The Download: Language-preserving AI, and hackers showed it’s frighteningly easy to breach critical infrastructure

The must-reads

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

1 We need to prepare for the war in Ukraine to last indefinitely

It’s been eight weeks since the invasion, with no sign of a conclusion to the conflict. (Foreign Affairs)
+ Ukraine is concerned that Chinese-made drones are sabotaging its defenses. (WSJ $)
+ Russia has banned Kamala Harris and other US officials from entering the country. (Reuters)
+ Russian troops are blockading a steel mill with 2,000 Ukrainian fighters inside. (NYT $)
+ The World Bank is anticipating a catastrophic global food crisis. (BBC)
+ Russia plans to “falsify” an independence referendum in southern Ukraine, says Zelensky. (The Guardian)

2 Elon Musk says he’s lined up $46.5 billion to buy Twitter
Which is an awful lot of money, even for someone as wealthy as him. (WSJ $)
+ He says he wants free speech on the platform, but he’s spent years trying to silence his own critics is pretty thin-skinned to criticism. (Bloomberg $)
+ Musk also appears dead-set on turning back time to when tweets had fewer consequences. (New Yorker $)

3 Zero-day hacks are the rich cybercriminal’s weapon of choice
They’re eye-wateringly expensive, but incredibly effective. (TR)
+ Google is fixing more zero-day flaws targeting Chrome. (ZDNet)

4 Microbial jet fuel could help cut carbon emissions from flying 🍃
If (a big if) it can be proven to work at scale. (TR)
+ Another way to lower greenhouse emissions? Sue the producers. (The Economist $)

5 The EU is set to announce a new law forcing Big Tech to police illegal content
If it goes through, it means they’ll no longer be allowed to mark their own homework. (FT $)
+ It could leave the biggest companies vulnerable to fines of billions of dollars. (Bloomberg $)
+ As ever, the biggest companies are less than thrilled by the prospect. (Bloomberg $)
+ And marketers won’t be happy either. (The Drum $)

6 Regulation alone can’t combat disinformation
Disinformation is dangerous, but flawed methods to tackle it can be terrible too. (The Atlantic $)
+ YouTube is more likely to reinforce extreme views than to introduce you to them. (NYT $)
+ Big Tech has made democracy more vulnerable, Obama says. (WP $)

7 Sheryl Sandberg reportedly persuaded journalists not to write about her then-boyfriend
Partly because it would have harmed her reputation as a champion of women. (WSJ $)

8 Someone in the UK has had covid for more than a year
Doctors say we need better treatments for people battling persistent infections. (The Guardian)
+ New global covid cases were down by nearly a quarter last week. (The Guardian)

9 Installing smart home tech in rental properties is a thorny privacy issue
On one hand, it’s convenient. On the other: it’s a web-enabled surveillance network. (WSJ $)
+ Amazon thinks home tech is a safer bet than expanding into the metaverse. (FT $)

10 What it’s like to receive an email from your past self 📧
It’s a lovely way to reflect on your achievements, and the future. (The Guardian)