Last Week in AI #222: AI leaders warn against ‘risk of extinction’, America's 2024 election and AI, AI in Minecraft, and more!
Top AI researchers and CEOs warn against ‘risk of extinction’ in 22-word statement, Deepfaking it: America's 2024 election collides with AI boom, Voyager: A Powerful Agent For Minecraft With GPT4
Summary: A group of top AI researchers, engineers, and CEOs have issued a 22-word statement warning about the existential threat they believe AI poses to humanity. The statement, published by the Center for AI Safety, has been co-signed by figures including Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, as well as Geoffrey Hinton and Yoshua Bengio. The statement reads: “Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.” The statement is the latest high-profile intervention in the complicated and controversial debate over AI safety.
Our take: The debate over AI safety is a complex one, with experts divided over the potential risks posed by AI. While some experts point to swift improvements in systems like large language models as evidence of future projected gains in intelligence, others doubt these predictions. They point to the inability of AI systems to handle even relatively mundane tasks like driving a car. Regardless of the potential risks posed by AI, AI systems present a number of threats in the present day, from their use enabling mass-surveillance to powering faulty “predictive policing” algorithms and easing the creation of misinformation and disinformation.
Summary: Pundits and commentators have warned about the potential for misinformation to compromise election integrity for years—already, politicians have used deepfakes in their attempts to win voters. The 2024 election cycle coincides with a series of impressive improvements in generative AI systems that can turbocharge deepfakes—Clinton and Biden deepfakes have already begun to surface, while former President Donald Trump shared a doctored video f Anderson Cooper earlier this month. Major social media platforms have taken steps to prohibit and remove deepfakes, but with varied success. Companies like OpenAI are attempting to restrict use of their products in politics, but their guardrails have gaps—OpenAI's DALL-E can create images of many politicians, even if it is blocked from creating images of Trump or Biden.
Our take: I feel the deepfakes/misinformation set of concerns has passed in and out of awareness over the years, and we have seen significant concern that was then tempered by studies that people were generally able to tell reality from fiction when it came to synthetic media. It does seem fair to ask how long we can maintain that sanguine stance and trust synthetic media to not sway elections and mislead voters. It's not new information that synthetic media is becoming easier and cheaper to generate; the question is when these generations will start to cause problems.
Meet Voyager: A Powerful Agent For Minecraft With GPT4 And The First Lifelong Learning Agent That Plays Minecraft Purely In-Context - "The great problem facing artificial intelligence researchers today is creating fully autonomous embodied entities that can plan, explore, and learn in open-ended environments."
Scientists use AI to discover new antibiotic to treat deadly superbug - "Scientists using artificial intelligence have discovered a new antibiotic that can kill a deadly superbug."
Robot centipedes go for a walk - "Researchers from the Department of Mechanical Science and Bioengineering at Osaka University have invented a new kind of walking robot that takes advantage of dynamic instability to navigate."
UC Berkeley Researchers Introduce Video Prediction Rewards (VIPER) - "Designing a reward function by hand is time-consuming and can result in unintended consequences. This is a major roadblock in developing reinforcement learning (RL)-based generic decision-making agents."
Can machine learning predict BMI in early childhood using data from the first 1000 days of life? - "In a recent study published in the Scientific Reports Journal, researchers used a machine learning (ML)-based approach to predict adulthood obesity by assessing risk factors and tracking body mass index (BMI) values in the initial 1,000 days (between two and four years of age) of life."
New method improves efficiency of 'vision transformer' AI systems - "Vision transformers (ViTs) are powerful artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that can identify or categorize objects in images -- however, there are significant challenges related to both computing power requirements and decision-making transparency."
Evaluating and uncovering open LLMs - "Evaluation is critical to ML systems. Every student is taught about the regimes of underfitting and overfitting during the training of a model — this is our first encounter with evaluation via a validation set."
How Should We Maximize the Planning Ability of LLMs While Reducing the Computation Cost? Meet SwiftSage : A Novel Generative Agent for Complex Interactive Reasoning Tasks, Inspired by the Dual-Process Theory of Human Cognition - "Artificial Intelligence is rapidly popularizing and for all good reasons."
Do You Really Need Reinforcement Learning (RL) in RLHF? A New Stanford Research Proposes DPO (Direct Preference Optimization) - "When trained on massive datasets, huge unsupervised LMs acquire powers that surprise even their creators. These models, however, are trained on information produced by people with a diverse range of motivations, objectives, and abilities. Not all of these ambitions and abilities may be emulated."
How to Keep Scaling Large Language Models when Data Runs Out? A New AI Research Trains 400 Models with up to 9B Parameters and 900B Tokens to Create an Extension of Chinchilla Scaling Laws for Repeated Data - "Large Language Models (LLMs), the deep learning-based highly efficient models, are the current trend in the Artificial Intelligence community. The well-known chatbot developed by OpenAI, ChatGPT, is based on GPT architecture and has millions of users utilizing its abilities for content generation."
This AI Research Dives Into The Limitations and Capabilities of Transformer Large Language Models (LLMs), Empirically and Theoretically, on Compositional Tasks - "ChatGPT is trending, and millions of people are using it every day."
The Race to Make A.I. Smaller (and Smarter) - "When it comes to artificial intelligence chatbots, bigger is typically better. Large language models like ChatGPT and Bard, which generate conversational, original text, improve as they are fed more data."
A majority of Americans have heard of ChatGPT, but few have tried it themselves - "About six-in-ten U.S. adults (58%) are familiar with ChatGPT, though relatively few have tried it themselves, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in March. Among those who have tried ChatGPT, a majority report it has been at least somewhat useful."
Artifact news app now uses AI to rewrite headline of a clickbait article - "Last month, the Artifact news app introduced an option for users to flag an article as clickbait. Now, the app founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger has launched a new feature to let AI rewrite a headline for you if you come across such an article."
I used Grimes’ AI vocals to make a hit – here’s how I did it - "Grimes has launched a platform to create AI versions of her vocals. Kito tells NME how she harnessed the platform for her recent viral hit AI – aka Artificial Intelligence – is rapidly shaping the future of music, but electronic outlier Grimes predicted that this was on the cards years ago."
Google says Gmail on your phone just got a lot faster thanks to A.I. - "On Friday, the company announced an AI update for Gmail: Over the next 15 days, end users will begin to see "top results" when they search their inboxes, featured above the "all results" section."
Instacart launches new in-app AI search tool powered by ChatGPT - "Instacart is launching a new AI search tool powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT, the company announced on Wednesday. The new “Ask Instacart” search tool is designed to help customers save time and assist them with with shopping questions by offering personalized recommendations."
Amazon Turns to AI to Weed Out Damaged Goods - "Amazon.com is rolling out artificial intelligence across a dozen of its largest warehouses to screen items for damage before orders are shipped to customers."
How AI Protects (and Attacks) Your Inbox - "When Aparna Pappu, vice president and general manager of Google Workspace, spoke at Google I/O on May 10, she laid out a vision for artificial intelligence that helps users wade through their inbox."
ANYBotics raises $50 million to help deploy its robot dog - "ANYbotics this week announced a $50 million Series B. The round, led by Walden Catalyst and NGP Capital, comes as the firm is pushing to deploy its ruggedized four-legged robot, ANYmal X. That follows a ."
AI Market Set To Break The Trillion-Dollar Barrier: Surging Toward $1.06 Trillion By 2028 Whether You Trust It Or Not - "It's evident to most people that artificial intelligence (AI) will substantially influence daily life."
Tech stocks surge as wave of interest in AI drives $4tn rally - "A rush of interest in artificial intelligence (AI) has helped to fuel a $4tn (£3.2tn) rally in technology stocks this year, with the US Nasdaq exchange reaching its highest level since last August in a week that saw the chipmaker Nvidia poised to become the next trillion-dollar company."
Marvell Rallies After Chipmaker Promises Big Gains in AI Sales - "Marvell Technology Inc. surged more than 21% in late trading after the chipmaker said it expects revenue from artificial intelligence to soar this year, capitalizing on a spending boom that also sent Nvidia Corp. on a record-setting rally this week."
Microsoft rains more machine learning on Azure cloud - "Microsoft made sure to include Azure in the AI-fest that was the Build 2023 developer conference this week."
Insights from American Workers: A Comprehensive Survey on AI in the Workplace - "In the rapidly evolving landscape of technology, one trend has emerged as a game-changer for businesses worldwide: the widespread adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace."
Reid Hoffman's new AI startup Inflection launches ChatGPT-like chatbot - "May 2 (Reuters) - Inflection AI, the AI startup founded by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and former Deepmind (GOOGL.O) researcher Mustafa Suleyman, has released its first AI chatbot product, the company said on Tuesday."
Microsoft signs deal for A.I. computing power with Nvidia-backed CoreWeave that could be worth billions - "Microsoft's massive investment in OpenAI has put the company at the center of the artificial intelligence boom. But it's not the only place where the software giant is opening its wallet to meet the surging demand for AI-powered services."
Apple is looking for engineers to work with Generative AI in a mixed reality environment - "Earlier this year, Apple added dozens of new jobs focused on engineers and scientists working with artificial intelligence."
Alibaba begins rollout of its ChatGPT-style tech as China A.I. race heats up - "Alibaba on Thursday began rolling out its ChatGPT-style technology as Chinese tech giants look to take a lead in the country's artificial intelligence race. ChatGPT, developed by U.S. firm OpenAI, is an AI chatbot that can answer questions when prompted by a user."
Baidu’s $145M AI fund signals China’s push for AI self-reliance - "The U.S.-China decoupling is giving rise to a divided tech landscape between the two major economies, shaping the development of the red-hot area of generative AI, which turns text into various forms of content like prose, images, and videos. China, in order to reduce dependence on the U.S."
Lightmatter’s photonic AI hardware is ready to shine with $154M in new funding - "Photonic computing startup Lightmatter is taking its big shot at the rapidly growing AI computation market with a hardware-software combo it claims will help the industry level up — and save a lot of electricity to boot."
Character.AI, the a16z-backed chatbot startup, tops 1.7M installs in first week - "Demand for AI via consumer mobile apps has been climbing, with market leader OpenAI’s ChatGPT mobile app topping half a million downloads in its first six days. Now, another AI app is touting its own launch success, as the a16z-backed Character.AI app is claiming to have pulled in over 1."
UAE’s Falcon 40B AI model is now royalty free for commercial, research use - "Abu Dhabi’s Technology Innovation Institute’s (TII) Falcon 40B, the UAE’s leading large-scale open-source AI model, is now free of royalties for commercial and research use, in response to global demand for inclusive access to AI."
Microsoft Has Launched “Jugalbandi”—A New Generative AI App for India - "Microsoft has been relentless with its efforts in the artificial intelligence (AI) space, especially with the growing buzz around generative AI and all of the incredible potential this technology entails."
Microsoft Teams on Windows 11 gets Discord-like communities and an AI art tool - "Microsoft is greatly improving its free version of Microsoft Teams on Windows 11 today. The built-in Teams app will now include support for Microsoft’s communities feature inside Teams, the company’s answer to Facebook and Discord."
The future of AI is chilling – humans have to act together to overcome this threat to civilisation - "It started with an ick. Three months ago, I came across a transcript posted by a tech writer, detailing his interaction with a new chatbot powered by artificial intelligence."
Reality Is Broken. We Have AI Photos to Blame. - "My new headshots are some of the best ever. Makeup? Better than my wedding day. Hair? Perfect volume. Outfit? Look at that leather!"
‘Those who hate AI are insecure’: inside Hollywood’s battle over artificial intelligence - "On the picket lines outside Los Angeles film studios, artificial intelligence has become a central antagonist of the Hollywood writers’ strike, with signs warning studio executives that writers will not let themselves be replaced by ChatGPTThat hasn’t stopped tech industry players from selling t"
AI writing assistants can cause biased thinking in their users - "Anyone who has had to go back and retype a word on their smartphone because autocorrect chose the wrong one has had some kind of experience writing with AI. Failure to make these corrections can allow AI to say things we didn’t intend."
The Security Hole at the Heart of ChatGPT and Bing - "Sydney is back. Sort of. When Microsoft shut down the chaotic alter ego of its Bing chatbot, fans of the dark Sydney personality mourned its loss. But one website has resurrected a version of the chatbot—and the peculiar behavior that comes with it."
Eating Disorder Helpline Fires Staff, Transitions to Chatbot After Unionization - "NEDA, the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to eating disorders, has had a helpline for the last twenty years that provided support to hundreds of thousands of people via chat, phone call, and text."
Trump Trolls DeSantis and Musk With a Hitler Deepfake - "Former President Donald Trump released a clip of a fake Twitter spaces event Wednesday where he used what appeared to be the deepfaked voices of Elon Musk, George Soros, Klaus Schwab, a coughing Dick Cheney, Satan, and, yes, Adolf Hitler, to mock Florida Governor Ron DeSantis."
Is Avoiding Extinction from AI Really an Urgent Priority? - "By Seth Lazar, Jeremy Howard, and Arvind Narayanan. This is the year extinction risk from AI went mainstream. It has featured in leading publications, been invoked by 10 Downing Street, and mentioned in a White House AI Strategy document."
AI-Controlled Drone Goes Rogue, 'Kills' Human Operator in USAF Simulated Test - "An AI-enabled drone "killed" its human operator in a simulation conducted by the U.S. Air Force in order to override a possible "no" order stopping it from completing its mission, the USAF's Chief of AI Test and Operations revealed at a recent conference."
AI Deepfakes of True Crime Victims Are a Waking Nightmare - "“Grandma locked me in an oven at 230 degrees when I was just 21 months old,” the cherubic baby with giant blue eyes and a floral headband says in the TikTok video."
Wrestlers detained in Delhi: AI image of ‘smiling’ Vinesh & Sangeeta Phogat viral - "Some of India’s top wrestlers, led by Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, and Sakshi Malik, were detained by Delhi Police on Sunday, May 28, after they had been stopped from marching towards the new Parliament building from their site of protest at Jantar Mantar."
ChatGPT Is Cutting Non-English Languages Out of the AI Revolution - "Computer scientist Pascale Fung can imagine a rosy future in which polyglot AI helpers like ChatGPT bridge language barriers. In that world, Indonesian store owners fluent only in local dialects might reach new shoppers by listing their products online in English."
Using ChatGPT for job applications could backfire on you, according to this study - "Generative AI tools have made many tedious tasks easier, including applying for jobs. AI chatbots like ChatGPT can generate resumes, cover letters, essays, and more within seconds. However, this study shows that just because you can may not mean you should."
Generative AI Is a Net Loss for Workers - "People are losing their jobs to generative AI. That’s uncontroversial. What’s an open question is whether the jobs generative AI creates or improves outnumber those it destroys or deteriorates, i.e., whether generative AI is a net loss or win for workers all around the world."
Are the Warnings About A.I. Overblown? - "Re “A.I. Poses ‘Risk of Extinction,’ Tech Leaders Warn” (front page, May 31): I read with great interest your article about the potential existential threat of artificial intelligence."
Yes, you should be worried about AI – but Matrix analogies hide a more insidious threat - "As the resident tech politics nerd among my friends, I spend a lot of time fielding questions. Help! I’ve been part of a data breach, what do I do? What on earth is crypto and should I care? And lately: should I be worried that AI is going to take over and kill us all?"
AI poses national security threat, warns terror watchdog - "The creators of artificial intelligence need to abandon their “tech utopian” mindset, according to the terror watchdog, amid fears that the new technology could be used to groom vulnerable individuals."
Robot takeover? Not quite. Here’s what AI doomsday would look like - "Alarm over artificial intelligence has reached a fever pitch in recent months. Just this week, more than 300 industry leaders published a letter warning AI could lead to human extinction and should be considered with the seriousness of “pandemics and nuclear war”."
The A.I. job culling has already begun and 4,000 people lost work last month to the technology, according to a new report - "Artificial intelligence taking people’s jobs is no longer a just threat on the horizon. In May, 3,900 people were laid off due to the technology, a new report has found."
AI Doomerism Is a Decoy - "Big Tech’s warnings about an AI apocalypse are distracting us from years of actual harms their products have caused. On Tuesday morning, the merchants of artificial intelligence warned once again about the existential might of their products."
One-third of people can’t tell a human from an AI. Here’s why that matters - "Join top executives in San Francisco on July 11-12, to hear how leaders are integrating and optimizing AI investments for success. Learn More"
Welcome to the new surreal. How AI-generated video is changing film. - "The Frost nails its uncanny, disconcerting vibe in its first few shots. Vast icy mountains, a makeshift camp of military-style tents, a group of people huddled around a fire, barking dogs. It’s familiar stuff, yet weird enough to plant a growing seed of dread. There’s something wrong here."
See why AI like ChatGPT has gotten so good, so fast - "Artificial intelligence has become shockingly capable in the past year. Chatbots and 'fake' photos weren't always the norm."
AI will be everywhere, but its rise will be mundane not apocalyptic - "Cheered by the news that OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, had released a free iPhone app for the language model, I went to the Apple app store to download it, only to find that it was nowhere to be found."
The myth of machine consciousness makes Narcissus of us all - "According to the best-known version of his story, the young Boeotian hunter Narcissus was at once so beautiful and so stupid that, on catching sight of his own gorgeous reflection in a forest pool, he mistook it for someone else and at once fell hopelessly in love."
AI Won’t Wipe Out Humanity (Yet) - "The idea that machine intelligence will one day take over the world has long been a staple of science fiction. But given the rapid advances in consumer-level artificial intelligence tools, the fear has felt closer to reality these past few months than it ever has before."
Where Memory Ends and Generative AI Begins - "In late March, a well-funded artificial intelligence startup hosted what it said was the first ever AI film festival at the Alamo Drafthouse theater in San Francisco."
How (Not) to Look at AI Art - "There is art, and there is content. We know AI can generate the latter. But what about the former? What makes something artistic? Beauty? Craft? Human intent? These are age-old questions, yet only superficially explored in most discussions about generative AI."
Lawyer cites fake cases invented by ChatGPT, judge is not amused - "Legal Twitter is having right now reviewing the latest documents from the case Mata v. Avianca, Inc. (1:22-cv-01461). Here’s the best summary as to what has happened: So, wait. They file a brief that cites cases fabricated by ChatGPT. The court asks them to file copies of the opinions."
AI Is an Insult Now - "People are already tired of machine-generated text, and they’re not afraid to say it. If you want to really hurt someone’s feelings in the year 2023, just call them an AI."
Italy plans state-backed fund to promote AI startups - "ROME : Italy's government plans to set up an investment fund backed by state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) to promote startups investing in Artificial Intelligence (AI), cabinet undersecretary Alessio Butti said on Tuesday."
With new grant program, OpenAI aims to crowdsource AI regulation - "The launch of the grant program comes after OpenAI’s calls for an international regulatory body for AI akin to that governing nuclear power."
A Hiring Law Blazes a Path for A.I. Regulation - "European lawmakers are finishing work on an A.I. act. The Biden administration and leaders in Congress have their plans for reining in artificial intelligence. Sam Altman, the chief executive of OpenAI, maker of the A.I."
Japan Goes All In: Copyright Doesn’t Apply To AI Training - "In a surprising move, Japan’s government recently reaffirmed that it will not enforce copyrights on data used in AI training."
US, Europe Working on Voluntary AI Code of Conduct as Calls Grow for Regulation - "The United States and Europe are drawing up a voluntary code of conduct for artificial intelligence, with a draft expected in weeks Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age and Competition, left, shakes hands with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a"
Competition concerns in the age of AI - "Antitrust is the engine of free enterprise: it shapes countless lines of commerce, from tech to toilets, beer to baseball and healthcare to hardware. Antitrust drives price, quality, variety, innovation and opportunity."
Who Is Liable for A.I. Creations? - "A string of challenges to Section 230 — the law that shields online platforms from liability for user-generated content — have failed over the last several weeks. Most recently, the Supreme Court declined on Tuesday to review a suit about exploitative content on Reddit."
Why an Octopus-like Creature Has Come to Symbolize the State of A.I. - "A few months ago, while meeting with an A.I. executive in San Francisco, I spotted a strange sticker on his laptop. The sticker depicted a cartoon of a menacing, octopus-like creature with many eyes and a yellow smiley-face attached to one of its tentacles. I asked what it was."
Someone used AI to create a South Park deepfake and it’s extremely unsettling - "Artificial Intelligence has come a long way over the past decade and doesn't seem to be showing any sign of slowing down. But, like all things, there's always going to be someone who uses it to do something both weird and very impressive."
As a lifelong Beatles fan, this AI-generated Beatles music is blowing my mind - "The Beatles, arguably the greatest rock group of all time, split up in 1970 amid acrimony and intense business pressures. Since that time, two members of the quartet have also died (George Harrison, from cancer in 2001, and John Lennon, murdered by a deranged fan in 1980)."
Grimes Invited Anyone to Make A.I. Grimes Songs. Here Are Her Reviews. - "Last month, when “Heart on My Sleeve,” a track credited to A.I. versions of Drake and the Weeknd, became an unauthorized hit online, many in the music industry loudly fretted about the legal and creative risks to come."
Captcha Is Asking Users to Identify Objects That Don't Exist - "People trying to use Discord are being asked to identify an object that does not exist. The object in question is a “Yoko,” which appears to be a kind of mix between a snail and a yoyo."
While parents worry, teens are bullying Snapchat AI - "In a more lighthearted video, a user convinced the chatbot that the moon is actually a triangle. Despite initial protest from the chatbot, which insisted on maintaining “respect and boundaries,” one user convinced it to refer to them with the kinky nickname “Senpapi."
A Week With the Wild Children of the A.I. Boom - "The archbishop’s mansion in San Francisco, built in 1904, is now a stately hotel at the northeast corner of Alamo Square Park."
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