The Obtain: listening robots, and Google’s AI emissions


That is in the present day’s version of The Obtain, our weekday publication that gives a day by day dose of what’s happening on the planet of expertise.

A technique to let robots be taught by listening will make them extra helpful

Most AI-powered robots in the present day use cameras to grasp their environment and be taught new duties, nevertheless it’s changing into simpler to coach robots with sound too, serving to them adapt to duties and environments the place visibility is proscribed. 

Although sight is necessary, for a few of our day by day duties, sound is definitely extra useful, like listening to onions scorching on the range to see if the pan is on the proper temperature. Coaching robots with audio has solely been executed in extremely managed lab settings, nevertheless, and the methods have lagged behind different quick robot-teaching strategies.

Researchers on the Robotics and Embodied AI Lab at Stanford College got down to change that. They first constructed a system for gathering audio information, then used this information to coach robotic arms the best way to execute the duty on their very own. The crew’s new coaching algorithms assist robots collect clues from audio alerts to carry out extra successfully. Learn the total story.

—James O’Donnell

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to seek out you in the present day’s most enjoyable/necessary/scary/fascinating tales about expertise.

1 Google’s emissions have skyrocketed prior to now 5 years
And people pesky AI merchandise are guilty. (The Guardian)+ Microsoft has the identical downside, too. (Bloomberg $)
+ AI is an vitality hog. That is what it means for local weather change. (MIT Know-how Assessment)

2 The US needs to develop an mRNA vaccine to combat fowl flu
Moderna already began a vaccine trial final yr concentrating on the principle strains. (Ars Technica)
+ What’s subsequent for fowl flu vaccines. (MIT Know-how Assessment)

3 An underground community is smuggling Nvidia chips into China
Neatly swerving US export restrictions. (WSJ $)
+ What’s subsequent in chips. (MIT Know-how Assessment)

4 Fiverr freelancers will dox anybody for a worth
Some cost as little as $30. (404 Media)

5 OnlyFans’ paywalls are impeding abuse investigations
Forensic consultants are more and more pissed off by its infrastructure. (Reuters)

6 US universities are providing levels in local weather change
A lot of them give attention to growing sensible local weather options. (Quick Firm $)
+ How fish-safe hydropower expertise might maintain extra renewables on the grid. (MIT Know-how Assessment)

7 SpaceX has grand ambitions to launch 120 instances a yr
Unsurprisingly, its rivals aren’t joyful about its plans for Florida. (TechCrunch

8 Scientists are utilizing radio-frequency tech to seek out dinosaur bones 🦖
The important thing card expertise helps them to tag and recuperate fossils. (IEEE Spectrum)

9 The unusual attract of a pointless web site
One Million Checkboxes is strictly that—a million packing containers to verify. (WP $)
+ Learn how to repair the web. (MIT Know-how Assessment)

10 Craigslist won’t ever die 
The categorized listings web site appears the identical because it did virtually 30 years in the past. (Slate $)

Quote of the day

“While you chew sufficient glass, you be taught to love the style of your personal blood.”

—A speaker at VC agency Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto startup bootcamp shares some intense insights into enduring hardship, Wired reviews.

The massive story

Social media is polluting society. Moderation alone received’t repair the issue

August 2022

All of us need to have the ability to converse our minds on-line—to be heard by our associates and speak (again) to our opponents. On the identical time, we don’t need to be uncovered to disagreeable speech.

Know-how firms tackle this conundrum by setting requirements totally free speech, a follow protected below federal legislation, hiring in-house moderators to look at particular person items of content material and eradicating them if posts violate predefined guidelines.

The method clearly has issues: harassment, misinformation about subjects like public well being, and false descriptions of official elections run rampant. However even when content material moderation have been carried out completely, it could nonetheless miss a complete host of points. We want a brand new technique: deal with social media firms as potential polluters of the social cloth, and immediately measure and mitigate the consequences their selections have on us. Learn the total story.

—Nathaniel Lubin & Thomas Krendl Gilbert

We are able to nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction to brighten up your day. (Acquired any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ Salads don’t need to be boring—particularly when there’s boiled eggs and salmon concerned.
+ Whac-a-mole has a surprisingly lengthy and checkered previous.
+ Right here’s the best way to rehydrate shortly when you’re feeling the warmth.
+ Telephones are loopy costly. However you may make them last more when you’re sensible about it.