Alphabet’s Google and DeepMind Pause Grudges, Join Forces to Chase OpenAIRead More

crypto startups ai

Truth or Consequences: Would You Take an AI-Powered Polygraph Test to Prove You Hadn't Cheated on a Spouse?

Hi, welcome to your Weekend! 

Even before the Supreme Court’s earth-shaking rulings this week that struck down states’ gun restrictions and ended women's right to an abortion, Americans were losing faith in the highest court in the land.

On Thursday, Gallup reported that trust in the Supreme Court has never been lower, with only 25% of Americans responding that they had a great deal of confidence in the institution. That number drops to 13% when you count only Democrats—the lowest approval rating by one party in the history of the Gallup organization. 

As journalist and author Zara Stone reports in this week’s issue, the trust deficit is now trickling down to our relationships as well. Beset with doubts and paranoia about the government, strangers, and even the people we love, Americans are increasingly turning to technology to sort out truth from lies. 

The implications are serious, even if the tech itself is pretty cool. Apparently, minute changes in pupil diameter, blinking, eye movement, gaze fixation and response rate can help indicate whether or not you’re lying. Modest proposal: Next time, we introduce the tests into Supreme Court nomination hearings

the big read

Will Your Cheatin’ Heart Tell on You? As Americans Lose Trust in Each Other, They’re Turning to Tech to Detect Lies

Cheating is and has always been a reality in relationships—in the U.S., approximately 23% of married men and 14% of married women have stepped out on their partner, according to data reported in the Journal of Social Sciences. But what is new is how technology adjudicates acts of betrayal. Zara explores the weird world of venture-backed lie-detection companies, including one using AI to, allegedly, sniff out adulterers. 

scene and heard

‘The Last Great Party’: With Crypto Winter Coming, NFT Lovers Try to Stave Off Reality

Never mind crashing valuations and company layoffs, the NFT crowd came to New York with one thing in mind: Blowing last year's marketing budgets. Some 15,000 NFT buffs showed up to dance, network, and listen to speeches from the space’s cheerleaders, like CoinFund managing partner David Pakman, who deemed NFTs “the most successful new consumer products introduced since the beginning of the smartphone.” But underneath it all, a chill could be felt. Margaux reports on the sometimes-awkward discordancy. 

my life's work

As a Kid, Samantha John Recoiled From Videogames. Now She’s Teaching Kids to Code Them

In The Information’s recent Kids and Technology survey, Hopscotch was one of the most popular coding apps for kids among tech industry respondents. But while Hopscotch Technology’s co-founder and CTO has now taught thousands of kids to code, John didn’t grow up programming herself. Chatting with Annie, she shares her path from avoiding computer games to helping kids make them.

The Endorsement 

Reporter Annie Goldsmith on artist WangShui:

Last week, I finally ventured to the Whitney Museum for the 2022 Biennial, the museum’s every-other-year survey of contemporary American art, on view until September 5. This edition, titled “Quiet as It’s Kept,” opened to mixed reviews, with some critics decrying the show’s facile woke-ism. “If you don’t like the art, you’re seen as hostile to the cause,” wrote Jerry Saltz in New York Magazine. “But the causes aren’t the problem; it’s the generic way these artists treat them.” Saltz estimated that about 20% of the Biennial is “really alive.” I’d argue that, of that 20%, WangShui’s Hyaline Seed (Isle of Vitr∴ous) is in the top 1 percentile. The work itself is captivating, with shimmering swirls of oil on aluminum, but even more unique is how WangShui “co-authored” the piece with AI programs, creating a “a feedback loop of gestures, forms, and colors,” according to the show’s curators. What results is a work both distinctly futuristic but also nostalgic, offering a color palette and texture reminiscent of the Impressionists. If you’re in New York, the labyrinthine Biennial is worth wandering, even just for Hyaline Seed alone. 

Watching: An AppleTV+ comedy that’s totally not about Jeff and MacKenzie 
Molly Novak, as played by Maya Rudolph, lives a charmed life, married to a billionaire tech mogul John Novak (Adam Scott)—that is, until she finds out John has been cheating on her. Because the couple lacked a prenup, Molly walks away from the marriage with $87 billion. Sound familiar? Such is the plot of Loot, a just released AppleTV+ show that bears a striking resemblance to a certain real-life tale of tech infidelity. As Molly works with her foundation (one she previously didn’t know existed) to figure out what to do with the money, Arrested Development-type antics ensue. 

Reading: For Gen-Z, online anonymity is in
Building a personal brand on social media? That’s so millennial. As The Atlantic’s Kaitlyn Tiffany writes, Gen-Z prefers anonymity. From the faceless chatters on Discord to a small Tumblr renaissance, young people are turning to corners of the internet where they can stay in stealth mode. The trend is partially due to safety concerns, but also is a revival of what made the internet exciting in the first place, writes Tiffany: “When Instagram and TikTok arrived and made it possible to make a lot of money from your face, personality, thoughts, beliefs, and personal trauma, young people forgot how good it felt to be no one in particular, or to try on various identities.” 

Noticing: The first AI generated magazine cover
Another week, another reason to be wowed by Dall-E, or in this case, Dall-E 2, the second-generation text-to-image generator created by OpenAI. Cosmopolitan used Dall-E 2 to create the first ever magazine cover designed by a neural network. In explaining the cover’s creation, Cosmo breaks down the program’s ability to craft not just accurate images, but editorially astute ones. “Type ‘Darth Vader on a Cosmopolitan magazine cover’ and Dall-E doesn’t just cut and paste a photo of Darth,” the article explains, “it dresses him in a gown and gives him hot-pink lipstick.”

Makes You Think

From the mouths of babes.

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.
Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
The Weekend culture ai
Fear and Longing in the AI Wars
Fear and Longing in the AI Wars
Hi, welcome to your Weekend! This is Abe filling in for Jon, who returns as Weekender-in-Chief next Saturday.If the cars, brain implants and spaceships don’t pan out, Elon Musk has a promising future as a fear-monger. His was the leading name attached to a widely discussed open letter published this week that urged a halt in artificial intelligence research, warning that AI poses “profound...
Latest Briefs
Twitter Releases Ranking Source Code Ahead of Verified-Check Removals
Meta Tells Managers to Temporarily Stop Hiring Remote Workers
Fidelity Marks Down Twitter Stake Another 7.9%
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
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.
From left, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis and Google Brain chief Jeff Dean. Photos by Getty, Bloomberg
Exclusive google ai
Alphabet’s Google and DeepMind Pause Grudges, Join Forces to Chase OpenAI
OpenAI’s success in overtaking Google with an artificial intelligence–powered chatbot has achieved what seemed impossible in the past: It has forced the two AI research teams within Google’s parent, Alphabet, to overcome years of intense rivalry to work together.
Art by Clark Miller.
Opinion startups
Don’t Build the Wrong Kind of AI Business
At a catch-up coffee a few weeks ago, a founder friend asked me, “What AI thing should we build?” It was the third time that week a founder had asked me the same question.
Orlando Bravo, co-founder of Thoma Bravo LLC. Photo by Bloomberg.
DEALS enterprise
Private Equity Firms’ Secret Weapon for Big Software Buyouts
When Thoma Bravo was drawing up the financing of its $8 billion acquisition of Coupa Software last year, the private equity giant didn’t turn to a bank, and it didn’t get a traditional loan.
Art by Clark Miller.
Opinion entertainment media/telecom
The Streaming Business Model Is Hitting Its Half-Life
Sign up for Rosen’s newsletter, Parqor, part of The Information’s newsletter network.
Org Charts microsoft ai
The People Who Make OpenAI Run Fast
Sam Altman has been the face of OpenAI as it quickly outmaneuvered rivals such as Google to launch cutting-edge artificial intelligence to the public.
Elon Musk. Photo by Bloomberg.
Musk Puts $20 Billion Value on Twitter
Elon Musk offered Twitter employees stock grants at a valuation of roughly $20 billion, said a person familiar with an email Musk sent to staff, less than half what he paid to buy the company.