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Beware of Ads that Use Inaudible Sound to Link Your Phone, TV, Tablet, and PC
The Federal Trade Commission is looking into companies that embed ultrasonic tones into TV and online ads so that ad tracking code embedded into apps on your phone, or webpages on your PC, know what you’re watching. Many ad companies are working on techniques to track people across multiple gadgets (see “Get Ready for Ads that Follow You from One Device to the Next”).

Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s Bold Plan for the Future Of Facebook
Lengthy article about the Facebook founder’s technological ambitions, including making artificial intelligence software “better than humans at vision, hearing, language, general cognition,” within five to 10 years. Read this feature for more on Facebook’s AI research: “Teaching Machines to Understand Us.”

Google’s Natural Language Search Gets Smarter
A roundup of recent improvements to Google’s search engine, which can now answer relatively complex questions such as “Who was president when the Angels won the World Series?”

Drone Maker DJI Adds Technology to Limit Where Its Machines Can Fly
The world’s leading manufacturer of small drones—including the one that crashed on the White House lawn in January—is rolling out software that makes it possible for authorities to block flights in emergencies. DJI’s software already barred flights in certain locations, such as airports. The upgrade means that emergency personal or police could impose new restrictions if needed, for example to prevent flights near a forest fire.

Facebook’s New Responsibilities After Paris
The social network activated its “Safety Check” feature after the attacks in Paris last week, but not when 41 people were killed by a bomb in Beirut the day before. The company says that the Paris event just happened to be the first time this feature was deployed after an event that wasn’t a natural disaster. The Financial Times points out that Facebook’s global reach—it has 1.6 billion monthly users—means it faces challenging decisions, and deserves scrutiny, about when it decides to switch on Safety Check.

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images created by Google Imagen
images created by Google Imagen

The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images

Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.

biomass with Charm mobile unit in background
biomass with Charm mobile unit in background

Inside Charm Industrial’s big bet on corn stalks for carbon removal

The startup used plant matter and bio-oil to sequester thousands of tons of carbon. The question now is how reliable, scalable, and economical this approach will prove.

AGI is just chatter for now concept
AGI is just chatter for now concept

The hype around DeepMind’s new AI model misses what’s actually cool about it

Some worry that the chatter about these tools is doing the whole field a disservice.

Peter Reinhardt
Peter Reinhardt

How Charm Industrial hopes to use crops to cut steel emissions

The startup believes its bio-oil, once converted into syngas, could help clean up the dirtiest industrial sector.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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