The Obtain: the way forward for music AI, and local weather tech funding


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

Coaching AI music fashions is about to get very costly

AI music is all of a sudden in a make-or-break second. On June 24, Suno and Udio, two startups that allow you to generate full songs from a immediate in seconds, have been sued by main report labels. The labels alleged the startups had used copyrighted music as coaching information “at an virtually unimaginable scale”.

Simply two days later, the Monetary Occasions reported that YouTube is pursuing a relatively above-board strategy. Relatively than coaching AI music fashions on secret information units, the corporate is reportedly providing unspecified lump sums to high report labels in trade for licenses to make use of their catalogs for coaching information.

Whereas the bottom right here is shifting quick, none of those strikes must be all that stunning: litigious training-data battles have turn out to be one thing like a ceremony of passage for generative AI corporations. The development has led many to pay for licensing offers whereas the circumstances unfold. 

However the stakes of a battle over coaching information for AI music are completely different—and arguably even larger. Learn our story to search out out why, and what would possibly occur subsequent

—James O’Donnell

These local weather tech corporations simply received $60 million

Each few years, the US company that’s typically known as the “power moonshot manufacturing facility” publicizes huge funding awards for just a few corporations to assist them scale up their expertise. (The company’s official title is the Superior Analysis Tasks Company—Power, or ARPA-E.) 

The grants are designed to assist corporations take their tech from the lab or pilot stage and get it out into the world. The newest batch of those awards was simply introduced, totaling over $63 million cut up between 4 corporations. Learn our story that digs into the winners and examines what each’s expertise says about their respective corners of local weather motion.

—Casey Crownhart

This story is from The Spark, our weekly e-newsletter providing you with the within observe on all issues local weather tech. Join to obtain it in your inbox each Wednesday.

Lego bricks are making science extra accessible

Etienne Boulter walked into his lab on the Université Côte d’Azur in Good, France, one morning with a Lego Technic excavator set tucked beneath his arm. His plan was easy but formidable: to make use of the items of the set to construct a mechanical cell stretcher. 

Boulter and his colleagues research mechanobiology—the way in which issues like stretching or compression have an effect on cells—and this piece of kit is important for his analysis. Industrial cell stretchers value over $50,000. However someday, after enjoying with the Lego set, Boulter and his colleagues discovered a option to construct one out of its elements for less than just a little over $200. 

Their Lego system stretches a silicone plate the place cells are rising. This course of causes the cells to deform and mimics how our personal pores and skin cells stretch. And Boulter just isn’t alone. In reality, he’s one among many researchers turning to Lego elements to construct cheap but extraordinarily efficient lab tools. Learn the complete story

—Elizabeth Fernandez

This story is from the newest subject of MIT Expertise Evaluation, which explores the theme of Play.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to search out you at the moment’s most enjoyable/vital/scary/fascinating tales about expertise.

1 The Supreme Court docket dominated the White Home can contact social media corporations
It’s a blow for right-wing campaigners who argue their views are being censored on-line. (WP $)
Right here’s what it means for the election. (NPR)
+ Russian propagandists are selling deepfakes of Biden. (Wired $)

2 How AI has revolutionized protein science
And essentially the most thrilling half? We’re actually solely originally of discovering what machine studying may unlock. (Quanta $)
Google DeepMind’s new AlphaFold can mannequin a a lot bigger slice of organic life. (MIT Expertise Evaluation)

3 Inside California’s inexperienced power revolution
The state is exhibiting how one can run a thriving trendy financial system on clear power. (New Yorker $)

4 Toys ‘R’ Us used OpenAI’s video AI system Sora to make a business
It’s a milestone for using AI in video manufacturing—however the response to it was very combined. (NBC)
+ I examined out a buzzy new text-to-video AI mannequin from China. (MIT Expertise Evaluation)

5 Secret Telegram channels are offering refuge for LGBTQ+ individuals in Russia
As much as and together with recommendation on the way to go away the nation, which is changing into much less and fewer protected. (Wired $)

6 We actually want AI to have the ability to cite its sources
The difficulty is, even when it may, would they be factually correct? (The Atlantic $)
At the very least 10% of scientific analysis might already be co-authored by AI. (The Economist $)

7 Consultants are raking it in due to the AI growth
However in fact they’re. (NYT $)

8 It’s turn out to be worryingly normalized to snoop in your associate’s on-line life 
But it’s nonetheless a very, actually dangerous thought. (WP $)

9 Garden Mowing Simulator is the most recent anti-escapist online game
Struggling to see the enchantment personally, however hey, every to their very own. (The Guardian)

10 McDonalds has rejected plant-based burgers 🍔
After assessments of its McPlant burger in San Francisco and Dallas failed. (Quartz $)
+ Right here’s what a lab-grown burger tastes like. (MIT Expertise Evaluation)

Quote of the day

“There’s no query that this crosses a line that they hadn’t beforehand crossed. I feel that implies that the traces have gotten meaningless.”

Darren Linvill, a founding father of the Media Forensics Hub at Clemson College, tells the New York Occasions that aggressively concentrating on a US-based Chinese language dissident’s 16-year-old daughter on-line represents a brand new low for the nation’s safety providers. 

The massive story

Assume that your plastic is being recycled? Assume once more.

man in a kayak paddles through a natural landscape filled with plastic objects


October 2023

The issue of plastic waste hides in plain sight, a ubiquitous a part of our lives we not often query. However a more in-depth examination of the scenario is stunning.

So far, people have created round 11 billion metric tons of plastic, the overwhelming majority of which results in landfills or the atmosphere. Solely 9% of the plastic ever produced has been recycled.

To make issues worse, plastic manufacturing is rising dramatically; the truth is, half of all plastics in existence have been produced in simply the final 20 years. 

So what can we do? Sadly, options resembling recycling and reuse aren’t equal to the size of the duty. The one reply is drastic cuts in manufacturing within the first place. Learn the complete story

—Douglas Predominant

We are able to nonetheless have good issues

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

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