from ars technica An entire team responsible for making sure that Microsoft’s AI products are shipped with safeguards to mitigate social harms was cut during the company’s most recently layoff of 10,000 employees, Platformer reported. Former employees said that the ethics and society team was a critical part of Microsoft’s strategy to reduce risks associated with using OpenAI technology in Microsoft products. Before it was killed off, the team developed an entire “responsible innovation toolkit” to help Microsoft engineers forecast what harms could be caused by AI—and then to diminish those harms. More here.Continue reading
Why China Could Dominate the Next Big Advance in Batteries
from NYTs In Changsha, deep in China’s interior, thousands of chemists, engineers and manufacturing workers are shaping the future of batteries. The city’s Central South University churns out the graduates who are advancing the technology, much as Stanford University molded the careers of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who pioneered microchips. Across the Xiang River, vast factories mix minerals into the highly processed compounds that make rechargeable batteries possible. These batteries, mostly made of lithium, have powered the rise of cellphones and other consumer electronics. They are transforming the auto industry and could soon start doing the same for solar panels and […]Continue reading
A Generative AI Copilot for Lawyers (with Demo)
from Synthedia “Spellbook is like a GitHub Copilot for lawyers or an AI copilot for lawyers,” said Scott Stephenson, the CEO of Rally. He added, “GitHub Copilot was the inspiration … I remember very well the first time I used it.” Rally created Spellbook by fine-tuning GPT-3 on legal documents. Stephenson said the company also uses some of Cohere’s models and others they have developed in-house. The software suggests language for contacts and also helps review contracts. “You can ask questions about documents, find missing clauses, unusual terms, and things like that … You can also ask freeform questions like […]Continue reading
When Your Boss Is an App
from NYTs Brenda Handy started doing temp work nearly 40 years ago. Back then, landing jobs took time and effort, even for a licensed practical nurse. In the 1990s she lived in Tampa, Fla., with her three children, but got her work through a man named Tony Braswell, who had his offices a half-hour away, in St. Petersburg. Braswell would call nurses with the details of their next jobs. Handy would learn her assignment and drive the family van an hour south to Sarasota, or maybe 40 minutes east to Lakeland, to reach one of the care facilities that contracted […]Continue reading
How Much Is Your Boss Spying On You (And Can You Do Anything About It)?
from Fast Company Despite the shift we felt toward worker empowerment, flexibility, and a more humane way of working, there can still be a lot about living and working in 2023 that feels slightly dystopian. The news is filled with layoffs, economic uncertainty, and the rise of artificial intelligence impacting fields and skills once thought to be the domain of human-exclusive knowledge work. Add to those concerns the rise in so-called bossware monitoring software that companies use to ensure that employees are staying productive. It’s not an anomaly at a few companies. Research found that eight of the ten largest […]Continue reading
The A.I. Chatbots Have Arrived. Time to Talk to Your Kids.
from NYTs The race is on. Companies are pouring billions of dollars into powerful online chatbots and finding new ways to integrate them into our daily lives. Are our children ready for this? Are any of us? ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence language model from OpenAI, has been making headlines since November for its ability to instantly respond to complex questions. It can write poetry, generate code, plan vacations and translate languages, among other tasks, all within seconds. GPT-4, the latest version introduced in mid-March, can even respond to images (and ace the Bar Exam). On Tuesday, Google released Bard, its […]Continue reading
Why Latin America Keeps Talking About a Common Currency
from The Atlantic “Nothing is more emancipating than the fraternity of nations,” the presidents of Argentina and Brazil declared earlier this year, “coming together from the depths of history to make the future theirs.” This sonorous language—of emancipation and brotherhood—evoked the aspirations of South America’s great independence hero, the statesman Simón Bolívar. The reality was more humdrum: a fancy way of saying they’d like to create a common currency, known as el sur. The plan for a currency union is merely the latest in a long history of treaties and proposals for creating a closer bloc in the region. “The […]Continue reading
“I Don’t Know”
from Seth’s Blog Particularly when it comes to the future. And perhaps about the past. More often than not, we find ourselves in situations where we don’t know. Where we can’t know. That’s a given. More here.Continue reading
What Happens When A Metaverse Disappears?
from Fast Company A bugle played Taps. The crowd fell silent. Then, a coffin began floating down the aisle, as if carried by invisible pallbearers, until coming to a stop at a makeshift altar adorned with candles and flowers. The coffin was propped up, revealing under its transparent lid the iconic AltspaceVR robot avatar, and a short ceremony began. This scene unfolded on the social VR platform AltspaceVR last weekend, where roughly 40 users and creators had come together to mourn its impending demise. Microsoft, which had acquired the VR platform in 2017, shut down AltspaceVR on Friday, March 10. […]Continue reading
Deepmind’s New Model Gato Is Amazing!
from Louis Bouchard Gato from DeepMind was just published! It is a single transformer that can play Atari games, caption images, chat with people, control a real robotic arm, and more! Indeed, it is trained once and uses the same weights to achieve all those tasks. And as per Deepmind, this is not only a transformer but also an agent. This is what happens when you mix Transformers with progress on multi-task reinforcement learning agents. As we said, Gato is a multi-modal agent. Meaning that it can create captions for images or answer questions as a chatbot. You’d say that […]Continue reading
The Key to Success in College Is So Simple, It’s Almost Never Mentioned
from NYTs For Emily Zurek Small, college did what it’s supposed to do. Growing up in a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania, she had career and intellectual ambitions for which college is the clearest pathway. “I just kind of always wanted to learn,” she told me recently. “I wanted to be able to have intelligent conversations with people and know about the world.” She enrolled at a small nearby Catholic college, majored in neuroscience and in 2016 became the first person in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree — and later, a master’s. She now works as a school […]Continue reading
Happy Pi Day!
Pi Day is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant pi. Pi Day is observed on March 14 (3/14 in the month/day format) since 3, 1, and 4 are the first three significant figures of ?. It was founded in 1988 by Larry Shaw, an employee of the Exploratorium. Celebrations often involve eating pie or holding pi recitation competitions. In 2009, the United States House of Representatives supported the designation of Pi Day. Visit here if you are interested in different ways to use Pi.Continue reading
Why ‘I Don’t Know’ Can Be The Smartest Answer
from Fast Company Ignorance may be bliss, but saying “I don’t know” out loud is often hard to do. It can be especially difficult if you’re in a position of leadership and your team comes to you for answers. However, saying “I don’t know” can actually be empowering if you reframe the concept, says Lizette Warner, author of Power, Poise, and Presence: A New Approach to Authentic Leadership. “Any statement that starts with ‘I don’t know’ means that you’re open to knowing and it leads to discovery,” she says. “‘I don’t know’ is the first path to wisdom. It’s what […]Continue reading
New Zealand Faces a Future of Flood and Fire
from Wired NEW ZEALAND IS grappling with two consecutive extreme weather events—massive flooding followed by a cyclone—that have claimed at least 12 lives and left hundreds of thousands of people without power. The high winds and waters of Cyclone Gabrielle have washed away coastal roads on the north island and left bridges splintered and broken. Landslides have covered tarmac with slick mud, and houses and streets across have been left under feet of water, only weeks after heavy rain also caused widespread floods. The country has declared a national state of emergency for just the third time in its history. New Zealand’s […]Continue reading
Are You Listening To Understand, Or To Rebut?
from Forbes Have you noticed? Much of the programming on cable TV is little more than various “experts” trying to out shout each other. The scene is no better among our elected “leaders.” It’s as though people have no sense of curiosity. Or manners. There are many excellent resources that can help us with our listening skills. One of the best is Stephen R. Covey’s classic book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. You might think that such a classic could not be improved. That was my assumption. Then I carefully explored the 30th anniversary edition that includes bonus […]Continue reading
Introducing The Ai Mirror Test, Which Very Smart People Keep Failing
from The Verge In behavioral psychology, the mirror test is designed to discover animals’ capacity for self-awareness. There are a few variations of the test, but the essence is always the same: do animals recognize themselves in the mirror or think it’s another being altogether? Right now, humanity is being presented with its own mirror test thanks to the expanding capabilities of AI — and a lot of otherwise smart people are failing it. The mirror is the latest breed of AI chatbots, of which Microsoft’s Bing is the most prominent example. The reflection is humanity’s wealth of language and […]Continue reading
From Bing to Sydney
from Stratechery Look, this is going to sound crazy. But know this: I would not be talking about Bing Chat for the fourth day in a row if I didn’t really, really, think it was worth it. This sounds hyperbolic, but I feel like I had the most surprising and mind-blowing computer experience of my life today. One of the Bing issues I didn’t talk about yesterday was the apparent emergence of an at-times combative personality. For example, there was this viral story about Bing’s insistence that it was 2022 and “Avatar: The Way of the Water” had not yet […]Continue reading
Proposals But No Consensus On Curbing Water Shortages In Colorado River Basin
from ars technica In 2007, the seven states that rely on the Colorado River for water reached an agreement on a plan to minimize the water shortages plaguing the basin. Drought had gripped the region since 1999 and could soon threaten Lake Powell and Lake Mead, the largest reservoirs in the nation. Now, that future has come to pass and the states are again attempting to reach an agreement. The Colorado River faces a crisis brought on by more than 20 years of drought, decades of overallocation and the increasing challenge of climate change, and Lake Mead and Lake Powell, […]Continue reading
A Conversation With Bing’s Chatbot Left Me Deeply Unsettled
from NYTs Last week, after testing the new, A.I.-powered Bing search engine from Microsoft, I wrote that, much to my shock, it had replaced Google as my favorite search engine. But a week later, I’ve changed my mind. I’m still fascinated and impressed by the new Bing, and the artificial intelligence technology (created by OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT) that powers it. But I’m also deeply unsettled, even frightened, by this A.I.’s emergent abilities. It’s now clear to me that in its current form, the A.I. that has been built into Bing — which I’m now calling Sydney, for reasons […]Continue reading
Four Ways To Find More Focus In Your Writing
from Forbes From emails to instant messages, not to mention reports and presentations, writing is an essential skill for pretty much anyone with a job. But how many missed opportunities or bad business decisions have you seen happen due to poor written communication? It’s an all-too-common problem that Mark Rennella, author of The One Idea Rule, wants to solve. In addition to being an author, Rennella is a writing advisor to Harvard Business School MBAs. The number one thing he identified holding back their writing: Focus. “I realized that a lot of smart people who wrote poorly, it was not […]Continue reading