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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 publication that gives a each day dose of what’s occurring on the earth of know-how.

How the AI business earnings from disaster

It was meant to be a short lived facet job—a technique to earn some more money. Oskarina Fuentes Anaya signed up for Appen, an AI data-labeling platform, when she was nonetheless in faculty learning to land a well-paid place within the oil business.

However then the economic system tanked in Venezuela. Inflation skyrocketed, and a secure job, as soon as assured, was not an possibility. Her facet gig was now full time; the short-term now the foreseeable future.

At the moment Fuentes lives in Colombia, one in every of tens of millions of Venezuelan migrants and refugees who’ve left their nation in quest of higher alternatives. However she’s trapped at dwelling—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 towards 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 vital 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 total story

—Karen Hao and Andrea Paola Hernández

That is the second a part of our sequence investigating AI colonialism, shining a lightweight on how the know-how is impoverishing the communities and nations that don’t have a say in its growth. Elements 3 and 4 are coming later within the week, however you may 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, dwelling 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 building challenge to rework virgin forest right into a vibrant metropolis might quickly be underway.

Whereas some politicians and residents imagine in crypto’s potential to jump-start the economic system, others see historical past repeating itself. As El Salvador’s experiment takes form within the type of Bitcoin Metropolis, an identical 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 tasks are actually for, and whether or not the nations serving as check beds will actually profit. Learn the total story.

—Laurie Clarke

Quote of the day

“Hugs for everybody!”

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

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to search out you at the moment’s most enjoyable/necessary/scary/fascinating tales about know-how.

1 Ukraine’s ‘web military’ is pressurizing Western manufacturers to exit Russia
And their campaigns appear to be working. (WSJ $)
+ A couple of 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 turning into tougher and tougher to implement. (The Atlantic $)
+ Moderna is optimistic that its new vaccine will supply higher safety towards variants. (NYT $)

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

4 Individuals 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 getting ready to show down Elon Musk’s supply to purchase it
Which might power him to rethink his place. (WSJ $)
+ Whatever the final result, Musk’s proposition might finally be good for the corporate. (FT $)
+ A crypto billionaire desires to get entangled, too. (Bloomberg $)
+ Right here’s what making Twitter’s algorithm public might entail. (CNN

6 Possibly 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 girl behind the Libs of TikTok Twitter account 
A Brooklyn actual property agent has performed an outsized position 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 at all times a constructive factor. (Wired $) 
+ Does paying individuals to cease ingesting preserve them sober within the long-term? (Boston Globe $)

9 Why it’s so exhausting to construct unbiased AI
For starters, bias is within the eye of the beholder. (Vox)
+ AI would possibly cut back the variety of automotive crashes. (NYT $)
+ Motorists utilizing self-driving vehicles 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 may’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 change 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.
+ In the event you’re beginning to fear about what to purchase for Mom’s Day, this record 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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