The Earn: American’s hydrogen practice experiment, and why we want stupid robots

Right here’s on the present time’s version of The Earn, our weekday newsletter that presents a everyday dose of what goes on on on this planet of technology

Hydrogen trains would maybe revolutionize how People fetch round

Luxuriate in a mirage speeding correct thru the dusty barren space outside Pueblo, Colorado, the major hydrogen-gas-cell passenger practice in the United States is getting warmed up on its take a look at note. This can soon be shipped to Southern California, where it’s far slated to address riders on San Bernardino County’s Arrow commuter rail provider sooner than the terminate of the year.

The handiest solution to decarbonize railroads is the topic of rising debate among regulators, enterprise, and activists. The debate is partly technological, revolving round whether or no longer hydrogen gas cells, batteries, or overhead electric wires offer the final note performance for diverse railroad scenarios. Nonetheless it’s also political: a quiz of the extent to which decarbonization can, or must, bring in a broader transformation of rail transportation.

Within the insular world of railroading, this hydrogen-powered practice is a Rorschach take a look at. To a pair, it represents the system forward for rail transportation. To others, it appears to be like be pleased an limitless, shimmering distraction. Read the tubby narrative.

—Benjamin Schneider

This narrative is for subscribers easiest, and is from the following magazine pronounce of MIT Expertise Overview, intention to head stay on April 24, on the theme of Assemble. When you occur to don’t already, imprint in now to fetch a replica when it lands.

Researchers taught robots to disappear. Now they’re instructing them to slither

We’ve all viewed movies correct thru the last few years demonstrating how agile humanoid robots possess turn out to be, running and leaping with ease. We’re no longer surprised by this more or less agility—in actuality, we’ve grown to demand it.

The difficulty is, these shimmering demos lack precise-world applications. When it involves environment up robots that are helpful and true round folks, the basics of circulation are more necessary. 

For that reason, researchers are the utilization of the equivalent techniques to practice humanoid robots to enact great more modest desires. They imagine this would possibly occasionally result in additional sturdy, reliable two-legged machines in a position to interacting with their environment more safely—as effectively as discovering out great more hastily. Read the tubby narrative.

—Rhiannon Williams

produce a thermal battery

Thermal energy storage is a handy solution to stockpile energy for later. This would maybe very effectively be wanted in connecting low-value but inconsistent renewable energy with industrial companies, which in general require a constant present of heat. It’s so promising, MIT Expertise Overview’s readers selected it as an honorary 11th technology in our annual list of 10 Step forward Applied sciences.

Casey Crownhart, our climate reporter, wrote about why this technology is having a moment, and where it would maybe maybe wind up being inclined, in a narrative printed earlier this week. Now, she’s dug into what it takes to have a thermal battery, and why there are the form of lot of diverse kinds.

Read the tubby narrative.

This narrative is from The Spark, our weekly climate and energy newsletter. Designate in to receive it on your inbox every Wednesday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the net to acquire you on the present time’s most stress-free/necessary/frightening/inviting reports about technology.

1 Amazon posed as a minute retail enterprise to hear in on its opponents
It inclined opponents’ fee and logistics records to whisper its have operations. (WSJ $)+ The firm insists its cashierless tech is powered by AI, no longer folks. (The Verge)

2 Landlords are asking prospective renters for 3D scans of their faces
And in loads of cases, whereas you don’t consent, you may’t tour the property by myself. (The Markup)
+ The arriving war on the hidden algorithms that entice of us in poverty. (MIT Expertise Overview)

3 India’s elections shall be a foremost take a look at of AI literacy
AI-generated movies of High Minister Narendra Modi are addressing voters by establish. (NYT $)
+ Three technology trends shaping 2024’s elections. (MIT Expertise Overview)

4 The US Nationwide Guard will utilize Google’s AI to evaluate catastrophe zones
Apt in time for the summer season wildfire season. (WP $)
+ The hunt to produce wildfire-resistant properties. (MIT Expertise Overview)

5 OpenAI’s GPT-4 outperformed junior docs in inspecting watch conditions
Nonetheless loads more work would maybe maybe be wished sooner than deploying it in a scientific environment. (FT $)
+ Synthetic intelligence is infiltrating health care. We shouldn’t let it have your complete decisions. (MIT Expertise Overview)

6 Digitizing the precise world is a protracted, unhurried route of
Engines first and fundamental developed for video games are bridging the uncanny valley. (New Yorker $)

7 AI is unlikely to make stronger the welfare of factory-farmed farm animals 
While AI tools would maybe have farming more environment friendly, it doubtlessly received’t have it humane. (Undark Magazine)
+ How CRISPR is making farmed animals bigger, stronger, and more healthy. (MIT Expertise Overview)

8 What occurs after you alternate on your inclined iPhone
Spoiler: no longer all of them terminate up in industrial shredders. (Bloomberg $)

9 A Hollywood company is dabbling with AI clones of its A-list expertise
Crucially, the celebrities have their digital doubles. (The Records $)
+ How Meta and AI firms recruited placing actors to practice AI. (MIT Expertise Overview)

10 The next Oprah shall be topped on TikTok 
Self-reduction book stars attain gargantuan audiences hungry for self-actualization. (The Atlantic $)

Quote of the day

“We are in a position to be attacked.” 

—Franz Regul, head of cyberattack preparations for the 2024 Paris Olympics, is grimly willing for what he sees as the inevitable, he tells the New York Times.

The large narrative

The disappear to develop uncommon earth presents

January 2024

Leaving in the assist of fossil fuels and adopting lower-­carbon technologies are our handiest alternatives for warding off the accelerating threat of climate alternate. And fetch entry to to uncommon earth parts, key substances in loads of of these technologies, will partly settle which countries will meet their desires for lowering emissions.

Some international locations, including the US, are increasingly panicked about whether or no longer the present of these parts will remain true. For that reason, scientists and firms alike are intent on increasing fetch entry to and bettering sustainability by exploring secondary or unconventional sources. Read the tubby narrative.