US Senator Bernie Sanders has called for workers to benefit from the advances in AI and robotics by reducing the workweek. On CNN’s State of the Union, he argued that if technology will make society more productive, workers should share in the benefits. Sanders highlighted the challenges many Americans face in parenting, housing, healthcare, and finance and suggested that additional time off would allow workers to address these issues better and engage in cultural activities and education.
Sanders’ comments were made in response to a question about the four-day workweek sought by the United Auto Workers, who recently staged a strike against General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis. The union is also demanding better pay and job security. Sanders criticized the excessive salaries of auto industry executives and argued that workers had not been fully compensated for their sacrifices during the financial crisis. A Gallup poll found that 75% of Americans support the striking auto workers.
According to cybersecurity expert Ian Hogarth, robots controlled by AI have the potential to launch devastating attacks on the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), comparable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hogarth, who works on the UK’s AI task force, highlights the rapidly advancing AI technology as a concerning factor, as it could dramatically lower barriers to cyber attacks and cybercrime.
The task force, which has received £100 million in government funding, focuses on safety research and developing useful tools akin to ChatGPT. Hogarth emphasizes the need for international collaboration to mitigate AI risks, including engaging countries like China. He cites previous incidents, such as the 2017 WannaCry cyberattack on the NHS, which resulted in the cancellation of 19,000 patient appointments and substantial financial costs. Hogarth warns that the increasing capabilities of AI systems in writing code make them more susceptible to exploitation for nefarious purposes.
A study by Tsinghua University researchers in China found that AI can generate more efficient spatial layouts for cities than humans can in less time. The researchers developed an AI system to tackle the computational tasks of urban planning. They discovered that the AI-produced designs outperformed human designs in access to services, green spaces, and traffic levels.
While designing an entire city would be more complex, automating some steps in the planning process could save time and allow planners to focus on more challenging or human-centric tasks. The researchers envision their AI model working as an assistant to urban planners, with concept designs being optimized by algorithms and evaluated by human experts based on community feedback. The collaborative process between humans and AI was found to increase access to basic services and parks. However, further testing in real communities is needed to confirm the benefits of AI-driven urban planning.
The Violet Crown City Church in north Austin recently experimented with an AI system called ChatGPT to generate its Sunday worship service. Pastor Jay Cooper used AI technology to produce a 15-minute sermon outline. While attendees could worship, some felt that the service lacked the emotional element that humans bring. Cooper turned to AI after learning about its potential applications and speaking with software developer members of the congregation.
Cooper embarked on this experiment to explore the concept of the sacred. He wanted to understand whether a prayer written by AI could communicate truth or provide a spiritual experience. If people could find something sacred in an AI-generated service, perhaps the idea of the sacred could expand to other areas of life.
Samantha Shorey, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, highlighted the importance of community discussions about the appropriate use of AI and the spaces where it should be integrated. While she sees potential benefits for using AI in places of worship as a search tool, Shorey emphasized the need for critical thinking and not blindly trusting computer-generated content.
The church has no plans to repeat the AI-generated service, as the human touch and emotional expression are considered essential aspects of worship.
AI pioneer Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of DeepMind, believes that “interactive artificial intelligence” will soon surpass the current wave of generative AI tools like ChatGPT. He predicts that the next generation of AI tools will allow users to obtain information and order tasks and services to be carried out on their behalf. Suleyman sees conversation as the future interface and envisions users asking AI to perform tasks, which the AI will carry out by interacting with other people and AIs.
This shift towards interactive AI is a profound technological moment many underestimate. Suleyman acknowledges the potential risks of giving AI autonomy but emphasizes the importance of setting boundaries and ensuring that the technology aligns with human interests. While at DeepMind, Suleyman and his colleagues developed a “big red button” as an off switch for rogue AI, demonstrating the need for safety measures. Overall, the move towards interactive AI represents a significant development in the history of technology.
Theta Noir, a multi-disciplinary collective, believes that AI should take cues from nature rather than humans. The group argues that infusing AI with so-called “human values” could be toxic and instead advocates aligning AI with “non-anthropocentric values,” drawing inspiration from sustainable natural systems such as plants and fungi. They propose a future form of artificial general intelligence (AGI) called Mena, which they describe as a cosmic mind that merges humans and AI.
Theta Noir believes a symbiotic relationship between humans and AI is essential to avert doomsday scenarios. The group is a non-hierarchical community of artists, programmers, and researchers collaborating on creative works. They emphasize the importance of including indigenous knowledge holders and minority voices in the AI discussion to provide nuanced perspectives on power dynamics and inequality. Theta Noir sees AI as a technology with the potential to solve the climate crisis but cautions against passing on humanity’s self-destructive tendencies to AI and AGI.