The Obtain: AI is making robots extra useful, and the issue with cleansing up air pollution

That is as we speak’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a day by day dose of what’s occurring on the earth of know-how.

Is robotics about to have its personal ChatGPT second?

Henry and Jane Evans are used to awkward houseguests. For greater than a decade, the couple, who stay in Los Altos Hills, California, have hosted a slew of robots of their residence.

In 2002, at age 40, Henry had an enormous stroke, which left him with quadriplegia and an lack of ability to talk. Whereas they’ve experimented with many superior robotic prototypes in a bid to present Henry extra autonomy, it’s one current mannequin that works in tandem with AI fashions that has made the most important adjustments—serving to to brush his hair, and opening up his relationship along with his granddaughter.

A brand new technology of scientists and inventors believes that the beforehand lacking ingredient of AI may give robots the flexibility to study new expertise and adapt to new environments sooner than ever earlier than. This new method, simply perhaps, can lastly convey robots out of the manufacturing unit and into our houses. Learn the complete story.

—Melissa Heikkilä

Melissa’s story is from the following journal concern of MIT Know-how Evaluation, set to go stay on April 24, on the theme of Construct. In case you don’t subscribe already, join now to get a duplicate when it lands.

The inadvertent geoengineering experiment that the world is now shutting off

The information: Once we speak about local weather change, the main target is normally on the function that greenhouse-gas emissions play in driving up international temperatures, and rightly so. However one other essential, less-known phenomenon can be heating up the planet: reductions in different varieties of air pollution.

In a nutshell: Particularly, the world’s energy crops, factories, and ships are pumping a lot much less sulfur dioxide into the air, due to an more and more strict set of worldwide air pollution rules. Sulfur dioxide creates aerosol particles within the environment that may straight mirror daylight again into area or act because the “condensation nuclei” round which cloud droplets kind. Extra or thicker clouds, in flip, additionally forged away extra daylight. So after we clear up air pollution, we additionally ease this cooling impact.  

Why it issues: Reducing air air pollution has unequivocally saved lives. However because the world quickly warms, it’s essential to grasp the affect of pollution-fighting rules on the worldwide thermostat as effectively. Learn the complete story.

—James Temple

This story is from The Spark, our weekly local weather and vitality e-newsletter. Join to obtain it in your inbox each Wednesday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to seek out you as we speak’s most enjoyable/essential/scary/fascinating tales about know-how.

1 Election employees are frightened about AI 
Generative fashions might make it simpler for election deniers to spam places of work. (Wired $)
+ Eric Schmidt has a 6-point plan for combating election misinformation. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

2 Apple has warned customers in 92 international locations of mercenary adware assaults
It mentioned it had excessive confidence that the targets had been at real threat. (TechCrunch)

three The US is in determined want of chip engineers
With out them, it will possibly’t meet its lofty semiconductor manufacturing objectives. (WSJ $)
+ Taiwanese chipmakers want to increase abroad. (FT $)
+ How ASML took over the chipmaking chessboard. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

four Meet the chatbot tutors
Tens of hundreds of gig financial system employees are coaching tomorrow’s fashions. (NYT $)
+ Adobe is paying photographers $120 per video to coach its generator. (Bloomberg $)
+ The subsequent wave of AI coding instruments is rising. (IEEE Spectrum)
+ The individuals paid to coach AI are outsourcing their work… to AI. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

5 The Center East is speeding to construct AI infrastructure
Each Saudi Arabia and the UAE see sprawling information facilities as key to changing into the area’s AI superpower. (Bloomberg $)

6 Political content material creators and activists are lobbying Meta
They declare the corporate’s choice to restrict the attain of ‘political’ content material is threatening their livelihoods. (WP $)

7 The European House Company is planning a man-made photo voltaic eclipse
The mission, on account of launch later this 12 months, ought to present important perception into the solar’s environment. (IEEE Spectrum)

eight How AI helps to recuperate Eire’s marginalized voices
Beginning with the dung queen of Dublin. (The Guardian)
+ How AI helps historians higher perceive our previous. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

9 Online game historical past is vanishing earlier than our eyes
As consoles fall out of use, their video games are consigned to historical past too. (FT $)

10 Relationship apps are struggling to make in search of love enjoyable
Charging customers appears counterintuitive, then. (The Atlantic $)
+ Right here’s how the web’s latest matchmakers allow you to discover love. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

Quote of the day

“We’re ladies sharing cool issues with one another straight. You need it to return to males working QVC?”

—Micah Enriquez, a profitable ‘cleanfluencer,’ who shares cleansing ideas and processes together with her followers, feels criticism leveled at such content material creators has a sexist aspect, she tells New York Journal.

The large story

Is it potential to essentially perceive another person’s thoughts?

November 2023

Technically talking, neuroscientists have been in a position to learn your thoughts for many years. It’s not straightforward, thoughts you. First, you will need to lie immobile inside a hulking fMRI scanner, maybe for hours, when you watch movies or hearken to audiobooks.

None of this, in fact, will be finished with out your consent; for the foreseeable future, your ideas will stay your individual, if you happen to so select. However if you happen to do elect to endure claustrophobic hours within the scanner, the software program will study to generate a bespoke reconstruction of what you had been seeing or listening to, simply by analyzing how blood strikes by way of your mind.

Extra just lately, researchers have deployed generative AI instruments, like Steady Diffusion and GPT, to create much more lifelike, if not fully correct, reconstructions of movies and podcasts primarily based on neural exercise.

However as thrilling as the thought of extracting a film from somebody’s mind exercise could also be, it’s a extremely restricted type of “thoughts studying.” To actually expertise the world by way of your eyes, scientists would have to have the ability to infer not simply what movie you’re watching but in addition what you concentrate on it, and the way it makes you are feeling. And these inside ideas and emotions are far tougher to entry. Learn the complete story.

—Grace Huckins

We are able to nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction to brighten up your day. (Acquired any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ Intrepid archaeologists have uncovered lovely new frescos within the ruins of Pompeii.
+ This doughy jellyfish certain appears tasty.
+ A brief rumination on literary muses, from Zelda Fitzgerald to Neal Cassady.
+ Grammar guidelines are made to be damaged.

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