The Download: Twitter’s user exodus, and fixing bridges

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EmTech 2022

This week, MIT Technology Review held our annual EmTech conference, our flagship event covering emerging technology and global trends.

Check out our liveblogs covering the two days of fascinating discussions with global changemakers, innovators, and industry veterans, as we try to unpick what’s probable, plausible, and possible with tomorrow’s breakthrough technologies.

Day one focused on some of the exciting technologies promising to change our lives, including clean energy and CRISPR, while the second day unpacked what the future holds for the internet, augmented reality, body tech, and AI.

The must-reads

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

1 Shadowy algorithms are calling the shots in Washington, DC 
And the vast majority of residents don’t have a clue about them, or how they work. (Wired $)
+ How the pandemic bolstered China’s surveillance state. (Slate)
+ Marseille’s battle against being spied upon. (MIT Technology Review)

2 What Mark Zuckerberg has taught Elon Musk
The one constant between the two companies? Unhappy workers. (NYT $)
+ L’Oréal has paused its advertising spend on Twitter. (FT $)
+ Musk is attempting to spark a war between Twitter factions. (Motherboard)
+ Here’s why Twitter users should, unfortunately, prepare for the worst. (The Atlantic $)

3 Republican midterm candidates are pushing Stop the Steal lies
Just because the narrative isn’t true doesn’t stop it from resonating. (Bloomberg $)
+ Swing voters are more powerful than ever. (NY Mag $)

4 What will it take to regulate space? 🌌
One thing’s clear—it won’t be easy. (Vox)

5 World leaders must accept that they’ve failed to curb climate change
The 1.5°C Paris agreement is no longer enough—we need action, and fast. (Economist $) 
+ Scientists are questioning the sector’s biggest oversight group. (FT $)
+ We must fundamentally rethink “net-zero” climate plans. (MIT Technology Review)

6 What it’s like inside a Chinese covid detention center 
All-night lights, strict routines, and endless dust. (FT $)
+ Vietnam wants to steal China’s tech manufacturing crown. (Rest of World)

7 Social media wasn’t ready for photos of early pregnancies
But looking at them is essential for honest abortion conversations. (The Verge)
+ The cognitive dissonance of watching the end of Roe unfold online. (MIT Technology Review)

8 Loving the conspiracy theorist in your life can be tough
Treating them with compassion can help to bridge the divide. (The Atlantic $)
+ How to talk to conspiracy theorists—and still be kind. (MIT Technology Review)

9 The heartbreak of a very modern breakup
Agonizing over whether to block your ex on Instagram just prolongs the pain. (The Guardian)  

10 How to model the other planets we could call home 🪐
The simulations are part of the quest to find alien life. (Quanta Magazine)
+ A new source of high-energy cosmic neutrinos has been discovered. (New Scientist $)