Apple’s New Spyware-Disrupting Government Security Feature

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Exactly two weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Alexander Karp, the CEO of data analytics company Palantir, delivered his pitch to European leaders. With war just around the corner, Europeans should modernize their arsenals with the help of Silicon Valley, he argued in an open letter.

Soldiers respond to the call. NATO announced on June 30 that it is establishing a $1 billion innovation fund that will invest in early stage startups and venture capital funds developing “priority” technologies, while the UK has launched a new defense-specific AI strategy, and the Germans have just under half a billion for research and AI.

The war in Ukraine has increased the urgency to push more AI tools onto the battlefield. Those with the most to gain are startups like Palantir, which hope to make money as soldiers race to update their arsenals with the latest technologies. But the long-standing ethical concerns about the use of AI in warfare have become more pressing as the technology becomes more sophisticated, while the prospect of restrictions and regulations on its use seems as distant as ever. Read the full story.

—Melissa Heikkilä

Computers will be transformed by alternative materials and approaches – perhaps sooner than you think

In less than a century, computers have transformed our society and fueled countless innovations. But while we owe these capabilities fundamentally to our ability to build ever better computing devices, the transistor at the heart of computer chips is reaching its limits.

This year’s list from the MIT Technology Review Innovators under 35 list overhaul computer performance and energy efficiency with fresh ideas. Learn about their exciting contributions to the next wave of computing in this essay by Prineha Narang, the Howard Reiss Chair Professor of Physical Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles.

This essay is part of MIT Technology Review’s 2022 Innovators under 35 package recognizing the most promising young people currently working in technology. View the full list here

The must reads

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

1 US and UK deeply concerned about China’s industrial espionage
Beijing is determined to steal Western technology, the country’s spy chiefs warned (FT
+ The US is weighing up increasing restrictions on exports to China. †NYT
It is also pressuring a Dutch chipmaker to stop selling its equipment to China. †Bloomberg

2 Apple’s new security feature protects against government spyware
Activating Lockdown Mode is designed to prevent Pegasus-like spyware from sending data to other devices. †WP
+ It is unlikely that the vast majority of iPhone users will ever benefit from it. †Ars Technica

3 Why molecules could become the next microchip
Life science shows promise, but progress is frustratingly slow. †FT
+ Biologists would like to program cells as if they were computer chips. (TR)

4 It’s A Bad Time To Be A Startup
Funding has fallen to its lowest level in three years and more layoffs are looming. †NYT
Things aren’t looking too rosy for the wider industry, either. †Bloomberg

5 More and more women want their tubes tied up
But they still have to convince their doctor first. †wired
+ Google should remove searches about abortion. †Bloomberg

6 Disinformation Is Washington’s Elephant In The Room
The problem is that no one can agree on how to approach it. †NYT

7 The UK Wants To Make Deepfake Porn Illegal
The country’s Law Commission says current laws have not moved with the times. †FT
+ Deepfake porn is ruining women’s lives. Now the law can finally ban it.
(MIT Technology Review)

8 Sorry, we don’t live in a simulation
Despite the efforts of some theorists to convince us that we are. †Big Thinking
+ This super realistic virtual world is a driving school for AI. (MIT Technology Review)

9 Walking To Earn Crypto Is As Pointless As It Sounds
Yet people have fallen for it. †NY Mag
+ Some US cities are still pinning their hopes on crypto. †Slate

10 Viral Walks Becoming a Problem ⛰️
Instagram geotags are causing overcrowding and disruption. †the guard