The Download: what is death, and jailbreaking generative AI

A controversial US surveillance program is up for renewal. Critics are speaking out.

A debate is raging about the renewal of a controversial US surveillance program, created in 2008 to expand the power of US agencies to collect electronic “foreign intelligence information,” whether about spies, terrorists, or cybercriminals abroad, without a warrant. It compels tech companies to hand over communications records to US intelligence agencies.

A lot of data about Americans who communicate with people internationally gets swept up in these searches. Critics say that is unconstitutional. Despite that, it’s been renewed in both 2012 and 2017. So is it likely to be renewed yet again? Here’s what you need to know.

—Tate Ryan-Mosley

This story is from The Technocrat, our weekly newsletter all about politics, power, and Silicon Valley. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Friday.

The must-reads

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

1 Microsoft has hired former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman
He’ll lead a ‘new advanced AI research team’ along with a bunch of his other former OpenAI colleagues. (The Verge)
+ Dozens of OpenAI employees have said they’ll quit. (The Information $)
+ Trouble had been brewing at OpenAI for a while. (The Atlantic $)
+ Altman had been raising money for a new chip venture in the Middle East before he was pushed out. (Bloomberg $)
+ Who’s who on OpenAI’s board, the group behind Altman’s ouster. (CNBC)
+ Read our recent interview with OpenAI’s chief scientist, reportedly one of the board members who pushed Altman out. (MIT Technology Review)
+ Our 2020 feature on OpenAI uncovered many of the tensions that have come to a head this week. (MIT Technology Review)

2 Robotaxi company Cruise’s CEO has resigned
The company is in chaos after being forced to pull its entire driverless fleet over safety concerns. (W.P. $)
+ Why city employees tend to dislike driverless cars. (NYT $)
+ Robotaxis are here. It’s time to decide what to do about them. (MIT Technology Review)

3 Inside Ukraine’s invisible war
Both sides are using radio signals to overwhelm communications links to drones and troops, locate targets, and trick guided weapons. (NYT $)

4 Ad execs are urging X’s CEO to step down
They say that by staying, Linda Yaccarino is endorsing Musk’s anti-semitic diatribes. (Forbes)
+ This is the growing list of companies pulling ads from X. (W.P. $)

5 The southern hemisphere is in for a sweltering summer
It’s highly likely it’ll see record-breaking temperatures over the coming months, scientists say. (Nature)
+ The richest 1% are responsible for more carbon emissions than the poorest 66%, according to Oxfam. (The Guardian)


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