The Download: China’s digital currency ambitions, and US AI rules

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. What’s next for China’s digital currency? China’s digital yuan was seemingly born out of a desire to centralize a tech giant-dominated payment system. According to its central bank, the digital currency, also known…
The Download: China’s digital currency ambitions, and US AI rules

Almost three years into the pilot, though, it seems the government is still struggling to find compelling applications for it, and adoption has been minimal. Now the goal may be shifting. China appears to be charging ahead with plans to use the e-CNY outside its borders, for international trade.

If it’s successful, it could challenge the US dollar’s position as the world’s dominant reserve currency—and in the process shake up the global geopolitical order. Read the full story

—Mike Orcutt

This story is from MIT Technology Review’s What’s Next series, which looks across industries, trends, and technologies to give you a first look at the future. Check out the rest of the series here.

The must-reads

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

1 How the US is planning to regulate AI 
It’s a multi-pronged approach, but progress is grindingly slow. (Vox)
Our quick guide to the 6 ways we can regulate AI. (MIT Technology Review)
Ultimately judges, not politicians, will be the first to establish guardrails for AI. (MIT Technology Review)

2 Covid cases are rising again 
We don’t exactly know why, but infections do seem to shoot up over the summer. (Wired $)
Hospitalizations are on the up, but experts expect the vast majority of infections to be mild. (NBC)
+ Covid hasn’t entirely gone away—here’s where we stand. (MIT Technology Review)

3 There’s not much you can do if AI lies about you
People are starting to sue tech companies, but legal precedent for this is basically non-existent. (NYT $)
+ What does GPT-3 “know” about me? (MIT Technology Review

4 Apple now has over one billion paying subscribers
Tim Cook’s push to expand from hardware to subscription services seems to be paying off. (Quartz $)

5 Google is making it easier to remove your private info from Search
Of course, that requires you to give Google all that information, but still nifty. (Engadget)

6 A French news agency is suing X for refusing to discuss paying it
Elon Musk called the move “bizarre”, and I’m inclined to agree. (Reuters)
Meta’s Twitter rival, Threads, has seen its daily active users drop by 82% since launch. (CNN)

7 Pornhub has gone dark in Arkansas
In protest at a new law requiring it to verify users’ ages. (The Verge)
Why child safety bills are popping up all over the US. (MIT Technology Review)

8 Actors are heading back to Cameo 
To make a bit of cash on the side while the strike is on. (NYT $) 

9 Meta’s Ray-Ban smart glasses are a flop 👓
The vast majority of people who bought them don’t use them. (WSJ $)

10 Parents in China are on dating apps to marry off their adult children
If you’re reading this, Mum… don’t go getting any ideas. (Rest of World)