The Download

What's up in emerging technology

Today Man outside with a mosquito trap.

Microsoft Announces $50 Million for Its “AI for Earth” Project

There are plenty of stories about artificial intelligence ending the world as we know it (see 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Terminator, certain Elon Musk tweets). There are fewer about how AI could save the world, but believers are out there. At a gathering… Read more

Image credit:
  • Microsoft

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Trucker on semi

Self-Driving Cars Endanger Nearly Four Million Jobs but Could Create a $7 Trillion Industry

Fully autonomous vehicles would hit the U.S. workforce hard. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 3.8 million people operate motor vehicles for their livelihood. This includes truck driving, the most common profession in 29 U.S. states,… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Joshua Sazon | Unsplash

Editor's Pick

Can China Contain Bitcoin?

It was only a matter of time before Bobby Lee, CEO of China’s longest-running Bitcoin exchange, found himself in the crosshairs of Chinese regulators. His exchange, BTCC, had occupied a gray area of Chinese law, neither licensed nor explicitly illegal....

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A new RNA drug slows down the production of a protein that leads to irreversible damage in the brain.

A New RNA Drug Could Help Slow Huntington’s Disease

A human trial shows that synthetic strands of RNA slow down the production of a protein that leads to irreversible damage in the brain.

Huntington’s disease is caused by a gene mutation that causes the body to create a rogue version of a protein called… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Gabriel González-Escamilla | Wellcome Images
It's easier to pollute under the Pruitt EPA.

Trump’s EPA Is Going Easy on Environmental Polluters

Take your pick from hazardous waste incinerators, dangerous emissions of lead, mercury toxins floating through the air, or something else equally troubling. They’re the kinds of offenses that the Environmental Protection Agency is currently failing to… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Shea Rouda | Unsplash
December 8, 2017 Artist drawing

Patreon Artists Are Struggling to Achieve a Living Wage

Things just got a bit contentious between Patreon and its artists. The platform is designed to give creators a way to get recurring donations directly from fans, the idea being that artists secure more reliable salaries—and thus the freedom to focus… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Kaizen Nguyễn | Unsplash
Is this robot coming for your job?

San Francisco Is Really, Really Worried about Robots

Well, this seems ironic. It may be home to some of the most innovative tech companies on Earth, but it appears that San Francisco has an aversion to robots. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the city has just put draconian restrictions on multi-wheeled… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Starship Technolgies

Editor's Pick

The Tax Overhaul Could Cripple the U.S. as a Leader in Science

The graduate education system in the United States is rightly considered the best in the world. But Republicans in the House of Representatives have passed a bill that would undermine America’s great universities and the nation’s preeminence in scientific...

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December 8, 2017 Tesla vehciles are getting their home-grown AI chips.

Tesla Is Building Its Own Custom AI Chips

At a party on the fringe of the year’s biggest AI conference, Elon Musk put an end to rumors about his automaker’s ambitions for AI hardware.

According to people invited to the event, Musk said he “wanted to make it clear that Tesla is serious about… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Concavo Wheels | Flickr
December 7, 2017 Red blood cells as seen under a scanning electron microscope.

The First CRISPR Studies for Inherited Disease Will Start Soon

Biotech companies have been telling us for a while now that CRISPR, the gene-editing technology, can be shaped into a radically precise form of gene therapy. Now one of them, CRISPR Therapeutics, says it’s ready to test the idea on people.

The startup… Read more

Image credit:
  • Pixnio.com