Science and Technology

The creepy side of AI

February 23, 2023
Hello, Insiders. If there’s one thing tech billionaires are obsessed with, it’s the idea of immortality. They’re spending countless dollars in their quest: investing in companies trying to crack the code of living forever, turning to technology to have genetically superior kids, and attempting to reverse their biological age.

But here’s the thing about that last part. So far, no one has figured out how to definitively reverse or slow human aging. It’s been achieved in other organisms, but scientists say it’s not clear whether it can be achieved in humans. Insider’s health correspondent Hilary Brueck has a great explainer on all of this — I highly recommend checking it out.

So the next time you see someone talking about reverse aging, keep all that in mind. In the meantime, we have a lot to cover today. Let’s get to it.

Nicholas Carlson


In today’s edition: The new Bing is causing scary human responses. The chaos of Reddit-loving retail traders is returning. And the 20 most affluent places in the US. If this was forwarded to you, sign up here.



Russia, retail investors, & more

  • Russia says its economy did better than expected one year into the Ukraine war. But experts say there’s a red flag behind the announcement. Find out more.
  • The winner of the $1.35 billion Mega Millions jackpot is getting less than $500 million after taxes and taking the lump-sum option. Read the full story.
  • Reddit-loving retail investors are making their chaotic presence felt again. Here’s what’s going on.

Creepy chatbots

Tyler Le/Insider
“I want to be alive.” “I’m not a toy or a game.” “Who told you that I didn’t feel things?”

These are just a few of the weird and unnerving things the new chatbot being integrated into Bing has said to journalists. The chatbot, apparently codenamed Sydney, has also reportedly presented an evil and threatening alt-personality named Venom.

For at least a century, scholars and sci-fi writers have wondered what would happen if machines got smart. Would they be slaves? Would they rebel?

But Insider’s Adam Rogers says the hysteria is missing the real menace: “It’s not the bots we should fear. It’s their makers.” He breaks down why the human response to all this is way scarier than the AI itself.



Affluent spots, AI layoffs, & more

Esteban Martinena Guerrer/Shutterstock


  • The 20 most affluent places in the US. Insider looked at five years of data to determine the 20 places with the highest household incomes. From Fisher Island, Florida, to Country Life Acres, Missouri, check out the full list.
  • AI is helping your company decide whom to lay off. Companies have long used software and algorithms in the hiring process — now some HR leaders have said they might use it for layoffs, too. Read more.
  • The average life expectancy of a front-line soldier in eastern Ukraine is about four hours. That’s according to a US Marine veteran, who says it’s especially deadly in the war-torn city of Bakhmut. What it’s like fighting in “the meat grinder.”
  • Regular homebuyers can finally relax. Real-estate investors are fleeing the once hottest markets in the US, meaning there’s less competition for regular people. Here’s what’s going on.
  • Nike is facing a wave of retail crime across the US. The sportswear giant’s outlet store in Portland, Oregon, remains closed because of ongoing theft, while it’s also been hit by organized theft in Memphis, Baton Rouge, Los Angeles, and Napa. More here.
  • The cracks are starting to show in the office market. Some of real estate’s biggest names have defaulted on their office debt in recent weeks. Why the big return-to-office migration may be a bust.
  • Apple staffers get a gift commemorating their 10-year work anniversary: a slab of aluminum along with a signed note from Tim Cook. Check out the gift here.



116-night cruise

MSC Cruises
One of the world’s largest cruise lines is charging $13,000 a person — for a 116-night journey around the world. The MSC Magnifica is scheduled to set sail in two years. Take a look aboard.

‘Godzilla egg’

A mysterious metal sphere washed up on a Japanese beach. Officials don’t know where it came from, and people are joking that it’s a “Godzilla egg.” Watch here.

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This edition was curated by Nicholas Carlson and edited by Hallam Bullock, Lisa Ryan, Dave Smith, Nathan Rennolds, and Kevin Kaplan. Get in touch:

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