The best of Emtech 2022 and mid-term US misinformation

Last week, the MIT Technology Review brought together some of the world’s sharpest minds dedicated to developing technologies that change the way we live. EmTech, our annual flagship event covering cutting-edge developments and global trends, heard from experts working in fields as diverse as space commercialization to CRISPR gene editing, helping to set the agenda for the year ahead and beyond. A huge thank you to everyone who attended in person and online!

Here are just some of the highlights from the action-packed program:

+ Kiran Musunuru, a leading American cardiologist, pioneered the use of gene editing to treat heart disease. He sat down with Antonio Regalado, our senior biotech writer, to discuss a clinical trial he’s overseeing to evaluate whether changing a gene that regulates cholesterol can help prevent future deaths from heart disease.

+ Alla Weinstein, the co-founder of offshore wind company Trident Winds, discussed the ocean’s incredible potential for generating clean energy, an area the Biden administration is particularly excited about. “The ocean itself has more energy than we ever need, as long as we can capture it,” she told the audience.

+ Frank McCourt, a civic entrepreneur and CEO of investment firm McCourt Global, took the stage to outline his vision for a new Internet focused on equality rather than the current model, which he says is built on an unequal distribution of power. He explained why the US should look to Europe for lessons on data privacy, why the status quo threatens democracy, and why now is the perfect time to try to fix our broken model.

+ Hugh Herr is a professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab and co-director of the K. Lisa Yang Center for Bionics. He gave us a sneak peek at the fascinating projects he and his lab are working on, including helping amputees who need prosthetics in Sierra Leone and the exciting future of exoskeletons.

+ Will Douglas Haven, our senior AI editor, chaired an exciting panel with Ashley Lawrencevice president and managing director of Microsoft Research, Jan LekunVice President and Chief AI Scientist at Meta, and Raya Hadsell, Senior Director of Research and Robotics at DeepMind. They discussed everything from the definition of AI to the importance of reinforcement learning.

If you missed it, you can re-read our live blogs from the two days of live events or register for EmTech Digital, our signature AI conference, starting in March 2023.

The required readings

I’ve scoured the internet to find you today’s funniest/important/scary/fascinating tech stories.

1 Misinformation is circulating on social media ahead of US midterm exams
Despite the repeated promises of the big platforms, they are trying to fight it. (WP$)
+ Twitter, in particular, is at risk of hosting political fakery. (FT$)
+ How Republicans mutually supported the lies about the attack on Pelosi. (NOW $)
+ The US economy could be the biggest turning point this week. (BBC)

2 Twitter is asking some fired employees to return to work
Some of the workers were allegedly fired “in error.” (Bloomberg $)
+ Jack Dorsey apologizes for growing too fast on Twitter, apparently. (On the edge)
+ The founder of Mastodon is not a big fan of Elon Musk. (Time $)
+ Here’s how to find your favorite Mastodon Twitter accounts. (with cable $)

3 What’s next for covid vaccines?
No more needles, potentially. (Knowable magazine)
+ Two inhaled covid vaccines have been approved. (MIT Technology Review)

4 Crypto is trying to revive British lower league football
Crypto millionaire wants to play Ted Lasso with lowly Crawley Town. (NYT$)
+ Binance boss sells its tokens on rival exchange FTX. (CoinDesk)

5 TikTok’s algorithm isn’t as powerful as you think
Much of its stickiness lies in our dependence on the phone. (with cable $)
+ What serves you depends on unknown factors. (The Keeper)
+ How aspiring influencers are forced to fight the algorithm. (MIT Technology Review)

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