This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through December 17)


Generative AI Is Changing Everything. But What’s Left When the Hype Is Gone?
Will Douglas Heaven | MIT Technology Review
“The exciting truth is, we don’t really know. For while creative industries—from entertainment media to fashion, architecture, marketing, and more—will feel the impact first, this tech will give creative superpowers to everybody. In the longer term, it could be used to generate designs for almost anything, from new types of drugs to clothes and buildings. The generative revolution has begun.”


New ‘Cellular Glue’ Concept Could Heal Wounds, Regrow Nerves
Monisha Ravisetti | CNET
“Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco announced a fascinating innovation on Monday. They call it ‘cellular glue’ and say it could one day open doors to massive medical achievements, like building organs in a lab for transplantation and reconstructing nerves that’ve been damaged beyond the reach of standard surgical repair.”


The Viral AI Avatar App Lensa Undressed Me—Without My Consent
Melissa Heikkilä | MIT Technology Review
“Lensa generates its avatars using Stable Diffusion, an open-source AI model that generates images based on text prompts. Stable Diffusion is built using LAION-5B, a massive open-source data set that has been compiled by scraping images off the internet. And because the internet is overflowing with images of naked or barely dressed women, and pictures reflecting sexist, racist stereotypes, the data set is also skewed toward these kinds of images.”


Scientists May Have Found the First Water Worlds
John Timmer | Ars Technica
“…continued observation has produced data that indicates the planets are much less dense than we originally thought. And the only realistic way to get the sort of densities they now seem to have is for a substantial amount of their volume to be occupied by water or a similar fluid. We do have bodies like this in our Solar System—most notably the moon Europa, which has a rocky core surrounded by a watery shell capped by ice. But these new planets are much closer to their host star, which means their surfaces are probably a blurry boundary between a vast ocean and a steam-filled atmosphere.”


The Tech Is Finally Good Enough for an Airship Revival
Michael Koziol | IEEE Spectrum
“At Moffett Field in Mountain View, Calif., Lighter Than Air (LTA) Research is floating a new approach to a technology that saw its rise and fall a century ago: airships. Although airships have long since been supplanted by planes, LTA, which was founded in 2015 by CEO Alan Weston, believes that through a combination of new materials, better construction techniques, and technological advancements, airships are poised to—not reclaim the skies, certainly—but find a new niche.”


The Real Fusion Energy Breakthrough Is Still Decades Away
Gregory Barber | Wired
“Today, the NIF researchers said they got as much energy out as their laser fired at the experiment—a massive, long-awaited achievement. But the problem is that the energy in those lasers represents a tiny fraction of the total power involved in firing up the lasers. By that measure, NIF is getting way less than it’s putting in. ‘That type of breakeven is way, way, way, way down the road,’ Cappelli says. ‘That’s decades down the road. Maybe even a half-century down the road.’i


AI-Generated Fake Faces Have Become a Hallmark of Online Influence Operations
Shannon Bond | NPR
“Facebook parent company Meta says more than two-thirds of the influence operations it found and took down this year used profile pictures that were generated by a computer. As the artificial intelligence behind these fakes has become more widely available and better at creating life-like faces, bad actors are adapting them for their attempts to manipulate social media networks.”


What Does It Mean to Align AI With Human Values?
Melanie Mitchell | Quanta
“We humans are prone to giving machines ambiguous or mistaken instructions, and we want them to do what we mean, not necessarily what we say. …To solve this problem, [AI researchers] believe, we must find ways to align AI systems with human preferences, goals and values. …But without a better understanding of what intelligence is and how separable it is from other aspects of our lives, we cannot even define the problem, much less find a solution. Properly defining and solving the alignment problem won’t be easy; it will require us to develop a broad, scientifically based theory of intelligence.”

Image Credit: Clark Van Der Beken / 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.
Don't miss a trend
Get Hub delivered to your inbox