This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through August 26)

Meta Is Building a Space-Age ‘Universal Language Translator’
Alex Blake | Digital Trends
“When you think of tools infused with artificial intelligence (AI) these days, it’s natural for ChatGPT and Bing Chat to spring to mind. But Facebook owner Meta wants to change that with SeamlessM4T, an AI-powered ‘universal language translator’ that could instantly convert any language in the world into whatever output you want.”

Brain Implants That Help Paralyzed People Speak Just Broke New Records
Emily Mullin | Wired
Two new studies show that AI-powered devices can help paralyzed people communicate faster and more accurately. ...’It is now possible to imagine a future where we can restore fluid conversation to someone with paralysis, enabling them to freely say whatever they want to say with an accuracy high enough to be understood reliably,’ said Frank Willett, a research scientist at Stanford University’s Neural Prosthetics Translational Laboratory, during a media briefing on Tuesday.”

The Re-Flight of a Rutherford Engine Demonstrates Rocket Reuse Is Here to Stay
Eric Berger | Ars Technica
“Whereas SpaceX was the anomaly in 2015 when it first landed an orbital booster and then flew a first stage for the second time in 2017, the company is now not alone. Nearly every commercial development program for medium- and heavy-lift rockets in the world today has a component of reusability… With Rocket Lab, this is no longer theoretical. It is happening. And this trend, which seemed so improbable as recently as five to seven years ago, now seems irreversible.”

New Robot Searches for Solar Cell Materials 14 Times Faster
Dina Genkina | Ars Technica
“To cut down on [the manual task of making new materials], Amassian’s team built a robot, lovingly named RoboMapper. …The ability to position hundreds of tiny samples on a single chip, a task impossible with human-level dexterity, enables researchers to test all these samples simultaneously using various diagnostic tools. The researchers say this speeds up the synthesis and characterization of materials by a factor of 14 compared to manual exploration and by a factor of nine compared to other automated methods.”

This Is Apptronik’s Humanoid Robot, Apollo
Brian Heater | Tech Crunch
“The ultimate efficacy of a humanoid robot is still very much an open question—but it’s one a lot of founders and backers believe in. To date there’s 1X, Figure, Sanctuary AI and—arguably—Agility. There’s also Apptronik—though the Austin-based firm is hardly a newcomer to the scene. …[This week], the company has released a series of videos featuring the robot performing a variety of different tasks, including walking, unloading trailers, palletizing, and case picking.”

India Becomes the Fourth Country Ever to Land on the Moon
Passant Rabie | Gizmodo
“Chandrayaan-3 proved India has what it takes to land on the Moon, and ISRO now has big plans moving forward. Following the successful touchdown of the mission, space agency officials stated that they are now aiming to launch the first astronaut from India to space, as well as send a mission to Mars and Venus. Things are looking good for India’s space program as a new space race to the moon starts to take shape.”

Alphabet’s Wing Partners With Walmart for Drone Deliveries in Dallas
Emma Roth | The Verge
In an announcement on Thursday, Walmart says the partnership will allow the retailer to deliver to an additional 60,000 homes. In the coming weeks, Wing will start delivering out of a Walmart Supercenter in Frisco, Texas, before expanding to a second nearby store by the end of this year. The company will make deliveries to homes within six miles of the stores, with deliveries arriving ‘in under 30 minutes.’i” 


My Books Were Used to Train AI
Stephen King | The Atlantic
“I have said in one of my few forays into nonfiction (On Writing) that you can’t learn to write unless you’re a reader, and unless you read a lot. AI programmers have apparently taken this advice to heart. Because the capacity of computer memory is so large—everything I ever wrote could fit on one thumb drive, a fact that never ceases to blow my mind—these programmers can dump thousands of books into state-of-the-art digital blenders. Including, it seems, mine. The real question is whether you get a sum that’s greater than the parts, when you pour back out.”

Some of the Thorniest Questions About AI Will Be Answered in Court
Ryan Tracy | The Wall Street Journal
“Congress and the White House are talking about regulating artificial intelligence, but courts might well decide some of the most economically significant questions about the booming technology. Since the late 2022 launch of ChatGPT, the viral AI-powered chatbot, a flurry of suits has targeted AI purveyors including OpenAI, Microsoft, Google, and Meta Platforms.”

Image Credit: Steven Wei / Unsplash

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