like to love the technology the world has left behind
From Walkmans to BlackBerrys, these avid fans aren’t letting go. (The Guardian)
+ Smartphones have survived all attempts to replace them. (The limit)

10 YouTube video comments are works of art
Literally: an artist has transformed them into real art. ($New Yorkers)

Quote of the day

“He’s always trying to have a laugh, that’s why he makes all his cars suicidal.”

—Dril, one of the seminal personalities of the “weird Twitter” humor angle, reflects on Elon Musk’s surreal leadership at the Washington Post.

The big story

What does it really mean to break Big Tech?

June 2021

For Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet, covid-19 has been an economic blessing. Even as the pandemic has sent the global economy into a deep recession and scuttled the profits of most companies, these companies, often referred to as the “Big Four” of technology, have not only survived, they have thrived.

Yet at the same time, they have come under unprecedented attack from politicians and government regulators in the United States and Europe, in the form of new lawsuits, bills and regulations. There’s no denying that pressure is mounting to curb the power of Big Tech. But what would that entail? Read the full story.

—James Surowiecki

We can still have nice things

A place of comfort, fun and distraction in these strange times. (Have any ideas? Write me a message or tweet them to me.)

+ Of this kitten doorman it is simply extraordinary.
+ I really like the color combinations here comes this twitter bot (thanks Niall!)
+ Atarah Ben-Tovim seemed like an extraordinarily inspiring music teacher.
+ How to expand your movie viewing horizons and delve into something new.
+ After the recent chess cheating scandal, I can’t trust anyone anymore. Here’s how to spot a shady opponent.


#Download #Climate #Responsibility #Lack #Data #Formation

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