The Obtain: the issue of plastic, and the way AI may enhance batteries


That is at present’s version of The Obtain, our weekday publication that gives a every day dose of what’s occurring on this planet of expertise.

Assume that your plastic is being recycled? Assume once more.

The issue of plastic waste hides in plain sight, a ubiquitous a part of our lives we not often query. However a more in-depth examination of the scenario is stunning. 

To this point, people have created round 11 billion metric tons of plastic. 72% of the plastic we make results in landfills or the surroundings. Solely 9% of the plastic ever produced has been recycled. 

To make issues worse, plastic manufacturing is rising dramatically; in truth, half of all plastics in existence have been produced in simply the final twenty years. Manufacturing is projected to proceed rising, at about 5% yearly. So what can we do? Sadly, options akin to recycling and reuse aren’t equal to the size of the duty. The one reply is drastic cuts in manufacturing within the first place. Learn the complete story

—Douglas Primary

This story is from the subsequent journal version of MIT Know-how Evaluation, set to go reside on October 25. It’s all about onerous issues—and assured to be fascinating! If you happen to don’t subscribe already, join now to get a duplicate when it lands. 

How AI may supercharge battery analysis

One of many causes we will dare to hope for electrical aviation is the potential of AI to hurry up battery analysis. That’s in line with Venkat Viswanathan, who cofounded a startup in 2018 referred to as Aionics to do precisely that.

So why is AI so promising for batteries? On stage at our ClimateTech convention final week, Viswanathan pointed to a health tracker on his wrist. Touchdown on the battery chemistry for this tiny product took over 55,000 iterations, as there’s an nearly unfathomable variety of potential supplies, and mixtures of supplies, to make use of in batteries. 

That’s the place AI may help, due to its potential to quickly type by a variety of choices and design new supplies. To be taught extra about how, learn this piece by our local weather reporter Casey Crownhart.This story is from The Spark, our weekly publication supplying you with the within monitor on all issues climate-related. Join to obtain it in your inbox each Wednesday.

Inside the hunt for equitable local weather options

Sweeping laws within the US is infusing a whole bunch of billions of {dollars} into new local weather and vitality applied sciences. However as the cash begins to move, there are open questions concerning who will profit most, and who would possibly bear the brunt of sudden penalties.

Shalanda Baker, director of the Workplace of Financial Impression and Variety on the US Division of Vitality, spoke at MIT Know-how Evaluation’s ClimateTech occasion in Cambridge about the necessity to concurrently tackle local weather change and fairness and the potential for in search of justice in the course of the vitality transition. Learn our Q&A along with her, and watch her full speak.

2023 Local weather Tech Firms to Watch: Climeworks and its carbon-sucking followers

To forestall catastrophic world warming, we should take away carbon dioxide from the environment along with eliminating fossil fuels. Climeworks is pioneering one of the promising approaches: direct air seize, by which big machines suck carbon out of the sky. Learn all about the way it’s doing that

Climeworks is one in all our 15 Local weather Tech Firms to Watch this 12 months. Try the remainder of the checklist.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to search out you at present’s most enjoyable/vital/scary/fascinating tales about expertise.

1 Israel’s tech sector is being enlisted within the conflict
A lot of its employees are reservists, and so they’re now being referred to as upon to combat. (WP $) 
The battle is resulting in some fraught and ugly discussions on-line. (NBC)
The EU is pleading with Meta to be extra vigilant about misinformation across the battle. (CNBC)
Some Jewish mother and father are being suggested to delete social media apps from their youngsters’ telephones. (BBC)

2 A monkey bought a brand new kidney from a pig—and survived for 2 years
It’s a promising discovering, however we’re nonetheless a manner off from this method working in folks.  (Wired $)
The entrepreneur dreaming of a manufacturing unit of limitless organs. (MIT Know-how Evaluation

3 The China-US tech chilly conflict is just escalating
A brand new blockade on AI techniques is coming. (The Atlantic $) 
American and Chinese language scientists are collaborating much less and fewer, to the detriment of each nations. (The Economist $)

4 Researchers are testing a ‘treasure trove’ from the asteroid Bennu
Supplies like waterlogged clay minerals may assist to light up the earliest days of the photo voltaic system. (NYT $)

5 Issues positive aren’t trying good for Sam Bankman-Fried 
His ex-girlfriend has plenty of proof that means he knew precisely what he was doing. (The Verge)

6 A world-first trial of gene remedy to treatment deafness has begun
It’s being examined in as much as 18 kids from the UK, Spain, and the US. (Ars Technica)
Overlook designer infants. Right here’s how CRISPR is actually altering lives. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

7 This man is in a relationship with an AI chatbot ❤🤖
Attempt to droop your judgment and also you’ll discover this can be a surprisingly unhappy and touching learn. (Insider $)

8 TikTok has a giant drawback in Southeast Asia 
Its greatest financial system, Indonesia, has banned TikTok purchasing. Others are anticipated to comply with. (South China Morning Publish)

9 Google’s AI can now drive you to smile in photographs
Is that this what we actually need? (WP $)

10 Contained in the US group that banned automobiles
It’s an experiment in Phoenix that’s going surprisingly properly thus far. (The Guardian)
Robotaxis are right here. It’s time to resolve what to do about them. (MIT Know-how Evaluation

Quote of the day

“The largest problem I’m nonetheless considering of: what are LLMs [large language models] actually helpful for, by way of helpfulness?”

—Googler Cathy Pearl, a consumer expertise lead for the corporate’s AI chatbot, Bard, questions the utility of those types of instruments in a Discord chat, Bloomberg reviews.

The large story

She risked all the things to reveal Fb. Now she’s telling her story.

Sophie Zhang


July 2021

When Sophie Zhang went public with explosive revelations detailing the political manipulation she’d uncovered throughout her time as a knowledge scientist at Fb, she provided concrete proof to help what critics had lengthy been saying on the skin: that Fb makes election interference straightforward, and that until such exercise hurts the corporate’s enterprise pursuits, it will possibly’t be bothered to repair the issue.

By talking out and eschewing anonymity, Zhang risked authorized motion from the corporate, hurt to her future profession prospects, and even perhaps reprisals. Her story reveals that it’s actually pure luck that we now know a lot about how Fb allows election interference globally. To regulators world wide contemplating find out how to rein within the firm, this needs to be a wake-up name. Learn the complete story.

—Karen Hao

We are able to nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction in these bizarre occasions. (Obtained any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ Merry Clayton’s vocals on Gimme Shelter give me goosebumps. 
+ If you’re disembarking, you need somebody you possibly can depend on. 
+ As a eager out of doors swimmer, I beloved this quick BBC radio program on why it’s so good for you. 
+ This Dave Grohl/Lionel Ritchie scene makes me giggle loads.
+ Subsequent time you go for a stroll, strive making it meditative. ($)


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