This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through February 11)


The Original Startup Behind Stable Diffusion Has Launched a Generative AI for Video
Will Douglas Heaven | MIT Technology Review
“In a demo reel posted on its website, Runway shows how its software, called Gen-1, can turn clips of people on a street into claymation puppets, or books stacked on a table into a cityscape at night. Runway hopes that Gen-1 will do for video what Stable Diffusion did for images. ‘We’ve seen a big explosion in image-generation models,’ says Runway CEO and cofounder Cristóbal Valenzuela. ‘I truly believe that 2023 is going to be the year of video.’i


A Bold Plan to Beam Solar Energy Down From Space
Ramin Skibba | Wired
“Whether you’re covering deserts, ugly parking lots, canals, or even sunny lakes with solar panels, clouds will occasionally get in the way—and every day the sun must set. No problem, says the European Space Agency: Just put the solar arrays in space. The agency recently announced a new exploratory program called Solaris, which aims to figure out if it is technologically and economically feasible to launch solar structures into orbit, use them to harness the sun’s power, and transmit energy to the ground.”


7 Problems Facing Bing, Bard, and the Future of AI Search
James Vincent | The Verge
“Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, describes the changes as a new paradigm—a technological shift equal in impact to the introduction of graphical user interfaces or the smartphone. And with that shift comes the potential to redraw the landscape of modern tech—to dethrone Google and drive it from one of the most profitable territories in modern business. Even more, there’s the chance to be the first to build what comes after the web. But each new era of tech comes with new problems, and this one is no different.”


Electric Vehicles Could Match Gasoline Cars on Price This Year
Jack Ewing | The New York Times
“Increased competition, government incentives and falling prices for lithium and other battery materials are making electric vehicles noticeably more affordable. The tipping point when electric vehicles become as cheap as or cheaper than cars with internal combustion engines could arrive this year for some mass market models and is already the case for some luxury vehicles.”


Researchers Discover a More Flexible Approach to Machine Learning
Steven Nadis | Quanta
“Apart from applications like autonomous driving and flight, liquid networks seem well suited to the analysis of electric power grids, financial transactions, weather and other phenomena that fluctuate over time. In addition, Hasani said, the latest version of liquid networks can be used “to perform brain activity simulations at a scale not realizable before.’i


Rolls-Royce Nuclear Engine Could Power Quick Trips to the Moon and Mars
Kevin Hurler | Gizmodo
“The British aerospace engineering company says it’s developing a micro-nuclear reactor that the company hopes could be a source of fuel for long trips to the Moon and Mars. …Since the nuclear reactor won’t have to carry as much fuel as a chemical propulsion rocket, the entire system will be lighter allowing for faster travel or increased payloads.”


The Generative AI Race Has a Dirty Secret
Chris Stokel-Walker | Wired
“The race to build high-performance, AI-powered search engines is likely to require a dramatic rise in computing power, and with it a massive increase in the amount of energy that tech companies require and the amount of carbon they emit. …Martin Bouchard, cofounder of Canadian data center company QScale, believes that, based on his reading of Microsoft and Google’s plans for search, adding generative AI to the process will require ‘at least four or five times more computing per search’ at a minimum.”


We Were Promised Smaller Nuclear Reactors. Where Are They?
Casey Crownhart | MIT Technology Review
“For over a decade, we’ve heard that small reactors could be a big part of nuclear power’s future. “Because of their size, small modular reactors (SMRs) could solve some of the major challenges of traditional nuclear power, making plants quicker and cheaper to build and safer to operate. “That future may have just gotten a little closer.”


How Our Reality May Be a Sum of All Possible Realities
Charlie Wood | Quanta
“The most powerful formula in physics starts with a slender S, the symbol for a sort of sum known as an integral. Further along comes a second S, representing a quantity known as action. Together, these twin S’s form the essence of an equation that is arguably the most effective diviner of the future yet devised. The oracular formula is known as the Feynman path integral. As far as physicists can tell, it precisely predicts the behavior of any quantum system—an electron, a light ray or even a black hole.”

Image Credit: Miti / Unsplash

* This article was originally published at Singularity Hub

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