Categories: Tech News

Tech news you need to know this week: August 16-22, 2022

Every day we wake up, have a cup of coffee and get ready for work. Below are a handful of stories from around the tech world condensed to fit into a single cup of coffee. Here’s what you need to know before you walk out the door (or in front of a webcam) and into the real world this morning.

So sit back, grab a cuppa and start your morning off right with a few ‘fast bytes’. Innovation and technology today.

AI weapons technology presents dangers, researchers say

Researchers are finding that our biggest AI fears may be rooted in reality. Jack Clark, co-founder of AI security research lab Anthropic, has recently tweeted: “Some people working on long-term/AGI-style policy tend to ignore, minimize, or simply ignore the immediate problems of AI deployment/damage.”

As AI is integrated into military weapons, the implications of machine learning become more worrisome.

But according to Clark, the problem lies in how governments use AI technology rather than AI itself. Governments are behind the curve when it comes to advanced AI technology, so some experts think it would be best to avoid making weapons super-smart.

According to a report by Vox, some world leaders are rejecting the warnings, choosing to accelerate the development of AI weapons because of their potential benefits.

“Many of the seemingly most robust solutions to reducing AI risk require the following things to happen: full sharing of capabilities between the United States and China, and full monitoring of the software running on all computers in everywhere,” Clark said.

Nuclear fusion progress has been confirmed

A nuclear fusion breakthrough achieved a year ago by scientists in California has now been officially confirmed.

Researchers at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) reported the first case of ignition on August 8, 2021, the results of which have now been published in three peer-reviewed papers.

In the 2021 experiment, a nuclear yield of more than 1.3 megajoules was achieved, meaning a self-sustaining form of nuclear power could be on the horizon.

Achieving the necessary conditions for ignition has been a long-standing goal for all inertial confinement fusion research. Confirmation of the success of fusion ignition is a giant leap towards fusion fueled energy for the world.

Nuclear fusion is one of the most efficient and least polluting sources of energy possible. No fossil fuels would be needed since the only fuel would be hydrogen and the only by-product would be helium.

NASA plans to probe Uranus

In addition to plenty of elementary school-level jokes, NASA’s new mission will provide a wealth of insight into the icy gas giant at the edge of our solar system.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has announced four trips to Uranus over the next decade: three orbits and one flyby. Uranus has a volatile atmosphere that makes it nearly impossible for space crews to land on its surface.

Voyager II performed the last flyby in 1986. However, data had to be recorded at a distance of 81,500 km, as the spacecraft did not have the fuel to enter orbit. We haven’t been back to Uranus since.

The new airliner “Overture” brings back commercial supersonic air travel

Supersonic commercial travel is making a comeback. Twenty years after the retirement of the Concorde, a new eco-friendly jet will hit the market.

The Overture, created by Denver-based Supersonic, is the fastest plane in the world. The company says the new craft will shave two hours off the flight time from New York to London.

With 26 million hours of design and testing, Overture will run on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) while flying at Mach 1.7 over the ocean, carrying 68 to 80 passengers up to nearly 5,000 miles.

Although it looks very similar to the Concorde, updates have been made since the supersonic jet’s last departure. The Overture’s wings have a sinuous twist and the mid-bypass turbofan engines eliminate the need for afterburners, which were responsible for a substantial portion of the noise levels that helped kill Concorde.

The first commercial flights will begin in 2026.

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