Nat Versus the Volcano: Can an AI Investor Solve an Ancient Mystery from the Ashes of Vesuvius?Read more

crypto culture media/telecom

Mapping Playboy's Digital Reinvention, Where NFTs Are the Magazine and the Metaverse Is the Mansion

Hi, welcome to your Weekend!

For most of our kids’ lives, my wife and I have avoided giving them much technology. We’re not puritanical about it, but we saw little upside in letting our two girls own their own phones, tablets, smartwatches, or gaming consoles.

But now that they are 12 and 10 years old, the daily drumbeat to let them have all of the above has become deafening. (Plus, I’m sick of them absconding with my phone to watch TikTok!)

So when is the right time to let various tech enter our children’s lives? What are other tech-savvy parents deciding about social media apps, VR headsets and Fitbits? Those are the types of question that inspired The Information Weekend to create a tech and parenting survey of our readers.

If you haven’t done so already, please fill out the survey today. It should only take you 7 minutes—10 if you have more than two offspring. We’ll send you the results of the survey when they’re released.

Your fellow parents thank you! Now, onto the adult stuff...

the big read

The Bunnies Have Left the Mansion: Inside Playboy’s Quest to Reinvent Itself as a Tech Company

In this week’s cover story, Annie delves inside the digital transformation of the storied media company. With the hiring of CMO Rachel Webber in 2018, Playboy began pivoting away from the ubiquitous magazines of yore and going all in on today’s buzziest tech phenomena: subscription platforms and Web3. But solving one problem only creates another: the competition is no longer raunchy reads like Penthouse and Hustler, but tech juggernauts like Meta Platforms and OnlyFans. So the central question remains—will a tech overhaul be enough to keep The Bunny afloat?


The Boys Who Cried ‘Dox’

Margaux breaks down one of crypto’s most misappropriated terms: “doxxing.” It used to be that doxxing meant publicly releasing private information with the intent to harm someone. But with the rise of Web3, the meaning of the term has fractured. Now, doxxing can mean revealing publicly available information about powerful people (what Buzzfeed's Katie Notopoulos recently did) or even just revealing one’s own identity. That recasting of the original meaning, Margaux argues, comes with the potential for real-world harm. 

10 questions

Ro Khanna’s “Dignity in a Digital Age” Looks to Spread Tech Wealth Beyond the Valley

Before Khanna was Silicon Valley’s congressman, he was a kid from the economically diverse town of Holland, Penn., where he saw blue-collar families struggle with lost jobs and the crippling devaluation of their skills. Stuck at home during the pandemic, Khanna began to think again about those families, and about other people he’d met in rural America. In our 10 Questions series, he talks about the resulting book, “Dignity in a Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us.” 

Watching: A real-life rom con

It’s been two weeks since its release on Netflix and we still can’t stop thinking about “The Tinder Swindler,” the Felicity Morris-directed documentary about a truly jaw-dropping romance con. News that the film’s real-life villain, Shimon Hayut (aka Simon Leviev), is now selling messages on Cameo and has signed with a Hollywood talent agent who calls herself the D-List Diva, only makes the film’s acidic after-taste linger longer. You don’t have to be a Tinder user or even a single person to relate to the unfortunate—yet beautiful, independent, and yes, intelligent—women who were the victims of Leviev’s lying, gaslighting and bullying. You just have to have lived through the Trump years.

Reading: A tech take on the “vibe shift”

In both reverent and mocking tones, the Internet’s been buzzing over Allison P. Davis’s new story for The Cut, entitled “A Vibe Shift Is Coming.” If you wondered what this piece about our ever-changing cultural mores has to do with technology, Charlie Warzel has your answer in his Atlantic newsletter. Essentially, Warzel argues, our expanding digital universe (including the metaverse) and so-called “vibes” are one and the same. They’re both invisible, ephemeral, and involve “a small handful of people building the future and dropping it into peoples’ hands while telling them: Here is the future. You’re welcome.” Will we survive the next vibe shift? Do we have any choice?

Noticing: Paradigm hires an anonymous teenager

Either high schoolers are getting smarter, or the VC world is getting easier to crack. Top-tier crypto fund Paradigm just hired a new research engineer known as Transmissions11, who, according to his bio, attends high school “in his spare time.” As part of Paradigm’s ongoing commitment to have a staff composed entirely of Twitter handles, Transmissions11 will work alongside anonymous research partner samczsun and fellow research engineer Frankie, whose picture on Paradigm’s team page is a cartoon robot. 

Makes You Think

Turning JPEGs into NFTs and NFTs into feature films—whatever happened to books, Reece?

Until next Weekend, thanks for reading!


Weekend Editor, The Information

Jon Steinberg is the Weekend Editor at The Information. He is a former editor-in-chief of San Francisco magazine and senior editor at New York magazine, where his work won many National Magazine Awards.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
OpenAI's Greg Brockman (left) and Google's Demis Hassabis (right). Photos by Getty.
AI Agenda google ai
OpenAI Hustles to Beat Google to Launch ‘Multimodal’ LLM
As fall approaches, Google and OpenAI are locked in a good ol’ fashioned software race, aiming to launch the next generation of large-language models: multimodal.
From left, a Google TPU, Broadcom CEO Hock Tan and Google Cloud chief Thomas Kurian. Photos via Getty, Google and YouTube.
Exclusive google semiconductors
To Reduce AI Costs, Google Wants to Ditch Broadcom as Its TPU Server Chip Supplier
Google executives have extensively discussed dropping Broadcom as a supplier of artificial intelligence chips as early as 2027, according to a person with direct knowledge of the effort.
Photo via Midjourney.
AI Agenda startups ai
The Rise of Startups That Help Other Startups Evaluate LLMs
All but a handful of artificial intelligence startups typically fall into one of two camps. The first group uses a single large-language model, typically OpenAI’s GPT-4, to power their applications.
Photos via Eiso Kant (left) and YouTube/VMWare Tanzu (right)
AI Agenda startups ai
How GitHub Copilot’s Co-Creator Raised $126 Million to Compete with His Former Employer
Recent interest in artificial intelligence has focused on large-language models that aim to do everything from writing Shakespearean poetry to solving math riddles.
Art by Clark Miller
The Big Read policy
Europe Has Figured Out How to Tame Big Tech. Can the U.S. Learn Its Tricks?
Late last month in Belgium, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) had a pressing question for Paul Tang, a Dutch politician and member of the European Parliament.
Art by Mike Sullivan
entertainment media/telecom
Disney-Charter Deal Could Prompt More Cable TV-Streaming Bundles
Last week, Charter Communications, the No. 2 cable provider, and Walt Disney Co. cut a deal to include Disney streaming services, such as Disney+ and a new ESPN service still in the works, with Charter’s cable television packages.