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The Obtain: How AI capitalizes on disaster, and the Bitcoin cities of Central America

That is at the moment’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a day by day dose of what’s occurring on this planet of expertise.

How the AI business earnings from disaster

It was meant to be a brief aspect job—a strategy to earn some more money. Oskarina Fuentes Anaya signed up for Appen, an AI data-labeling platform, when she was nonetheless in school finding out to land a well-paid place within the oil business.

However then the financial system tanked in Venezuela. Inflation skyrocketed, and a steady job, as soon as assured, was now not an possibility. Her aspect gig was now full time; the momentary now the foreseeable future.

Right now Fuentes lives in Colombia, one in every of thousands and thousands of Venezuelan migrants and refugees who’ve left their nation seeking higher alternatives. However she’s trapped at house—each by a power sickness that developed after delayed entry to well being care and by opaque algorithms that dictate when she works and the way a lot she earns.

Regardless of threats from Appen to retaliate in opposition to her, she selected to go on the file as a named supply. She desires individuals to know what her life is wish to be a important a part of the worldwide AI growth pipeline but for the beneficiaries of her work to additionally mistreat her and make her invisible. She desires the individuals who do that work to be seen. Learn the complete story

—Karen Hao and Andrea Paola Hernández

That is the second a part of our sequence investigating AI colonialism, shining a light-weight on how the expertise is impoverishing the communities and international locations that don’t have a say in its growth. Elements 3 and 4 are coming later within the week, however you’ll be able to learn the primary half right here and Karen Hao’s introductory essay right here.

Crypto millionaires are pouring cash into Central America to construct their very own cities

El Salvador’s Conchagua Volcano, house to a lush ecotourism retreat amid its sun-dappled forest, is about to host a glittering new Bitcoin Metropolis, the nation’s president introduced in November 2021. An unlimited development mission to transform virgin forest right into a vibrant metropolis may quickly be underway.

Whereas some politicians and residents imagine in crypto’s potential to jump-start the financial system, others see historical past repeating itself. As El Salvador’s experiment takes form within the type of Bitcoin Metropolis, an analogous growth is already underway in Honduras—however backlash from locals has put its future in jeopardy. Proponents hope to spawn 100 extra Bitcoin Cities, however others query who these initiatives are actually for, and whether or not the international locations serving as check beds will actually profit. Learn the complete story.

—Laurie Clarke

Quote of the day

“Hugs for everybody!”

—A Disney worker celebrates costumed characters having the ability to hug Disneyland guests after dropping its enforced no-hugs ban, in response to The New York Occasions.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to seek out you at the moment’s most enjoyable/necessary/scary/fascinating tales about expertise.

1 Ukraine’s ‘web military’ is pressurizing Western manufacturers to exit Russia
And their campaigns appear to be working. (WSJ $)
+ Multiple in 4 individuals in Ukraine have left their houses. (WSJ $)
+ The US and its allies are sending extra weapons to Ukraine. (BBC)

2 What has the zero-covid coverage taught China?
It’s saved numerous lives, however it’s changing into tougher and tougher to implement. (The Atlantic $)
+ Moderna is optimistic that its new vaccine will provide higher safety in opposition to variants. (NYT $)

3 NASA desires to constitution a mission to Uranus
We all know surprisingly little in regards to the distant planet. (The Atlantic $)
+ Why have we been so centered on sending people to Mars? (Slate $)
+ Perhaps we needs to be sending robots as a substitute of astronauts. (Wired $)

4 Persons are canceling their Netflix subscriptions of their droves
And sneakily sharing passwords between households. (Selection $)
+ Netflix might begin working advertisements, too. (Hollywood Reporter)

5 Twitter could also be making ready to show down Elon Musk’s provide to purchase it
Which might power him to rethink his place. (WSJ $)
+ Whatever the consequence, Musk’s proposition may finally be good for the corporate. (FT $)
+ A crypto billionaire desires to become involved, too. (Bloomberg $)
+ Right here’s what making Twitter’s algorithm public may entail. (CNN

6 Perhaps the tech bubble actually is impenetrable in spite of everything
Or perhaps we’re simply bored of listening to it’s about to burst. (NYT $)
+ There could also be hassle forward for the UK’s startups. (The Occasions $)

7 Unmasking the lady behind the Libs of TikTok Twitter account 
A Brooklyn actual property agent has performed an outsized function pushing hateful anti-LGBTQ+ narratives within the US. (WP $)

8 Getting sober is about extra than simply stopping ingesting ?
Sober influencers are reframing our pondering round alcohol. That’s not all the time a constructive factor. (Wired $) 
+ Does paying individuals to cease ingesting preserve them sober within the long-term? (Boston Globe $)

9 Why it’s so onerous to construct unbiased AI
For starters, bias is within the eye of the beholder. (Vox)
+ AI would possibly cut back the variety of automobile crashes. (NYT $)
+ Motorists utilizing self-driving automobiles within the UK would possibly quickly be allowed to observe TV behind the wheel. (The Occasions $)

10 This Twitter account spots writers’ tics
As a result of you’ll be able to’t preserve repeating your self. Or are you able to? (New Yorker $)

We will nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction in these bizarre occasions. (Bought any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)
+ Congratulations to TobyKeith, who at 21-years outdated has develop into the world’s oldest residing canine.
+ Louis Theroux isn’t simply an award-winning documentary maker. He additionally spits some sick bars (Thanks Tania!)
+ These simple recipes for candy treats are talking my language.
+ When you’re beginning to fear about what to purchase for Mom’s Day, this checklist is a superb place to begin.
+ The US authorities funded analysis into invisibility cloaks, which appears a worthwhile endeavor to me.
+ Would you contemplate speaking your cat out on a leash?
+ The world’s oldest unopened Easter egg will make you grateful that Easter is over.



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