Saturday, June 15, 2024

The Download: Inside the US defense tech aid package, and how AI is improving vegan cheese

Computer scienceThe Download: Inside the US defense tech aid package, and how AI is improving vegan cheese


After weeks of drawn-out congressional debate over how much the United States should spend on conflicts abroad, President Joe Biden signed a $95 billion aid package into law last week.

The bill will send a significant quantity of supplies to Ukraine and Israel, while also supporting Taiwan with submarine technology to aid its defenses against China. It’s also sparked renewed calls for stronger crackdowns on Iranian-produced drones. 

James O’Donnell, our AI reporter, spoke to Andrew Metrick, a fellow with the defense program at the Center for a New American Security, a think tank, to discuss how the spending bill provides a window into US strategies around four key defense technologies with the power to reshape how today’s major conflicts are being fought. Read the full story.

This piece is part of MIT Technology Review Explains: a series delving into the complex, messy world of technology to help you understand what’s coming next. You can read more from the series here.

Hear more about how AI intersects with hardware

Hear first-hand from James in our latest subscribers-only Rountables session, as he walks news editor Charlotte Jee through the latest goings-on in his beat, from rapid advances in robotics to autonomous military drones, wearable devices, and tools for AI-powered surgeries Register now to join the discussion tomorrow at 11:30am ET.

Check out some more of James’ reporting:

+ Inside a Californian startup’s herculean efforts to bring a small slice of the chipmaking supply chain back to the US.

+ An OpenAI spinoff has built an AI model that helps robots learn tasks like humans. But can it graduate from the lab to the warehouse floor? Read the full story.

+ Watch this robot as it learns to stitch up wounds all on its own.

+ A new satellite will use Google’s AI to map methane leaks from space. It could help to form the most detailed portrait yet of methane emissions—but companies and countries will actually have to act on the data.

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