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Technology December 7, 2022

Apple Chips Now Made in America



Apple will soon start to use processors made in America following the opening of an advanced new chip factory in Phoenix, Arizona. Its opening was attended by President Joe Biden and Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The factory, which is being built by TSMC, a dedicated foundry that builds chips designed by other companies, will make 4nm processors with production set to begin in 2024. The plant’s customers include AMD and NVIDIA, which will benefit from a more secure supply of chips and quicker production timelines.

“Apple had to buy all the advanced chips from overseas. Now we’re going to do more of their supply chain here at home,” said Biden.

TSMC has said it will invest $40bn in its Arizona capacity, which is one of the largest foreign direct investments ever made in US manufacturing.

Located in north Phoenix

The new factory, which is located in north Phoenix, will be a large, modern building surrounded by newly paved roads and cacti that survived the desert bulldozing. In its first public event, TSMC welcomed customers, employees, local leaders, and journalists to see its new factory, or at least the outside of it.

The first Phoenix fab will make 4nm processors (improved from the originally disclosed 5nm), with production slated to begin in 2024.

The second fab will come online in 2026 and produce 3nm chips, which are the smallest and most complex processors in production today.

Global supply chain change

The new factory is part of the US’s semiconductor manufacturing revival, which has been spurred on by the global supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The vast majority of the world’s semiconductors are manufactured in Asia, and the pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of relying on a single region for such an essential component of modern technology. In response, the US government has invested billions of dollars in initiatives to boost domestic semiconductor production, including tax incentives and grants for chip manufacturers.

Will power macbooks

The new factory in Phoenix is the result of one such initiative, and its opening was attended by President Joe Biden and Apple CEO Tim Cook. “These chips will power iPhones and MacBooks, as Tim Cook can attest,” Biden said at the event.

The factory’s customers, which also includes AMD and NVIDIA, are set to benefit from a more secure supply of chips and quicker production timelines. “TSMC has become a global platform on which the world’s tech industry is built,” NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang said.

“Bringing TSMC investment to the United States is a masterstroke and a game changing development for the industry,” Huang added.

All told, TSMC said it will invest $40 billion in its Arizona capacity, which is among the largest foreign direct investments ever made in US manufacturing. The two fabs will produce more than 600,000 wafers annually by 2026, which White House officials said will be enough to meet the entire US demand for advanced chips.

Apple Chips Now Made in America

Nvidia to buy American

Top leadership from Apple, AMD, and NVIDIA confirmed on Tuesday that they would be among the first customers to buy chips from the new Arizona fabs. TSMC customers did not disclose how many chips they plan to purchase from these fabs, but at 3nm and 4nm, the Arizona chips will be more advanced than what they currently use.

Still, by the time these Arizona fabs are both up and running, TSMC will already be producing more advanced chips at overseas facilities. The company plans to produce 2nm chips by 2025, according to Nikkei Asia.


Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney.


China Catches Up On Quantum Computers, Makes 1st Delivery



China Catches Up On Quantum Computers, Makes 1st Delivery

China has officially caught up with Canada and USA in the race to deliver a complete quantum computer system to a customer according to a state media report.

Chinese quantum computing company, Origin Quantum Computing Technology developed a 24-qubit Wuyuan system before delivery to an unknown user more than a year ago, the science ministry’s Science and Technology Daily reported.

Also read: How AI Can Accelerate Metaverse Development

According to Origin Quantum, they are the only Chinese company in the quantum computing industry that can deliver real quantum computers as well as full-stack development and follow up services.

According to a statement sent to the Global Times on Monday by East China’s Anhui Province based Quantum Computing Research Centre, the group developed the computer and successfully delivered it to a user.

“More than 100 quantum computing companies in the world have put enormous investment into quantum research and development. Canada’s quantum computing company sold its first quantum computer in 2011, followed by IBM of the US in 2019.

“Chinese Origin Quantum delivered a quantum computer in 2021,” Zhang Hui, director of the Anhui Quantum Computing Engineering Research Center was quoted as saying.

Eyebrow raising announcement

The announcement by Chinese state media has raised eyebrows among skeptics questioning its timing.

Weifeng Zhong, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va told TechNewsWorld that this could be a gimmick to just show China as a tech giant with a transparent administration.

“Quantum technology has a high priority for national security in China. If this were something very important, I doubt it would be disclosed like this in a transparent way by Chinese authorities,” explained Zhong.

“The fact that it was delayed for a year suggests that they realize now that it’s not important to national security, so they’re trying to use it to build China’s image as a technology leader at a time when they’re trying to open up their economy to the rest of the world,” added Zhong.

But what is quantum computing?

A quantum computer is a type of computer that uses quantum mechanics to store and process data, as opposed to classical computers that use classical mechanics. Quantum computers use quantum bits (qubits), which can exist in multiple states at once, to perform computations that are not possible on classical computers, making them particularly well-suited for certain types of complex calculations.

The  24-qubit Wuyuan quantum computer based on superconducting technology developed by the same company  becomes the third to be delivered to customers after Canada in 2011 and USA’s IBM in 2019.

Superconducting technology is currently one of the most mature and well-developed implementations of quantum computing, and many companies and research organizations are working to develop and commercialize superconducting quantum computers. Superconducting technology is one of the main implementations of quantum computing.

In superconducting quantum computers, quantum bits (qubits) are made from tiny electrical circuits that are cooled to very low temperatures, close to absolute zero, in order to minimize the amount of thermal energy and increase their coherence time, which is the time during which a qubit can maintain its quantum state.

What does China offer in its quantum computers

Speed: Quantum computers can perform certain operations much faster than classical computers, which can greatly speed up complex computations.

Parallel processing: Quantum computers can perform multiple calculations simultaneously, which allows for more efficient processing of large amounts of data.

Simulating complex systems: Quantum computers can be used to simulate complex systems, such as molecules and materials, which can lead to new discoveries in fields such as chemistry and materials science.

Cryptography: Quantum computers can be used to break certain encryption algorithms, which makes them useful for developing new, more secure encryption methods.

Optimization problems: Quantum computers can be used to solve complex optimization problems, such as logistics and scheduling problems, which have many potential real-world applications.

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Twitter-Like Privacy App Damus Banned in China 48hrs After Apple App Store Approval



Twitter-Like Privacy App Damus Banned in China 48hrs After Apple App Store Approval

Damus, a Twitter-like client app built to be compliant with the decentralized protocol Nostr, was banned in China for publishing “illegal content” just 48 hours after it became available for download on the Apple App Store.

Damus announced the App Store approval on Twitter on Jan. 31. The app has created a lot of excitement among crypto and privacy die-hards on social media, thanks to its promises of privacy, decentralization, and censorship resistance.

Also read: Social Networks Truth Social and Parler See Big Jump in Web Traffic

Jack Dorsey, the Twitter cofounder who backed Nostr with a donation of $240, 000 in Bitcoin, described the launch of the application as “a milestone for open protocols.” Nostr is already available for android devices on the Google Play Store, via the Amethyst app.

The latest approval means that Damus, which quickly rose to number 10 on the list of most downloaded apps on the Apple App Store, is now available as an app to users of iOS devices such as iPhone and Mac computers.

Banning Damus

However, authorities in China are not impressed. They banned the application hardly 48 hours after it went live on the App Store. Damus triggered huge interest among users in China, where the government maintains a chokehold on the flow of information.

As of writing, it had reached a total of nealy 8,000 downloads in mainland China, second only to the U.S. at 23,700. In Hong Kong, downloads hit 4,200, more than double those of the UK and Canada. Altogether, downloads of the app totaled 56,000 worldwide.

“We are writing to notify you that your application per demand from the CAC (Cyberspace Administration of China), will be removed from the China App Store because it includes content that is illegal in China,” Apple wrote to Damus, which shared the response on Twitter.

Apple said “apps that solicit, promote, or encourage criminal or clearly reckless behavior will be rejected.” According to the CAC, Damus violates provisions of a security law on Internet-based information “with attribute of public opinions or capable of social mobilization.”

Damus will still be available in regions outside of China. Earlier on Feb. 2, Bitcoiner and Jan3 CEO Samson Mow predicted that, “Damus [is] going to be removed from iOS App Store in China soon.”

What is Nostr?

To understand Damus, it is important to first have an idea of the protocol that supports the app. As MetaNews previously reported, Nostr is an open protocol that its developers say is able to “create a censorship-resistant global ‘social’ network once and for all.”

The protocol allows users to create posts (as they would tweets), “like posts, follow someone or unfollow them, retweet/repost,” according to a post on Github. Normally the term ‘post’ or ‘note’ is used to refer to creating a post on Nostr.

Fiatjaf, the creator of Nostr, says the protocol excels at ‘broadcasting’ stuff. Besides social networking, the developer said things like forums, Reddit-like apps, prediction markets, marketplaces of physical and digital goods, and others fall into the “broadcasting” category.

Nostr has been used to build a variety of applications, including a chess engine called Chesstr and a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO. Chesstr is a new virtual chessboard that allows users “to play chess with a friend anywhere in the world.”

Users of the Nostr protocol are all identified by a public key (a long list of random letters and numbers). Such as the one Jack Dorsey displays on his public profile on Twitter. Every post is signed and clients, or user-facing apps, validate the signatures. One such client is Damus.

Damus ‘your very own Twitter’, says developer

Created by Bitcoin Lightning developer William Casarin, Damus is an app for iPhone, iPad, and MacOS that implements the Nostr decentralized protocol. The app allows users to post notes, tag other users, and engage with notes by reposting, liking, or replying to them.

Damus claims to support Twitter-like social networking, as well as show messages from channels. To create an account, users do not need a phone number, email or name, it says. Messages are encrypted end-to-end and you can tip your friend’s posts with Bitcoin.

“Built on open internet protocols, there is no platform that can ban or censor you. You are in control of your data and speech,” Damus says on its website. “Messages are distributed via decentralized relays. No need to run any infrastructure and no single point of

The developer says the app is “your very own Twitter for your friends or business.” At the time of writing, however, the Web version of Damus was down “because there is someone trying to exploit browser loopholes to steal private keys.”

“I would not recommend using a web client at this time. Damus iOS is not affected,” Casarin said on the site.

Whereas big tech has been criticized for violating user privacy through use of cookies to compile data for sale to advertisers, Damus writes on the App Store:

“Data Not Collected. The developer does not collect any data from this app. Damus doesn’t store any information about you other than the posts which you make, which are published to the damus relay as well other relays if configured.

In contrast, the official Twitter app disclosure says the network collects data that includes things such as purchases, contact Information, browsing history, usage data, location, user content, identifiers, search history, diagnostics and other data.

Risks of decentralization

Damus’ launch on the AppStore has not been without its fair share of problems. In some geographic locations, users complained the application was not working at all.

Decentralization tends to generate incredible fear, the creation of a world without authority where bad actors can carry out their nefarious activities. One Twitter user asked: How does it [Nostr] shut down accounts posting things like child porn if everyone can do what they want?

In responses, Nostr pseudonymous creator Fiatjaf, said: “There are no such thing as accounts, only keys and events. Events are published to relays. Each relay decides who and what can publish to them.”

“Relays are free to censor child porn or anything else they want. Users can choose from where to read and can easily exclude bad relays,” he added.

Nostr is one among a number of emerging decentralized social networks intent on giving users both the personal and financial freedom to act according to their conscience rather than under political instruction.

Over the years, key figures in Bitcoin and web3, entities predominantly on the receiving end of U.S. government intrusion, have either disapprovingly reassessed the monopoly of dominant social networks or started to delink their relationships.

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Gmail Creator Says AI Will Replace Search Engines Like Google in 2 Years



Gmail Creator Says AI Will Replace Search Engines Like Google in 2 Years

Paul Buchheit, the creator of Gmail, said artificial intelligence (AI) will replace search engines such as Google in two years.

“My prediction is that AI (not necessarily ChatGPT) will replace search, maybe within the next two years (current AI not yet good enough),” Buchheit tweeted on Feb. 1.

Google facing ‘total disruption’

The software engineer said this as a form of clarification on an earlier statement he made regarding ChatGPT, the widely popular OpenAI bot. He believes that his comments were taken out of context and “sensationalized” by the media.

Also read: AI Could Kill Everyone, Researchers Warn MPs

However, the argument remains fundamentally the same in that Paul Buchheit’s prediction will still impact his former employer. Google is already reacting to the threat with plans to release 20 new AI related products to improve search this year, according to reports.

In his original comments from early December, Buchheit stated: “Google may be only a year or two away from total disruption. AI will eliminate the search engine result page, which is where they make most of their money,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Even if they catch up on AI, they can’t fully deploy it without destroying the most valuable part of their business.”

Google gets much of its revenue from search through online advertisements. The tech giant, which dominates the search business, charges advertisers a fee for ad placements that sit next to the search results. This improves the chances of ads being seen by consumers.

In 2021, Google reported revenues rose 41% to $258 billion from a year ago, its biggest to date. Ads made up 81% of total revenues that year. However, Google is grappling with a slowdown in online ad spending amid mounting antitrust lawsuits.

According to market research firm Insider Intelligence, the company’s share of total online advertising income in the U.S. fell from 37% in 2016 to 29% in 2022. Alphabet-owned Google controls up to 90% of the search business’ total market share.

Killing Web search ChatGPT way

Culture is now a sanctuary in this posthuman future. But the upcoming dominance of AI in search has even the most cultured corporate organizations in panic, and none more so than Google. OpenAI’s buzzy chatbot ChatGPT has been all the rage since its launch in November.

It can write complex essays, poetry, code and even pass MBA exams at the Wharton School of Business. OpenAI has also received a reported $10 billion cash boost from Microsoft, which is looking to add the chatbot’s abilities into its own search engine.

ChatGPT is shaking things up. It has spawned an AI arms race of sorts in Sillicon Valley. As Paul Buchheit said, tech like AI can remove the need for search engine result pages. He elaborates on how search businesses like Google could become useless, in exactly the same way that the company “killed” pre-internet business The Yellow Pages.

“The way I imagine this happening is that the URL/Search bar of the browser gets replaced with AI that autocompletes my thought/question as I type it while also providing the best answer (which may be a link to a website or product),” he explained.

“The old search engine backend will be used by the AI to gather relevant information and links, which will then be summarized for the user. It’s like asking a professional human researcher to do the work, except the AI will instantly do what would take many minutes for a human.”

Google joins AI race

The new artificial intelligence technology has been a wake up call for Google. CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly declared a “code red”, steamrolling over the company’s existing plans to kickstart AI development, The New York Times reports.

Google is now targeting to release around 20 new products and “demonstrate a version of its search engine with chatbot features this year,” it said, quoting sources with knowledge of the plans.

One of these projects is “Apprentice Bard,” as per a CNBC report. Apprentice Bard is a chatbot that is able to provide responses to questions asked using natural language. It uses Google’s conversation technology called Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA). The model is similar to the GPT language model utilized by ChatGPT .

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