This week’s awesome tech stories on the web (until October 29)

Neoplants Bioengineers Indoor Plants for Use as Air Purifiers
Romain Dillet | Tech Crunch
“Neoplants specifically targets a group of indoor air pollutants that traditional air purifiers cannot effectively capture. Most air purifiers focus on particles. But it is more difficult to tackle volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This is why Neoplants focuses on two categories of VOCs: formaldehyde (HCHO) and benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX). These pollutants come from outdoor pollution, but also from materials used in construction, such as paints, coatings and chemicals.

This robotic tentacle gripper is soft, practical and terrifying
Jacques-Vincent | The edge
“Hands, man, that’s a hard gig to beat. Four fingers? An opposable thumb? A design classic. But that has never stopped scientists from trying to surpass what nature has perfected. … Instead of robot hands, they use suction cups and inflatable balloons. Or, in this case, pneumatic tentacles. This means that Mr. Jelly Hands doesn’t need to have a special smart brain to function. Essentially, you can just throw it in the general direction of the object you want to pick up, puff up the tentacles, and it’ll cling on as best it can.

Machine learning could dramatically speed up the search for new metals
Tammy Xu | MIT Technology Review
“Machine learning could help develop new types of metals with useful properties, such as resistance to temperature extremes and rust resistance, new research suggests. This could be useful in a range of sectors – for example, metals that perform well at lower temperatures could improve spacecraft, while metals that resist corrosion could be used for boats and submarines.

What if we didn’t have to test new drugs on animals?
Emilie Sohn | Neo.Life
“Enshrined in law, [the bipartisan FDA Modernization Act 2.0] would eliminate an 85-year-old requirement that drug companies must test drugs on animals before beginning clinical trials on humans and instead usher in a new era of cell-based or computer-based testing.


Scientists manipulate dreams with sound to help nightmare sufferers
Ed Cara | Gizmodo
“Freddy Krueger has a new problem to deal with. Researchers say they may have found a better way to fend off frightening nightmares: a dose of his played during sleep. The method could increase the effectiveness of a treatment existing therapy for people suffering from chronic nightmares.

On eve of first launch, Relativity Space seeks to join SpaceX as ‘disruptor’
Eric Berger | Ars-Berger
I“Almost from the start of the company, I wanted to build a competitor to Falcon 9, because I really think it’s needed in the market,” said Tim Ellis, co-founder and chief executive of Relativity Space, in a statement. interview with Ars. Terran 1’s impending test flight may have a lighthearted name – good luck, have fun – but it has a serious purpose. Relativity needs to show customers that its new take on 3D-printed rockets is viable. »

Andreessen Horowitz got into crypto at the worst possible time
Berber Jin | The Wall Street Journal
“While cryptocurrency prices soared last year, no investor has bet more on the sector than Andreessen Horowitz. … Prices for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have plunged this year in amid a broad market downturn, wiping out billions of dollars in paper earnings for Andreessen’s funds Consumer demand has vanished for some of the company’s hottest crypto startups, while others are subject to increased scrutiny by regulators.

Ford CEO Farley Explains Business Factors Behind Argo AI Shutdown
A. Tarantole | Tech Crunch
I“It is estimated that more than one hundred billion has been invested in the promise of level four autonomy”, [Farley] said during the [company’s Q3 earnings call], “And yet no one has defined a profitable business model at scale.” In short, Ford is refocusing its investments away from the longer-term goal of Level 4 autonomy (it’s a vehicle capable of navigating without human intervention although manual control is still an option) for the short-term gains faster in L2+ autonomy and faster L3 .”

Brightest space explosion ever reveals possible hints of dark matter
Jonathan O’Callaghan | Quantum
“A recent gamma-ray burst known as BOAT – ‘the brightest of all time’ – appears to have produced a high-energy particle that shouldn’t exist. … So, how did it come to this? One possibility is that, following the gamma-ray burst, a high-energy photon was converted into an axion-like particle. Axions are hypothesized light particles that may explain dark matter; axion-like particles are thought to be slightly heavier.

AIs get smarter if you tell them to think step by step
Chris Stokel Walker | new scientist
“Telling AI models to ‘think’ step by step when performing a task can improve their performance so much that they can outperform humans in tasks that AIs typically struggle with. … Without the chain of thought prompt, AI models were only better than humans in four to six of 23 tasks, depending on the model used. With prompting, AIs were better than humans on 10-17 of the tasks.

Shutterstock partners with OpenAI to sell AI-generated artwork and compensate artists
Benj Edwards | Ars-Technica
“Today, Shutterstock announced its partnership with OpenAI to provide AI image synthesis services using the DALL-E API. Once the service is available, the company says it will allow customers to generate images based on text prompts. Responding to prevailing ethical criticisms of AI-generated artwork, Shutterstock also says it will reward artists “whose artwork has helped develop AI models.”I

Getty Images CEO says companies rushing to sell AI art could be entering illegal territory
Jacques-Vincent | The edge
“Getty Images CEO Craig Peters has criticized companies that are ‘rushing’ to market AI art generators, saying the companies don’t think through the technology’s potential legal and ethical risks. “I think we are watching some reckless organizations, individuals and companies […] I think the fact that these issues are not addressed is the problem here. In some cases they are just thrown by the wayside. I think it’s dangerous. I don’t think it’s responsible. I think it might be illegal,’ [Peters said].”

Image credit: NASA/Swift/A. Beardmore (University of Leicester)

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