3. The national number of cremations for 2022 was omitted from China’s quarterly routine data reports, obscuring information relevant to understanding the covid-19 wave that followed China’s easing of pandemic restrictions. (CNN)
4. Despite being designated a national security threat in China, the US semiconductor company Micron is investing $603 million in a chip packaging facility in the country. (Reuters $)
5. France is pushing for an EU investigation and tariff on Chinese-made electric vehicles. Other EU countries may not agree. (Politico)
6. An 18-year-old Chinese fan of Lionel Messi became a social media star when he entered the soccer field and evaded several security guards to hug the Argentinian player. The whole stadium in Beijing was cheering on him, too. (Sixth Tone)
7. Yichun, a city with the most accessible lithium mines in China, is powering the electric-vehicle boom. But it comes at an environmental cost. (Reuters $)
8. Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, is “alive, well, happy, creative, thinking” and “teaching at a university in Tokyo,” said Alibaba’s current president in an event in Paris. (CNBC)
Lost in translation
A research lab under the Chinese Academy of Sciences just unveiled its own generative AI chatbot named “Zidong Taichu 2.0.” The most interesting thing about it is its multimodality—the diverse types of information it can process. In addition to text and images, Zidong Taichu 2.0 can also analyze videos, audio (the genre and mood of music), radar signals, and 3D mapping data. It can combine inputs from different media to understand a task or generate output in any of these forms. With 100 billion parameters, the large language model is designed to mimic the way humans learn new information, since humans process language, sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, and biological signals all at once, says the lead researcher, Xu Bo. It can be used to process multimodal medical data for diagnosing complex diseases, he says, but also to detect sensitive information in social media videos that takes a long time for human moderators to find, according to Chinese AI publication Zhidongxi.
One more thing
Eating zongzi—a glutinous rice pyramid wrapped in bamboo leaves and tied in twine—is a must for celebrating the traditional Dragon Boat Festival, which will fall on June 22. But some zongzis in the Carrefour supermarkets in Taiwan are getting a little too risqué this year.