The Download: the West’s AI myth, and Musk v Apple

The Download: the West’s AI myth, and Musk v Apple thumbnail
While the US and EU may have different ways of regulating tech, their legislators seem to agree that the West must ban AI-powered social score scoring.

As they understand it, social scoring is a practice in which authoritarian governments–specifically China–rank people’s trustworthiness and punish them for undesirable behaviors, such as stealing or not paying back loans. It’s basically a dystopian superscore that each citizen is assigned.

The reality? Although there have been some controversial local experiments in China with social credit scores, there isn’t a country-wide, all-seeing system of social credit that ranks people.

The irony is that, while US and European politicians are trying to ban systems that don’t exist, systems that rank and penalize people in the West are already in place and are denying people housing or jobs. Read more .

–Melissa Heikkila

Melissa’s story is from The Algorithm, her weekly AI newsletter covering all of the industry’s most interesting developments. Sign up and receive it in your email every Monday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Apple has reportedly threatened to pull Twitter from the App Store
According to Elon Musk. (NYT $)
Musk has threatened to “go to war” with the company after it decided to stop advertising on Twitter. (WP $)
Apple’s reluctance to advertise on Twitter right now isn’t exactly unique. (Motherboard)
Twitter’s child protection team in Asia has been gutted. (Wired $)

2 Another crypto firm has collapsed
Lender BlockFi has filed for bankruptcy, and is (partly) blaming FTX. (WSJ $)
The company is suing FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried. (FT $)
It looks like the much-feared “crypto contagion” is spreading. (NYT $)

3 AI is rapidly becoming more powerful–and dangerous
That’s particularly worrying when its growth is too much for safety teams to handle. (Vox)
Do AI systems need to come with safety warnings? (MIT Technology Review)
This AI chat-room game is gaining a legion of fans. (The Guardian)

4 A Pegasus spyware investigation is in danger of being compromised
It’s the target of a disinformation campaign, security experts have warned. (The Guardian)
Cyber insurance won’t protect you from theft of your data. (The Guardian)

5 Google gave the FBI geofence data for its January 6 investigation
Google identified more than 5,000 devices near the US Capitol during the riot. (Wired $)

6 Monkeypox isn’t going anywhere
But it’s not on the rise, either. (The Atlantic $)
The World Health Organization says it will now be known as mpox. (BBC)
Everything you need to know about the monkeypox vaccines. (MIT Technology Review)

7 What it’s like to be the unwitting face of a romance scam
James Scott Geras’ pictures have been used to catfish countless women. (Motherboard)

8Your next landlord could be an algorithm
Outsourcing rental property management to bots is making it harder for younger people to get a foot on the property ladder. (Motherboard)
House-flipping algorithms are coming to your neighborhood. (MIT Technology Review)

9 Smart bandages can monitor how your wound is healing
They can help to avoid it becoming infected, too. (Inverse)

10 Humans’ Y chromosome could disappear
But studies in rats suggest it may not be such a big deal. (New Scientist $)
Are rats with human brain cells still just rats? (MIT Technology Review)

Quote of the day

“I don’t think I’ve ever been flipped off in my life as much as I have in the past year or so.”

–Laura Kennedy, a Tesla owner who lives in Pennsylvania, describes the road rage she’s experienced from other drivers she suspects hate Elon Musk to the Guardian.

The big story

How Bitcoin mining devastated this New York town

April 2022

If, in 2017, you had taken a gamble and purchased a comparatively new digital currency called Bitcoin, today you might be a millionaire many times over. While the industry has brought in some big profits, the local communities have been hit hard by the rising cost of Bitcoin mining. People began searching the globe for cheap energy to power large Bitcoin-mining farms. It didn’t take long before a subsidiary of Bitcoin mining company Coinmint leased a Family Dollar store at Plattsburgh. This was a New York city that had some of the most affordable power in the United States. Soon, the company was regularly drawing over 10 megawatts, enough power for about 4,000 homes. While other miners followed suit, the problem was already in full swing. Read the full story.

–Lois Parshley

We can still have nice things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these weird times. Have any other ideas? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me. )

They may not seem like it, but turtles are surprisingly chatty (thanks Brian! )
Here’s what product designer Ben Snyder learned from a game his kids created.
As I’ve long suspected, potato chips make the perfect nail accessory.
Here’s some useful tips on how to make a longhaul flight as painless as possible.
Most of the world calls it football, actually.

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