The Download: chaos at OpenAI, and building a better power grid

The Download: chaos at OpenAI, and building a better power grid

Additionally: Sam Altman resumes leadership at OpenAI

Presenting today’s issue of The Download, our weekday digest that delivers a daily synopsis of the tech sphere’s happenings.

The turmoil within OpenAI: What’s the driving force?

Sam Altman has reassumed the position of OpenAI’s CEO, capping an eventful period for the AI sector’s leading player.

If you share our fascination with the unfolding events, don’t miss the opportunity to join MIT Technology Review’s AI specialists Will Douglas Heaven and Melissa Heikkilä, along with Niall Firth, the executive editor, for a LinkedIn discussion today at 11.30am EST. 

They will dissect the upheaval at OpenAI, discussing the winners and losers, as well as the implications for the advancement of this immensely potent technology. Secure your spot for this discussion now!

Artificial Intelligence’s Quartet of Improvements for a Swift and Sturdy Power Grid

With the influx of renewable energy, the electricity grid faces growing complexity. Adding to the puzzle is the erratic nature of weather patterns, a factor complicating efforts to match demand with supply. In tackling this disorder, operators are progressively enlisting the aid of artificial intelligence. 

The unique capacity of AI to digest vast data sets and navigate intricate situations positions it as an ideal ally in maintaining grid stability. Concurrently, an array of tech firms are introducing AI-driven solutions to the traditionally conservative energy sector.

June Kim, an editorial fellow at MIT Technology Review, has explored four distinct ways by which AI is already revolutionizing the operations of grid administrators. Delve into the detailed report.

A Chinese Navigation App’s Aspiration to Become the Ultimate Outdoor Super App

While Zeyi Yang, our correspondent in China, found himself in Hong Kong recently, he joined a group of people in a park for an engaging rendition of the “cat-and-mouse game,” fusing timeless hide-and-seek with cutting-edge tech.

Rather than deducing each other’s whereabouts, participants exchanged real-time coordinates and tracked movements as “cats” chased and “mice” shunned capture. The game, an indigenous Chinese internet creation, gained traction earlier this year, now attracting weekly assemblies of thousands. 

Amap, the mapping service employed, ranks as a top navigation tool in China. It serves to illustrate the trend within the nation’s app ecosystem of platforms aiming to transcend their established domains. Explore the comprehensive narrative.

This narrative originally featured in China Report, MIT Technology Review’s bulletin on technological trends in China. Subscribe to have it delivered directly to your mailbox every Tuesday.

Essential Reads

After scouring the web, I’ve selected today’s most entertaining/impactful/frightening/compelling stories about technology for you.

1 Sam Altman Reclaims the Role as OpenAI’s CEO
Accompanied by a newly formed board, to boot. (WP $) 
+ Altman has had a tense few months with the board of the company. (NYT $)
+ Satya Nadella of Microsoft seems okay with the organizational shuffle. (FT $)

2 Binance’s Chief Admits to Charges of Laundering Money
The cryptocurrency marketplace stands accused of enabling financial channels for Hamas and ISIS. (CNBC)
+ Changpeng Zhao faces potential imprisonment and a monetary penalty of $50 million. (NYT $)

3 Huawei’s In-House Producer of Chips Emerges as China’s Clandestine Weapon Against Sanctions
Domestic backers are elated with its breakthroughs, while the US views it with skepticism. (Bloomberg $)+ A critical assessment is in order for Huawei’s 5G chip advancement. (MIT Technology Review)

4 Palantir Secures Major Deal with England’s Health System 
Committing to develop a contentious new storage system for patients’ information. (FT $)
+ Palantir’s notoriety raises alarm among advocates for civil liberties. (The Guardian)

5 Twitter’s Ex-Head of Safety Embraces Openness
Focused on the pursuit of the least harmful decisions over time. (Wired $)
+ Circumstances at X continue on a downward spiral. (New Yorker $)

6 Tesla Consciously Persisted in Selling Cars With a Flawed Autopilot System
Despite awareness of the defect, states a judge from Florida. (Reuters)

7 Techniques for a Power Grid That Can Withstand More
Contemplate the potential of roofs and cellars. (New Yorker $)
+ Connecting the electric network could save lives as severe weather events become more acute. (MIT Technology Review

8 For a number of emerging companies, sorrow is treated as an asset
However, not everyone is willing to engage with virtual representations of those who have passed away. (Vox)
+ Technology enabling conversations with digitally recreated loved ones is here. Are we mentally prepared for it? (MIT Technology Review)

9 The simplicity of online purchases isn’t universally beneficial
Avoid the snare of acquiring items that you truly don’t desire. (The Atlantic $)
+ The fast fashion industry is going all in this Black Friday. (Wired $)

10 The term ‘Hallucinate’ has been selected as the Cambridge Dictionary’s word of the year
It’s illustrative of the extent to which AI has infiltrated just about every facet of our existence. (Insider $)

Expression of the day

“Utilizing innovative technology to violate the law does not render you an innovator. It renders you a lawbreaker.”

— US Attorney General Merrick B Garland denounces the cryptocurrency exchange Binance for its willful neglect of legal responsibilities in favor of profits.

Headlining tale

The imperative of acknowledging the argument for climate adaptation can no longer be dismissed

August 2022

In the 1990s, the thought that adaptation to climate change would be necessary alongside emission reduction was met with skepticism. At that time, most scientists focused on climate believed that concentrating on adaptation might lead to a neglect of essential efforts to prevent atmospheric pollution.

Despite initial reluctance, several visionaries were already laying the groundwork for a nascent field known as “climate change adaptation”; the academic and policy work focused on how humanity might brace for and adjust to the emerging threats and calamities of a warming earth. Presently, this research stands as more critical than before. Discover the full narrative.

—Madeline Ostrander

Oases of joy

Seek solace, merriment, and diversion in these peculiar times. (Have suggestions? Send a message or share them with me on Twitter.)

+ Spare a moment to marvel at these truly exceptional rivers.
+ The curious saga of Dogs in Elk, which was an internet phenomenon in its infancy.
+ Lovers of classic films’ muscle car pursuits will find their haven at Car Chase Wonderland 2 on YouTube.
+ Why not indulge in a Sausage casserole?
+ To enhance your tourism experience, consider the pleasures of unhurried travel.

Written by

Hey there, I'm Logan Mitchell, and I'm all about life hacks, clever solutions, and smart strategies. My passion is to share practical insights to make your daily life easier and more enjoyable. When I'm not writing, I'm constantly exploring new tips and techniques to streamline and enhance our everyday routines. Join me on this journey, and together, we can unlock the secrets to a more efficient and fulfilling life.

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