The Download: Opting out of the crypto hype, and the gig workers resisting oppressive algorithms

This is today’s version of the download, Our weekly newsletter provides daily updates on what’s going on in the world of technology.

It is OK to dislike from the crypto revolution.

Crypto advertising is everywhere. Billboards are around the Bay Area and the line LA Highway, and you can’t catch a train in NYC without running into coins or advertising for an exchange. A-listers like Gwyneth Paltrow are pushing the crypto platform, and this year’s Super Bowl broadcast was studded with big-budget crypto spots, each trumpeting the opportunity to enrich it.

But despite their ubiquity and lavish cost, these ads routinely omit any description of what crypto Is Or what any of the crypto companies that have paid to plaster our landscape are actually selling. There is a good reason for that. While the industry has been good for lucky gamblers with time to figure out disposable cash for risk and how to do it, it is less than what the average person offers today.

Crypto enthusiasts claim that the industry will revolutionize the financial system by decentralizing commerce, capturing the reins from banks and big tech gatekeepers who have betrayed us in the past. But so far, the crypto industry has not done well on that democratic promise. Read the full story.

– Rebecca Ackerman

Gig workers fighting algorithms

In the Bandungun Hillier neighborhood, just a stone’s throw from Jakarta’s gloomy Central Business District, motorcyclists gather in an informal “base camp.” He is the driver of Gojek, Indonesia’s largest ride-hailing firm. They are also part of a growing movement of resistance against the dispatch algorithm that dominates their lives.

Base camps evolved from a tradition that existed before the advent of algorithmic ride-hailing services in Indonesia. It is the network through which drivers around the city stay in tight communication. This sense of community is now at the heart of what separates Jakarta drivers from other gig workers around the world, and could unveil a new playbook for resistance: a way for workers to build collective strength, achieve safety standards and take care. While obviously no one else will. Read the full story.

-Karen Hao and Nadine Frislad

This is the third part of our series investigating AI colonialism, which sheds light on how technology is impoverishing communities and countries that have no say in its development. The final part is coming tomorrow, but you can read part one HereSection II HereAnd Karen Hao’s introductory essay Here,

Quote of the day

“People are my air.”

– Robin Solod, a lonely woman on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, speaks for many of us when she tells the New York Times how much she appreciates the need for socialization.

Must read

I used the internet to find out some of the most fun / important / scary / compelling stories about technology today.

1 China is claiming that only 17 people have died from covid in Shanghai
Which raises questions about how Kovid defines death. (NYT)
, The city is forcing vulnerable and elderly residents into temporary quarantine camps. (CNN)
, Surprisingly, the severe lockdown has led to a major mental health crisis. (The Guardian)
, China is resorting to censorship of its national anthem. (Newsweek)
, A Spanish woman has contracted covid twice in just 20 days(BBC)
, It is difficult to decide when to receive your next booster. (WP)
, If you are still cautious about catching Kovid with the lifting of the ban then it is quite good. (Slate 2)

2 is spreading misinformation online in Sri Lanka
And, naturally, Facebook is playing a central role. (Rest of the world)
+ Barack Obama is concerned about misinformation(NYT)
, Russia’s “fake news” law is used to harass investigative journalists(The Guardian)

3 social media campaigns bring murder suspect to trial
After the police retreated, a community of amateur sleuths came to the rescue. (The Cut 2)

Meet the 4 epidemic PPE scammers
Many people saw the crisis. Others saw the opportunity to make a lot of money. (The Verge)

Who are the digital pills with 5 trackers that warn doctors if they are not really taken for granted?
They are unlikely to help people who may need medicine the most. (Slate 2)

6 Gen Z is adopting the “official” social platform BeReal
It has no ads, no visible number of followers and, crucially, no filters. (WSJ)
, Instagram really wants you to stop re-posting TikTok on the reels(The Verge)

7 Solar energy is still a game of the rich
And that’s a huge barrier to widespread adoption. (Wired $)
,Climate change is destroying lives all over the world(WP)
,The Ecuadorian flower was named after its own extinction, before rediscovery.(WP)

8 How a stealth camera reveals creatures hidden in the depths of the ocean
We are still looking for exotic new species underwater. (Vox)

9 generations are so desperate for chips, they are breaking the washing machine
There is a shortage of semiconductors and companies are panicking. (Bloomberg 2)

10 Gut Health is taking over TikTok
But those are quick fixes and not long-term healthy lifestyle changes that tend to go viral. (NYT)
,One study says that a time-restricted diet does not work as a weight loss strategy.(NYT)
,Popular TikTok recipes look equally delicious and disgusting.(The Guardian)
,TikTok is doing in-depth analysis of all types of topics(Vox)

We can still have good things

A place for relaxation, pleasure and distraction in these strange times. (Any ideas? Drop me a line orTweet them to me,

+ ATimeless joke for timeless song,
+ Did you know that soccer managers need to send VHS tapes to the South Pacific to analyze their matches? Interesting stuff.
+ Why is the doll so popular in today’s popular culture?
Enjoy this mesmerizing clip of + aFeather starBobbing with sea creatures.
+ Concludes that the clueless-style closet isn’t just cracked – it looks tiring.
+ These old school special film effects are captivating.
+ If you ever need to know why Oreo cream sticks to just one wafer, here’s your answer.

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