The Obtain: text-to-video AI, and China’s massive methanol guess


That is right now’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a each day dose of what’s occurring on the earth of know-how.

Meta’s new AI can flip textual content prompts into movies

What’s occurred: Meta has unveiled an AI system that generates brief movies primarily based on textual content prompts. Make-A-Video enables you to kind in a string of phrases, like “A canine carrying a superhero outfit with a purple cape flying by means of the sky,” after which generates a five-second clip that, whereas fairly correct, has the aesthetics of a trippy previous house video.

The way it works: Meta mixed knowledge from three open-source picture and video knowledge units to coach its mannequin. Customary text-image knowledge units of labeled nonetheless photographs helped the AI be taught what objects are referred to as and what they seem like. And a database of movies helped it learn the way these objects are supposed to maneuver on the earth. 

Why it issues: Though the impact is somewhat crude, the system presents an early glimpse of what’s coming subsequent for generative synthetic intelligence, and it’s the subsequent apparent step from the text-to-image AI programs which have brought about enormous pleasure this yr. However it additionally raises some massive moral questions. Learn the total story.

—Melissa Heikkilä

China is betting massive on one other fuel engine different: methanol automobiles

Because the Chinese language authorities works to succeed in bold carbon targets, the nation has develop into a world chief within the adoption of electrical autos. However that’s not the one greener automobile different it’s pursuing.

Whereas methanol gasoline has been mentioned and piloted in China for a decade, its adoption has lengthy lagged. Now the federal government is attempting to speed up the adoption of methanol automobiles, together with different state efforts within the final yr to draft methanol automobile requirements and assist related industries, reaffirm its dedication to the choice gasoline. 

This issues as a result of, similar to EVs, the know-how might develop into each a business success and a political increase to China’s climate-tech ambitions. Learn the total story.

—Zeyi Yang

Can we discover methods to dwell past 100? Millionaires are betting on it.

Scientists and biotech firms have been networking with uber-wealthy traders at a swanky convention in Switzerland this week, making the case for longevity science and anti-aging methods. My colleague Jess Hamzelou, our senior biomedicine reporter, joined them, and acquired a peek at a number of the most cutting-edge work within the subject. Examine what she found.

Jess’s story is from The Checkup, her new weekly e-newsletter providing you with the within monitor on all issues well being and tech-related. Join to obtain it in your inbox each Thursday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to search out you right now’s most enjoyable/vital/scary/fascinating tales about know-how.

1 Hurricane Ian has left huge swathes of Florida underwater
Because it heads in direction of South Carolina, Biden has warned it might develop into the deadliest in Florida historical past. (The Guardian)
+ Coral reefs are an efficient pure protection in opposition to hurricanes. (Vox)
+ The storm is a potent mixture of highly effective and unpredictable. (The Atlantic $)
+ It may very well be on the right track to hitch the listing of storms as extreme as Katrina. (New Yorker $)

2 Iran is ramping up web blackouts and censorship 
Up to now, it’s not reaching the federal government’s desired final result. (Slate $)
+ A distinct segment tech writer is shining a lightweight on China’s surveillance machine. (The Atlantic $)

3 What makes plastic so helpful additionally makes it a nightmare to recycle
A brand new methodology of breaking it down might assist. (Economist $)
+ A French firm is utilizing enzymes to recycle one of the vital frequent single-use plastics. (MIT Know-how Overview)

4 Why Russia’s cyber warfare by no means actually materialized 
The assaults it did land didn’t ship the meant penalties. (FT $)
+ Right here’s how the warfare in Ukraine might finish. (New Yorker $)
+ Russian males are reportedly pretending to have HIV to flee conscription. (Remainder of World)

5 Jack Dorsey tried to get Elon Musk a spot on Twitter’s board
However the different members noticed the appointment as too dangerous. (CNBC)
+ The previous CEO additionally tried to get Musk and CEO Parag Agrawal off on the appropriate foot. (WSJ $)
+ Musk needed to seek for ‘Trump’ in his hunt for bot knowledge. (Bloomberg $)
+ Musk additionally toyed with appointing Oprah to Twitter’s board. (The Info $)

6 The Arctic Ocean is quickly changing into extra acidic
Unsurprisingly, local weather change is the perpetrator. (Motherboard)
+ China, the world’s greatest greenhouse fuel emitter, is struggling. (Vox)

7 Reboosting the Hubble Telescope would give it a brand new lease of life
NASA and SpaceX suppose they may just do that. (BBC)
+ NASA has taken beautiful photographs of Jupiter’s moon Europa. (New Scientist $) 

8 Brace your self for a brand new wave of at-home assessments
They’re not only for covid, both. (Neo.Life)
+ Genome sequencing has by no means been so low-cost, or straightforward. (Wired $)

9 Why voice notes are so controversial 
Ship yours with warning. (WSJ $)
+ Lasers can ship a whispered audio message instantly to at least one individual’s ear. (MIT Know-how Overview)

10 AI is creating horrible new Pokémon 
Don’t say I didn’t warn you. (WP $)
+ This artist is dominating AI-generated artwork. And he’s not glad about it. (MIT Know-how Overview)

Quote of the day

“I suppose you be taught who your actual associates are when you possibly can’t get allocation of their seed spherical 🙁

—Maia Bittner, an angel investor, jokily tweets in regards to the pitfalls of investing in associates’ startups, Bloomberg experiences.

The massive story

Meet the wannabe kidfluencers struggling for stardom

December 2019 

On YouTube, kids can develop into millionaires—seemingly in a single day, with out attempting. The very best paid of them, eight-year-old Ryan Kaji, made $22 million in 2018 by taking part in with toys on his channel Ryan ToysReview (now Ryan’s World). There at the moment are hundreds of equally well-known little one YouTubers: infants who’ve been vlogged for the reason that second of their beginning, 10-year-old streamers exhibiting off video-game methods, teenage women giving pimples recommendation from their bedrooms.

Why achieve this many children need to be YouTubers? Do they solely search fame, or is there extra to it: creativity, group, and a future profession? How are their dad and mom serving to them? And what occurs if, after spending hundreds of {dollars} or dropping out of college, it doesn’t work out? Learn the total story.

—Amelia Tait

We will nonetheless have good issues

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

+ Francis Ford Coppola’s wonderful chiller Bram Stoker’s Dracula is again in film theaters this Halloween. Benefit from the opulent 4K trailer right here.
+ These scallops can’t get sufficient of vivid lights.
+ Cher’s sprawling house is each bit as lavish as you’d anticipate.
+ Nope, it’s not a joke, they are surely turning The Matrix right into a dance present.
+ Controversial take klaxon: are these actually the finest songs of the 90s?