The Download: America’s AI lawsuits, and Threads restrictions

The Download: America’s AI lawsuits, and Threads restrictions
Written by Techbot

Plus: who decides how to safeguard AI?

This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.

How judges, not politicians, could dictate America’s AI rules

It’s becoming increasingly clear that courts, not politicians, will be the first to determine the limits on how AI is developed and used in the US.

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission opened an investigation into whether OpenAI broke the law by scraping people’s online data to train its chatbot ChatGPT. 

Meanwhile, artists and authors are suing companies such as OpenAI, Stability AI, and Meta, alleging that they broke copyright laws by training their AI models on their work without providing any recognition or payment.

If these cases prove successful, they could force OpenAI, Meta, Microsoft, and others to fundamentally change the way AI is built, trained, and deployed. Read the full story to learn how.

— Melissa Heikkilä

If you’re interested in the messy world of AI regulation, why not check out the latest issue of The Algorithm, Melissa’s weekly AI newsletter. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Monday. And for now, read more from us on this topic:

+ A quick guide to the most important AI law you’ve never heard of. The European Union is planning new legislation aimed at curbing the worst harms associated with artificial intelligence. Read this story to find out what you need to know about it.

+ Let us walk you through all the most (and least) promising efforts to govern AI around the world.

+ China isn’t waiting to set down rules on generative AI. The draft regulation released earlier this year is part of a large game of tech industry whack-a-mole. Read the full story.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Threads is limiting the number of posts users can see
Mere weeks after Twitter did the exact same thing. (TechCrunch)
+ Instagram’s boss says it’s a bid to combat spam attacks. (Insider $)

2 Who gets to decide how to ensure AI is safe?
Anthropic has grand plans to rein AI in—but it’s easier said than done. (Vox)
+ Forget chatbots: AI these days is all about autonomous agents. (Reuters)
+ To avoid AI doom, learn from nuclear safety. (MIT Technology Review)

3 Those US chip curbs may be not such a good idea after all
The US chip industry trade body says they could backfire and hurt the country’s own investments. (WSJ $)
+ The US-China chip war is still escalating. (MIT Technology Review)

4 How Big Tech became addicted to predatory pricing
Venture capital itself has become a means for companies to dominate the market. (Insider $)

5 Demand for IVF is on the rise
But while it’s become safer, success is still far from guaranteed. (Economist $)
+ The first babies conceived with a sperm-injecting robot have been born. (MIT Technology Review)

6 How contaminated eye drops made it past the FDA 
The drops, which contained an antibiotic-resistant superbug, caused blindness and even deaths. (Bloomberg $)
+ Why tiny viruses could be our best bet against antimicrobial resistance. (MIT Technology Review)

7 Call center workers are forbidden from using ChatGPT
But many of them feel embracing AI is crucial to their jobs’ survival. (Rest of World)
+ Publishers are tempted by AI’s potential, too. (Vox)

8 Carmarkers say they’ve solved the right-to-repair dispute
However, advocates say that car owners still don’t have full control of their own data. (Wired $)

9 Asia’s superapps are faltering
They’re struggling to cut through now the pandemic has peaked. (FT $)

10 PinkyDoll is TikTok’s favorite ‘non-player character’
The Montreal-based livestreamer’s sunny personality has won her legions of fans. (NYT $)
+ She’s earning $7,000 a day from reacting to gifts people send her. (Motherboard)

Quote of the day

“I’d prefer the status quo, rather than two castles where one is sunny and one is dark.”

—Vanta Black, a user of the open-source Fediverse web protocol, explains to Wired why she’s uncertain about proposed plans for the community to start working with industry behemoth Meta.

The big story

Running Tide is facing scientist departures and growing concerns over seaweed sinking for carbon removal

June 2022Running Tide, an aquaculture company based in Portland, Maine, hopes to set tens of thousands of tiny floating kelp farms adrift in the North Atlantic. The idea is that the fast-growing macroalgae will eventually sink to the ocean floor, storing away thousands of tons of carbon dioxide in the process.

The company has raised millions in venture funding and gained widespread media attention. But it struggled to grow kelp along rope lines in the open ocean during initial attempts last year and has lost a string of scientists in recent months, sources with knowledge of the matter tell MIT Technology Review. Read the full story.

—James Temple

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