The Obtain: the promise of stem cell therapies, and China’s display screen time crackdown

That is at this time’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a every day dose of what’s happening on this planet of know-how.

After 25 years of hype, embryonic stem cells are nonetheless ready for his or her second

In 1998, researchers remoted highly effective stem cells from human embryos. It was a breakthrough for biology, since these cells are the start line for human our bodies and have the capability to show into every other sort of cell—coronary heart cells, neurons, you identify it.

Nationwide Geographic would later summarize the unbelievable promise: “the dream is to launch a medical revolution wherein ailing organs and tissues could be repaired” with residing replacements. It was the daybreak of a brand new period. A holy grail. Decide your favourite cliché—all of them bought airtime.

But at this time, greater than twenty years later, there aren’t any therapies available on the market based mostly on these cells. Not one. Our biotech editor Antonio Regalado got down to examine why, and when which may change. Right here’s what he found.

China is escalating its conflict on children’ display screen time

In terms of controlling how minors use the web, China is a world chief, due to measures like its strict three-hour-per-week restrict for kids enjoying video video games.

It’s now going even larger: final week it introduced a posh maze of recent guidelines governing how kids use each totally different sort of gadget. For instance, underneath 16s are restricted to a most of an hour utilizing any gadget a day.

Many within the US could also be jealous of this diploma of management. Nevertheless it faucets into the identical paternalistic perspective that determines what kids ought to watch and what adults ought to learn. How snug are we in pushing the stability additional to the aspect of centralized management slightly than particular person decision-making? Learn the total story.

This story is from China Report, Zeyi Yang’s weekly e-newsletter supplying you with the within story on what’s happening in China’s tech sector. Join to obtain it in your inbox each Tuesday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to seek out you at this time’s most enjoyable/essential/scary/fascinating tales about know-how.

1 Persons are eager to get enthusiastic about know-how 
Hype round superconductors and nuclear fusion counsel we’re swinging again in the direction of techno-utopianism. (The Atlantic $)
+ Are you able to be a techno-optimist once more? (MIT Expertise Evaluate) 
2 WeWork has warned it may go underneath
It’s dropping prospects because the co-working market will get extra aggressive. (Bloomberg $)  
three AI may assist to gasoline consuming issues
Terrible however unsurprising—it’s been educated on on-line content material, and there’s loads of pro-anorexia stuff on the market. (WP $) 
The woes for AI image-generation startup Stability AI seem like mounting. (Bloomberg $)
Right here’s how we rein in AI. (The Atlantic $)
Our fast information to the 6 methods we will regulate AI. (MIT Expertise Evaluate)
four Why it’s so exhausting to forecast wildfire smoke 🔥
At greatest, we will nonetheless solely predict it a day or so forward. (New Yorker $)
The search to construct wildfire-resistant properties. (MIT Expertise Evaluate)
Europe is combating floods, wildfires and torrential rain this week. (NYT $)
5 China plans to limit face recognition tech
New guidelines are simply the most recent effort to impose guardrails round AI tech there. (WSJ $)
China isn’t ready to set down guidelines on generative AI. (MIT Expertise Evaluate)
6 Grimes is at all times wonderful leisure worth
This interview covers all the things from AI artwork to dying on Mars to the chances on that Musk v Zuck struggle occurring. (Wired $)
The press must train a bit extra skepticism when masking Mr Musk’s antics. (The Verge)
7 TMSC goes to construct its first European chip plant in Germany
Europe is following the US and China’s lead and attempting to cut back reliance on exterior suppliers. (WSJ $)
+ What’s subsequent for the chip trade. (MIT Expertise Evaluate)
eight You possibly can take an Alzheimer’s threat check. However do you have to? 
It’s unclear what you are able to do in case you’re at excessive threat, apart from going loopy with fear. (Wired $)
9 It appears serial killings have gotten rarer 
And it’s possible that we will a minimum of partly thank know-how. (NYT $) 
10 TikTok is launching its first livestream music competitors
Is smart! However weirdly, it’s but to substantiate how a lot cash winners get. (The Verge)

Quote of the day

“Whoever’s doing that is clearly preying on writers who belief my identify and assume I’ve truly written these books. I’ve not. Almost definitely they’ve been generated by AI.”

—Creator Jane Friedman has had sufficient of Amazon and Goodreads internet hosting fraudulent AI-generated books underneath her identify, she writes in a weblog put up. 

The massive story

Gene enhancing has made pigs proof against a lethal epidemic

crispr pig concept


December 2020

When covid-19 started to unfold, international locations closed companies and advised folks to remain house. Many thought that may be sufficient to cease the coronavirus. If we had paid extra consideration to pigs, we would have identified higher.

To stop their animals contracting ailments, pig farmers make use of measures acquainted to anybody who has been avoiding covid-19, together with contact tracing, disinfecting provides, and requiring human staff to alter garments earlier than coming into a safe barn.

Now the Pig Enchancment Firm, in Hendersonville, Tennessee, is attempting one thing totally different. As an alternative of attempting to seal animals off from the setting, it’s altering the pigs themselves. It’s utilizing CRISPR, the revolutionary gene scissors, to make piglets proof against lethal ailments. Learn the total story.

—Antonio Regalado

We are able to 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.)

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