Bots for the brokenhearted, and AI for life and death decisions


But many people feel extremely uneasy about letting algorithms help to make decisions about whether people live or die, and rightfully so. Read the full story.

—Melissa Heikkilä

This story is from The Algorithm, our new weekly newsletter giving you the inside track on all things AI. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Monday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Russia is terrorizing Ukraine with deadly Iranian drones 
The unmanned “kamikaze” drones are targeting infrastructure in Kyiv. (FT $)
+ The US government has committed to another billion-dollar aid package. (New Yorker $)
+ China, India and Turkey are still buying fuel from Russia. (Vox)

2 Kayne West has agreed to buy Parler
What happens now is anyone’s guess. (CNBC)
+ West said he was driven to make the purchase after being banned by Instagram and Twitter. (Bloomberg $)
+ He’s been repeating extremist conspiracy theories lately. (Vox)
+ As fringe social platforms go, Parler is extremely small fry. (Slate)

3 China is struggling to control its fans
Fandoms are notoriously competitive, and they’re undermining Xi Jinping’s vision of a united China. (Vox)
+ How China’s biggest online influencers fell from their thrones. (MIT Technology Review)

4 Astronomers have witnessed the brightest explosion of all time
This kind of gamma ray burst is estimated to occur once every thousand years. (New Scientist $)

5 Why “zero trust” is losing its meaning
Partly because not all cybersecurity teams can agree on what it refers to. (Protocol)

6 Iodine tablets aren’t a magic cure for radiation exposure
They can, however, protect one specific part of the body. (Wired $)
+ NATO is watching Russia like a hawk for signs of a nuclear attack. (Economist $) 

7 We need to change how we view the ocean
That should involve giving it a legal right to life, researchers argue. (Motherboard)
+ Sponge cities are changing our relationship with water. (Wired $)
+ The architect making friends with flooding. (MIT Technology Review)

8 The home surveillance industry thrives on paranoia
The question is, what to do when nothing happens? (The Atlantic $)
+ How Amazon Ring uses domestic violence to market doorbell cameras. (MIT Technology Review)

9 Teenagers want to be nice to each other online, actually ❤️
Luckily, there’s an app for that. (WSJ $)

10 A bionic nose could help covid patients to smell again 👃
By communicating with a brain implant. (IEEE Spectrum)

Quote of the day

“If you’re looking back at those experiences to be a guide on what will happen, you are playing out of a bad playbook.”

—John Lovelock, an analyst at Gartner, tells Insider why the current economic uncertainty, which is driven by inflation and not cash or employment problems, differs from other recessions in recent memory.

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