This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through July 1)


Google DeepMind’s CEO Says Its Next Algorithm Will Eclipse ChatGPT
Will Knight | Wired
“DeepMind’s Gemini, which is still in development, is a large language model that works with text and is similar in nature to GPT-4, which powers ChatGPT. But Hassabis says his team will combine that technology with techniques used in AlphaGo, aiming to give the system new capabilities such as planning or the ability to solve problems.”


Scientists Are Gene-Editing Flies to Fight Crop Damage
Emily Mullin | Wired
“The gene-edited bugs, made by St. Louis–based biotech company Agragene, are meant to suppress wild fly populations. The idea is that if they were to be released into the environment, the sterilized males would mate with wild females, resulting in a fertility dead end. ‘We see this technology as being able to provide healthier fruit and vegetables without doing a lot of harm to the environment,’ says Agragene CEO Bryan Witherbee.”‘


SpaceX Making More Than 1,000 Changes to Next Starship Rocket
Stephen Clark | Ars Technica
“SpaceX will debut numerous upgrades on the second launch of its full-scale Starship mega-rocket. Those upgrades include a major change in how the rocket’s two stages separate, propulsion system improvements, and a beefed-up launch pad in South Texas that should better withstand the blast from 33 main engines.”


Scientists Find Ripples in Space and Time. And You Have to Buy Groceries.
Adam Frank | The Atlantic
“After you finish reading this, take a look around you. Ponder how the solid-seeming ground beneath your feet is quietly shaking with the force of billions of years of cosmic collisions. Go outside, if you can, and watch the wind blow through the trees. Perhaps the experience will be different now that you know how the rhythm of giant black holes in distant galaxies also beats out a time in the trees’ gentle swaying. The universe is an impossibly vast symphony of cause and effect. The endless comings and goings of galaxies, stars, and planets create a melding of songs that you are part of too.”


Welcome to the Big Blimp Boom
Rebecca Heilwiel | MIT Technology Review
“Floating is the new flying, at least according to a handful of companies focused on building futuristic blimps, airships, and hot-air balloons. …[The companies] say modern LTAs can be extremely safe. They argue that these aircraft can play a critical role in cutting down on carbon emissions associated with transportation, especially for moving people and things that don’t need to travel very quickly.”


Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi Says Self-Driving Cars Could One Day Make Up 20% of Drivers on the Platform
Jessica Bursztynsky | Fast Company
“Uber isn’t betting that autonomous vehicles are going to completely take over the rideshare industry. But the self-driving cars could make up a double-digit percentage of trips, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said during an on-stage interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Thursday. …’We will have essentially a layer, kind of a pricing layer and routing layer, that will make the decision that based on what particular pickup should I send a human, should I send a robot, how should I price it, etc.’i


There Will Never Be Another Second Life
Wagner James Au | The Atlantic
“Nothing else is quite like it—Second Life is neither exactly a social network nor really a conventional game, which has both limited its mainstream appeal and ensured its longevity. To this day, tens of thousands of people are logged in at any given time, inhabiting a digital world that’s more original than the corporate versions of virtual existence being offered by Meta and Apple.”


OpenAI and Microsoft Sued for $3 Billion Over Alleged ChatGPT ‘Privacy Violations’
Chloe Xiang | Motherboard
“On Wednesday, OpenAI and Microsoft were sued in a class action lawsuit seeking $3 billion in damages for allegedly stealing ‘vast amounts of private information’ from internet users without consent in order to train ChatGPT. This lawsuit, which was filed on June 28 in federal court in San Francisco, CA, and includes sixteen anonymous plaintiffs, claimed that OpenAI secretly ‘scraped 300 billion words from the internet’ without registering as a data broker or obtaining consent.”


‘Forest Bathing’ Might Work in Virtual Reality Too
Charlie Metcalfe | MIT Technology Review
“The Japanese concept of ‘forest bathing,’ or shinrin-­yoku (森林浴), has long been acclaimed for its supposed health benefits. Hundreds of scientific studies suggest that it can improve mental health and cognitive performance, reduce blood pressure, and even treat depression and anxiety. Yet forests can be hard to reach or, for some, completely inaccessible in a world where as many as 5 billion people might live in urban environments by 2030. Some scientists believe that virtual reality could offer a remedy.”

Image Credit: Miltiadis Fragkidis / 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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