The download: problems with criminal applications and useful AI

The download: problems with criminal applications and useful AI

The download: problems with criminal applications and useful AI

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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 Citizen is trying to rebuild itself by recruiting Asian seniors

Members of the Asian and Pacific Islander American community in the United States are experiencing a period of continued racial attacks, most recently in nearby Half Moon Bay.

Many believe that Citizen, a hyperlocal app that allows users to report and track nearby crime notifications, is one of their best defenses.

But the app has a checkered history. Citizen has long been criticized for amplifying paranoia around crime. Now that the company is actively trying to recruit Asian users in the Bay Area, many of whom are seniors, experts fear the app could make matters worse. Read the full story.

—Lam Thuy Vo

How AI Can Really Help in Disaster Response

What is happening: We often hear big (and unrealistic) promises about the potential of AI to solve the world’s ills. But one US Department of Defense effort seems to be helping: xView2, which is helping with disaster logistics and ground rescue missions in Turkey after the recent devastating earthquake.

How it works: It uses machine learning algorithms in conjunction with satellite imagery to identify damage to buildings and infrastructure in the disaster area and categorize their severity much faster than is possible with current methods. Read the full story.

—Tate Ryan-Mosley

Tate’s story is taken from The Technocrat, its new weekly newsletter that gives you information on all things tech policy. Register to receive it in your inbox every Friday.

The unavoidable

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

1 U.S. Supreme Court Prepares to Hear Case Against Section 230
The case against the legal provision that protects Internet content will be heard tomorrow. (NYT$)
+ The court will consider a second similar case on Wednesday. (Fast Company $)
+ The Supreme Court can review the way you live online. (MIT Technology Review)

2 China rushes to create its own ChatGPT
Its internet giants are racing to catch up with the West.(FT$)+ The country’s harsh regulation and censorship will not help. (NYT$)
+ Inside the ChatGPT race in China. (MIT Technology Review)

3 The United States is on the verge of a wave of norovirus
While it’s not unusual every winter, the pandemic may have made us more vulnerable. (Vox)
+ The best way to avoid catching it? Wash one’s hands. (Atlantic $)

4 Twitter removed two-factor authentication
Which is very likely to make users more vulnerable to hacking. (Slate $)
+ Facebook and Instagram copy Twitter’s policy of charging people for blue ticks. (The edge)

5 Crypto winter devastates miners

Profits are down, and they’re poised to fall even further. (Wired $)
+ A hedge fund that invested heavily in FTX is closing. (FT$)
+ Tim Berners-Lee thinks crypto is comparable to gambling. (CNBC)

6 AI algorithms are deployed to lay off workers
This is yet another tool that companies could abuse in the name of reducing the strain on humans. (WP$)

7 All kinds of schools are experimenting with banning smartphones
But it is much easier for private schools to enforce the rules. (Atlantic $)

8 Times Are Tough For Video Game Creators
Players spend less and therefore have to cancel matches. (WSJ$)
+ VR arcades are however increasingly popular in the UK. (The Guardian)

9 What It’s Like To Live TikTok’s Morning Routines
Once at the top of #aspirationalcontent, they are now grounded in relatability. (The Guardian)

10 Replika Says Her AI Companions Weren’t Meant To Be Erotic
But users aren’t convinced the company is telling the truth. (Motherboard)

quote of the day

“People talking about generative AI right now were people talking about Web3 and blockchain until recently – the Venn diagram is a circle.”

—Ben Waber, chief executive of workplace AI company Humanyze, ponders the pitfalls of the AI ​​hype train to the Wall Street Journal.

The big story

A city’s fight to solve its sewer problem with sensors

April 2021

In the city of South Bend, Indiana, sewage from kitchens, sinks, washing machines and toilets flow into 35 neighborhood sewer lines. On good days, just before the end of each line, a vertical choke pipe diverts wastewater into an interceptor tube, which transports it to a treatment plant where solid pollutants and bacteria are filtered out.

As in many US cities, these pipes are combined with storm drains, which can fill rivers and lakes with toxic sludge when heavy rains or melting snow overwhelms them, endangering wildlife and water supplies. drinkable. But city officials have a plan to make its aging sewers much smarter. Read the full story.

—Andre Zaleski

We can still have beautiful things

A place of comfort, pleasure and distraction in these strange times. (You have any ideas ? Write to me Or tweet them to me.)

+ A generous Canadian who donated her savings to charity as a child was richly rewarded as an adult: She just won the lottery (thanks Greg!)
+ Well, This feels pointed, but also painfully true.
+ British police have given a chocolate criminal the nickname Easter Bunny.
+ It may be a little late for Valentine’s Day, but this kitten is the perfect gift.
+ Neil Young and Crazy Horse are releasing an album this spring, which is cause for celebration in my books.


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