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The Download

The Download: planning a honeymoon with AI, and deepfakes in 2024

Plus: Chinese driverless cars are driving on US roads

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.

Can AI help me plan my honeymoon?

—Melissa Heikkilä

I’m getting married later this summer and am feverishly planning a honeymoon together with my fiancé. It has been at times overwhelming trying to research and decide between what seem like millions of options while juggling busy work schedules and wedding planning.

So I decided to take inspiration from a piece we just published about how to use AI to plan your vacation and tried using the same tools to design my honeymoon itinerary. 

The results were pretty good, and they aligned with the research I had already done into where to go and what to do in the Philippines. But when I asked about places I did know more about, such as Tokyo, I wasn’t that impressed. Read the full story.

This story is from The Algorithm, our weekly newsletter diving into the complicated world of AI. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Monday.

Join us to discuss the state of deepfakes in 2024

Deepfakes are proliferating online thanks to advances in generative AI. There’s a lot of potential for misuse—think political disinformation and nonconsensual sexual content. But there are a growing number of reasons why you may want a deepfake made of yourself or a loved one, too.

Join MIT Technology Review reporters and editors for a fascinating discussion on the rise of deepfakes. We’re running a LinkedIn Live at 12pm ET this afternoon—register here to join in the conversion.

The must-reads

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

1 Chinese self-driving cars have driven more than 1 million miles in the US
Quietly collecting data with little scrutiny. (Fortune $)
+ Meanwhile, Beijing is waving through robotaxis on Chinese roads. (Bloomberg $)
+ The big new idea for making self-driving cars that can go anywhere. (MIT Technology Review)

2 Gasoline is here to stay
The world’s largest oil company isn’t diversifying its interests just yet. (FT $)
+ The price of used EVs could be the industry’s secret weapon. (The Atlantic $)
+ This $1.5 billion startup promised to deliver clean fuels as cheap as gas. Experts are deeply skeptical. (MIT Technology Review

3 The US is courting overseas companies to invest in its native chipmaking
Its new ‘chip diplomacy’ plans could bring the likes of South Korea into the process. (NYT $)
+ What’s next in chips. (MIT Technology Review)

4 NATO is worried about attacks on internet subsea cables
Amid heightened fears that Russia or China could do exactly that. (Bloomberg $)

5 Europe is pinning its hopes of challenging SpaceX on its latest rocket 

It’ll have to brush off years of delays to achieve it, though. (WSJ $)
+ SpaceX appears to be a law unto itself. (Bloomberg $)

6 We’ll watch the climate crisis unfold through push alerts
What is novel now will become increasingly commonplace. (The Atlantic $)
+ Extreme wildfires are on the rise across the world. (Wired $)

7 The world fiber optic data rate record has been smashed
Producing data rates four times as fast as existing systems.(IEEE Spectrum)

8 Chinese factory owners are going to great lengths for new partners
Including filming highly entertaining comedy clips. (Rest of World)

9 This digital artist fought back against the shops selling his image—and won
Needless to say, Jonas Jödicke had the last laugh. (Wired $)
+ This artist is dominating AI-generated art. And he’s not happy about it. (MIT Technology Review)

10 Tesla is allegedly working on a curfew feature
To prevent teenage joyriders after hours. (Insider $)

Quote of the day

“If you can’t trust a multi-billion dollar company like Nike to continue support for a sneaker, how can you trust a toaster maker or an automaker?”

—A frustrated Reddit user responds to Nike’s plans to end support for the app that controls its self-lacing sneakers, Ars Technica reports.

The big story

Welcome to Chula Vista, where police drones respond to 911 calls

February 2023

In the skies above Chula Vista, California, where the police department runs a drone program, it’s not uncommon to see an unmanned aerial vehicle darting across the sky.

Chula Vista is one of a dozen departments in the US that operate what are called drone-as-first-responder programs, where drones are dispatched by pilots, who are listening to live 911 calls, and often arrive first at the scenes of accidents, emergencies, and crimes, cameras in tow.

But many argue that police forces’ adoption of drones is happening too quickly, without a well-informed public debate around privacy regulations, tactics, and limits. There’s also little evidence that drone policing reduces crime. Read the full story.

—Patrick Sisson

We can still have nice things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction to brighten up your day. (Got any ideas? Drop me a line or tweet 'em at me.)

+ If you’ve ever wondered how long it takes to transfer all of Carmy from The Bear’s fake tattoos, now you have an answer—24 minutes.
+ Waking up at 5am for a happier life? I’ll pass, thanks.
+ A Desperately Seeking Susan sequel, you say?
+ This two-legged robot will seek revenge, in this life or the next.

Deep Dive

The Download

The Download: defining AI, and China’s driverless ambitions

Plus: Apple and Microsoft are walking away from OpenAI's board

The Download: AI agents, and how to detect a lie

Plus: Chinese EVs have hit an EU-shaped blockade

The Download: fish-safe hydropower, and fixing space debris

Plus: Apple is planning to bring AI features to the Vision Pro

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

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