Sunday Reads: AI ethics, California rolls, Eurovision

Plus, the big, bizarre bitcoin bet by Balaji Srinivasan
Sunday Reads: AI ethics, California rolls, Eurovision

Hi Quartz members,

Welcome back to Sunday Reads, the second part of your member-exclusive Weekend Brief email. In addition to our favorite things on Quartz this week and stories we loved from elsewhere, we invite you to peruse our most surprising discoveries from the past week. We’ll also set you up for the week ahead with a curated calendar of events our newsroom will be watching.

What breakfast items do you enjoy best with Sunday Reads? And what else would you like to see in this newsletter? Let us know.

5 things we especially liked on Quartz

🧬 The 1975 event that’s relevant now to AI. That’s no Taylor Swift reference. Rather, almost 50 years ago, a breakthrough in genetics had scientists concerned about the consequences of their findings. They gathered at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in California to develop guidelines on responsible use of DNA in their research. As AI reporter Michelle Cheng discovered, their principles offer a blueprint for technologists working today on artificial intelligence.

A big, bizarre bitcoin bet. Who among us has not been tempted to do something drastic about our concerns regarding inflation? Nate DiCamillo takes a look at the very public gamble taken by crypto investor and tech entrepreneur Balaji Srinivasan and the hyperinflation naysayer on Twitter who won $1 million from him.

🚼 Changing norms. When the US passed a law in 2016 requiring diaper-changing facilities in the restrooms of federal buildings, offices at the US Capitol were somehow made exempt. But the Congressional Dads Caucus wants to rectify that. Yes, there is an official caucus for fathers in the US legislature, and Gabriella Riccardi argues their petition is one small step for men, and a potentially big leap in modeling equality for humankind.

👨‍🏫 They said there would be training. Ever been promised opportunities for learning at work, only to find little beyond a mandatory session on recognizing sexual harassment? Quartz at Work editor Anna Oakes advises on how to easily take your growth and development into your own hands.

🎡 A new season of the Quartz Obsession podcast has landed. Season five is all about our relationships with technology. First, Cassie Werber takes us back to the origins of the World’s Fair, a showcase for cutting-edge developments—and the sometimes barbaric biases of its host countries. Next, guided by Julia Malleck, we zoom into the future of smart homes and the perils of living with digital technology.

🎧 Obsess over a new topic each week with host Scott Nover by subscribing to the Quartz Obsession today, wherever you get your podcasts: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google | Stitcher | YouTube 

A sushi roll gets sliced by someone holding a knife
Photo: Rich Pedroncelli (AP)

5 great stories from elsewhere

👀 Clicky situation. Leah Finnegan for The Baffler gives a sharp-eyed review of the new book by former BuzzFeed News editor in chief Ben Smith, aptly titled Traffic. Through her commentary on Smith’s industry anecdotes and arguments, Finnegan reflects on the conflict between quality reporting in an age of click-driven media.

📼 Lost tapes. In 1986, the legend goes, a Jeopardy! contestant named Barbara Lowe won five consecutive games and then promptly fell off the map—her episodes disappeared, never to be seen on TV again. The Ringer delves into the mystery behind the lost tapes, and efforts by fans to track them down. Thanks to the sleuthing of one game show expert, the episodes may once more be accessible to the public.

💪 Gig n’ get by. In India, the gig economy is largely dominated by men. But one platform, Urban Company, is seeking to bring more women into the sector. The app now has around 45,000 contracted employees who are hired out for in-home services like beauty treatments, plumbing, and cleaning. But, as Rest of World reports, while formalizing domestic work has given some women financial freedom, it also has led to exploitation.

💭 Built to forget. Our ability to recall things is curbed by our capacity to forget. But, frustrating as it is, the haziness of memory may be essential to what makes us human. As Jorge Luis Borges details in his short story “Funes the Memorious,” remembering everything might rid us of the ability to think altogether. Nautilus goes into the research behind memory and its links to both imagination and invention.

🍣 On a roll. The California roll—an impeccable combo of avocado, imitation crab, and cucumber—can be found on menus around the globe. But what really ties the sushi favorite together is the rice. The Los Angeles Times ventures to the Golden State’s Central Valley to scope out Koda Farms, the cradle of LA’s sushi boom in the 1960s. The farm pioneered Kokuho Rose, the medium-grain rice that launched a thousand maki.

Surprising discoveries

Gif: Giphy

Each weekday in our Daily Brief, we share five surprising discoveries, taken from all over. In case you missed them, we’re showcasing our top five favorites from the week. Check out this week’s picks here.

What to watch for this week

Beyonce stands at a microphone at an awards ceremony
Photo: Kevin Winter/for The Recording Academy (Getty Images)

🗓️ These are some of the events our newsroom will be moving and grooving to this week.

  • Monday: Time to cluck over quarterly earnings from Tyson Foods, PayPal, and BioNTech; the UK takes a holiday to recover from the weekend coronation of King Charles III
  • Tuesday: The semi-finals of the Eurovision Song Contest kick off in the UK; earnings are due from Airbnb, Nintendo, Rivian, Oatly, and BuzzFeed (we kind of know how things are going at the latter)
  • Wednesday: The dance-inducing frenzy continues with the launch of Beyoncé’s Renaissance world tour in Stockholm. We’ll tune into the latest US inflation data, too, and Disney’s earnings report
  • Thursday: The US border policy known as Title 42 is set to expire (again), and big earnings out of Asia could cause a rumble: Softbank,, and Foxconn are all reporting
  • Friday: The week ascends to St. Vitus-level with the release of the 6th studio album from the Jonas Brothers, simply titled The Album.
  • Saturday: We’ll learn which Eurovision song we’ll be blasting all summer
  • Sunday: Voters in Thailand and Turkey turn out for general elections

Thanks for reading! Here’s to the week ahead, and don’t hesitate to reach out with comments, questions, feedback, inflation bets, or California rolls. Sunday Reads was brought to you by Susan Howson, Morgan Haefner, Heather Landy, and Julia Malleck.