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MIT Tech News

Language models like GPT-3 could herald a new type of search engine

3 days 6 hours ago
In 1998 a couple of Stanford graduate students published a paper describing a new kind of search engine: “In this paper, we present Google, a prototype of a large-scale search engine which makes heavy use of the structure present in hypertext. Google is designed to crawl and index the Web efficiently and produce much more…
Will Douglas Heaven

A paralyzed man is challenging Neuralink’s monkey to a match of mind Pong

3 days 7 hours ago
A man with a brain implant that allows him to control computers via mental signals says he is ready to challenge Elon Musk’s neuroscience company Neuralink in a head-to-head game of Pong—with a monkey. Neuralink is developing advanced wireless brain implants so humans can connect directly to computer networks. In April, researchers working with the…
Antonio Regalado

We need to design distrust into AI systems to make them safer

4 days 5 hours ago
Ayanna Howard has always sought to use robots and AI to help people. Over her nearly 30-year career, she has built countless robots: for exploring Mars, for cleaning hazardous waste, and for assisting children with special needs. In the process, she’s developed an impressive array of techniques in robotic manipulation, autonomous navigation, and computer vision.…
Karen Hao

The world had a chance to avoid the pandemic—but blew it, finds report

4 days 11 hours ago
The covid-19 pandemic is a catastrophe that could have been averted, say a panel of 13 independent experts tasked with assessing the global response to the crisis.  Their report, released May 12 and commissioned by the WHO, lambasts global leaders who failed to heed repeated warnings, wasted time, hoarded information and desperately needed supplies, and…
Cassandra Willyard

Five reasons why you don’t need to panic about coronavirus variants

4 days 12 hours ago
On May 10, the World Health Organization added a new virus to its list of covid-19 variants of global concern. The variant, B.1.617, is being blamed for the runaway infections in India. It is the fourth addition to a list that also includes variants first identified in the UK, South Africa, and Brazil. “There is some…
Cassandra Willyard

Podcast: Can AI fix your credit?

5 days 3 hours ago
Credit scores have been used for decades to assess consumer creditworthiness, but their scope is far greater now that they are powered by algorithms. Not only do they consider vastly more data, in both volume and type, but they increasingly affect whether you can buy a car, rent an apartment, or get a full-time job.…
Anthony Green

The woman who will decide what emoji we get to use

6 days 11 hours ago
Emoji are now part of our language. If you’re like most people, you pepper your texts, Instagram posts, and TikTok videos with various little images to augment your words—maybe the syringe with a bit of blood dripping from it when you got your vaccination, the prayer (or high-fiving?) hands as a shortcut to “thank you,”…
Tanya Basu

Product design gets an AI makeover

1 week ago
Engineers are under unprecedented pressure to build products that are used by thousands, if not millions, of consumers every day. Just ask Bernd Zapf. Head of development, new business, and technologies at Heller Group, a machine tool manufacturer in Germany, Zapf says today’s organizations must increasingly “strike a balance between the design, engineering, manufacturing, operation,…
MIT Technology Review Insights

A nonprofit promised to preserve wildlife. Then it made millions claiming it could cut down trees

1 week ago
The Massachusetts Audubon Society has long managed its land in western Massachusetts as crucial wildlife habitat. Nature lovers flock to these forests to enjoy bird-watching and quiet hikes, with the occasional bobcat or moose sighting. But in 2015, the conservation nonprofit presented California’s top climate regulator with a startling scenario: It could heavily log 9,700…
Lisa Song, James Temple

The Chinese rocket has safely crash-landed in the ocean

1 week 3 days ago
Update 5/9, 12:25 a.m. ET: The US Space Force confirmed the booster landed in the Indian Ocean just north of Maldives late Saturday evening. Last week, China successfully launched Tianhe-1, the first part of its new space station, to be completed before the end of 2022. A week later, the mission is still making huge waves—and…
Neel V. Patel

AI consumes a lot of energy. Hackers could make it consume more.

1 week 4 days ago
The news: A new type of attack could increase the energy consumption of AI systems.  In the same way a denial-of-service attack on the internet seeks to clog up a network and make it unusable, the new attack forces a deep neural network to tie up more computational resources than necessary and slow down its…
Karen Hao

Why mixing vaccines could help boost immunity

1 week 4 days ago
A dozen covid-19 vaccines are now being used around the world. Most require two doses, and health officials have warned against mixing and matching: the vaccines, they argue, should be administered the way they were tested in trials. But after emerging concerns about the very rare risk of blood clots linked to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine,…
Cassandra Willyard

How China turned a prize-winning iPhone hack against the Uyghurs

1 week 4 days ago
In March 2017, a group of hackers from China arrived in Vancouver with one goal: Find hidden weak spots inside the world’s most popular technologies.  Google’s Chrome browser, Microsoft’s Windows operating system, and Apple’s iPhones were all in the crosshairs. But no one was breaking the law. These were just some of the people taking…
Patrick Howell O'Neill

How to stop AI from recognizing your face in selfies

1 week 5 days ago
Uploading personal photos to the internet can feel like letting go. Who else will have access to them, what will they do with them—and which machine-learning algorithms will they help train? The company Clearview has already supplied US law enforcement agencies with a facial recognition tool trained on photos of millions of people scraped from…
Will Douglas Heaven

Why upholding Trump’s Facebook ban won’t break the cycle

1 week 5 days ago
The night before the Facebook Oversight Board decided to stand by the company’s decision to ban him from its platforms, former president Donald Trump announced—via an exclusive on Fox News—that he’d created a website. Called From the Desk of Donald Trump, it looked like a social media site but was really just a feed of…
Abby Ohlheiser

We reviewed three at-home covid tests. The results were mixed.

1 week 6 days ago
Over-the-counter home tests for covid-19 are finally here. MIT Technology Review obtained kits sold by three companies and tried them out. After buying tests from CVS and online, I tested myself several times and ended up learning an important lesson: while some people worry that home tests could miss covid cases, the bigger problem may…
Antonio Regalado

The internet is excluding Asian-Americans who don’t speak English

1 week 6 days ago
Jennifer Xiong spent her summer helping Hmong people in California register to vote in the US presidential election. The Hmong are an ethnic group that come from the mountains of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand but don’t have a country of their own, and Xiong was a volunteer organizer at Hmong Innovating Politics, or HIP,…
Tate Ryan-Mosley
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1 hour 41 minutes ago
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