This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.
You need to talk to your kid about AI. Here are 6 things you should say.
In the past year, kids, teachers, and parents have had a crash course in artificial intelligence, thanks to the wildly popular AI chatbot ChatGPT.
In a knee-jerk reaction, some schools banned the technology—only to cancel the ban months later. Now that many adults have caught up with what ChatGPT is, schools have started exploring ways to use AI systems to teach kids important lessons on critical thinking.
At the start of the new school year, here are MIT Technology Review’s six essential tips for how to get started on giving your kid an AI education. Read the full story.
—Rhiannon Williams & Melissa Heikkilä
My colleague Will Douglas Heaven wrote about how AI can be used in schools for our recent Education issue. You can read that piece here.
Chinese AI chatbots want to be your emotional support
Last week, Baidu became the first Chinese company to roll out its large language model—called Ernie Bot—to the general public, following regulatory approval from the Chinese government.
Since then, four more Chinese companies have also made their LLM chatbot products broadly available, while more experienced players, like Alibaba and iFlytek, are still waiting for the clearance.
One thing that Zeyi Yang, our China reporter, noticed was how the Chinese AI bots are used to offer emotional support compared to their Western counterparts. Given that chatbots are a novelty right now, it raises questions about how the companies are hoping to keep users engaged once that initial excitement has worn off. Read the full story.
This story originally appeared in China Report, Zeyi’s weekly newsletter giving you the inside track on all things happening in tech in China. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Tuesday.
I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.
1 China’s chips are far more advanced than we realized
Huawei’s latest phone has US officials wondering how effective their sanctions have really been. (Bloomberg $)
+ It suggests China’s domestic chip tech is coming on in leaps and bounds. (Guardian)
+ Japan was once a chipmaking giant. What happened? (FT $)
+ The US-China chip war is still escalating. (MIT Technology Review)
3 Conspiracy theorists have rounded on digital cash
If authorities can’t counter those claims, digital currencies are dead in the water. (FT $)
+ Is the digital dollar dead? (MIT Technology Review)
+ What’s next for China’s digital yuan? (MIT Technology Review)
5 Renting an EV is a minefield
Collecting a hire car that’s only half charged is far from ideal. (WSJ $)
+ BYD, China’s biggest EV company, is eyeing an overseas expansion. (Rest of World)
+ How new batteries could help your EV charge faster. (MIT Technology Review)
6 US immigration used fake social media profiles to spy on targets
Even though aliases are against many platforms’ terms of service. (Guardian)
7 The internet has normalized laughing at death
The creepy groups are a digital symbol of human cruelty. (The Atlantic $)
9 Men are already rating AI-generated women’s hotness
In another bleak demonstration of how AI models can perpetuate harmful stereotypes. (Motherboard)
+ Ads for AI sex workers are rife across social media. (NBC News)
10 Meet the young activists fighting for kids’ rights online
They’re demanding a say in the rules that affect their lives. (WP $)
Quote of the day
“It wasn’t totally crazy. It was only moderately crazy.”
—Ilya Sutskever, co-founder of OpenAI, reflects on the company’s early desire to chase the theoretical goal of artificial general intelligence, according to Wired.
The big story
Marseille’s battle against the surveillance state
Across the world, video cameras have become an accepted feature of urban life. Many cities in China now have dense networks of them, and London and New Delhi aren’t far behind. Now France is playing catch-up.
Concerns have been raised throughout the country. But the surveillance rollout has met special resistance in Marseille, France’s second-biggest city.
It’s unsurprising, perhaps, that activists are fighting back against the cameras, highlighting the surveillance system’s overreach and underperformance. But are they succeeding? Read the full story.
We can still have nice things
+ How’d ya like dem apples? Quite a lot, actually.
+ Why keeping cocktails cold without ice isn’t as crazy as it sounds.
+ There’s no single explanation for why we get creeped out.
+ This fearless skater couldn’t be cuter.
+ Here’s how to get your steak perfectly tender.