Authoritarian tech, and tower-building drones


Regardless of President Biden’s assurances at Wednesday’s United Nations assembly that the US shouldn’t be looking for a brand new chilly battle, one is brewing between the world’s autocracies and democracies—and know-how is fueling it.

Late final week, Iran, Turkey, Myanmar, and a handful of different international locations took steps towards changing into full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Group (SCO), an financial and political alliance led by the authoritarian regimes of China and Russia.

Nearly all of SCO member international locations, in addition to different authoritarian states, are following China’s lead and are trending towards extra digital rights abuses by rising the mass digital surveillance of residents, censorship, and controls on particular person expression.

And whereas democracies additionally use huge quantities of surveillance know-how, it’s the tech commerce relationships between authoritarian international locations that’s enabling the rise of digitally enabled social management. Learn the total story.

—Tate Ryan-Mosley

Watch this crew of drones 3D-print a tower

The information: A mini-swarm’s value of drones have been educated to work collectively to 3D-print some easy towers. Impressed by the best way bees or wasps assemble massive nests, the method has a number of drones work collectively to construct from a single blueprint, with one primarily checking the others’ work because it goes. 

The way it works: One drone deposits a layer of constructing materials, and the opposite verifies the accuracy of every thing printed up to now. The drones are absolutely autonomous whereas flying, however they’re monitored by a human who can step in if issues go awry.

Why it issues: In the future, the strategy may assist with difficult initiatives resembling post-disaster development and even repairs on buildings which are too excessive to entry safely, the crew behind it hopes—and will assemble buildings within the Arctic and even on Mars. Learn the total story.