Download: Climate Responsibility, and the AI ​​Training Data Shortage

This is today’s version of the download, Our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s happening in the world of technology.

The US and China are pointing fingers at each other over climate change

The UN climate conference concluded over the weekend after marathon talks. The most notable result was the establishment of a fund to help poor countries pay for climate damage, which was hailed as a victory. Beyond that, some leaders are concerned that this year’s talks have not made enough progress.

As a result, everyone is pointing fingers, blaming others for not acting fast enough on climate funding. Activists are calling the US ‘fossil-rich’, while US leaders are accusing China of being the current leading emitter.

But when deciding who should pay for climate damage, we need to look beyond current emissions. When you add historical emissions, it’s pretty clear: the United States is by far the largest total emitter, accounting for about a quarter. Read the full story.

-Casey Crownheart

Casey’s story comes from The Spark, his weekly newsletter discussing the complex science of climate change. Sign up to get it in your inbox every Wednesday.

We can run out of data to train AI language programs

What’s going on? Large language models are one of the hottest areas of AI research right now, with companies racing to release programs like GPT-3 that can write impressively coherent articles and even computer code. But a problem looms on the horizon, according to a group of AI forecasters: We may be running out of data to train them on.

How long have we got? As researchers build more powerful models with greater power, they need to find more text to train them on. According to a paper by researchers at AI research and forecasting firm Epoch, the types of data commonly used for these models could be used in the near future — as early as 2026. Read the full story.

– Tammy Joo

Podcast: Want a Job? AI can now see you.

In the past, hiring decisions were made by people. Today, some of the key decisions that one gets a job or not are taken by algorithms In this episode of our award-winning podcast, In Machines We Trust, we meet some of the biggest players building this technology—including the CEOs of HireVue and myInterview—and test some of these tools ourselves.

Listen to it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you normally listen.

Must read

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

1 The collapse of FTX should be a major cautionary tale for the crypto industry
Unfortunately, this will not necessarily result in better regulation. (New Yorker $)
+ After all, crypto is not known for paying attention to bad omens. (Vox)
+ FTX invested millions in a small bank. (NYT$)
+ Sam Bankman-Fried’s favorite “chronism” ideology sounds bogus. (motherboard)
+ He did no favors to the effective philanthropy movement. (Atlantic $)

2 Elon Musk Probably Won’t File Bankruptcy
That doesn’t mean his financial backers can rest easy. (Atlantic $)
+ Here’s who’s paying for Twitter right now. (NYT$)
+ Former Twitter employees fear that the platform may only last weeks. (MIT Technology Review)

3 Measles is a growing global threat
Vaccination rates are low, and it is incredibly contagious. (Axios)

4 Maybe it’s time we stop automatically trusting billionaires
Practicing healthy cynicism is not the same as being a hater. (Vox)
+ Many big tech bosses mistakenly assumed their Covid-high would last forever. (slate $)

5 The Real Cost of America’s War on China’s Chips
The higher the price of the ingredients, the more expensive the final product will be. (FT$)
+ Workers at the world’s largest iPhone factory are on strike. (Bloomberg $)
+ Inside the software that will become the next battlefront in the US-China chip war. (MIT Technology Review)

6 rocks on Mars suggest it could have once been habitable
Organic molecules found in rocks can support life. (WP$)
+ A UK-built Mars rover is heading back to the Red Planet. (BBC)

7 Why Future Concrete May Contain Bacteria
Bioconcrete is strong, and—importantly—green. (Economist $)
+ These living bricks use bacteria to build themselves. (MIT Technology Review)

8 Amazon shopping experience is really bad these days
And that’s because everything is an advertisement. (WP$)

9 What it’s like to love the technology the world left behind
From Walkmans to BlackBerrys, these passionate fans aren’t letting go. (parent)
+ Smartphones have survived all attempts to replace them. (edge)

10 Comments on YouTube videos are works of art
Literally—an artist turned them into real art. (New Yorker $)

Today’s quote

“He always tries to smile, that’s why he makes all his cars suicidal.”

—Drill, one of the main figures in the comedic corner of “Weird Twitter,” reflects on Elon Musk’s surreal leadership at The Washington Post.

big story

What does Big Tech break up mean?

June 2021

For Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet, Covid-19 was an economic boon. Even as the pandemic sent the global economy into deep recession and slashed profits for most companies, these companies—often referred to as tech’s “Big Four”—not only survived but thrived.

Yet at the same time, they have come under unprecedented attack from politicians and government regulators in the US and Europe in the form of new lawsuits, proposed bills and regulations. There’s no denying that pressure is building to rein in the power of Big Tech. But what will it be? Read the full story.

– James Surowiecki

We can still get beautiful things

A place of comfort, fun and distraction in these strange times. (Any ideas? Drop me a line ortweet me.)

+ This is a kitten Goalkeeping Just awesome.
+ I really enjoy Color combos Here comes the Twitter bot (thanks Niall!).
+ Atarah Ben-Tovim sounded like an amazingly inspiring music teacher.
+ How to expand your movie-watching horizons and discover something new.
+ After the recent chess cheating scandal, I can’t trust anyone anymore. Here’s how to spot a rogue opponent.