The Download: China’s version of ChatGPT, and protecting our brain data

Tech that aims to read your mind and probe your memories is already here

In recent years, we’ve seen neurotechnologies move from research labs to real-world use. Schools have used some devices to monitor the brain activity of children to tell when they are paying attention. Police forces are using others to work out whether someone is guilty of a crime. And employers use them to keep workers awake and productive.

These technologies hold the remarkable promise of giving us all-new insight into our own minds. But our brain data is precious, and letting it fall into the wrong hands could be dangerous. Jessica Hamzelou, our senior biotech reporter, had a fascinating call with Nita Farahany, a futurist and legal ethicist at Duke University, who’s written a book arguing for new rules to protect our cognitive liberty. Read the full story.

Jessica’s story is from the Checkup, her weekly newsletter giving you the inside track on all things biotech. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Thursday.

The must-reads

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

1 Baidu’s Ernie chatbot isn’t very impressive 
China’s heavy internet censorship could be part of the reason why. (NYT $)
+ The company’s shares plummeted after its lackluster unveiling. (The Guardian)
+ Why large language models are starting to behave in weird, unpredictable ways. (Quanta)
+ The ChatGPT-fueled battle for search is bigger than Microsoft or Google. (MIT Technology Review)

Source: MIT Technology Review

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