Some good news from this year in tech

News Summary

  • Outside the tech sphere, we’ve seen over 250 Starbucks stores unionize in the last two years while union drives at franchises like Trader Joe’s are gaining steam.And in the world of the gig economy, small gains are being made on the national level.
  • –Kyle WiggersA year in the making, BigScience’s AI language model is finally availableThis summer, the JWST delivered its first deep field images, representing the culmination of 26 years of hard work.
  • Usually the fight among gig worker classification happens at the state level, but this year the Department of Labor proposed a ruling that if passed would make it easier for app-based ridehail and delivery drivers to become employees if they can prove they are economically dependent on a company.
  • –Devin ColdeweyDot Pad tactile display makes images touchable for visually impaired usersHere’s a not-so-hot take: maybe it’s not a good thing when the social media companies that drive the public conversation are for-profit entities that can be traded on the stock market and/or taken private by egomaniacal billionaires!
  • –Kyle WiggersA brief history of diffusion, the tech at the heart of modern image-generating AIThe promise of satellite-based internet connections is coming true, though as usual the tech is not yet evenly distributed.
  • As generative AI came to the fore this year, bolstered by emerging AI techniques, we got a glimpse of the labor it can save across the art (see: Stable Diffusion, DALL-E 2), programming (GitHub Copilot) and writing world (GPT-3, ChatGPT).
When you think of the biggest tech stories of the year, you probably think of something like Elon Musk buying Twitter, former crypto wunderkind Sam BankmanFrieds FTX filing for bankruptcy, all the p [+8358 chars]