Monday, March 4

Technology

Bitcoin Soars on Hopes of Investment Fund Approval
Technology

Bitcoin Soars on Hopes of Investment Fund Approval

Bitcoin bulls have brushed off a sweeping legal crackdown against some of the biggest players in the cryptocurrency industry, high interest rates and global recession concerns to push the digital currency’s value close to a 20-month high this week.The digital coin traded at around $41,700 on Tuesday morning, after pushing past $42,000 the day before. It has gained roughly 150 percent this year, far outperforming the Nasdaq composite index, as investors bet that regulators will soon approve the first spot exchange-traded fund that is designed to track the price of Bitcoin.Investment management specialists are swarming. Thirteen firms, including BlackRock, Fidelity and the Swiss-based Pando Asset, have filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission to create such an E.T.F.An E.T...
Technology

One Year of ChatGPT: How A.I. Changed Silicon Valley Forever

At 1 p.m. on a Friday shortly before Christmas last year, Kent Walker, Google’s top lawyer, summoned four of his employees and ruined their weekend.The group worked in SL1001, a bland building with a blue glass facade betraying no sign that dozens of lawyers inside were toiling to protect the interests of one of the world’s most influential companies. For weeks they had been prepping for a meeting of powerful executives to discuss the safety of Google’s products. The deck was done. But that afternoon Mr. Walker told his team the agenda had changed, and they would have to spend the next few days preparing new slides and graphs.In fact, the entire agenda of the company had changed — all in the course of nine days. Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, had decided to ready a slate of produ...
Technology

Brain Implants Helped 5 People Recover From Traumatic Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries have left more than five million Americans permanently disabled. They have trouble focusing on even simple tasks and often have to quit jobs or drop out of school.A study published on Monday has offered them a glimpse of hope. Five people with moderate to severe brain injuries had electrodes implanted in their heads. As the electrodes stimulated their brains, their performance on cognitive tests improved.If the results hold up in larger clinical trials, the implants could become the first effective therapy for chronic brain injuries, the researchers said.“This is the first evidence that you can move the dial for this problem,” said Dr. Nicholas Schiff, a neurologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York who led the study.Gina Arata, one of the volunteers who receiv...
Technology

Don’t Be Afraid of the iPhone’s NameDrop Feature, Experts Say

Police departments from New Jersey to California have been sounding the alarm in recent days about NameDrop, a new feature of the Apple iPhone’s latest operating system that allows users to wirelessly exchange contact information.Apple declined to comment, but experts say the warnings that “scammers and thieves” could exploit the feature to harvest a user’s personal information appear to be overblown, if not entirely unfounded.For starters, the devices must be practically touching for NameDrop to work, and both users must agree to share the information.Mark Bartholomew, a law professor who focuses on cyber law at the University at Buffalo, said that NameDrop had enough stopgaps in place to prevent someone’s information from being stolen.“To the extent there’s panic here about nonconsensual...
Technology

Who’s Who Behind the Dawn of the Modern Artificial Intelligence Movement

While artificial intelligence has taken the limelight over the past year, technology that can appear to operate like human brains has been top of mind for researchers, investors and tech executives in Silicon Valley and beyond for more than a decade.Here are some of the people involved in the origins of the modern A.I. movement who have influenced the technology’s development.Credit...Jim Wilson/The New York TimesSam AltmanMr. Altman is the chief executive of OpenAI, the San Francisco A.I. lab that made the chatbot ChatGPT that went viral over the past year and ushered in recognition of the power of generative artificial intelligence. Mr. Altman helped start OpenAI after meeting with Elon Musk about the technology in 2015. At the time, Mr. Altman ran Y Combinator, the Silicon Valley start-...
Technology

How Elon Musk and Larry Page’s AI Debate Led to OpenAI and an Industry Boom

Elon Musk celebrated his 44th birthday in July 2015 at a three-day party thrown by his wife at a California wine country resort dotted with cabins. It was family and friends only, with children racing around the upscale property in Napa Valley.This was years before Twitter became X and Tesla had a profitable year. Mr. Musk and his wife, Talulah Riley — an actress who played a beautiful but dangerous robot on HBO’s science fiction series “Westworld” — were a year from throwing in the towel on their second marriage. Larry Page, a party guest, was still the chief executive of Google. And artificial intelligence had pierced the public consciousness only a few years before, when it was used to identify cats on YouTube — with 16 percent accuracy.A.I. was the big topic of conversation when Mr. Mu...
Technology

London’s Black Cabs Can Soon Join Uber. But Will They?

Drivers for London’s black cabs will soon be able to offer rides on Uber, the ride-hailing platform announced on Wednesday, in the latest attempt to heal a contentious rift between the company and the city’s signature taxi service.The service is set to be offered in early 2024 and will allow black cabs to see a destination up front and book passengers through the Uber app. But will cabbies sign up?The two have been adversaries since the app’s arrival in London more than a decade ago, which rocked the taxi trade. London’s black cabs, also known as hackney carriages, have traversed the capital in one form or another since 1634, and cabbies must pass “the Knowledge,” known as the world’s toughest taxi exam, to earn their badges.Uber, on the other hand, has a lower barrier to entry for its dri...
Technology

4,789 Facebook Accounts in China Impersonated Americans, Meta Says

Meta announced on Thursday that it had removed thousands of Facebook accounts based in China that were impersonating Americans debating political issues in the United States. The company warned that the campaign presaged coordinated international efforts to influence the 2024 presidential election.The network of fake accounts — 4,789 in all — used names and photographs lifted from elsewhere on the internet and copied partisan political content from X, formerly known as Twitter, Meta said in its latest quarterly adversarial threat analysis. The copied material included posts by prominent Republican and Democratic politicians, the report said.The campaign appeared intended not to favor one side or another but to highlight the deep divisions in American politics, a tactic that Russia’s influe...
Technology

Inside Kick, an Upstart Streaming Competitor to Twitch

One day this summer, the internet personality Adin Ross switched on his camera and started broadcasting himself live to thousands of fans, sipping a Yerba Mate drink and nodding along to Lil Uzi.Mr. Ross soon cut the music and started talking, assuring his fans that he would livestream Jake Paul’s upcoming boxing match, even though it would violate copyright laws. “I’ll pay the fines,” he promised them. Later, he streamed himself playing online slot machines and blackjack on a gambling site, Stake. Once, he streamed pornography. He has hosted Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist, and Andrew Tate, the online influencer known for his misogyny who faces human-trafficking charges. As Mr. Ross streams, his viewers post a torrent of messages in his channel’s chat feature — some celebrating him, som...
Technology

Netflix Builds a ‘Squid Game’ Universe as It Awaits a Second Season

On the same soundstage where Bob Barker lorded over “The Price Is Right,” “Squid Game” is coming to life.On Wednesday, Netflix will unveil its latest live experience, based on the dystopian hit show in which desperate South Koreans competed in a brutal contest of simple schoolyard games for a prize of 45.6 billion won (around $38 million). Winners moved closer to the money. Losers died. The live attraction mimics both the popular iconography of the series — the massive piggy bank filled with cash, a giant animatronic doll named Young-hee, the sterile white dormitory — and the childish games.For $30, fans of “Squid Game” will compete in some 70 minutes of play, with moral twists and turns and six group activities, including the schoolyard race Red Light, Green Light and a nonlethal version ...