The Obtain: Google’s huge wager on AI, and a brand new human genome map


That is immediately’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a every day dose of what’s happening on the earth of know-how.

Google is throwing generative AI at all the things

The information: Google is stuffing highly effective new AI instruments into tons of its present merchandise and launching a slew of latest ones, together with a coding assistant, it introduced at its annual I/O convention on Wednesday. 

What’s altering: Billions of customers will quickly see Google’s newest AI language mode, PaLM 2, built-in into over 25 merchandise like Maps, Docs, Gmail, Sheets, and the corporate’s chatbot, Bard, which it’s opening as much as an even bigger pool of customers. That is the corporate’s largest push but to combine the newest wave of AI know-how into quite a lot of merchandise.

Why it issues: Due to security and reputational dangers, Google has been slower than rivals to launch AI-powered merchandise. However fierce competitors from rivals like Microsoft, OpenAI and others have left it feeling it has no selection however to push forward. Specialists warn that it’s a dangerous technique that might backfire and run afoul of the regulators. Learn the complete story.

—Melissa Heikkilä

This new genome map tries to seize all human genetic variation

After greater than 20 years of claiming they accomplished the human genome venture, researchers have introduced one more model of the human genome map.

Whereas previous variations of the venture claimed to be a draft of the genetic blueprint for a human being, this replace combines the whole DNA of 47 various people—Africans, Native Individuals, and Asians, amongst different teams—into one large genetic atlas that they are saying higher captures the genetic variety of our species.

The brand new map, referred to as a “pangenome,” has been a decade within the making, and researchers say it is going to solely get greater. Crucially, it may maintain thrilling potentialities for diagnosing uncommon ailments. Learn the complete story.

—Antonio Regalado

How sodium may change the sport for batteries

Though lithium-ion batteries energy most EVs and units like cell telephones and laptops immediately, there’s a brand new contender on the horizon.

Sodium-ion batteries may squeeze their manner into some corners of the battery market as quickly as the top of this 12 months, and so they might be large in slicing prices for EVs. 

Casey Crownhart, our local weather reporter, has dug into the chemistry behind sodium batteries, and what their wider adoption by automakers may imply for the way forward for EVs. Learn the complete story.

Casey’s story is from The Spark, her weekly e-newsletter masking all the newest local weather and vitality developments. Enroll to obtain it in your inbox each Wednesday.

The must-reads

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

1 US Congress goes to listen to from OpenAI’s Sam Altman subsequent week
It comes as AI begins to face rising scrutiny in Washington. (WP $)
+ European lawmakers are formalizing their necessities for AI makers. (TechCrunch)
+ China’s AI chatbots are lagging behind the US’ current releases. (Economist $)
+ The EU needs to control your favourite AI instruments. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

2 We’re nonetheless understanding covid’s mysterious new variants
The baffling methods its proteins match collectively—and disappear—are confounding scientists. (The Atlantic $)

3 A shadowy hacking group is concentrating on each Russia and Ukraine
It’s gathered a shocking quantity of surprising information, together with microphone recordings. (Wired $)
+ The conflict in Ukraine has turned the protection trade on its head. (FT $)
+ Why enterprise is booming for navy AI startups. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

4 Issues are wanting up for Chinese language chipmakers
One of many trade’s main corporations gained’t be hindered by US export controls in spite of everything. (FT $)
+ What’s subsequent for the chip trade. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

5 WhatsApp has a spam calls downside
Its customers in India are contending with a deluge of undesirable telephone calls. (BBC)
+ The folks utilizing humor to troll their spam texts. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

6 Jail messaging apps are notoriously unreliable
Their glitches depart inmates lower off from the surface world. (Slate $) 

7 Contained in the wild plot to steal Coca-Cola’s secretive know-how 
It’s nothing to do with its drink system. (Bloomberg $)

8 A scammer has been cashing in on AI-generated Frank Ocean tracks
The issue is, the consumers had been satisfied they had been real leaks. (Motherboard)

9 Dwell procuring is coming to the US
However are consumers actually able to embrace it? (NYT $)
+ This obscure procuring app is now America’s most downloaded. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

10 How an harmless capybara sparked a web-based revolt 
Brazilian authorities had been involved for the well-known rodent’s welfare. (Remainder of World)

Quote of the day

“We would like it to be reliable for customers… Right now, we’re not there.”

—Prabhakar Raghavan, a senior vp at Google, admits that enormous language AI fashions can’t be relied upon to be factually correct, regardless of the corporate’s resolution to embed them throughout its merchandise, Bloomberg reviews.

The large story

California’s coming offshore wind increase faces huge engineering hurdles

December 2022

The state of California has an formidable purpose: constructing 25 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2045. That’s equal to almost a 3rd of the state’s complete producing capability immediately, or sufficient to energy 25 million houses.

However the plans are going through a frightening geological problem: the continental shelf drops steeply only a few miles off the California coast. In addition they face huge engineering and regulatory obstacles.  Learn the complete story.

—James Temple

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.)

+ The web is tying itself in knots attempting to work out whether or not the solar is white or yellow.
+ This can be a enjoyable have a look at how The Legend of Zelda influenced a lot of contemporary music.
+ The fascinating story behind how the electrical guitar actually got here to be.
+ This assortment of laughably terrible metallic album covers is the reward that retains on giving.
+ Why hibernating in house is extra attainable than it’s possible you’ll understand.