AI solves a 50-year-old mystery, the United States’ FCC chairman says he’s stepping down in January and the internet is already beginning to celebrate, and people are bullish about Bitcoin right now.
It’s all the tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Monday, December 1, and I’m your host Baneet Braich.
For the past 50 years, scientists have been struggling with the problem of “protein folding,” the mapping the three-dimensional shapes of the proteins that are responsible for diseases from cancer to Covid-19. Until today apperatenly. Google’s Deepmind says it has created an artificially intelligent program called “AlphaFold” that is able to solve those problems in a matter of days. DeepMind says that the prediction of protein structures could be an important part of responses to future pandemics, and that it had already used its machine learning technology on the protein structures of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19.
CNBC is reporting that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai will step down from his post on Jan. 20, the day President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated. The story has been circulated across Reddit, where thousands of users are celebrating. Pai’s decision to step down could have significant implications on net neutrality, an issue that helped define his term as chairman. In 2017, Pai voted with fellow Republican commissioners to remove rules that prohibited internet providers from blocking or slowing traffic to particular sites and offering higher speed “lanes” at higher prices.
And lastly, Bitcoin has been trending for the past couple of days thanks to a record-high value of nearly $20,000. Last week’s high was just below the peak of the last rally ($19,892 according to the exchange Coinbase) in December 2017. According to the New York Post, Bitcoin has gained more than 170 per cent this year, with most of that growth occurring since September. Even Bitcoin skeptics couldn’t help but be impressed by the crypto coin’s recent performance. Last week, the Financial Times’s Izabella Kaminska, a long-time crypto skeptic, noted that Bitcoin has a “rationale in doomsday scenarios.” [Twitter thread]
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. I’m Baneet Braich, thanks for listening.