2022-The Download: a big DeepMind breakthrough, and fixing the US grid

Date:


That is immediately’s version of The Download, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a each day dose of what’s happening on the planet of expertise.

DeepMind has predicted the construction of virtually each protein identified to science

The information: DeepMind says its AlphaFold instrument has efficiently predicted the construction of practically all proteins identified to science. From immediately, it’s providing its database of over 200 million proteins to anybody totally free. It’s a large increase to the present database of 1 million proteins it launched final 12 months, and consists of buildings for crops, micro organism, animals, and lots of different organisms.

Why it issues: The expanded database opens up large alternatives for AlphaFold to have affect on necessary points comparable to sustainability, gasoline, food insecurity, and uncared for illnesses, in keeping with Demis Hassabis, DeepMind’s founder and CEO. Scientists might use the findings to higher perceive illnesses, and to hurry innovation in drug discovery and biology, he added. Learn the total story.

—Melissa Heikkilä

AI for protein folding represents such a significant advance that it was chosen as one in every of MIT Know-how Assessment’s 10 Breakthrough Applied sciences this 12 months. Learn our story explaining why it’s so thrilling, and our profile of DeepMind’s founder Demis Hassabis, the place he explains why this can be the corporate’s most vital and long-lasting contribution to science.

Stitching collectively the grid will save lives as excessive climate worsens

The blistering warmth waves that set temperature data throughout a lot of the US in current days have strained electrical energy techniques, threatening to knock out energy in weak areas of the nation. Whereas the electrical energy has largely stayed on-line to this point this summer season, heavy use of energy-sucking air-conditioners and the extraordinary warmth has contributed to scattered issues and shut calls.

It’s unlikely to get higher quickly. A lot of grid operators might wrestle to fulfill peak summer season demand, creating the chance of rolling blackouts, a brand new report from the North American Electrical Reliability Company has discovered. The nation’s remoted and antiquated grids are in determined want of upgrades.

One resolution can be to extra tightly combine the nation’s regional grids, stitching them along with extra long-range transmission traces, permitting energy to move between areas to the place it’s wanted extra urgently. Nonetheless, that’s a mission that’s fraught with challenges. Learn the total story.

—James Temple

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to search out you immediately’s most enjoyable/necessary/scary/fascinating tales about expertise.

1 Meta’s income dropped for the primary time
The cracks in Mark Zuckerberg’s pivot to the metaverse are starting to point out. (NYT $)
+ Extra individuals are logging into Fb every day, although. (WP $)
+ Zuck says Meta is in ‘very deep, philosophical competitors’ with Apple. (The Verge)
+ Discord is a pure dwelling for customers disillusioned by Instagram. (WSJ $)
+ Ex-Fb and Bumble staff have constructed their very own ‘much less poisonous’ social community. (Protocol)

2 Senators have superior baby on-line security laws 
However others argue that such safeguards ought to apply to customers of all ages. (WP $)
+ Three wannabe senators have deep hyperlinks to the tech companies they’re railing towards. (NYT $)

3 A Greek politician was focused by Israeli spy ware
He’s filed a lawsuit to pressure Greek authorities to analyze who was behind the tried hack. (NYT $)
+ Carine Kanimba claimed the Rwandan authorities used Pegasus spy ware to spy on her household. (Motherboard)
+ The hacking business faces the top of an period. (MIT Know-how Assessment)

4 Bitcoin costs are rising once more
After the Federal Reserve raised rates of interest. (CNBC)

5 Take a journey throughout the universe 🪐
This superb information walks you thru every little thing from exoplanets to supermassive black holes. (New Scientist $)
+ Will the universe’s growth imply planets not orbit stars? (MIT Know-how Assessment)

7 Your trendy automobile is leaking your knowledge
Whereas loads of it’s anonymized, the chance of privateness breaches is actual. (The Markup)

8 Prime-quality TVs lay naked dangerous CGI 
Exhibiting up all its poorly-rendered flaws. (Vulture $)

9 Is DALL-E’s artwork stolen?
Whereas customers can commercialize their AI creations, the mannequin is skilled on others’ work. (Engadget)
+ Attorneys might select to characterize AIs in future courtroom battles. (Slate)
+ OpenAI is able to promote DALL-E to its first million clients. (MIT Know-how Assessment)

10 What outdated canines can train us about our personal brains
Simply don’t attempt to train them new tips. (Knowable Magazine)

Quote of the day

“This isn’t the Instagram that we used to have.”

—Tatiana Bruening, the creator of a viral submit urging Instagram to cease making an attempt to be TikTok, laments the platform’s choice to chase a Gen Z viewers, she tells the Wall Street Journal.

The massive story

She risked every little thing to reveal Fb. Now she’s telling her story.

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July 2021

When Sophie Zhang went public with explosive revelations detailing the political manipulation she’d uncovered throughout her time as a knowledge scientist at Fb, she equipped concrete proof to help what critics had lengthy been saying on the surface: that Fb makes election interference straightforward, and that except such exercise hurts the corporate’s enterprise pursuits, it could possibly’t be bothered to repair the issue.

By talking out and eschewing anonymity, Zhang risked authorized motion from the corporate, hurt to her future profession prospects, and even perhaps reprisals from the politicians she uncovered within the course of. Her story reveals that it’s actually pure luck that we now know a lot about how Fb allows election interference globally, and to regulators all over the world contemplating rein within the firm, this needs to be a wake-up name. Learn the total story.

—Karen Hao

We are able to nonetheless have good issues

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

+ Japanese artist Hiroshige was well-known for his stunning woodblock prints, however these instructive pictures explaining how to create shadow puppets for children are further particular.
+ Uhoh, Freya the walrus is an actual boat-sinking pest.
+ Whip up these mouth-watering Mediterranean recipes and picture you’re chilling in Rome.
+ The winners of this years’ Audubon Images Awards are spectacular (thanks Peter!)
+ If you happen to’re a fan of essay-length texts, you’re a paragraph girlie.



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