The Download: Vine revisited, and AI ethicist burnout

The Download: Vine revisited, and AI ethicist burnout

Good news, everyone: Vine (probably) is coming back. The much beloved short-form-video-sharing app ran from just 2012 to 2017, when it was cut off in its prime. It still holds a special place in the hearts of many millennials. It was the last great stand before the social media revolution.

The fact that so many hold a candle to Vine may be why Elon Musk is being criticized as he takes control of Twitter and makes drastic staff cuts and changes in the policies of the social media platform.

But Musk shouldn’t be discouraged from relaunching Vine. It’s not just the prospect that he can wrangle decade-old code into a shippable form. It’s unlikely that Vine will be remembered by those who have moved on to TikTok, despite the nostalgia it inspires. Read the complete story .

–Chris Stokel-Walker

How to survive as an AI ethicist

It’s never been more important for companies to ensure that their AI systems function safely, especially as new laws to hold them accountable kick in. While the creation of responsible AI teams is supposed to be a top priority, investment in it is still low.

These workers are subject to a lot of pressure from their employers to solve big, complex problems without proper support. They also face an almost constant stream of criticism online. These issues can be particularly difficult for women, people of colour, and other marginalized groups who gravitate to AI ethics jobs. AI ethicists are becoming increasingly scarce, and it is affecting the entire field. Read full story .

–Melissa Heikkila

Melissa’s story is from The Algorithm, our new weekly newsletter covering all things AI. Sign up and receive it in your email every Monday.

The must-reads

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

1 The crypto industry is trying to get out the vote
The problem for that plan is that crypto owners don’t all lean the same way politically. (Recode)
Celebrities are forgetting they used to endorse crypto. (The Information $)
It’s okay to opt out of the crypto revolution. (MIT Technology Review)

2 Mark Zuckerberg is making himself unpopular with shareholders
He’s plowing more money into the metaverse, despite their protestations. (FT $)
Facebook has lost close to $800 billion of its market capitalization in a year. (Motherboard)

3 Fighting climate change shouldn’t be left to consumers
We can only achieve big results when governments and businesses pitch in too. (Vox $)
Children in the US aren’t being taught about climate change. (NYT $)
Climate action is gaining momentum. The disasters are also increasing in number. (MIT Technology Review)

4 The creeping, concerning rise of Rumble
The right-wing’s go-to video site is gaining traction, as Big Tech falters. (The Atlantic $)
Donald Trump’s Truth Social platform is growing too. (NYT $)

5 Chinese crime networks are duping Facebook users into modern slavery
Victims are forced into running phone scams and bogus crypto schemes. (LA Times $)

6 Gaming companies can’t ignore mobile anymore
Not everyone has a console, but almost everyone has a phone. (Protocol)

7 The future of plastics could be plant-based
The trick is to crack making them in large enough quantities. (Wired $)
Australia’s New South Wales state is cracking down on single-use plastic. (BBC)

8 India’s female tech workers are pushing back against sexism
And it’s women from disadvantaged backgrounds who are suffering the most. (Rest of World)
Why can’t tech fix its gender problem? (MIT Technology Review)

9 Returning to the office isn’t so bad, after all
But only if workers feel the commute is worth their while. (NYT $)
Bosses need to be consistent when deciding who comes in. (Insider $)
Not all offices look the same as they did. (Economist $)

10 How to (temporarily) almost eradicate mosquitoes
A little bit of genetic editing could help to stop the spread of Zika and, eventually, malaria. (New Scientist $)
The new malaria vaccine might not be perfect, but it will save countless lives. (MIT Technology Review)

Quote of the day

“$20 a month to keep my blue check? They should pay me, they are fucking it. “

–Author Stephen King makes his feelings on Twitter’s new plan to charge verified users to maintain their verified status extremely clear.

The big story

South Africa’s private surveillance machine is fueling a digital apartheid

April 2022

Thami Nkosi points to the telltale black box atop a utility pole on a street once home to two Nobel Peace Prize laureates: South Africa’s first Black president, Nelson Mandela, and the anti-apartheid activist and theologian Desmond Tutu. Nkosi said that it always happens this way. The fiber first, then the surveillance cameras. Without reliable connectivity, the cameras are ineffective. They cannot send their video feeds back into a control room for human and algorithm monitoring.

This street is Vilakazi Street, a historic suburb in Johannesburg. It is home to a unique surveillance model that has been influenced by the global surveillance industry. It’s already fueling digital apartheid and destroying people’s democratic freedoms, according to civil rights activists. Read the full story.

–Karen Hao & Heidi Swart

We can still have nice things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these weird times. Have any other ideas? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me. )

A handy guide to improve your chances of successful seeds (thanks Ralph!)
If you’ve got any Halloween candy left over, see how it measures up in this Highly Official ranking.
This gorgeous little seal has made my day.
Consider this a sign to start your very own tiny vintage computer museum.
As if you needed another reason to want to visit Europe, here are some of its friendliest cities.

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