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

Although the US and EU may have different ways of regulating tech, their legislators seem to be in agreement on one thing: The West must ban AI-powered social 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. Essentially, it’s seen as a dystopian superscore assigned to each citizen.

Reality? There have been some controversial local experiments in China with social credit scores. However, there is not a countrywide, all-seeing system of social credit with algorithms that rank people.

The irony is that while US and European politicians try to ban systems that don’t really exist, systems that do rank and penalize people are already in place in the West—and are denying people housing and jobs in the process. The full story is available here.

—Melissa Heikkilä

Melissa’s story is from The Algorithm, her weekly AI newsletter covering all of the industry’s most interesting developments. Sign up It will arrive in your inbox 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 reportedly threatened with removing Twitter from its 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 cryptocurrency firm has gone bust
Lender BlockFi filed for bankruptcy and is partly blaming FTX. (WSJ $)
+ The company sued Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX. (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)
+ Safety warnings for AI systems are necessary? (MIT Technology Review)
+ This AI chat room game is becoming a popular favorite. (The Guardian)

4 Pegasus spyware investigation in danger 
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 provided geofence data to the FBI for its January 6 investigation 
Google located more than 5,000 devices close to the US Capitol during this riot. (Wired $)

6 Monkeypox isn’t going anywhere
But it’s not on the rise, either. (The Atlantic $)
+ The World It will now be called mpox, according to the Health Organization. (BBC)
+ Here’s everything you need to know regarding 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 might be an algorithm
It is becoming harder for young people to get on the property ladder by outsourcing property management to robots. (Motherboard)
+ Your neighborhood is getting house-flipping algorithms. (MIT Technology Review)

9 Smart bandages monitor the healing process of your wounds 🩹
They can also prevent the infection from happening. (Inverse)

10 Humans’ Y chromosome could disappear
However, studies on rats show that it might not be so significant. (New Scientist $)
+ Are rats with human brain cell still 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

This New York City town was devastated by Bitcoin mining

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April 2022

You might have become a millionaire if you gambled and bought a relatively new digital currency called Bitcoin in 2017. The industry has been a boon for some but it has also brought great benefits to local communities. People started searching the globe for cheap energy to operate large Bitcoin-mining operations.

It didn’t take long for a subsidiary of the popular Bitcoin mining firm Coinmint to lease a Family Dollar store in Plattsburgh, a city in New York state which had some of the least expensive power in the United States at the time. Soon the company was regularly drawing over ten megawatts of power, enough to power about 4,000 homes. Even though other miners were quick on their heels, the problems were already well-established. You can read the entire story.

—Lois Parshley

You can still enjoy nice things

It’s a place where you can find comfort, enjoyment, and distraction even in the most difficult of times. (Any ideas? Drop me a line or Tweet them at me.)

+ Although they may not appear like it, Turtles They are quite chatty (thanks Brian!)
+ Here’s what product designer Ben Snyder learned from a Game His children 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 It should be as painless and easy as possible
+ It is called by most of the world Football, actually.

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