This week’s amazing tech stories from around the web (through May 14)

This week’s amazing tech stories from around the web (through May 14)

COMPUTING

IBM’s goal: a 4000 Qubit processor by 2025
Edd Gent | IEEE Spectrum
“The first iteration of [IBM’s 2020] roadmap topped with the [1,121-qubit] Condor processor slated for release in 2023, but now the company has revealed plans for a 1,386-qubit processor, called Flamingo, to appear in 2024 and for a 4,158-qubit device called Kookaburra to make its debut in 2025.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

DeepMind’s new AI can perform more than 600 tasks, from playing games to controlling robots
Kyle Wiggers | TechCrunch
“Gato is what DeepMind describes as a ‘general purpose’ system, a system that can be taught to perform many different types of tasks. DeepMind researchers trained Gato to complete 604, to be exact, including captioning images, engaging in dialogue, stacking blocks with a real robot arm, and playing Atari games.”

NANOTECHNOLOGY

These nanobots can swim around a wound and kill bacteria
Max G Levy | cabling
“The team loaded silica nanobots with experimental antibiotics, including one derived from wasp venom, to treat infected wounds in mice. The nanobots, which were placed at one end of an infected wound, traveled through the skin to treat the entire area – the first report of nanobots killing bacteria in animals.”

AUGMENTED REALITY

Google says its new image search features are like ‘Ctrl+F to the world around you’
Emma Roth | the edge
“In explaining the feature, Raghavan used the example of trying to find a nut-free chocolate bar in a supermarket. You’ll be able to scan an entire shelf of candy bars, and then see overlays that provide “useful information” like reviews about each item. We think Raghavan’s description of the feature sums it up pretty well: “This is like having a supercharged Ctrl+F for the world around you.”i

FACIAL RECOGNITION

Clearview AI Settles Lawsuit, Agrees to Limit Sales of Facial Recognition Database
Ryan Mac and Cashmere Hill | The New York Times
“Under the agreement, which was filed in state court in Illinois, Clearview will not sell its database of what it said were more than 20 billion facial photos to most of the nation’s individuals and businesses. But the company can still largely sell that database to federal and state agencies.”

VIRTUAL REALITY

ESPN+ premieres ‘McEnroe vs. McEnroe’, the first tennis match between a real person and his virtual avatar
Lauren Forristal | TechCrunch
“In the match, the real McEnroe will face his last opponent: his younger self. …The Unit 9 team spent a day with John to bring vision to life through full-body scanning, motion capture, and Unreal Engine MetaHuman technology (a cloud-based application that creates photorealistic digital humans). The avatar game system will be projected on a hologram particle screen and will be a game simulation with a system of ball launchers and ball return robots.”

BLOCK CHAIN

Crypto Arcade Paradise: Inside the Web3 Revolution
Gilad Edelmann | cabling
“…for a core of true believers, Web3 stands apart from the garish excesses and blatant misbehavior of the flashing neon crypto casino. If cryptocurrency was originally about decentralizing money, Web3 is about decentralizing…everything. Their mission is almost painfully idealistic: to liberate humanity not only from the domination of big technology, but also from exploitative capitalism itself, and to do so purely through code.”

COMPUTING

The man who controls computers with his mind
Jabr Ferris | New York Times Magazine
“16 years ago, Dennis DeGray was paralyzed in an accident. Now, the implants in his brain allow him some semblance of control. … Only a few dozen people on the planet have had neural interfaces embedded in their cortical tissue as part of long-term clinical research. DeGray is now one of the most experienced and dedicated among them. Since that initial test, he has spent more than 1,800 hours in nearly 400 training sessions controlling various forms of technology with his mind.”

SPACE

How Starlink fought to keep Ukraine online
tom simonite | cabling
“The rapid and widespread launch of Starlink in Ukraine has also been an unplanned experiment in the potential geopolitical power of next-generation satellite Internet services. If SpaceX or similar providers are willing, high-speed internet from the sky could be a powerful way to bring connectivity to individuals or populations suffering from the deprivations of war or authoritarian rule.”

SCIENCE

Black hole image reveals the beast inside the heart of the Milky Way
Jonathan O’Callaghan | how many
“The image immediately reveals new information about the Milky Way monster. ‘The main things we found out about Sag A* were: Is the black hole spinning? Yes, it is,” said Sara Issaoun, an astrophysicist and member of the EHT team. ‘And what is the orientation of the black hole with respect to us? Now we’re pretty sure it’s pointing more or less towards us, with the poles pointing up and down, as if we were viewing it from a point well above its equator.”

The first image of Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. Image Credit: EHT Collaboration

FUTURE

AI threats to employment and human happiness are real
Elizabeth Strickland | IEEE Spectrum
“But short-term job chaos will give way to long-term prosperity,” says AI expert Kai-Fu Lee. …IEEE Spectrum talked to Lee about [his book AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future], focusing on the final chapters that address the big issues of job displacement, the need for new economic models, and the search for meaning and happiness in an age of abundance. Lee argues that technologists need to think seriously about such social impacts, rather than just thinking about technology.”

ETHICS

San Francisco police are using self-driving cars as mobile surveillance cameras
Aaron Gordon | Motherboard
“While the companies themselves, like Alphabet’s Waymo and General Motors’ Cruise, tout the potential transportation benefits their services might one day offer, they don’t advertise another use case, one that is far less hypothetical: mobile surveillance cameras for police departments. . … ‘Autonomous vehicles continuously record their surroundings and have the potential to help with investigative leads,’ says a San Francisco Police Department training document obtained by Motherboard through a public records request. ‘Investigations has already done this several times.’i

Image Credit: Tom Caillarec/Unsplash

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