The Download: music-making AI, and Kasparov’s defeat

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The must-reads

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

1 This is what life in the metaverse is like
It might be pretty fun—if you can afford it. (NYT $)
+ But Meta employees themselves aren’t convinced. (The Verge)

2 A winter covid wave looks likely 
And this time, we’re doing next-to-nothing to stop it. (Ars Technica)
Long covid is still disabling millions of Americans. (Axios)
How the Chinese doctor who sounded the alarm over covid spent his final days. (NYT $)

3 Elon Musk has three weeks to buy Twitter
If he doesn’t go through with it in that timeframe, it’s back to the courtroom. (Quartz)
What happens now? (The Guardian)
Lost track of all the twists and turns? Here’s a handy timeline. (FT $)
Musk says he’ll turn Twitter into a ‘super app’. Here’s how these apps work. (BBC)

4 Self-driving cars still seem to be on the road to nowhere 🚗
Even after $100 billion has been poured into their development. (Bloomberg $)
Uber is still betting it can make robotaxis work. (The Verge)
The big new idea for making self-driving cars that can go anywhere. (MIT Technology Review)

5 Google has unveiled two text-to-video AI systems
The videos they produce are impressive, and vaguely unsettling. (The Verge)
This is what the next generation of AI looks like. (MIT Technology Review) 

6 An influencer is suing TikTok over scam ads that use her videos
This sort of fraudulent marketing is rife online—and there’s a growing political consensus in favor of a crackdown. (WP $)

7 Crypto exchange Binance says hackers stole $100 million
This is yet another example of a ‘bridge’ attack between two blockchains. (WSJ $)
These commonplace hacks demonstrate how security is an afterthought in the crypto industry. (MIT Technology Review)

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

9 This is why you can’t tickle yourself 
Your brain knows what’s coming. (Wired $)

10 It’s cool to hate on candy corn online
If you live in the US, it’s simply impossible to avoid at this time of year. (The Atlantic $)

Quote of the day

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

—Elena Adams, the lead engineer for NASA’s asteroid-smashing DART spacecraft, tells the New Yorker what she did with the telescope images of the aftermath of the collision last week.