This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through October 8)


DeepMind’s Game-Playing AI Has Beaten a 50-Year-Old Record in Computer Science
Will Douglas Heaven | MIT Technology Review
“The headline result is that AlphaTensor discovered a way to multiply together two four-by-four matrices that is faster than a method devised in 1969 by the German mathematician Volker Strassen, which nobody had been able to improve on since. The basic high school method takes 64 steps; Strassen’s takes 49 steps. AlphaTensor found a way to do it in 47 steps.”


A Bold Effort to Cure HIV—Using CRISPR
Emily Mullin | Wired
“While antiretroviral drugs can halt viral replication and clear the virus from the blood, they can’t reach these reservoirs [of dormant HIV-infected cells], so people have to take medication every day for the rest of their lives. But Excision BioTherapeutics is hoping that CRISPR will remove HIV for good.”


This Is Life in the Metaverse
Kashmir Hill | The New York Times
“My goal was to visit at every hour of the day and night, all 24 of them at least once, to learn the ebbs and flows of Horizon and to meet the metaverse’s earliest adopters. I gave up television, books and a lot of sleep over the past few months to spend dozens of hours as an animated, floating, legless version of myself. I wanted to understand who was currently there and why, and whether the rest of us would ever want to join them.”


For Better or Worse, Tesla Bot Is Exactly What We Expected
Evan Ackerman | IEEE Spectrum
“While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the humanoid robot that Musk very briefly demonstrated on stage, there’s nothing uniquely right, either. We were hoping for (if not necessarily expecting) more from Tesla. And while the robot isn’t exactly a disappointment, there’s very little to suggest that it disrupts robotics the way that SpaceX did for rockets or Tesla did for electric cars.”


Google’s Newest AI Generator Creates HD Video From Text Prompts
Benj Edwards | Ars Technica
“Currently, it’s in a research phase, but its appearance five months after Google Imagen points to the rapid development of video synthesis models. Only six months after the launch of OpenAI’s DALLE-2 text-to-image generator, progress in the field of AI diffusion models has been heating up rapidly. Google’s Imagen Video announcement comes less than a week after Meta unveiled its text-to-video AI tool, Make-A-Video.”


The Battle for the Soul of the Web
Kaitlyn Tiffany | The Atlantic
“In 2015, [Brewster] Kahle put out a call for a ‘decentralized web,’ or a web that looked more like the one that early visionaries such as Tim Berners-Lee had imagined. ‘The way we code the web will determine the way we live online,’ Kahle wrote at the time. ‘So we need to bake our values into our code. Freedom of expression needs to be baked into our code. Privacy should be baked into our code. Universal access to all knowledge.’i


Satellite Billboards Are a Dystopian Future We Don’t Need
George Dvorsky | Gizmodo
“Just because you can do a thing doesn’t mean you have to do that thing. Space-based ads may be feasible, but they’d represent an eyesore of cosmological proportions, tarnishing our natural, unobstructed views of space. That our cities are already flooded with light pollution and ads on the ground is hardly an excuse to embark on such an endeavor. Here’s hoping that sensibility will prevail and that ads for soft drinks and fast food stay on the ground.”


Boeing-Backed Wisk Aero Reveals a Four-Seater Autonomous Air Taxi
Andrew J. Hawkins | The Verge
“Wisk aims to one day provide an intercity flying taxi service that can be summoned with an app, like Uber or Lyft. The plan is for the vehicle to not have a pilot on board; instead, it will be flown mainly by an autopilot system, with supervision from a human pilot situated remotely. The aircraft would theoretically take off and land from so-called vertiports located on the rooftops of buildings.”


Robot Makers Including Boston Dynamics Pledge Not to Weaponize Their Creations
James Vincent | The Verge
A group of robotics companies including Boston Dynamics—makers of the well-known quadrupedal robot Spot—have pledged not to weaponize their most advanced robots. However, the pledge will likely do little to stop the wider weaponization of this technology.


NASA Tests Gigantic Slingshot for Hurling Objects Into Space
George Dvorsky | Gizmodo
“A rapidly rotating arm inside the 108-foot-wide (33-meter) facility hurled a projectile, or Test Launch Vehicle, to heights reaching 25,000 feet (7,600 meters), in a demonstration consistent with the company’s previous tests. …This time, the projectile carried demonstration payloads for NASA, Airbus, Cornell University, and satellite manufacturer Outpost Space. As SpinLaunch said in a press release, the demonstration payloads, all of which survived and were recovered, are ‘inherently compatible’ with the company’s launch system.”


Halo Car’s Teleoperated Car-Sharing Service to Roll Out This Year With No One Behind the Wheel
Jaclyn Trop | TechCrunch
“The milestone would mean Halo Car will use humans to remotely control vehicles through public streets and deliver them to its car-sharing service customers. These fully remote deliveries will mark the official launch of commercial operations and kick off a campaign to scale its fleet of electric vehicles and expand beyond Las Vegas.”

Image Credit: Maxim Berg / Unsplash

Singularity Hub Staff
Singularity Hub Staff
Singularity Hub chronicles technological progress by highlighting the breakthroughs and issues shaping the future as well as supporting a global community of smart, passionate, action-oriented people who want to change the world.
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