TikTok parent company’s new app reportedly sends pro-China messages to Americans

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When Liu Yang started his current job, he found it difficult to resume driving his own car: “I instinctively opted for the passenger seat. Or when I was driving, I would expect the car to brake on its own,” says the 33-year-old Beijing native, who joined Chinese tech giant Baidu in January 2021 as a robotaxi driver.

The robotaxi driver is a profession that only exists in our time, the result of evolving technology advanced enough to get rid of a driver – most of the time, in controlled environments – but not enough to convince the authorities that they can get rid of it. any human intervention.

Liu is one of hundreds of security operators employed by Baidu, “driving” five days a week in Shougang Park. But despite only working for the company for 19 months, he must already be thinking about his next career move, as his job will likely be cut within a few years. Read the full story.

—Zeyi Yang

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The unavoidable

I’ve scoured the internet to find you today’s funniest/important/scariest/fascinating stories about technology.

1 ByteDance’s US news app reportedly pushing pro-China posts
Former employees say they were also instructed to censor criticism from Beijing. (Buzz feed)
+ Smartphone sales in China are at their lowest level in a decade. (The register)

2Mark Zuckerberg steps up a gear
To make the metaverse work, it needs its employees to work even harder. (NYT$)
+ He’s right to be concerned – Meta will likely announce its first-ever revenue drop today. (Reuters)
+ Facebook employees hoping for extra days off may think again. (The edge)
+ Meta is also raising the prices of its Quest 2 VR headset. (ZDNet)
+ A metaverse security update annoys its first users. (Motherboard)

3 An AI convincingly disguised as a philosopher
Which could be incredibly dangerous in the wrong hands. (Motherboard)
+ The new version of GPT-3 behaves much better (and should be less toxic). (MIT Technology Review)

4 How Ticketmaster’s Dynamic Pricing Algorithm Experiment Backfired
Charging Bruce Springsteen fans up to $5,000 per ticket was not a good move. (Variety $)
+ How pricing algorithms learn to get along. (MIT Technology Review)

5 The new revival of psychedelic drugs has arrived
But critics fear it will fuel psychedelic capitalism. (Wired $)
+ What do psychedelic drugs do to our brain? AI could help us discover. (MIT Technology Review)

6 Russia Announces It Will Withdraw From ISS Partnership In 2024
NASA says that hasn’t been officially said, however. (The edge)
+ Warped spacetime around the Sun may hold key to discovery of extraterrestrial life. (Motherboard)

7 New York e-bikes continue to catch fire
Lithium-ion batteries from China seem to be the culprit. (Motherboard)
+ How bike parking pods could improve America’s cities for cyclists. (MIT Technology Review)

8 Plastic floating in the ocean harbors bad bacteria 🦠
Urinary tract, skin, and stomach infections are just a few of the less than pleasant illnesses they could cause. (Hakai Magazine)
+ A kidney stone-eating pseudo-parasite seems to have given up on parasitism. (Atlantic $)

9 Undersea Internet Cables Could Soon Detect Tsunamis 🌊
And track them in real time to prevent future disasters. (New Yorkers $)

10 Turns Out Dead Spiders Make Great Robots
Specifically hydraulic grippers. (IEEE Spectrum)
+ This robot learned to walk on its own. (MIT Technology Review)


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