The Obtain: How AI capitalizes on disaster, and the Bitcoin cities of Central America

That is at present’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a every day dose of what’s occurring on the planet of expertise.

How the AI business earnings from disaster

It was meant to be a short lived facet job—a solution to earn some extra cash. Oskarina Fuentes Anaya signed up for Appen, an AI data-labeling platform, when she was nonetheless in faculty finding out to land a well-paid place within the oil business.

However then the financial system tanked in Venezuela. Inflation skyrocketed, and a secure job, as soon as assured, was not an choice. Her facet gig was now full time; the non permanent now the foreseeable future.

As we speak Fuentes lives in Colombia, considered one of hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan migrants and refugees who’ve left their nation seeking higher alternatives. However she’s trapped at house—each by a power sickness that developed after delayed entry to well being care and by opaque algorithms that dictate when she works and the way a lot she earns.

Regardless of threats from Appen to retaliate in opposition to her, she selected to go on the document as a named supply. She needs folks to know what her life is wish to be a important a part of the worldwide AI improvement pipeline but for the beneficiaries of her work to additionally mistreat her and make her invisible. She needs the individuals who do that work to be seen. Learn the complete story. 

—Karen Hao and Andrea Paola Hernández

That is the second a part of our collection investigating AI colonialism, shining a light-weight on how the expertise is impoverishing the communities and nations that don’t have a say in its improvement. Components three and four are coming later within the week, however you’ll be able to learn the primary half right here and Karen Hao’s introductory essay right here.

Crypto millionaires are pouring cash into Central America to construct their very own cities

El Salvador’s Conchagua Volcano, house to a lush ecotourism retreat amid its sun-dappled forest, is ready to host a glittering new Bitcoin Metropolis, the nation’s president introduced in November 2021. An enormous development mission to rework virgin forest right into a vibrant metropolis might quickly be underway.

Whereas some politicians and residents consider in crypto’s potential to jump-start the financial system, others see historical past repeating itself. As El Salvador’s experiment takes form within the type of Bitcoin Metropolis, the same improvement is already underway in Honduras—however backlash from locals has put its future in jeopardy. Proponents hope to spawn 100 extra Bitcoin Cities, however others query who these tasks are actually for, and whether or not the nations serving as take a look at beds will actually profit. Learn the complete story.

—Laurie Clarke

Quote of the day

“Hugs for everybody!”

—A Disney worker celebrates costumed characters having the ability to hug Disneyland guests after dropping its enforced no-hugs ban, in line with The New York Occasions.

The must-reads

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

1 Ukraine’s ‘web military’ is pressurizing Western manufacturers to exit Russia
And their campaigns appear to be working. (WSJ $)
+ A couple of in 4 folks in Ukraine have left their houses. (WSJ $)
+ The US and its allies are sending extra weapons to Ukraine. (BBC)

2 What has the zero-covid coverage taught China?
It’s saved numerous lives, however it’s changing into more durable and more durable to implement. (The Atlantic $)
+ Moderna is optimistic that its new vaccine will supply higher safety in opposition to variants. (NYT $)

three NASA needs to constitution a mission to Uranus
We all know surprisingly little in regards to the distant planet. (The Atlantic $)
+ Why have we been so targeted on sending people to Mars? (Slate $)
+ Possibly we ought to be sending robots as a substitute of astronauts. (Wired $)

four Persons are canceling their Netflix subscriptions of their droves
And sneakily sharing passwords between households. (Selection $)
+ Netflix might begin working adverts, too. (Hollywood Reporter)

5 Twitter could also be making ready to show down Elon Musk’s supply to purchase it
Which might drive him to rethink his place. (WSJ $)
+ Whatever the final result, Musk’s proposition might in the end be good for the corporate. (FT $)
+ A crypto billionaire needs to get entangled, too. (Bloomberg $)
+ Right here’s what making Twitter’s algorithm public might entail. (CNN) 

6 Possibly the tech bubble actually is impenetrable in spite of everything
Or perhaps we’re simply bored of listening to it’s about to burst. (NYT $)
+ There could also be bother forward for the UK’s startups. (The Occasions $)

7 Unmasking the lady behind the Libs of TikTok Twitter account 
A Brooklyn actual property agent has performed an outsized position pushing hateful anti-LGBTQ+ narratives within the US. (WP $)

eight Getting sober is about extra than simply stopping consuming 🍸
Sober influencers are reframing our pondering round alcohol. That’s not all the time a constructive factor. (Wired $) 
+ Does paying folks to cease consuming preserve them sober within the long-term? (Boston Globe $)

9 Why it’s so arduous to construct unbiased AI
For starters, bias is within the eye of the beholder. (Vox)
+ AI would possibly cut back the variety of automobile crashes. (NYT $)
+ Motorists utilizing self-driving automobiles within the UK would possibly quickly be allowed to observe TV behind the wheel. (The Occasions $)

10 This Twitter account spots writers’ tics
As a result of you’ll be able to’t preserve repeating your self. Or are you able to? (New Yorker $)

We will nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction in these bizarre occasions. (Acquired any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)
+ Congratulations to TobyKeith, who at 21-years previous has change into the world’s oldest dwelling canine.
+ Louis Theroux isn’t simply an award-winning documentary maker. He additionally spits some sick bars (Thanks Tania!)
+ These simple recipes for candy treats are talking my language.
+ In the event you’re beginning to fear about what to purchase for Mom’s Day, this checklist is a good place to begin.
+ The US authorities funded analysis into invisibility cloaks, which appears a worthwhile endeavor to me.
+ Would you contemplate speaking your cat out on a leash?
+ The world’s oldest unopened Easter egg will make you grateful that Easter is over.

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