Apple’s new security feature that prevents spyware

Exactly two weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Alexander Karp, CEO of the data analytics company Palantir, introduced himself to European leaders. With war on the horizon, Europeans should modernize their arsenals with the help of Silicon Valley, he argued in an open letter.

The army responds to the call. NATO announced on June 30 that it was creating a $1 billion innovation fund to invest in early-stage startups and venture capital funds developing “priority” technologies, while the UK launched a new artificial intelligence strategy specifically for defence, and the Germans set aside just under half a billion for research and AI.

The war in Ukraine has added urgency to the push to put more AI tools on the battlefield. Those with the most to gain are startups like Palantir, which hope to cash in as soldiers race to update their arsenals with the latest technologies. But long-standing ethical concerns about the use of AI in warfare have become more pressing as the technology becomes more advanced, while the prospect of restrictions and regulations governing its use seems as remote as ever. Read the full story.

—Melissa Heikkilä

Computers will be transformed by alternative materials and approaches—maybe sooner than you think

In less than a century, computing has transformed our society and helped fuel countless innovations. But while we owe these capabilities largely to our ability to build progressively better computing devices, the transistor at the heart of computer chips is reaching its limits.

Those on this year’s MIT Technology Review Innovators Under 35 list are reshaping computer performance and energy efficiency with fresh ideas. Read more about their exciting contributions to the next wave of computing in this essay by Prineha Narang, Howard Reiss Professor of Physical Sciences at UCLA.

This essay is part of MIT Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35 2022 package, which recognizes the most promising young people working in technology today. See the full list here.

Required reading

I combed the internet to find the funniest/most important/scary/fascinating stories about technology today.

1 The US and the UK are seriously concerned about Chinese industrial espionage
Beijing is hell-bent on stealing Western technology, these countries’ spy chiefs have warned (FT $)
+ The US is considering expanding restrictions on exports to China. (NOW $)
+ It is also pressuring the Dutch chipmaker to stop selling its equipment to China. (Bloomberg $)

2 Apple’s new security feature defends against government spyware
Activating Lockdown Mode is designed to prevent Pegasus-style spyware from transmitting data to other devices. (WP$)
+ The vast majority of iPhone users probably won’t benefit from it. (Ars Technica)

3 Why molecules could become the next microchip
Bioscience holds great promise – but progress is frustratingly slow. (FT $)
+ Biologists would love to program cells as if they were computer chips. (TR)

4 It’s a bad time to be a startup
Funding has fallen to its lowest level in three years, and more layoffs are looming. (NYT$)
+ It doesn’t look too rosy for the wider industry either. (Bloomberg $)

5 More and more women want to have their tubes tied
But they still need to convince their doctor first. (wired $)
+ Google should delete abortion search queries. (Bloomberg $)

6 Disinformation is Washington’s elephant in the room
The problem is that no one can agree on how to solve it. (NYT$)

7 Great Britain wants to make deepfake pornography illegal
The State Law Commission says current laws are not moving with the times. (FT $)
+ Deepfake pornography is ruining women’s lives. Now the law could finally ban it.
(MIT Technology Review)

8 Sorry, we don’t live in a simulation
Despite all the efforts of some theorists to convince us that we are. (thinking big)
+ This super-realistic virtual world is a driving school for AI. (MIT Technology Review)

9 Walking to earn cryptocurrencies is as pointless as it sounds
Still, people fell for it. (NY Mag $)
+ Some US cities are still pinning their hopes on cryptocurrencies. (shale)

10 viral hikes becoming a problem ⛰️
Instagram geotags cause clutter and distraction. (The Guardian)

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