The Download

What's up in emerging technology

Today Facebook pixelated

Facebook says it can protect you—but first it wants your most intimate photos

Facebook’s new pilot program aims to prevent revenge porn, but you have to share compromising pictures of yourself with the social network.

The current program: If your intimate photos are shared on Facebook without your permission, you can reach out… Read more


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Missing climate goals could cost the world $20 trillion

There are trillions of reasons for the world to prevent temperatures from rising more than 1.5 ˚C, the aspirational target laid out in the Paris climate agreement, according to a new study.

The findings: If nations took the necessary actions to meet… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Photo by Alto Crew on Unsplash

Editor's Pick

The US military is funding an effort to catch deepfakes and other AI trickery

Think that AI will help put a stop to fake news? The US military isn’t so sure.

The Department of Defense is funding a project that will try to determine whether the increasingly real-looking fake video and audio generated by artificial intelligence might...

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Yesterday An image of a man with a square around his head suggesting his face is being recognized, with the Amazon arrow standing in for his smile

Amazon is selling its face-recognition tech to police departments

Image-recognition software that Amazon developed for its cloud platform is being sold to police departments around the US, according to documents disclosed by the American Civil Liberties Union today.

The news: Amazon released the computer vision system,… Read more

Image credit:
  • Gregor Cresnar | The Noun Project

Mark Zuckerberg tells an irate EU Parliament very little it wants to hear

The Facebook CEO’s expected grilling was more like an awkward neighborhood cookout.

Spotlight on Zuck: He testified before the European Parliament. The policymakers wanted answers about the Cambridge Analytica data scandal—in which, lest we forget, the… Read more

Image credit:
  • European Parliament
agriculture robot

Weed-killing robots are threatening giant chemical companies’ business models

AI-powered weed hunters could soon reduce the need for herbicides and genetically modified crops.

How it’s done now: Current farming methods involve spraying large amounts of indiscriminate weed killer over fields full of crops that have been genetically… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • ecoRobotix
Boston skyline

Amazon’s HQ2 could price lower-income workers out of its chosen city

A new report by has found that rising housing prices in cities are pushing out whole classes of workers.

For example: There are 77 percent fewer people holding jobs as trailer mechanics and 67 percent fewer as concrete finishers in expensive… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Bert Kaufmann

Editor's Pick

The world’s first quantum software superstore—or so it hopes—is here

In quantum computing, it’s not just the computers themselves that are hard to build. They also need sophisticated quantum algorithms—specialized software that’s tailored to get the best out of the machines.

Alán Aspuru-Guzik has gained an impressive reputation...

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Yesterday A drawing of a self-driving car with a cross out over it

Americans really don’t trust self-driving cars

In a survey conducted shortly after Uber’s deadly self-driving-car accident in March, the American Automobile Association (AAA) found that 73 percent of Americans would be afraid to ride in autonomous vehicles, up from 63 percent in late 2017.

Generation… Read more

Image credit:
  • Berkah Studio | The Noun Project
May 21, 2018 Theresa May at a desk talking

The UK wants to build a cancer-diagnosing AI to save lives

In her latest effort to make the UK a global leader in AI, British prime minister Theresa May announced plans today to spend millions on developing algorithms that can spot cancer.

The details: May wants to open up the medical data gathered by country’s… Read more

Image credit:
  • Wikipedia