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HomeArtificial IntelligenceThe Obtain: text-to-video AI, and China’s huge methanol guess

The Obtain: text-to-video AI, and China’s huge methanol guess


That is at present’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a day by day dose of what’s occurring on the earth of know-how.

Meta’s new AI can flip textual content prompts into movies

What’s occurred: Meta has unveiled an AI system that generates brief movies based mostly on textual content prompts. Make-A-Video permits you to kind in a string of phrases, like “A canine carrying a superhero outfit with a crimson cape flying by way of the sky,” after which generates a five-second clip that, whereas fairly correct, has the aesthetics of a trippy outdated house video.

The way it works: Meta mixed knowledge from three open-source picture and video knowledge units to coach its mannequin. Customary text-image knowledge units of labeled nonetheless photographs helped the AI be taught what objects are known as and what they appear like. And a database of movies helped it find out how these objects are supposed to maneuver on the earth. 

Why it issues: Though the impact is relatively crude, the system gives an early glimpse of what’s coming subsequent for generative synthetic intelligence, and it’s the subsequent apparent step from the text-to-image AI programs which have brought about big pleasure this 12 months. But it surely additionally raises some huge moral questions. Learn the total story.

—Melissa Heikkilä

China is betting huge on one other gasoline engine different: methanol vehicles

Because the Chinese language authorities works to succeed in bold carbon objectives, the nation has develop into a worldwide chief within the adoption of electrical automobiles. However that’s not the one greener automobile different it’s pursuing.

Whereas methanol gas has been mentioned and piloted in China for a decade, its adoption has lengthy lagged. Now the federal government is making an attempt to speed up the adoption of methanol vehicles, together with different state efforts within the final 12 months to draft methanol automobile requirements and assist related industries, reaffirm its dedication to the choice gas. 

This issues as a result of, identical to EVs, the know-how might develop into each a industrial success and a political increase to China’s climate-tech ambitions. Learn the total story.

—Zeyi Yang

Can we discover methods to reside past 100? Millionaires are betting on it.

Scientists and biotech corporations have been networking with uber-wealthy buyers at a swanky convention in Switzerland this week, making the case for longevity science and anti-aging methods. My colleague Jess Hamzelou, our senior biomedicine reporter, joined them, and acquired a peek at a number of the most cutting-edge work within the area. Examine what she found.

Jess’s story is from The Checkup, her new weekly e-newsletter supplying you with the within monitor on all issues well being and tech-related. Join to obtain it in your inbox each Thursday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to seek out you at present’s most enjoyable/essential/scary/fascinating tales about know-how.

1 Hurricane Ian has left huge swathes of Florida underwater
Because it heads in the direction of South Carolina, Biden has warned it might develop into the deadliest in Florida historical past. (The Guardian)
+ Coral reefs are an efficient pure protection in opposition to hurricanes. (Vox)
+ The storm is a potent mixture of highly effective and unpredictable. (The Atlantic $)
+ It may very well be on the right track to hitch the checklist of storms as extreme as Katrina. (New Yorker $)

2 Iran is ramping up web blackouts and censorship 
So far, it’s not reaching the federal government’s desired end result. (Slate $)
+ A distinct segment tech writer is shining a lightweight on China’s surveillance machine. (The Atlantic $)

3 What makes plastic so helpful additionally makes it a nightmare to recycle
A brand new methodology of breaking it down might assist. (Economist $)
+ A French firm is utilizing enzymes to recycle one of the vital widespread single-use plastics. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

4 Why Russia’s cyber struggle by no means actually materialized 
The assaults it did land didn’t ship the meant penalties. (FT $)
+ Right here’s how the struggle in Ukraine might finish. (New Yorker $)
+ Russian males are reportedly pretending to have HIV to flee conscription. (Remainder of World)

5 Jack Dorsey tried to get Elon Musk a spot on Twitter’s board
However the different members noticed the appointment as too dangerous. (CNBC)
+ The previous CEO additionally tried to get Musk and CEO Parag Agrawal off on the suitable foot. (WSJ $)
+ Musk needed to seek for ‘Trump’ in his hunt for bot knowledge. (Bloomberg $)
+ Musk additionally toyed with appointing Oprah to Twitter’s board. (The Data $)

6 The Arctic Ocean is quickly turning into extra acidic
Unsurprisingly, local weather change is the offender. (Motherboard)
+ China, the world’s greatest greenhouse gasoline emitter, is struggling. (Vox)

7 Reboosting the Hubble Telescope would give it a brand new lease of life
NASA and SpaceX suppose they might just do that. (BBC)
+ NASA has taken gorgeous images of Jupiter’s moon Europa. (New Scientist $) 

8 Brace your self for a brand new wave of at-home exams
They’re not only for covid, both. (Neo.Life)
+ Genome sequencing has by no means been so low-cost, or straightforward. (Wired $)

9 Why voice notes are so controversial 
Ship yours with warning. (WSJ $)
+ Lasers can ship a whispered audio message immediately to 1 particular person’s ear. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

10 AI is creating horrible new Pokémon 
Don’t say I didn’t warn you. (WP $)
+ This artist is dominating AI-generated artwork. And he’s not glad about it. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

Quote of the day

“I suppose you be taught who your actual associates are when you possibly can’t get allocation of their seed spherical 🙁

—Maia Bittner, an angel investor, jokily tweets in regards to the pitfalls of investing in associates’ startups, Bloomberg reviews.

The large story

Meet the wannabe kidfluencers struggling for stardom

December 2019 

On YouTube, youngsters can develop into millionaires—seemingly in a single day, with out making an attempt. The best paid of them, eight-year-old Ryan Kaji, made $22 million in 2018 by taking part in with toys on his channel Ryan ToysReview (now Ryan’s World). There at the moment are hundreds of equally well-known baby YouTubers: infants who’ve been vlogged for the reason that second of their delivery, 10-year-old streamers exhibiting off video-game tips, teenage ladies giving zits recommendation from their bedrooms.

Why accomplish that many youngsters need to be YouTubers? Do they solely search fame, or is there extra to it: creativity, neighborhood, and a future profession? How are their dad and mom serving to them? And what occurs if, after spending hundreds of {dollars} or dropping out of college, it doesn’t work out? Learn the total story.

—Amelia Tait

We will nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction in these bizarre occasions. (Received any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ Francis Ford Coppola’s glorious chiller Bram Stoker’s Dracula is again in film theaters this Halloween. Benefit from the opulent 4K trailer right here.
+ These scallops can’t get sufficient of vibrant lights.
+ Cher’s sprawling house is each bit as lavish as you’d count on.
+ Nope, it’s not a joke, they are surely turning The Matrix right into a dance present.
+ Controversial take klaxon: are these actually the greatest songs of the 90s?



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