The Obtain: Ok-pop activists, and the way forward for search

That is as we speak’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a each day dose of what’s occurring on the planet of expertise.

How Ok-pop followers are shaping elections across the globe

Again within the early ‘90s, Korean pop music, referred to as Ok-pop, was largely conserved to its native South Korea. It’s since exploded across the globe into a global phenomenon, emphasizing choreography and elaborate efficiency. 

It’s made bands like Women Technology, EXO, BTS, and Blackpink into family names, and impressed a particular model of significantly fierce devotion of their followers.

Now, those self same fandoms have realized the way to use their digital expertise to advocate for social change and pursue political objectives—organizing acts of civil resistance, donating generously to charity, and even foiling white supremacist makes an attempt to unfold hate speech. Learn the total story.

—Soo Youn

The ChatGPT-fueled battle for search is larger than Microsoft or Google

Search is all of a sudden cool once more. Final week, Microsoft and Google staked out their respective claims to the way forward for search, exhibiting off chatbots that may reply to queries with sentences moderately than lists of hyperlinks. 

However whereas these bulletins gave a glimpse of what’s subsequent for search, to get the total image we have to look past these corporations. Search is ready to grow to be extra crowded and different. That’s as a result of, below the radar, a brand new wave of startups have been enjoying with most of the identical chatbot-enhanced search instruments for months. Learn the total story.

—Will Douglas Heaven

If you wish to study extra about this matter, learn this piece from Melissa Heikkilä about why you shouldn’t belief AI serps

Enormous EVs are removed from good, however they might nonetheless assist combat local weather change.

A handful of electric-vehicle commercials aired in the course of the Tremendous Bowl on Sunday, and all of them had one factor in frequent: the automobiles featured had been huge. 

Within the US, vehicles are already huge, and so they’re getting greater. Now, within the title of addressing local weather change, corporations are catering to America’s obsession with big automobiles, promoting the identical vans and SUVs we all know and love—however electrified. 

Giving folks what they need might be key to boosting EV adoption. However huge EVs may include a local weather price. Learn the total story.

—Casey Crownhart

Casey’s article is from The Spark, her weekly local weather and vitality e-newsletter. Enroll 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/vital/scary/fascinating tales about expertise.

1 Chook flu is quickly spreading amongst mammals
However, for now, there’s nonetheless no proof it poses a direct risk to people. (The Atlantic $)
+ People are inclined to contract the virus solely after dealing with birds. (Economist $)
+ No less than 60 international locations have killed birds in response to outbreaks thus far. (Reuters)
+ We don’t have to panic a few fowl flu pandemic—but. (MIT Know-how Overview)

2 China’s covid wave was far deadlier than reported
Estimates recommend it killed as much as 1.5 million folks, far larger than the official loss of life toll. (NYT $)
+ The nation spent billions of covid measures final 12 months. (The Guardian)

three What flies within the sky’s ‘forgotten house’?
Spy balloons aren’t the one objects you’ll discover up there. (FT $)
+ Why the US is obsessive about UFOs. (The Atlantic $)

four The Doomsday Glacier is melting quickly
A robotic submerged beneath the ice has discovered troubling indicators of sensitivity. (Wired $)

5 Sexual predators are grooming teenagers on TikTok
Its suggestion algorithm makes it simpler than ever to hunt new victims. (WSJ $)

6 Tesla is opening its huge community of chargers to different EVs
No less than 7,5000 new chargers will likely be made accessible—and extra are coming. (TechCrunch)
+ The U.S. solely has 6,000 quick charging stations for EVs. Right here’s the place all of them are. (MIT Know-how Overview)

7 Efficient altruism is failing to sort out sexual harassment
An absence of formalized management makes it further difficult. (Vox)+ Inside efficient altruism, the place the far future counts much more than the current. (MIT Know-how Overview)

eight Erotic AI companions are giving up roleplay
The abrupt change to Replika’s chatbots has left devotees bereft. (Motherboard) 

9 Who was John McAfee?
Even the eccentric and so-called centimillionaire’s family and friends aren’t positive. (Bloomberg $)

10 It’s time to get de-influenced 
Creators are over pushing merchandise—now they’re telling you what not to purchase. (The Guardian)
+ Prefer it or not, being an influencer is an actual job. (Wired $)

Quote of the day

“We can’t afford to be frightened of Putin, or else he wins.” 

—Christo Grozev, an investigative journalist devoted to exposing Russian wrongdoings, tells the Monetary Instances why he’s nonetheless dedicated to his reporting, regardless of the Kremlin including him to its “most wished” listing.

The large story

Why it’s a mistake to guess in opposition to Silicon Valley

February 2021

There has all the time been an immense quantity of debate over what accounts for the distinctiveness of Silicon Valley. Regardless of the causes, the Valley has remained the world’s dominant expertise innovation middle since then, its roots clearly lie in a serendipitous set of occasions. 

However regardless of its near-religious perception in its personal popularity for innovation, the Valley has been sustained by comparatively few enormous, dramatic ideas which have spawned complete new methods of residing and dealing. As an alternative, it has grow to be adept at one thing else: recognizing a worthwhile new concept. Learn the total story.

—John Markoff

We will nonetheless have good issues

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

+ These beluga whales sing superbly, however I can’t say the identical for his or her human pal (thanks Vincent!) 
+ Wow, leaves actually are wonderful. 
+ Each single one in every of these luxe New York resorts look unimaginable.
+ I don’t know what this Pikmin doggy factor is, however I do know I prefer it.
+ It’s time to look at your again—your gaming chair might be attempting to kill you.