The Download: Music Making AI and Kasparov’s Defeat

This is today’s issue of the magazine.The Download,our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s happening in the tech world.

Google’s new artificial intelligence can hear a snippet of a song and then continue playing

The new artificial intelligence system can create natural-sounding speech and music after a few seconds of an audio request.

AudioLM, developed by Google researchers, generates sound that matches the style of the prompt, including complex sounds such as piano music or people talking, in such a way that it is almost indistinguishable from the original recording. Importantly, it does not require time-consuming transcription or tagging, unlike most other AI-generated audio files. Find out more and listen to the sounds he created here.

— Tammy Xu

I Was There When: AI Mastered Chess

I Was There When is an oral history project that is part of the award-winning In Machines We Trust podcast. It features stories of breakthroughs and tipping points in artificial intelligence and computing, told by people who witnessed them.

In the latest episode, we meet one of the world’s greatest chess players, Garry Kasparov, and find out why his loss to the IBM Deep Blue computer 25 years ago still matters today. Hear it on Apple Podcastsor where you usually go for podcasts.

Is covid and flu ‘twindemic’ approaching?

If you’re feeling a little unwell, rest assured you’re not alone. For those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere, this is exactly the time of year. This is partly why health authorities on both sides of the Atlantic are urging people to get vaccinated — both against the flu and against covid-19.

In recent months, we have heard warnings that influenza and a covid “tweendemic” are on the horizon. Should we be worried? Let our Senior Biomedical Correspondent Jessica Hamsel talk to you about the risks.

Jess’s story comes from The Checkup, her new weekly newsletter that gives you inside information on all things health and tech. Subscribe to receive it in your mailbox every Thursday.

Required Reading

I scoured the internet to find the most hilarious/important/scary/exciting tech stories to date.

1 This is what life is like in the metaverse
It can be quite fun if you can afford it. (New York Times$)
+But the Meta employees themselves aren’t convinced.. (edge)

2. A winter wave of coronavirus looks likely
And this time we are doing almost nothing to stop it. (Ars Technique)
+The long covid is still crippling millions of Americans.(Axios)
+How a Chinese doctor spent his last days, sounding the alarm because of covid.(New York Times$)

3 Elon Musk Has Three Weeks To Buy Twitter
If he fails to do so within that timeframe, the case will return to the courtroom. (Quartz)
+What’s happening?(The keeper)
+Forgot about all the ups and downs? Here’s a handy timeline.(FT$)
+Musk says he will turn Twitter into a “super app”. Here’s How These Apps Work. (BBC)

4. Self-driving cars are still on their way to nowhere.
Even after $100 billion was invested in their development. (Bloomberg$)
+Uber is still betting that it can make taxis work.(edge)
+A big new idea for self-driving cars that can go anywhere. (MIT Technology Review)

5 Google introduced two artificial intelligence systems for converting text into video.
The videos they produce are impressive and slightly unsettling. (edge)
+This is what the next generation of AI looks like.(MIT Technology Review)

6 Influencer sues TikTok over fraudulent ads that use her videos.
This type of fraudulent marketing is widespread online and there is a growing political consensus in favor of a crackdown. (VP$)

7 Cryptocurrency Exchange Binance Claims Hackers Stole $100 Million
This is another example of a bridge attack between two blockchains. (WSJ$)
+These banal hacks demonstrate that security is forgotten in the crypto industry. (MIT Technology Review)

8 Boston Dynamics has pledged not to use its robots as weapons.
Great, but the next question is: how do they stop customers from doing this? (Axios)

9 This Is Why You Can’t Tickle Yourself
Your brain knows what will happen. (Wired$)

10 Cool To Hate Sweet Corn Online
If you live in the USA, it is simply impossible to avoid this at this time of year. (Atlantic Ocean$)

Quote of the Day

“I sent it to the whole team. We did it – look at it.”

says Elena Adams, lead engineer for NASA’s asteroid-crushing DART spacecraft.New Yorkerwhat she did with telescopic pictures of the aftermath of the collision last week.

big story

The water crisis in India has already arrived. Climate change will exacerbate this.

Severe droughts have dried up rivers, reservoirs and aquifers across vast swaths of India in recent years, pushing the country’s leaky and polluted water systems to the limit.

More than 600 million Indians face severe water shortages. Seventy percent of the nation’s water supply is polluted, killing an estimated 200,000 people a year, and some 21 cities could run out of groundwater as early as next year.

Climate change will certainly exacerbate the problem. It is unclear what role warmer temperatures have played in recent droughts, as climate models mostly predict increasingly intense Indian monsoons. But the long-term forecast is that extreme events will become more extreme, threatening more frequent floods and longer droughts. Read full story.

— James Temple

We can still have good things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction during these strange times. (Any ideas?Write meorwrite me.)

+ Thislist of top 50 bars in the worldguaranteed to cause a fierce fight. Only one way to check, I guess… I better pack my bags!
+mustacheofficially back in fashion.
+ Don’t even think about visiting something new without doingvibration teston Google Maps.
+ That’s how long it takes to draw a huge (and very impressive)fresco.
+ Stephen King – fromcomedy.

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