iRobot privacy scandal, and AI that makes images

Meet the designers printing houses out of salt and clay

Read our interview with Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, the disruptive designers 3D-printing entire buildings out of natural materials. Check out the amazing pictures in the full story, which is from the latest edition of our print magazine. To get future issues, sign up for a subscription.

The must-reads

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

1 China is struggling to cope with the sheer volume of covid deaths
Satellite imagery suggests crematoriums and funeral parlors are overwhelmed. (WP $)
+ Infections are likely to climb further as China celebrates the Lunar New Year. (Wired $)

2 The US is under pressure to expel Jair Bolsonaro
The former Brazilian president has been accused of whipping up domestic terrorism. (FT $) 
+ Facebook and YouTube say they’re taking down footage of the riots (Reuters)
+ Priceless paintings were destroyed in the carnage. (The Guardian)

3 Microsoft’s new AI can simulate voices from just three seconds of audio
Spookily, VALL-E is reportedly adept at preserving the speaker’s tone. (Ars Technica)
+ Microsoft is weighing up investing $10 billion into OpenAI. (Semafor)
+ DALL-E-esque AI models are creating new proteins. (NYT $)

4 The EU wants to regulate your favorite AI tools
That’ll be easier said than done, though. (MIT Technology Review)

5 The UK’s first space mission attempt was a damp squib
Virgin Orbit’s rocket carrying the first satellites to launch from Britain failed to reach altitude. (Bloomberg $)
+ An “anomaly” was to blame, apparently. (New Scientist $)
+ The crowd that gathered to watch the launch still had a great time, though. (Reuters)

6 What abortion pills represent in a post-Roe world
Anti-abortion advocates are more determined than ever—but so are their opponents. (Vox)
+ The cognitive dissonance of watching the end of Roe unfold online. (MIT Technology Review)

7 What is cancel culture without Twitter? 
If Twitter dies, there’s no obvious replacement for airing grievances. (The Atlantic $)
+ We’re witnessing the brain death of Twitter. (MIT Technology Review)

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