Skip to Content

The Download, Mar 16, 2017: Finger-Lickin’ Fake Meat, Trump’s Budget Losers, and a Robot Economy

The most fascinating and important news in technology and innovation delivered straight to your inbox, every day.

Three Things You Need to Know Today 

A $100 Million Quest to Link Brains to Computers
Silicon Valley big shots want to become one with technology. The likes of Elon Musk have often grumbled about the paltry rate at which humans can relay information to computers—a maximum of about 40 bits per second while talking. Last year, though, entrepreneur Bryan Johnson put his money where his disappointingly slow data transmitter was and offered up $100 million to develop brain implants capable of linking people’s thoughts to computers. Our own Antonio Regalado finds out why it’s proving harder work than expected.

Do you need The Download? Sign up here to get it for free in your inbox

Finger-Lickin’ Lab-Grown Chicken
Who’s for (almost) guilt-free fried chicken? Memphis Meats has announced that it’s created the first animal-free, lab-grown pieces of chicken and duck, made by culturing animal cells. The alterna-flesh, which has been fashioned into chicken strips and duck à l’orange, is said to be spongier than the real deal but almost as tasty—and it could overcome animal welfare and CO2 emissions concerns related to eating meat. Sadly a pound of the stuff currently costs $9,000 but the price should yet fall dramatically.

New Stem Cell Treatment Puts Cures in Sight
A woman has become the first person successfully treated with induced pluripotent stem cells. Researchers took cells from her skin, turned them into stem cells, then coaxed them into becoming retinal cells, which were used to replace tissue damaged by age-related macular degeneration. The treatment didn’t improve her vision, but did stop the condition from deteriorating. It’s a milestone for the technique, but reservations remain about stem cell treatments: they’re expensive, may introduce cancer-causing mutations, and are plagued by clinics offering unproven therapies.

Ten Fascinating Things

Donald Trump’s detailed budget has been published, and among the big losers are the Environmental Protection Agency and clean energy moonshot funder ARPA-E.

U.S. prosecutors have issued criminal charges against Russian government officials for the first time over a hack that affected 500 million Yahoo users.

In 2013, smog clung to Chinese cities for over a month and was tied to over 90,000 deaths. Turns out it was linked to sea ice loss that warped the weather.

Brian Vigneault died during a 24-hour gaming session live-streamed on Twitch for others to watch. His death has sparked safety concerns in the industry.

Samsung’s new smartphone is expected to allow users to make payments using facial-recognition—which is one of our 10 breakthrough technologies of the year.

A legal challenge is mounting against a second version of Trump’s travel ban—but tech firms that spoke out first time round are now conspicuous by their absence.

How do you build a fleet of affordable electric cars? For Tesla, it requires looking to Wall Street to raise another $1 billion.

When you enter a virtual world, your body isn’t quite your own. But it could be if this startup succeeds in building avatars that you can take into every VR environment.

Donald Trump is trying to relax the environmental standards imposed on new cars, but the process might not be as straightforward as he hopes.

A fun fact from a new report into the financial impact of automation: if American robots had their own economy, it’d be worth $732 billion—larger than Switzerland’s.

Quote of the Day

"This pig might save your bacon."

— The slogan emblazoned on the T-shirts worn by staff members at startup eGenesis, which is in the business of editing the DNA of pigs so that they can serve as the source of transplant organs.


Deep Dive


Our best illustrations of 2022

Our artists’ thought-provoking, playful creations bring our stories to life, often saying more with an image than words ever could.

How CRISPR is making farmed animals bigger, stronger, and healthier

These gene-edited fish, pigs, and other animals could soon be on the menu.

The Download: the Saudi sci-fi megacity, and sleeping babies’ brains

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. These exclusive satellite images show Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway In early 2021, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia announced The Line: a “civilizational revolution” that would house up…

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.