The Obtain: saving seals with synthetic snow, and AI’s results on politics

That is immediately’s version of The Obtain, our weekday publication that gives a every day dose of what’s happening on the earth of know-how.

These synthetic snowdrifts defend seal pups from local weather change

For millennia, throughout Finland’s blistering winters, wind drove snow into meters-high snowbanks alongside Lake Saimaa’s shoreline, providing prime actual property from which seals carved cave-like dens to shelter from the weather and lift newborns.

However in current many years, these snowdrifts have did not type in enough numbers, as local weather change has introduced warming temperatures and rain rather than snow, decimating the seal inhabitants.

For the final 11 years, people have stepped in to assemble what nature can now not reliably present. Human-made snowdrifts, constructed utilizing handheld snowplows, now home 90% of seal pups. They’re the most recent in a raft of measures which have introduced Saimaa’s seals again from the brink of extinction. Learn the complete story.

—Matthew Ponsford

Matthew’s story is from the following journal problem of MIT Know-how Evaluation, set to go reside this Wednesday April 24, on the theme of Construct. In case you don’t already, subscribe now to get a replica when it lands.

Politics within the AI period

2024 is a banner 12 months for elections the world over, and it arrives simply as AI advances come thick and quick. This collision of occasions raises an important query: how will the rise of AI change politics?

Be a part of MIT Know-how Evaluation Editor in Chief Mat Honan and Govt Editor Amy Nordrum for a LinkedIn Dwell occasion the place they’ll discover the affect of political influencers and deepfakes, and unpack trade insights and predictions. Register right here to tune in at 1pm ET tomorrow.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to search out you immediately’s most enjoyable/necessary/scary/fascinating tales about know-how.

1 Contained in the motion to create AI fashions with out guardrails 
These ‘anti-woke’ methods typically introduce extra issues than options. (WSJ $)
+ Do AI methods want to return with security warnings? (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

2 California needs to power Google and Meta to compensate information publishers
Unsurprisingly, they’re not taking the so-called ‘hyperlink tax’ mendacity down. (WP $)
+ Japan’s regulators have accused Google of anticompetitive conduct. (Bloomberg $)

three China is planning on turning into the worldwide chief for flying vehicles
Its regulators are beavering away to green-light initiatives as shortly as potential. (FT $)
+ The aviation trade remains to be weathering the backlash over Boeing’s points. (Vox)
+ These plane might change how we fly. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

four TikTok’s high lawyer is stepping down
Amid the corporate’s highly-publicized authorized tussle with the US authorities. (The Data $)
+ The US Senate is anticipated to vote on its proposed ban invoice this week. (The Guardian)

5 An enormous cyberattack revealed Finnish folks’s psychotherapy data
The fallout was likened to the trauma of a terrorist assault. (Bloomberg $)

6 A UK intercourse offender has been banned from utilizing AI instruments
Within the first identified authorized case of its type. (The Guardian)
+ Catching unhealthy content material within the age of AI. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

7 The web is rife with scams
They’re so convincing, even consultants are falling for them. (NYT $)
+ How tradition drives foul play on the web. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

eight The way forward for AI devices might be simply telephones
The Ai Pin’s savage opinions appear like an omen. (The Verge)

9 Spare a thought for Nvidia’s engineers
1,000,000 {dollars} doesn’t go too far nowadays, in response to one employee. (Insider $)

10 This digicam produced AI-generated poetry as an alternative of pictures
Is an image actually value a thousand phrases? (TechCrunch)
+ A Salvador Dalí AI lobster phone has gone on show in Florida. (Insider $)

Quote of the day

“Politics is being handled as a four-letter phrase and pushed out of the general public sq..”

—Eric Wilson, managing companion at Republican marketing campaign tech incubator Startup Caucus, laments Meta’s determination to deal with politics as much less of a precedence on its platforms to the Washington Submit.

The large story

Cops constructed a shadowy surveillance machine in Minnesota after George Floyd’s homicide 

March 2022

Regulation enforcement businesses in Minnesota have been finishing up a secretive, long-running surveillance program focusing on civil rights activists and journalists within the aftermath of the homicide of George Floyd in Might 2020.

Run beneath a consortium often called Operation Security Web, this system was arrange in spring 2021, ostensibly to keep up public order as Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin went on trial for Floyd’s homicide.

However an investigation by MIT Know-how Evaluation reveals that the initiative expanded far past its publicly introduced scope to incorporate expansive use of instruments to scour social media, monitor cell telephones, and amass detailed pictures of individuals’s faces. Learn the complete story.

—Tate Ryan-Mosley & Sam Richards

We will nonetheless have good issues

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

+ These cats have a brilliant pottery-making profession forward of them.
+ You simply can’t escape British workwear nowadays.
+ It’s by no means too late to take up one thing you’re keen on.
+ The primary-ever mannequin of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise NCC-1701 has been returned to the household of collection creator Gene Roddenberry.

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