Entertainment

See why 'Abbott Elementary' got an Emmy nom, and more weekend recs

Don’t know what to do this weekend? We’ve got you covered.

See why 'Abbott Elementary' got an Emmy nom, and more weekend recs

Our recs for your weekend.

Image: ABC; PatchXR; Unsplash

The dog days of summer aren’t that bad when you have lots to do. If you want a little taste of school, give “Abbott Elementary” a shot. If you want something darker, “Stranger” will keep you busy. If you want to use this time to be a DJ, PatchWork can help with that.

‘Abbott Elementary’ is comedy gold

Move over, Ted Lasso: “Abbott Elementary,” a workplace comedy set in a Philadelphia public school, received an Emmy nomination for Best Comedy this week, and rightly so. Shot as a mockumentary, “Abbott Elementary” explores the reality of underfunded public schools — without getting stuck in cliches.

No one is coming to “save these kids.” Instead, the teachers make do, often using hilarious shortcuts to overcome resource scarcities and other challenges. And while all teachers are heroes in my book, “Abbott’s” characters are so lovable and fun to watch because they are imperfect, insecure and quirky.

The road to all-day XR glasses

Apple, Snap and Meta are all trying to invent the next big thing: AR glasses that can be worn for hours at a time and eventually play as big a role in our lives as the smartphone. AR/VR pioneer Avi Bar-Zeev sums up some of the key challenges these companies are facing, and shares his thoughts on how to overcome them.

A perfect time to rediscover ‘Stranger’

This South Korean crime drama features Cho Seung-woo as a prosecutor who had a lobotomy that left him unable to feel emotion. It’s a trait that has made him ruthless, and incredibly effective in his job, but also in need of being kept in check.

Enter Bae Doona of “Kingdom” and “Sense8” fame, who plays a cop tasked with grounding her steely partner and helping him with his blind spots. “Stranger” first debuted in 2017, but with Korean fare becoming hugely popular on Netflix in recent months (“Squid Game,” “All of Us Are Dead”), now’s a perfect time to rediscover this gripping gem of a show.

PatchWorld is intriguing and very fun

There have been many takes on music experiences in VR. Some are more gamified, like Beat Saber and Audica, whereas others are trying to reinvent more traditional studio or DJ environments in VR (Electronauts, Tribe XR).

PatchWorld aims to combine the best of both worlds by offering access to sequencers and everything else you’d need to make your own tracks, while also letting you jam in weird and trippy underwater worlds with moody ocean spirits. It’s odd, intriguing and a lot of fun.

A version of this story also appeared in today’s Entertainment newsletter; subscribe here.

Fintech

Upstart has a new plan to sell Wall Street on its loans

The AI-powered lender will hold some loans on its balance sheet as it seeks partners for long-term capital.

Despite the current struggles, Upstart views the marketplace model as the best way to write to keep its loan business growing.

Photo: Upstart

After a revenue drop its CEO called “unacceptable,” the leadership at fintech lender Upstart is making a bet on the strength of its ability to underwrite loans with AI.

The San Mateo company is planning to leave some loans on its balance sheet that investors do not want to buy, as concerns about the economy shift Wall Street away from backing riskier consumer debt. Rather than pull back on its lending in response, the company said it will hold some loans as it seeks longer-term capital partners.

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Ryan Deffenbaugh
Ryan Deffenbaugh is a reporter at Protocol focused on fintech. Before joining Protocol, he reported on New York's technology industry for Crain's New York Business. He is based in New York and can be reached at rdeffenbaugh@protocol.com.
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How cybercrime is going small time

Blockbuster hacks are no longer the norm – causing problems for companies trying to track down small-scale crime

Cybercrime is often thought of on a relatively large scale. Massive breaches lead to painful financial losses, bankrupting companies and causing untold embarrassment, splashed across the front pages of news websites worldwide. That’s unsurprising: cyber events typically cost businesses around $200,000, according to cybersecurity firm the Cyentia Institute. One in 10 of those victims suffer losses of more than $20 million, with some reaching $100 million or more.

That’s big money – but there’s plenty of loot out there for cybercriminals willing to aim lower. In 2021, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 847,376 complaints – reports by cybercrime victims – totaling losses of $6.9 billion. Averaged out, each victim lost $8,143.

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Chris Stokel-Walker

Chris Stokel-Walker is a freelance technology and culture journalist and author of "YouTubers: How YouTube Shook Up TV and Created a New Generation of Stars." His work has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian and Wired.

Enterprise

Does your boss sound a little funny? It might be an audio deepfake

Voice deepfake attacks against enterprises, often aimed at tricking corporate employees into transferring money to the attackers, are on the rise. And at least in some cases, they’re succeeding.

Audio deepfakes are a new spin on the impersonation tactics that have long been used in social engineering and phishing attacks, but most people aren’t trained to disbelieve their ears.

Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

As a cyberattack investigator, Nick Giacopuzzi’s work now includes responding to growing attacks against businesses that involve deepfaked voices — and has ultimately left him convinced that in today's world, "we need to question everything."

In particular, Giacopuzzi has investigated multiple incidents where an attacker deployed fabricated audio, created with the help of AI, that purported to be an executive or a manager at a company. You can guess how it went: The fake boss asked an employee to urgently transfer funds. And in some cases, it’s worked, he said.

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Kyle Alspach

Kyle Alspach ( @KyleAlspach) is a senior reporter at Protocol, focused on cybersecurity. He has covered the tech industry since 2010 for outlets including VentureBeat, CRN and the Boston Globe. He lives in Portland, Oregon, and can be reached at kalspach@protocol.com.

Fintech

Binance’s co-founder could remake its crypto deal-making

Yi He is overseeing a $7.5 billion portfolio, with more investments to come, making her one of the most powerful investors in the industry.

Binance co-founder Yi He will oversee $7.5 billion in assets.

Photo: Binance

Binance co-founder Yi He isn’t as well known as the crypto giant’s colorful and controversial CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao.

That could soon change. The 35-year-old executive is taking on a new, higher-profile role at the world’s largest crypto exchange as head of Binance Labs, the company’s venture capital arm. With $7.5 billion in assets to oversee, that instantly makes her one of the most powerful VC investors in crypto.

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Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers crypto and fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Google Voice at (925) 307-9342.

Policy

Trump ordered social media visa screening. Biden's defending it.

The Knight First Amendment Institute just lost a battle to force the Biden administration to provide a report on the collection of social media handles from millions of visa applicants every year.

Visa applicants have to give up any of their social media handles from the past five years.

Photo: belterz/Getty Images

Would you feel comfortable if a U.S. immigration official reviewed all that you post on Facebook, Reddit, Snapchat, Twitter or even YouTube? Would it change what you decide to post or whom you talk to online? Perhaps you’ve said something critical of the U.S. government. Perhaps you’ve jokingly threatened to whack someone.

If you’ve applied for a U.S. visa, there’s a chance your online missives have been subjected to this kind of scrutiny, all in the name of keeping America safe. But three years after the Trump administration ordered enhanced vetting of visa applications, the Biden White House has not only continued the program, but is defending it — despite refusing to say if it’s had any impact.

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Anna Kramer

Anna Kramer is a reporter at Protocol (Twitter: @ anna_c_kramer, email: akramer@protocol.com), where she writes about labor and workplace issues. Prior to joining the team, she covered tech and small business for the San Francisco Chronicle and privacy for Bloomberg Law. She is a recent graduate of Brown University, where she studied International Relations and Arabic and wrote her senior thesis about surveillance tools and technological development in the Middle East.

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