The Download: home robot surveillance, and problematic AI text

Must read

These models are trained on text scraped from the internet, including all the toxic, silly, false, malicious things humans have written online, which they then regurgitate as fact. 

When tech companies scrape the internet again, they scoop up AI-written text that they use to train bigger, more convincing models, which humans can use to generate even more nonsense before it is scraped again and again, ad nauseam. This problem—AI feeding on itself and producing increasingly polluted output—is only going to grow unless we act, and act quickly. Read the full story.

—Melissa Heikkilä

Melissa’s story is from The Algorithm, her weekly newsletter shining a light on the murky world of AI. Sign up to receive it 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 Elon Musk hasn’t said if he’ll step down or not 
Instead, he’s (finally) questioning whether Twitter polls are a wise way to make decisions. (The Guardian)
+ The moments that have defined Musk’s Twitter tenure to date. (WP $)
+ The company is rapidly changing under him, often hourly. (Vox)
+ Does it really matter if Musk is CEO or not, given that he owns Twitter? (The Intercept
+ Bill Gates thinks the company is stirring up digital polarization. (FT $)
+ Mastodon has gained more than two million new users since Musk took over. (The Verge)

2 China is trying to live with covid
The government’s decision to quickly abandon its zero-covid strategy has left officials struggling. (NYT $)

3 Sam Bankman-Fried has agreed to be extradited to the US
But it’s not clear when. (Reuters)
+ He spent his first week in prison watching movies and reading articles about himself. (NY Mag $)
+ Here’s just some of the things SBF spent a million dollars on. (FT $)
+ It’s okay to opt out of the crypto revolution. (MIT Technology Review)

4 Negotiators have struck a landmark deal to protect the planet
If successful, it will protect at least a third of all land and water by 2030. (Vox)
+ Why the oil-rich Gulf is investing heavily in clean energy. (Economist $)
+ Climate action is gaining momentum. So are the disasters. (MIT Technology Review)

5 Deadly strep A infections could be spreading across the US
An outbreak in the UK has killed 16 children, and the US could be next. (Wired $)

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