The Obtain: making Bitcoin greener, and Elon Musk’s chatbot plans


That is at present’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a day by day dose of what’s occurring on the earth of expertise.

Ethereum moved to proof of stake. Why can’t Bitcoin? 

Final yr, Ethereum went inexperienced. The second-most standard crypto platform transitioned to proof of stake, an energy-efficient framework for including new blocks of transactions, NFTs, and different info to the blockchain. 

When Ethereum accomplished the improve, often called “the Merge,” in September, it lowered its direct vitality consumption by 99%. In the meantime, Bitcoin continues to devour as a lot vitality as the complete nation of the Philippines, with a single Bitcoin transaction utilizing the identical quantity of vitality as a single US family over the course of practically a month.

However change could also be on the horizon. Though the Bitcoin neighborhood has traditionally been fiercely resistant to vary, stress from regulators and environmentalists fed up with Bitcoin’s large carbon footprint might drive them to rethink that stance. 

So what would it not take to make a change? Learn the complete story.

Amy Castor

That is a part of our TR Explains collection, during which our writers untangle the complicated, messy world of expertise that will help you perceive what’s coming subsequent. You possibly can learn extra of them right here.

In the event you’d prefer to learn extra about Ethereum:

Why Ethereum switched to proof of stake.Learn the complete story.
Our story from when The Merge occurred. Learn the complete story.

Vote in our TR10 ballot

Earlier this yr, we unveiled MIT Know-how Overview’s 10 Breakthrough Applied sciences of 2023. At present is your final probability to vote in our ballot to assist determine our eleventh expertise, and we’ll be saying the winner in tomorrow’s version of The Obtain.

The must-reads

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

1 Elon Musk is contemplating making a ChatGPT rival chatbot
And his one will most likely come with out safeguards. Beautiful. (The Info $)
+ Meta needs to observe Microsoft’s lead and combine AI into its merchandise. (Axios)
+ What it’s like to coach ChatGPT to do your job. (The Atlantic $)
+ The ChatGPT-fueled battle for search is larger than Microsoft or Google. (MIT Know-how Overview)

2 The White Home is break up over covid’s origins
The Power Division says the virus might have originated from a lab, however different businesses nonetheless consider it got here from an contaminated animal. (WSJ $)
+ The division says it has “low confidence” in its convictions. (NYT $)
+ Meet the scientist on the heart of the covid lab leak controversy. (MIT Know-how Overview)

3 Scientists need to make a biocomputer powered by human mind cells
Welcome to the world of “organoid intelligence.” FT $)
+ How we’ll transplant tiny organ-like blobs of cells into individuals. (MIT Know-how Overview)

4 Fossil gas workers are making the leap to renewable companies
Inexperienced vitality corporations are swooping in to rent laid off oil and fuel staff. (NYT $)

5 What are the dangers of letting AI deal with our psychological well being? 
The issue is, laptop techniques aren’t able to empathy. (New Yorker $)
+ The therapists utilizing AI to make remedy higher. (MIT Know-how Overview)

6 Canada has banned TikTok from authorities units
Following within the footsteps of each the US and the European Fee. (BBC)

7 The US navy plans to make use of facial recognition-equipped drones
In principle, it could possibly be used to determine targets sooner or later. (New Scientist)

8 India’s most surveilled cities are additionally its least protected
Crime charges are rising, regardless of an abundance of CCTV cameras. (Remainder of World)
+ Marseille’s battle in opposition to the surveillance state. (MIT Know-how Overview)

9 How the pandemic turned every little thing into an occasion
Zoom has loads to reply for. (Slate $)

10 Gen Z is baffled by old-school workplace tech 🖨
Scanners and printers specifically are unfamiliar territory. (The Guardian)

Quote of the day

“The one factor that I used to be anxious about: ‘Is that this factor going to work?’ And it did.”

—Martin Cooper, who made the primary public name on a cellphone 50 years in the past, remembers the anxiousness he felt that day, experiences ABC Information.  

The large story

The uncommon spots of excellent information on local weather change

December 2021

File-shattering warmth waves, floods, and wildfires had been amongst simply a number of the local weather disasters that ravaged the world in 2021, killing hundreds and straining the boundaries of our catastrophe responders.

However amid these stark indicators, there have been additionally indications that momentum is starting to construct behind local weather motion. Certainly, there’s good purpose now to consider that the world might a minimum of sidestep the worst risks of worldwide warming.

In actual fact, it’s price highlighting and reflecting on the advances the world has made, as a result of it demonstrates that it may be achieved—and will present a template for attaining extra. Learn the complete story.

—James Temple

We will nonetheless have good issues

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

+ Loads of laughter, no shouting, and studying newspapers each morning: these 100 ideas from 100 centenarians are so life-affirming.
+ This sauna wrapped round a tree appears dreamy.
+ Mmm, kombucha electronics.
+ Brb, I’m off to the MIT Banana Lounge.
+ Why can we cease exploring new music as we get older? Turns on the market’s a proof for that.