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

That is as we speak’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.

How the AI business earnings from disaster

It was meant to be a short lived aspect job—a option to earn some extra cash. 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 financial system tanked in Venezuela. Inflation skyrocketed, and a steady job, as soon as assured, was now not an choice. Her aspect gig was now full time; the short-term now the foreseeable future.

In the present day Fuentes lives in Colombia, certainly one of thousands and thousands of Venezuelan migrants and refugees who’ve left their nation in the hunt for higher alternatives. However she’s trapped at dwelling—each by a persistent 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 report as a named supply. She desires individuals to know what her life is prefer to be a essential a part of the worldwide AI improvement 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 lightweight on how the know-how is impoverishing the communities and international locations that don’t have a say in its improvement. Components 3 and 4 are coming later within the week, however you possibly can 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 undertaking to rework 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, the same improvement 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 international locations serving as check beds will really 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 line with The New York Occasions.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to seek out you as we speak’s most enjoyable/essential/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 $)
+ 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 supply 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 targeted on sending people to Mars? (Slate $)
+ Possibly we ought to 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 adverts, too. (Hollywood Reporter)

5 Twitter could also be making ready to show down Elon Musk’s supply to purchase it
Which might drive him to rethink his place. (WSJ $)
+ Whatever the final result, Musk’s proposition may in the end 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 Possibly the tech bubble actually is impenetrable in spite of everything
Or possibly 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 maintain 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 may scale back the variety of automotive crashes. (NYT $)
+ Motorists utilizing self-driving vehicles within the UK may quickly be allowed to look at TV behind the wheel. (The Occasions $)

10 This Twitter account spots writers’ tics
As a result of you possibly can’t maintain 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. (Received any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)
+ Congratulations to TobyKeith, who at 21-years previous 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 straightforward recipes for candy treats are talking my language.
+ In case you’re beginning to fear about what to purchase for Mom’s Day, this record is a superb start line.
+ The US authorities funded analysis into invisibility cloaks, which appears a worthwhile endeavor to me.
+ Would you think about 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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