The Obtain: unlocking Chinese language social accounts, and AI voice evaluation

That is right now’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a every day dose of what’s occurring on the earth of know-how.

Inside Tencent’s weirdly secretive customer support middle

—Zeyi Yang

Once I not too long ago visited China, for the primary time because the pandemic, I traveled to Shenzhen in a bid to unlock my 15-year outdated Tencent social media account.

I’ve tons of non-public stuff—diary entries, chat logs, emails—locked away in Tencent’s instantaneous messaging platform QQ. My account was all of the sudden suspended in November 2021, months after I used it to report on a narrative about QQ’s censorship of LGBTQ content material, and to attach with sources for different tales. Nevertheless it wasn’t clear whether or not that exercise resulted within the suspension. 

I’d mainly given up on ever accessing it once more, till I discovered about Tencent’s weirdly secretive customer support middle in Shenzhen. It’s a final resort for determined customers keen to make the journey to satisfy with a consultant to make their case. Learn the total story to seek out out what it’s like inside.

Zeyi’s story is from China Report, his weekly e-newsletter providing you with the within observe on all issues occurring in China. Enroll to obtain it in your inbox each Tuesday.

Podcast: When AI hears an issue

Hidden away in our voices are alerts which will maintain clues to how we’re doing, what we’re feeling and even what’s occurring with our bodily well being. So what does it imply now the AI methods tasked with analyzing these alerts are shifting into healthcare? Discover out by listening to the most recent episode of In Machines We Belief, our award-winning podcast, on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you normally pay attention.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to seek out you right now’s most enjoyable/vital/scary/fascinating tales about know-how.

1 OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman is urging the US to control AI

Over to you, politicians. (NYT $)
+ Altman is especially apprehensive by the potential for AI to disrupt the 2024 US election. (FT $)
+ Why AI is best suited to duties than precise jobs. (Bloomberg $)
+ Some specialists are more and more gloomy about the place that is all heading. (New Yorker $)
+ ChatGPT is all over the place. Right here’s the place it got here from. (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

2 South Korea’s had sufficient of tech leaks
Chinese language corporations have been charming Korea’s engineers into spilling commerce secrets and techniques. (FT $)
+ A former Apple engineer has been charged with stealing its self-driving automotive tech. (WSJ $)

three Regulation is coming for crypto
Slowly however certainly—however some specialists fear it’s too little, too late. (Economist $)
+ Investing in crypto is tantamount to playing, in response to the UK. (Reuters)
+ What’s subsequent for crypto. (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

four A Russian man has been charged with involvement in an enormous cyber assault  
Authorities are providing as much as $10 million in change for assist arresting him. (WP $)

5 Two poultry employees have examined constructive for hen flu within the UK

It’s unclear how they contracted it, and neither skilled signs. (BBC)
+ We don’t have to panic a couple of hen flu pandemic—but. (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

6 Relationship websites are riddled with catfish
Contractors the world over are being paid to control unwitting daters. (Wired $)

7 Gig economic system employees are begging for suggestions on-line 
DoorDash employees say they’re nearly totally reliant on suggestions for his or her revenue. (Motherboard)

eight The world desperately wants extra copper 
It’s an integral part for batteries—nevertheless it’s turning into harder to mine. (Bloomberg $)
+ How outdated batteries will assist energy tomorrow’s EVs. (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

9 TikTok is reimagining historical past with out Western imperial energy
Due to a little bit of assist from ChatGPT and Midjourney. (Remainder of World)

10 Say ‘I do’ with these AI-generated wedding ceremony vows 💐
Precisely what you need in your huge day, I’m positive. (WSJ $)

Quote of the day

“The last word information to life, love, and everlasting salvation!”

—ChatGPT takes a stab at writing an upbeat e book blurb for the Bible, in response to the Guardian.

The large story

The Soviets turned the Volga River right into a machine. Then the machine broke.

December 2021

About 2,300 miles lengthy, the Volga—typically known as “Mom Volga”—is the longest river in Europe. The historical past of the Large Volga venture is, in a way, the historical past of Soviet industrialization. Additionally it is a historical past of rivalry with the US, which for many years raced the Soviets to construct greater, extra spectacular dams.

However the venture tried to do an excessive amount of. The river has grow to be polluted, silted up, and overwhelmed by invasive species. Water flows at a tenth of the velocity it did earlier than the dams have been constructed.

And now that the Volga basin has been recognized as one of many areas most liable to local weather change-induced drought, it’s not an exaggeration to say that Russia’s mom river is damaged. Learn the total story.

—Olga Dobrovidova

We are able to nonetheless have good issues

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

+ Researchers have constructed a meticulous digital twin of the Titanic to work out precisely what went unsuitable on that fateful day in 1912.
+ Right here’s what an astrophysicist has to say on the ‘is the Solar white or yellow?’ debate.
+ Significantly, why doesn’t anybody in Succession eat something!? 🥐
+ The physics of cleaning soap bubbles are fairly sophisticated. Perhaps 18th century French painters can provide us some much-needed perception?
+ Ahh, millennial events have been fairly one thing.

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