The Obtain: Google’s huge guess on AI, and a brand new human genome map

That is right this moment’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a day by day dose of what’s occurring on this planet of know-how.

Google is throwing generative AI at every little thing

The information: Google is stuffing highly effective new AI instruments into tons of its current merchandise and launching a slew of recent ones, together with a coding assistant, it introduced at its annual I/O convention on Wednesday. 

What’s altering: Billions of customers will quickly see Google’s newest AI language mode, PaLM 2, built-in into over 25 merchandise like Maps, Docs, Gmail, Sheets, and the corporate’s chatbot, Bard, which it’s opening as much as a much bigger pool of customers. That is the corporate’s largest push but to combine the most recent wave of AI know-how into a wide range of merchandise.

Why it issues: Due to security and reputational dangers, Google has been slower than opponents to launch AI-powered merchandise. However fierce competitors from opponents like Microsoft, OpenAI and others have left it feeling it has no selection however to push forward. Consultants warn that it’s a dangerous technique that might backfire and run afoul of the regulators. Learn the complete story.

—Melissa Heikkilä

This new genome map tries to seize all human genetic variation

After greater than 20 years of claiming they accomplished the human genome challenge, researchers have introduced yet one more model of the human genome map.

Whereas previous variations of the challenge claimed to be a draft of the genetic blueprint for a human being, this replace combines the whole DNA of 47 numerous people—Africans, Native Individuals, and Asians, amongst different teams—into one big genetic atlas that they are saying higher captures the genetic variety of our species.

The brand new map, known as a “pangenome,” has been a decade within the making, and researchers say it is going to solely get greater. Crucially, it may maintain thrilling prospects for diagnosing uncommon illnesses. Learn the complete story.

—Antonio Regalado

How sodium may change the sport for batteries

Though lithium-ion batteries energy most EVs and gadgets like cell telephones and laptops right this moment, there’s a brand new contender on the horizon.

Sodium-ion batteries may squeeze their means into some corners of the battery market as quickly as the top of this 12 months, they usually could possibly be large in slicing prices for EVs. 

Casey Crownhart, our local weather reporter, has dug into the chemistry behind sodium batteries, and what their wider adoption by automakers may imply for the way forward for EVs. Learn the complete story.

Casey’s story is from The Spark, her weekly e-newsletter protecting all the most recent local weather and power developments. Join to obtain it in your inbox each Wednesday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to seek out you right this moment’s most enjoyable/necessary/scary/fascinating tales about know-how.

1 US Congress goes to listen to from OpenAI’s Sam Altman subsequent week
It comes as AI begins to face rising scrutiny in Washington. (WP $)
+ European lawmakers are formalizing their necessities for AI makers. (TechCrunch)
+ China’s AI chatbots are lagging behind the US’ latest releases. (Economist $)
+ The EU needs to control your favourite AI instruments. (MIT Expertise Overview)

2 We’re nonetheless figuring out covid’s mysterious new variants
The baffling methods its proteins match collectively—and disappear—are confounding scientists. (The Atlantic $)

three A shadowy hacking group is concentrating on each Russia and Ukraine
It’s gathered a stunning quantity of bizarre knowledge, together with microphone recordings. (Wired $)
+ The warfare in Ukraine has turned the protection trade on its head. (FT $)
+ Why enterprise is booming for navy AI startups. (MIT Expertise Overview)

four Issues are trying up for Chinese language chipmakers
One of many trade’s main firms gained’t be hindered by US export controls in spite of everything. (FT $)
+ What’s subsequent for the chip trade. (MIT Expertise Overview)

5 WhatsApp has a spam calls downside
Its customers in India are contending with a deluge of undesirable telephone calls. (BBC)
+ The folks utilizing humor to troll their spam texts. (MIT Expertise Overview)

6 Jail messaging apps are notoriously unreliable
Their glitches go away inmates minimize off from the skin world. (Slate $) 

7 Contained in the wild plot to steal Coca-Cola’s secretive know-how 
It’s nothing to do with its drink formulation. (Bloomberg $)

eight A scammer has been cashing in on AI-generated Frank Ocean tracks
The issue is, the consumers had been satisfied they had been real leaks. (Motherboard)

9 Stay buying is coming to the US
However are buyers actually able to embrace it? (NYT $)
+ This obscure buying app is now America’s most downloaded. (MIT Expertise Overview)

10 How an harmless capybara sparked an internet revolt 
Brazilian authorities had been involved for the well-known rodent’s welfare. (Remainder of World)

Quote of the day

“We wish it to be reliable for customers… As we speak, we’re not there.”

—Prabhakar Raghavan, a senior vice chairman at Google, admits that giant language AI fashions can’t be relied upon to be factually correct, regardless of the corporate’s determination to embed them throughout its merchandise, Bloomberg stories.

The large story

California’s coming offshore wind growth faces huge engineering hurdles

December 2022

The state of California has an bold purpose: constructing 25 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2045. That’s equal to almost a 3rd of the state’s whole producing capability right this moment, or sufficient to energy 25 million houses.

However the plans are going through a frightening geological problem: the continental shelf drops steeply just some miles off the California coast. Additionally they face huge engineering and regulatory obstacles.  Learn the complete story.

—James Temple

We will nonetheless have good issues

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

+ The web is tying itself in knots making an attempt to work out whether or not the solar is white or yellow.
+ It is a enjoyable have a look at how The Legend of Zelda influenced a lot of recent music.
+ The fascinating story behind how the electrical guitar actually got here to be.
+ This assortment of laughably terrible metallic album covers is the reward that retains on giving.
+ Why hibernating in area is extra potential than chances are you’ll notice.

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