Saturday, June 22, 2024

The Download: Generating AI memories, and China’s softening tech regulation

Computer scienceThe Download: Generating AI memories, and China's softening tech regulation

As a six-year-old growing up in Barcelona, Spain, during the 1940s, Maria would visit a neighbor’s apartment in her building when she wanted to see her father. From there, she could try and try to catch a glimpse of him in the prison below, where he was locked up for opposing the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

There is no photo of Maria on that balcony. But she can now hold something like it: a fake photo—or memory-based reconstruction, as the Barcelona-based design studio Domestic Data Streamers puts it—of the scene that a real photo might have captured.The studio uses generative image models, such as OpenAI’s DALL-E, to bring people’s memories to life.

The fake snapshots are blurred and distorted, but they can still rewind a lifetime in an instant. Read the full story.

—Will Douglas Heaven

Why China’s regulators are softening on its tech sector

Understanding the Chinese government’s decisions to bolster or suppress a certain technology is always a challenge. Why does it favor this sector instead of that one? What triggers officials to suddenly initiate a crackdown? The answers are never easy to come by.

Angela Huyue Zhang, a law professor in Hong Kong, has some suggestions. She spoke with Zeyi Yang, our China reporter, on how Chinese regulators almost always swing back and forth between regulating tech too much and not enough, how local governments have gone to great lengths to protect local tech companies, and why AI companies in China are receiving more government goodwill than other sectors today. Read the full story.

This story is from China Report, our weekly newsletter covering tech in China. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Tuesday.

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