The Download: China’s chiplets, and OpenAI’s DALL-E 3 watermarking


This is today's edition of The download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what's happening in the world of tech.

Why China is betting big on chiplets

Over the past two years, US sanctions have put China's semiconductor industry in a bind. Chinese companies can still make chips for today's uses, but they are not allowed to import certain chipmaking technologies, making it almost impossible to produce more advanced products.

There is a workaround, however. A technology known as chiplets now offers China a way to circumvent these export bans, build some degree of autonomy and keep pace with other countries, particularly the United States.

Chipsets are one of several ways the semiconductor industry could continue to increase the computing power of chips despite their physical limitations. But for Chinese chipmakers, the chipsets could reduce the time and costs needed to develop more powerful chips domestically and supply vital and growing technology sectors like AI. Read the full story.

—Zeyi Yang

If you want to know more about Wuxi, the center of potato chip packaging, check out the latest edition of China Reportour weekly newsletter covering technology and energy in the country. Register to receive it in your inbox every Tuesday.

Chipsets were one of our 10 revolutionary technologies of 2024. Read more here.

Essential readings

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

1 DALL-E 3 will embed images with watermarks and metadata
Which should make it much easier to identify whether an image is generated by AI. (The edge)
+ Meta believes that an industry-wide standard form of labeling would make sense. (New York Times $)
+ OpenAI and DeepMind are growing impatient with the British government. (FT $)

2 Texas telecom companies accused of making fake calls with Biden
Between 5,000 and 25,000 fake calls were made urging people not to vote. (Policy)

3 Coalition of US states push for heat pumps in your home
So let's hope that the industry can produce enough to meet demand. (Wired $)
+ Everything you need to know about the wild world of heat pumps. (MIT Technology Review)

4 Google parts company with human AI training team
Its AI could end up training other AI systems in place of human annotators. (Rest of the world)
+ The people paid to train the AI ​​outsource their work…to the AI. (MIT Technology Review)

5 Abortion access activists support the Democratic Party
They put aside concerns about Roe and pro-choice messaging to focus on the bigger picture. (Voice)
+ A controversial study on the abortion pill has been withdrawn. (Wired $)
+ Texas is trying new tactics to restrict access to abortion pills online. (MIT Technology Review)

6AI makes complex chip design easier
Which is convenient, given that there aren't enough American engineers to meet the challenge. (WSJ $)
+ These simple design rules could shake up the chip industry. (MIT Technology Review)

7 Anyone Can Join Bluesky Now
The question is how many people are still looking for an alternative to Twitter. (Bloomberg $)
+ Have you ever skied? (TechCrunch)
+ Decentralized social media services were one of our breakthrough technologies for 2024. (MIT Technology Review)

8 The race is on to find the submerged cities before it's too late
Climate change and coastal development are making the task significantly more difficult. (Motherboard)
+ An asteroid sample could hold clues to other ocean-covered worlds. (New scientist $)

9 Boston Dynamics' Atlas robot gets better at lifting
Thanks to a pair of sleek new hands. (Ars Technica)

10 giraffes could be the next victim of Chinese social media censorship
An innocuous article about animals snowballed into a hotbed of economic discontent. (Insider $)
+ China now wants to censor online comments. (MIT Technology Review)

Quote of the day

“I just want peace in the world.”

—GPT-4-Base, a version of OpenAI's AI model that has not been refined with human feedback, explains its reasoning for launching nuclear weapons in a conflict simulation, Motherboard reports.

The big story

Uighurs outside China are traumatized. Now they start talking about it

June 2021

The Uyghur diaspora was forced to witness from afar the disappearance of their loved ones and the erasure of a way of life. This trauma has triggered a mental health crisis that diaspora leaders say is all too apparent.

Many are reluctant to seek help, leaving community needs undervalued and unmet. But a small group of outspoken Uighurs is trying to change that. Using social media, they start conversations about grief and mental health and, through telehealth, connect people across the country with volunteer therapists. Read the full story.

—Andrew McCormick

We can still have beautiful things

A place of comfort, pleasure and distraction in these strange times. (You have any ideas ? Send me a message Or tweet them to me.)

+ Kimchi udon? Yes please!
+ Aww, spare a thought for the recently grounded Ingenuity Helicopteranchored forever in the dusty plains of Mars.
+ This baby rhino it's just too cute
+ It's almost time for the Super Bowl, which means it's also time to get cracking tasty dips.
+ Cozy Cardio It sounds right up my street.





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