⚡️ Neuralink's brain-chips head to humans

PLUS: Reddit starts paying users

Welcome, Tech enthusiasts.

Neuralink’s controversial brain chips have officially gotten clearance for human trials.

Is Elon’s ambitious vision finally coming to fruition? Let’s dive in…

In today’s tech rundown:

  • 🧠 Neuralink gets green light for human brain chip trials

  • 💰 Reddit pays users for posts with new program

  • 🎙️ Spotify clones voices for translated podcasts

  • 🛠️ 8 New products

  • 📰 9 quick stories

Read time: 3 minutes

TODAY’S HEADLINES

NEURALINK

Image source: Neuralink

The Rundown: Elon Musk's brain-chip startup Neuralink has officially received FDA approval to recruit paralysis patients for a human trial of its implanted brain device.

Key points:

  • The trial aims to enable patients to control a computer with their thoughts alone via a chip that interfaces with the brain.

  • The company will enroll patients paralyzed by spinal cord injury or ALS — with under 10 people expected in the trials.

  • The 6-year study marks a major milestone for Neuralink, but experts say commercial clearance could still take over a decade.

The relevance: Neural brain implants mark a brave new world for science — but many worry about the safety implications. Adding that to Musk’s polarizing nature makes the technology ripe for skepticism.

With that being said — it’s likely that human brain implants at scale won’t be just science fiction for much longer.

REDDIT

Image source: The Verge

The Rundown: Reddit just launched a contributor program, paying users actual money based on the amount of Reddit gold they earn from quality posts and engagement.

The details:

  • Eligible U.S. Redditors over 18 can convert gold into cash monthly if they pass 10 gold and 100 karma thresholds.

  • Top karma scorers get up to $1 per gold, with lower tiers earning $0.90 per gold — and Reddit keeps about 50% on gold purchases.

  • The move follows Twitter's creator monetization program and arrives amid recent Reddit tumult over API changes that have limited developers.

Why it matters: Reddit is the latest social media platform seeking to rebalance value distribution in user-generated content. If done right, it could pioneer more equitable ways to reward community creators.

SPOTIFY

Image source: Spotify

The Rundown: Spotify unveiled an AI feature to translate podcast episodes into other languages using the hosts' synthesized voices, running on OpenAI's Whisper and a new voice replication model.

Key points:

  • English podcasts will have the ability to be translated into Spanish, French, and German using the hosts' own voice — with major creators like Lex Friedman and Dax Shepard already participating.

  • The tech goes beyond transcription, with AI replicating voices after translation and OpenAI's new voice tool enabling cloning.

  • Spotify aims to help podcasters expand their reach and make content more accessible across languages.

Our thoughts: This new feature has major implications for broadening a creator’s reach — eliminating the issue of language from the equation. In fact — with the advances in AI, we’re likely just years away from all language barriers being completely broken down.

NEW PRODUCTS

😄 Social Search Plus- Search multiple social media platforms in one click (link)

🚀 Fullview- Handle support requests easily with cobrowsing (link)

🔐 SecureFrame- Automate away the entire compliance process, step-by-step (link)

🐦 TweetHunter- All-in-one Twitter growth tool to create content using AI, build an audience, and schedule posts (link)

📹 Pictory- Automatically create short, branded videos from long-form content (link)

👾 Screen Studio- Create beautiful screen recordings in minutes (link)

🦾 Browse- Train a robot in 2 minutes to extract and monitor data from any website (link)

📊 Sheet AI- Put AI in your Google Sheets (link)

Browse the most popular tools ever featured with our tool database.

SNIPPETS

BloomX and Edete offer technologies for artificial pollination to address the decline in bee populations, aiming to optimize crop yields by providing efficient alternatives to natural pollination.

Apple's Eddy Cue will testify in the US v. Google trial, underscoring the importance of Apple's role in allegations of Google suppressing search engine competition through exclusive deals.

Tinder has launched "Tinder Select," a $499 per month exclusive subscription for premium features, targeting a select 1% of users to combat declining subscriptions.

Epic Games is paying $245 million in a settlement allowing users to claim for deceptive Fortnite purchases and privacy violations, with claims due by January 17, 2024.

Amazon will add ads to Prime Video in 2024, offering an ad-free version at an extra cost, to finance more content creation.

Mixin Network experienced a breach, losing around $200 million in the largest crypto theft of 2023; services are suspended pending investigation.

Governor Newsom vetoed a bill, enabling autonomous trucks to operate without human safety operators, citing sufficient existing regulations and the potential for technological advancement.

The SEC is intensifying its investigation into Wall Street’s use of private messaging apps, examining staff messages from major investment firms for potential record-keeping breaches.

Costco is partnering with healthcare startup Sesame to offer its members affordable, insurance-free online primary care and mental health services.

THAT’S A WRAP

If you have anything interesting to share, please reach out to us by sending us a DM on Twitter: @rowancheung & @therundowntech

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