The Download: AI training AI, and the future of robotaxis

This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology. The people paid to train AI are outsourcing their work… to AI The news: Many people who are paid to train AI models may be themselves outsourcing that work to AI, a new…
The Download: AI training AI, and the future of robotaxis

In some San Francisco neighborhoods, cars with no driver behind the wheel have become a common sight. Many of the city’s ghostly driverless cars are commercial robotaxis, directly competing with taxis and ride-hailing companies. 

I spent the past year covering robotaxis for the San Francisco Examiner and have taken nearly a dozen rides in Cruise driverless cars over the past few months. During my reporting, I’ve been struck by the lack of urgency in the public discourse about robotaxis. It’s high time for the public and its elected representatives to play a more active role in shaping the future of this new technology. Like it or not, robotaxis are here. 

Now comes the difficult work of deciding what to do about them. Read the full story.

The chip patterning machines that will shape computing’s next act

When we talk about computing these days, we tend to talk about software and the engineers who write it. But without the hardware and the physical sciences that enabled their creation—disciplines like optics, materials science, and mechanical engineering—modern computing would have been impossible.

Semiconductor lithography, the manufacturing process responsible for producing computer chips, stands at the center of a geopolitical competition to control the future of computing power. And the speed at which new lithography systems and components are developed will shape not only the speed of computing progress but also the balance of power and profits within the tech industry. Read the full story.

—Chris Miller