Saturday, September 30, 2023

Authoritarian technology and drones for building towers

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

Despite President Biden’s assurances at Wednesday’s United Nations meeting that the US is not looking for another cold war, one is brewing between the world’s autocracies and democracies — and technology is fueling it.

Late last week, Iran, Turkey, Myanmar and a handful of other countries took steps to become full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), an economic and political alliance led by the authoritarian regimes of China and Russia.

The majority of SCO member states, as well as other authoritarian states, are following China’s lead and tending towards more digital rights violations by increasing massive digital surveillance of citizens, censorship and controls on individual expression.

And while democracies also use vast amounts of surveillance technology, it is the technical trade relations between authoritarian countries that are enabling the rise of digitally assisted social control. Read the full story.

—Tate Ryan Mosley

Watch this team of drones 3D print a tower

The news: A mini-swarm of drones has been trained to work together to 3D print some simple towers. Inspired by the way bees or wasps build large nests, the process where multiple drones work together to build from a single blueprint, with one essentially controlling the work of the others.

How it works: One drone deposits a layer of construction material and the other checks the accuracy of everything printed so far. The drones are fully autonomous when flying, but they are controlled by a human who can intervene if something goes wrong.

Why it matters: One day, the method could help challenging projects like post-disaster construction or even repairs to buildings too tall to reach safely, the team behind it hopes, and build buildings in the Arctic or even Mars. Read the full story.

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