Downloading: risks for Reddit, and the potential return of the dodo

Downloading: risks for Reddit, and the potential return of the dodo

Downloading: risks for Reddit, and the potential return of the dodo

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This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s happening in the tech world.


How the Supreme Court’s Section 230 Ruling Could End Reddit as We Know It

When the Supreme Court hears a landmark Section 230 case later in February, all eyes will be on the biggest tech players – Meta, Google, Twitter, YouTube.

The case could have a range of outcomes. One of the potential consequences is that these companies could be forced to transform their approach to community content moderation.

Many sites rely on users for community moderation to edit, shape, delete and promote other users’ content online – think Reddit upvote or edits to a Wikipedia page. If these users were forced to take legal risks every time they made a decision about content, experts warn it could have a catastrophic effect on online speaking communities. Read the full story.

—Tate Ryan-Mosley

Extinction company is trying to resurrect the dodo

The news: The dodo bird was big, flightless and rather tasty, which explains why it died out around 1662. Today, an American biotechnology company says it is considering reviving the dodo.

Why a dodo? It’s the third species chosen by Colossal Biosciences, of Austin, Texas, for what it calls a technological “de-extinction” process. The company is also working on using large-scale genome engineering to turn modern elephants into woolly mammoths and resurrect the Tasmanian tiger.

How do they do ? The company has recovered detailed DNA information from 500-year-old dodo remains housed in a museum in Denmark. He plans to try to modify the bird’s closest living relative, the Nicobar pigeon, by gradually transforming it into a dodo and eventually “re-wild” the animal in its original habitat. The problem is that while it’s easy to genetically modify bird cells in the lab, it’s difficult to turn carefully modified cells into a bird. Read the full story.

—Antonio Regalado

Who becomes a tech entrepreneur in China?

We live in a time where the concept of entrepreneur is increasingly broad. It’s often difficult to fit occupations — hosting a podcast, driving for Uber, even having an OnlyFans account — into traditional definitions of employment versus entrepreneurship.

Of course, this is not a strictly Western phenomenon; it happens all over the world. And in China, it is also transforming the way people work, but with the particularities of the country.

Our Chinese journalist Zeyi Yang spoke with author Lin Zhang about his new book which explores the rise and social impact of Chinese people who have succeeded (at least temporarily) as entrepreneurs. Read the full story.

This story is from China Report, Zeyi’s weekly newsletter covering all the latest news from China. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Tuesday.

The unavoidable

I’ve scoured the internet to find you today’s funniest/important/scariest/fascinating stories about technology.

1 OpenAI has released a tool that detects AI-generated text
Unfortunately, it’s not very good. (WSJ$)
+ The tool returns a lot of false positives and false negatives. (Axios)
+ It only correctly identified 26% of the texts written by the AI. ($Bloomberg)
+ What the human brain can teach us about AI. (Atlantic $)
+ Google is apparently testing its own ChatGPT rivals. (CNBC)
+ A watermark for chatbots can expose text written by an AI. (MIT Technology Review)

2 US defense industry struggles to arm Ukraine
Its supply chains are strained by the sheer demand for weapons. (FT$)
+ How Russia is sneakily circumventing oil sanctions. (Economist $)

3 Elon Musk’s Twitter feed is an echo chamber
Despite his insistence that the broader platform should be more open and diverse. (NYT$)
+ Twitter is not happy at the price of private jets. ($Bloomberg)
+ We are witnessing the brain death of Twitter. (MIT Technology Review)

4 A streamer was caught watching deepfake porn from his colleagues
Non-consensual videos demonstrate the dangers of technology. (Motherboard)
+ A terrifying new AI app turns women into porn videos with the click of a button. (MIT Technology Review)

5 Covid seems to scramble our immune system
Even mild infections seem to disrupt our ability to fight disease. (Slate $)
+ How to determine the health of your immune system. (New Scientist $)

6 Tracking Truckers Didn’t Make Long-Distance Driving Safer
It did, however, usher in a new era of surveillance. (New Yorkers $)

7 What’s next for laid off tech workers?
Their skills are highly prized, especially by companies outside of technology. (voice)
+ Blind anonymous app is the most popular place to look for work. (CNN)
+ The United States is weaning itself from being a nation of workaholics. (Atlantic $)

8 Assembling iPhones in the Foxconn factory is a thankless task
It pays well, but the grueling working conditions challenge employees on a daily basis. (Rest of the world)

9 Airport Protocols Are Speeding Up
Electronic gates and biometric passports facilitate rapid passage. (WP$)

10 It’s easier than ever to report a UFO sighting 🛸
Just launch the Enigma Labs app. (Wired $)

quote of the day

“As I continued to watch, it was hard not to laugh out loud at the absurdity of those hands and teeth.”

—Programmer Miles Zimmerman recalls a nightmarish experience with the generative AI model Mindjourney, which created images of people with too many fingers and teeth, he tells BuzzFeed.

The big story

This $1.5 billion startup promised to deliver clean fuels as cheap as gasoline. Experts are deeply skeptical.

April 2022

Last summer, Rob McGinnis, founder and CEO of startup Prometheus Fuels, brought together investors and staged a theatrical demonstration of his technology. Prometheus promises to transform the global fuels industry by removing greenhouse gases from the air and converting them into carbon-neutral fuels that are as cheap as dirty conventional fuels.

But while investors have been throwing money at the company, pushing it to a valuation of over $1.5 billion, there’s little evidence it can actually live up to its claims. lofty demands. Read the full story.

—James Temple

We can still have beautiful things

A place of comfort, pleasure and distraction in these strange times. (Have ideas? Message me or tweet them to me.)

+ It’s fair to say that I didn’t see the twist in any of these upcoming agony aunt letters (thanks Jess!)
+ Some choices are too difficult to consider, and that is one of them.
+ What can board games teach us? More than you think, in fact.
+ Keep an eye out for the green comet passing Earth tonight – if you miss it, you’ll have to wait another 50,000 years.
+ A coffee date with these three angels is my idea of ​​the perfect day.


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