The Download: generative AI’s carbon footprint, and a CRISPR patent battle

The Download: generative AI’s carbon footprint, and a CRISPR patent battle

This is as we speak’s version of The Download, our weekday publication that gives a day by day dose of what’s occurring on this planet of expertise.

Making a picture with generative AI makes use of as a lot vitality as charging your cellphone

The information: Generating a single picture utilizing a robust AI mannequin takes as a lot vitality as absolutely charging your smartphone, according to a new study. This is the primary time researchers have calculated the carbon emissions induced through the use of an AI mannequin for various duties. 

The significance: These emissions will add up shortly. The generative-AI growth has led large tech firms to combine highly effective AI fashions into many alternative merchandise, from electronic mail to phrase processing. They are actually used thousands and thousands, if not billions, of instances each single day. 

The greater image: The research exhibits that whereas coaching huge AI fashions is extremely vitality intensive, it’s just one a part of the puzzle. Most of their carbon footprint comes from their precise use. Read the full story

—Melissa Heikkilä

The first CRISPR remedy may kickstart the subsequent large patent battle

By the center of December, Vertex Pharmaceuticals is predicted to obtain FDA approval to promote a revolutionary new therapy for sickle-cell illness that’s the primary within the US to make use of CRISPR to change the DNA inside human cells. (Vertex has already obtained regulatory approval within the UK.)

But there’s a problem. The US patent on enhancing human cells with CRISPR isn’t owned by Vertex—it’s owned by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, in all probability America’s largest gene analysis heart, and solely licensed to a Vertex competitor, Editas Medicine, which has its personal sickle-cell therapy in testing.

That means Editas will need Vertex to pay. And if it doesn’t, Editas and Broad may go to the courts to say patent infringement, demand royalties and damages, and even doubtlessly attempt to cease the therapy from being bought. Odds are we’re about to see a blockbuster lawsuit. Read the full story.

—Antonio Regalado

This story is from The Checkup, our weekly publication supplying you with the within monitor on all issues well being and biotech. Sign up to obtain it in your inbox each Thursday.

A highschool’s deepfake porn scandal is pushing US lawmakers into motion

On October 20, Francesca Mani was referred to as to the counselor’s workplace at her New Jersey highschool. A 14-year-old sophomore and a aggressive fencer, Francesca wasn’t one for getting in hassle. But it turned out that over the summer season, boys within the faculty had used synthetic intelligence to create sexually express photos of a few of their classmates. The faculty administration informed Francesca that she was considered one of greater than 30 women who had been victimized. 

Francesca didn’t see the picture of herself that day. And she nonetheless doesn’t intend to. Instead, she’s put all her vitality into guaranteeing that nobody else is focused this fashion. 

And, prior to now few weeks, her advocacy has already fueled new legislative momentum to control nonconsensual deepfake pornography within the US. Read the full story

—Tate Ryan-Mosley 

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to seek out you as we speak’s most enjoyable/vital/scary/fascinating tales about expertise.

1 This is why we’re all sick proper now
We’re contending with much more diseases than we did within the pre-covid world. (The Atlantic $)
And covid hasn’t gone away both. (MIT Technology Review)

2 Climate disinformation is a giant impediment to motion
And a lot of it’s generated by influential nations, together with China and Russia. (NYT $)
The US authorities has stopped warning social networks about international disinformation campaigns. (WP $)

3 Is the Turing Test dead? 
It was arguably by no means that dependable a measure of intelligence to start with. (IEEE Spectrum)
Mustafa Suleyman: My new Turing check would see if AI could make $1 million. (MIT Technology Review)
Hiring remains to be scorching for immediate engineers, a 12 months since ChatGPT launched. (Bloomberg $)

4 The long-delayed Tesla Cybertruck is lastly on sale
And the value tag begins at $60,990. (The Guardian)
+ It has its detractors. But it has loads of followers, too. (The Atlantic $)

5 College college students are topic to alarming ranges of surveillance 
Which is including to their stress ranges at an already traumatic time of their lives. (The Markup)
Computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University can’t agree on what privateness means. (MIT Technology Review)

6 How Huawei shocked the US with a brand new Chinese-made chip
Getting round sanctions can have been troublesome, and really costly. (FT $)
Huawei’s 5G chip breakthrough wants a actuality examine. (MIT Technology Review)

7 Anduril has launched a wild new jet-powered AI drone
The firm says it may very well be utilized in Ukraine to intercept Russian drones. (Wired $)

8 Startups have had a nasty 12 months
Bankruptcies, layoffs, decrease valuations and hassle fundraising have all featured closely. (Bloomberg $)

9 AI is making LinkedIn much more boring
Its new AI options are handy, however they’ve a flattening, homogenizing impact. (WP $)

10 What it takes to be within the 1%—of Taylor Swift followers 
More than 6,000 hours of listening to her music, for one. (WSJ $)
It appears Spotify Wrapped was topic to some type of hacking this 12 months. (Vice)

Quote of the day

“It’s nearly like election night time.”

—Louisa Ferguson, Spotify’s world head of selling expertise, explains to The Guardian why the launch of the corporate’s Wrapped annual rundown is its busiest time of the 12 months.

The large story

The uneasy coexistence of Yandex and the Kremlin



August 2020

While Moscow was beneath coronavirus lockdown between March and June 2020, the Russian capital emptied out—aside from the streams of cyclists within the trademark yellow uniform of Yandex’s meals supply service.

Often referred to within the West as Russia’s Google, Yandex is absolutely extra like Google, Amazon, Uber, and possibly just a few different firms mixed. It’s a Russian Silicon Valley unto itself. 

But Yandex’s success has come at a value. The Kremlin has lengthy considered the web as a battlefield in its escalating tensions with the West and has grow to be more and more involved that an organization like Yandex, with the heaps of information it has on Russian residents, may sooner or later fall into international palms. Read the full story.

—Evan Gershkovich

We can nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction to brighten up your day. (Got any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

  • Remembering the legend that was Shane MacGowan (RIP).
    + The US Transportation Security Administration wins all of the awards for the cutest calendar of the 12 months, that includes a few of their cutest canine colleagues.
    + We already know that spending time within the great outdoors is nice for us, however right here’s how and why it’s so vital.
    + How to put in writing a love poem like a professional.
    + Who’s who in American wonderful eating? Read this handy list to seek out out.



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