Robotic bees, and China’s surveillance state

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One thing was mistaken, however Thomas Schmickl couldn’t put his finger on it. It was 2007, and the Austrian biologist was spending a part of the yr at East Tennessee State College. Throughout his each day walks, he realized that bugs appeared conspicuously absent.

Schmickl, who now leads the Synthetic Life Lab on the College of Graz in Austria, wasn’t mistaken. Insect populations are certainly declining or altering world wide.

Robotic bees, he believes, might assist each the true factor and their surrounding nature, an idea he calls ecosystem hacking. Already, some firms supply augmented beehives that monitor circumstances inside, and even robotically have a tendency the bees. Now Schmickl and his colleagues need to go a step additional and use know-how to govern the bugs’ conduct. Learn the total story.

—Elizabeth Preston

The Chinese language surveillance state proves that the thought of privateness is extra “malleable” than you’d anticipate

Over the previous decade, the US—and the world extra typically—has watched with rising alarm as China has emerged as a world chief in surveillance applied sciences. Whereas this has result in a slew of human rights abuses, the state has additionally used surveillance tech for good: to seek out kidnapped kids, for instance, and to enhance visitors management and trash administration in cities.

As Wall Avenue Journal reporters Josh Chin and Liza Lin argue of their new guide Surveillance State, the Chinese language authorities has constructed a brand new social contract with its residents: their knowledge in alternate for extra exact governance that, ideally, makes their lives safer and simpler (even when it doesn’t all the time work out so merely in actuality). 

MIT Expertise Overview just lately spoke with Chin and Lin in regards to the false impression that privateness will not be valued in China, how the pandemic has accelerated using surveillance tech in China, and whether or not the know-how itself can keep impartial. Learn the total story.

—Zeyi Yang

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