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AMAZON KILLS JUST WALK OUT

Plus AI Targets Gaza Bombings

Amazon’s Checkout Experiment Ends

Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology, designed for cashier-free grocery shopping, is being phased out from Amazon Fresh stores, favoring “smart” carts instead. Initially envisioned to streamline shopping with AI, it largely relied on human labor for data labeling and transaction reviews, proving the technology’s inefficiency and high operational costs. This shift underscores AI’s current inability to manage complex, real-world tasks independently, highlighting its limitations and continued need for human oversight.

AI-Controlled Bombing in Gaza Raises Ethical Concerns

Israel’s AI program “Lavender” has been key in the Gaza bombings, marking thousands as targets. Critics argue it reduces human oversight, potentially raising error rates and ethical issues. The AI, combined with tracking systems like “Where’s Daddy?”, decides on bombing targets, often in their homes, leading to high civilian casualties. This strategy, driven by AI’s efficiency, questions the balance between technological advancement and moral responsibility.

Bringing Star Trek Technology to Life

Entrepreneur Matthew Putman, CEO of Nanotronics, is making strides toward realizing Star Trek-inspired technology with his latest project, Cubefabs. These modular fabrication plants aim to revolutionize manufacturing by using AI to enhance efficiency and precision, mirroring the capabilities of Star Trek’s Replicator. Although primarily focused on semiconductor production, Cubefabs could potentially address broader issues like resource scarcity. With over $130 million in funding, including from Peter Thiel, Putman’s vision extends beyond manufacturing to potentially real-life versions of other Star Trek technologies, such as the Holodeck.

AI Revives Loved Ones for Chinese Tomb-Sweeping Festival

In China, mourners are using AI to create digital avatars of their deceased loved ones for the tomb-sweeping festival, with services starting at 20 yuan. Taiwanese singer Bao Xiaobai notably “resurrected” his daughter in a video using AI. China’s expanding AI industry is driving the growth of “digital humans,” predicted to quadruple in market size by 2025, partly fueled by livestreamers’ AI clones. Even the deceased founder of SenseTime was digitally replicated for a company speech. While some celebrate the technological reunion with the departed, others, including families affected, express concerns over consent and emotional impact.

Google Contemplates Premium AI-Assisted Search Service

Google is reportedly exploring a significant shift in its search services by considering the introduction of a “premium” search option that incorporates generative AI. This new model, as reported by the Financial Times, may become part of Google’s premium subscription offerings, potentially aligning with existing services that include the Gemini AI assistant. While the specifics remain under wraps, this development suggests a future where enhanced AI-powered search capabilities could come at a cost, marking a pivotal change in Google’s approach to search services and potentially altering the landscape of search engines.

Global Insurers Embrace AI for Cost Reduction

A Goldman Sachs survey of insurers, managing over $13 trillion, reveals a strong shift towards AI to cut costs and enhance operations. 29% already use AI, and 51% plan to adopt it, aiming primarily to streamline operational expenses and improve risk assessment and investments. Amid economic concerns, insurers also show a growing interest in private credit as a high-return asset class.

AI Targets Food Waste

AI is now being used to tackle the issue of food waste in restaurants and supermarkets. By analyzing garbage and sales data, AI is identifying waste patterns like oversized breakfast croissants or unsold yellow onions, helping businesses reduce waste and increase profits. Companies like Winnow and Afresh are at the forefront, employing AI to spot inefficiencies and reduce the environmental impact of food waste, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. However, the environmental cost of running AI, which requires significant electricity, is also a concern.

AI Revolutionizes Venture Capital Decisions

AI is transforming venture capital (VC) by enabling firms to analyze vast data for identifying promising startups and market trends, thereby informing investment decisions. As AI’s role evolves, it is becoming indispensable in the VC industry for enhancing efficiency, identifying opportunities, and optimizing investment strategies. Gartner predicts significant use of AI in executive VC decisions by 2025, emphasizing its capability to reduce risks and biases in investments. As AI continues to advance, enhancing its predictive abilities and integration with human decision-making is pivotal for future success in the VC sector.

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