The Obtain: hacking VR headsets, and contrails to chill the planet

That is in the present day’s version of The Obtain, our weekday publication that gives a every day dose of what’s occurring on the planet of expertise

VR headsets might be hacked with an Inception-style assault

Within the Christoper Nolan film Inception, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character makes use of expertise to enter his targets’ desires to steal info and insert false particulars into their unconscious. 

A brand new “inception assault” in digital actuality works in an identical approach. Researchers on the College of Chicago exploited a safety vulnerability in Meta’s Quest VR system that enables hackers to hijack customers’ headsets, steal delicate info, and—with the assistance of generative AI—manipulate social interactions. 

The assault hasn’t been used within the wild but, and the bar to executing it’s excessive, as a result of it requires a hacker to achieve entry to the VR headset consumer’s Wi-Fi community. Nevertheless, it’s extremely refined and leaves these focused weak to phishing, scams, and grooming, amongst different dangers. Learn the total story.

—Melissa Heikkilä

You possibly can learn extra about why we have to defend towards VR cyberattacks within the newest version of The Algorithm, our weekly AI publication. Join to obtain it in your inbox each Monday.

How rerouting planes to provide fewer contrails might assist cool the planet

What’s occurring: A handful of research have concluded that making minor changes to the routes of a small fraction of airplane flights might meaningfully cut back international warming. Now a brand new paper finds that these modifications may very well be fairly low cost to tug off as effectively.

The way it works: Jets launch warmth, water vapor, and particulate matter that may produce skinny clouds within the sky, often known as “contrails”. When quite a few flights move by way of such areas, these contrails can kind clouds that take up radiation escaping from the floor, performing as blankets floating above the Earth.

Why it issues: A small fraction of general flights, between 2% and 10%, create about 80% of the contrails. So the rising hope is that merely rerouting these flights might considerably cut back the impact, presenting a probably excessive leverage, low value and quick approach of easing warming. Learn the total story.

—James Temple

LLMs turn into extra covertly racist with human intervention

The information: Since their inception, it’s been clear that enormous language fashions like ChatGPT take up racist views from the thousands and thousands of pages of the web they’re skilled on. Builders have responded by making an attempt to make them much less poisonous. However new analysis means that these efforts are solely curbing racist views which are overt, whereas letting extra covert stereotypes develop stronger and higher hidden. And it’s an issue that grows as these fashions get greater and larger.

How they did it: Researchers requested 5 AI fashions to make judgments about audio system who used African-American English (AAE). The race of the speaker was not talked about within the directions. Even when the 2 sentences had the identical which means, the fashions have been extra more likely to apply adjectives like “soiled,” “lazy,” and “silly” to audio system of AAE than audio system of Normal American English. Learn the total story.

—James O’Donnell

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to seek out you in the present day’s most enjoyable/vital/scary/fascinating tales about expertise.

1 The motion to ban TikTok is gaining momentum
A backlash from US customers seems to be making politicians extra decided to ban it. (Vox)
+ TikTok is much from the primary Chinese language firm the US has sought to punish. (WSJ $)
+ The app has turn into a serious political scorching potato. (Bloomberg $)

2 South Korea’s chipmaking giants have stopped promoting used tools
Samsung and SK Hynix wish to keep away from falling foul of US sanctions. (FT $)
+ For its half, the US is now backing chip manufacturing within the Philippines. (Bloomberg $)
+ Why China is betting large on chiplets. (MIT Expertise Overview)

three Midjourney has banned Stability AI employees from its service
It claims the rival employees precipitated a programs outage making an attempt to scrape Midjourney’s information. (The Verge)

four Trendy vehicles are reporting your driving habits to insurers
Their information is used to attract up refined threat profiles—and improve the price of insurance coverage. (NYT $)

5 Meet the AI doom mongers 💀
A burgeoning Bay Space neighborhood is looking for solutions about what to imagine. (New Yorker $)
+ How existential threat grew to become the most important meme in AI. (MIT Expertise Overview)

6 This tiny deep sea drone is mapping Australia’s coral reefs 🐟
Exploring the ocean is a big problem. These machines are making it simpler. (IEEE Spectrum)
+ The robots are coming. And that’s a superb factor. (MIT Expertise Overview)

7 How microgravity might assist to provide higher medicines
Close to-weightlessness is a good way to enhance the crystal formation important to manufacturing medicines. (WSJ $)

eight This robotic is modeled on a long-extinct sea creature
The pleurocystitid existed round 450 million years in the past. (Ars Technica)

9 China’s actual property brokers are livestreaming accessible properties
And residential gross sales in area of interest vacationer city Xishuangbanna are booming consequently. (Remainder of World)
+ Deepfakes of Chinese language influencers are livestreaming 24/7. (MIT Expertise Overview)

10 Doomscrolling is out—Downpour is in
The easy app means that you can construct video games starring your individual footage. (The Guardian)
+ I used generative AI to show my story into a comic book—and you’ll too. (MIT Expertise Overview)

Quote of the day

“It’s more and more extra of a pond than an ocean.”

—Ekaterina Almasque, a normal companion at enterprise capital agency OpenOcean, tells Reuters how corporations are locked in fierce competitors to rent AI expertise from a dwindling pool of certified candidates.

The large story

The search to be taught if our mind’s mutations have an effect on psychological well being

August 2021

Scientists have up to now been unable to hyperlink mind problems, similar to autism and Alzheimer’s illness, to an identifiable gene.

However a College of California, San Diego research revealed in 2001 advised a unique path. What if it wasn’t a single defective gene—or perhaps a collection of genes—that all the time precipitated cognitive points? What if it may very well be the genetic variations between cells?

The reason had appeared far-fetched, however researchers are belatedly beginning to take it significantly. Learn the total story.

—Roxanne Khamsi

We are able to nonetheless have good issues

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

+ That mysterious sound within the GoldenEye online game soundtrack has lastly been defined.
+ Ice cream underneath the microscope appears significantly bizarre. 🍦
+ After all Jon Hamm loves a Bloody Mary throughout a flight.
+ Seismic alien waves? Err, it was in all probability a passing truck, sorry.

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