Plus Apple Teases AI Announcements.
Animal rights organization PETA has once again called for an end to the tradition of using Punxsutawney Phil, a woodchuck, to predict the weather on Groundhog Day. PETA argues that the groundhog’s forecast is no more accurate than flipping a coin and that it amounts to animal cruelty. Instead, PETA suggests alternatives such as replacing Phil with an animatronic groundhog powered by AI to more accurately predict the weather. The accuracy of Phil’s predictions has also been called into question by other sources.
As AI continues to transform various industries, it’s also finding its way into the death industry. Two Sundance Film Festival documentaries, “Eternal You” and “Love Machina,” delve into the concept of digital immortality and using AI to communicate with the deceased. Filmmakers explore how startups like Project December offer chatbot simulations of the dead, while others like HereAfter AI and YOV record conversations to recreate digital versions of loved ones. However, critics warn of the societal and ethical implications, as major tech corporations capitalize on this emerging market. As the line between reality and AI blurs, these documentaries reflect on the growing role of AI in shaping the afterlife.
Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted at a forthcoming announcement in the field of AI during a recent call with analysts. While Cook did not divulge too many details, he mentioned Apple’s desire to compete with other tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon in developing cutting-edge AI models. Apple has previously invested in machine learning technology, allowing its devices to identify people and pets in photographs. The announcement is expected to be made later this year, sparking anticipation about what Apple has in store for the world of AI.
Amazon has introduced Rufus, an AI shopping assistant that is designed to help customers make informed purchasing decisions. Rufus is trained on Amazon’s vast product library and customer reviews, as well as data from the web. It can answer questions, make product comparisons, and provide suggestions. Currently in the beta stage, Rufus is being made available to select customers before a wider release. Users can chat with Rufus by launching the Amazon mobile app and typing or speaking questions into the search bar. Rufus aims to streamline the shopping experience by offering personalized assistance and guidance.
NYU researchers have trained a multimodal AI system by using first-person video footage recorded from a child’s perspective. The model, trained on limited slices of the child’s experiences, was able to learn a substantial number of words and concepts. The findings challenge the assumption that AI systems need massive amounts of data to learn language, suggesting that they can learn from a single child’s input. The research opens up opportunities to study language learning in children and understand the ingredients needed for word acquisition. The study was supported by the US Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation.
A survey conducted by Semrush revealed that 54% of respondents preferred content generated by AI over human-written copy. AI was particularly favored for product descriptions, social media posts, and social media ads. The survey also found that respondents believed AI copy wasted no time, showed a deep understanding of user needs, and had higher readability. The age groups most in favor of AI-generated content were 25-44 (38%) and 55 or older (32%). While AI may not always create superior content, its advancements suggest it may soon surpass human abilities in various domains, including content creation. The impact of this on performance remains to be seen.
The U.S. and China, global competitors in AI development, are facing challenges in establishing a dialogue on AI safety due to differences in their approaches and priorities. Despite agreeing to open a bilateral channel for AI consultation, the two nations are still at odds over fundamental issues. The lack of mutual understanding and common ground on AI regulation poses obstacles to efficient dialogue. However, experts suggest that with an initial win from AI safety talks, the dialogue can expand and lead to joint safety exercises. Establishing an effective AI dialogue between the U.S. and China requires addressing priority issues and finding ways to cooperate on mutually beneficial goals.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) aims to criminalize AI-powered robocalls due to a rising wave of scams utilizing voice-cloning technology. The FCC’s boss, Jessica Rosenworcel, asserts that machine-learning software can trick people into fraudulent activities, including donating money to phony causes. The FCC plans to categorize the use of AI voice cloning in robocall scams as illegal under the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Lawmakers are also addressing the issue, with a proposed bill, called the Do Not Disturb Act, requiring telemarketers to disclose the use of AI in text messages or calls. Several government officials support the FCC’s actions to protect consumers from the harm caused by AI-powered robocall scams.