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Microsoft unveils AI-powered Copilot for Windows 11

Microsoft announced the introduction of AI-powered solutions across its products, starting with Windows 11. Called Microsoft Copilot, the solution merges interfaces on Windows with language models and will be available as enhancements on popular apps like Paint, Photos, and Clipchamp. Additionally, Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, will be supported by OpenAI’s new DALL-E 3 model. Microsoft 365 Copilot, designed to assist users and enterprises with repetitive tasks, will integrate a chat assistant. 

The early version of Copilot will be available as a free update for Windows 11 and across Bing, Edge, and Microsoft 365. Microsoft is betting on the success of Microsoft 365 Copilot to generate additional revenue, as it could generate an estimated $3.4 billion annually if 2.5% of its estimated 382 million commercial users opt for the $30 Copilot 365 upgrade. Bing will also introduce personalized answers by using AI models to deliver tailored results based on users’ chat history and preferences.

YouTube is going all in on AI with background and video topic suggestions

YouTube is embracing AI technology with the introduction of several new AI-powered tools for creators. These tools include AI-generated photo and video backgrounds, AI video topic suggestions, and music search. A feature called Dream Screen will allow creators to generate AI-generated videos and photos for use as backgrounds in their YouTube Shorts. Creators will also have the option to use AI-generated video topic ideas and outlines generated by an AI feature in YouTube Studio. 

Additionally, an AI-powered music recommendation system will suggest audio to use based on a written description of a creator’s video. YouTube also announced an AI dubbing feature that will allow creators to dub their videos into other languages. With these new AI tools, YouTube aims to change how creators plan, make, and structure their content, with AI-driven insights influencing the kind of content creators focus on. AI-generated content is already popular on YouTube, and it is expected to become more common.

Israel’s new multimillion-dollar AI tank provides total battlefield vision

Israel has unveiled its newest military advancement, the “Barak” tank, which is powered by AI and provides a 360-degree vision of the battlefield. The fifth-generation tank introduces a unique helmet that allows tank operators to identify targets both in front and behind their tank by filtering battlefield data. The tank can also communicate this information to nearby tanks, allowing for immediate response and target identification. 

Tank crews will utilize touchscreen devices with unique applications to enhance their capabilities. The Barak tank also possesses advanced observation and night capabilities, enabling engagement in close-range combat. Israeli military commanders emphasized the value of tanks in the military and described the Barak tank as a “new era” and a “breakthrough on the modern battlefield.” The tank’s cost remains undisclosed, but it is expected to replace the Merkava tank by the end of 2025 in the Israeli Defense Forces. Mass production of the Barak tank began last month.

AI is policing package theft for UPS as ‘porch piracy’ surge continues

UPS has developed an AI-powered solution, known as DeliveryDefense, to tackle the rising problem of package theft, also known as “porch piracy”. The system assigns each delivery location a “delivery confidence score” based on historical data and machine learning algorithms. This score helps determine the risk of theft at each address and allows for better decision-making around delivery options. For addresses with low scores, recipients can recommend in-store collection or a UPS pick-up point. The initial version of DeliveryDefense has been tested with Costco Wholesale through an API integration, and a web-based version will be available for small- and medium-sized businesses in October.

Other logistics companies have also implemented measures to curb package theft. DHL relies on a “signature first” approach, where delivery personnel must obtain a signature for delivery. FedEx offers a picture proof of delivery and allows customers to customize their delivery preferences. Amazon provides features such as a delivery window, photo-on delivery for visual confirmation, and key-in-garage delivery.

Despite the use of technology, experts suggest that cameras and similar solutions do not effectively deter porch piracy. The best prevention methods recommended include requiring a signature for delivery and delivering packages to secure locations such as lockers or lockboxes. UPS’s AI solution takes into account fairness and data privacy concerns, using a dataset derived from two years’ worth of domestic UPS data. However, the API comes at a cost, starting at $3,000 per month.

Luddites saw the problem of AI coming from two centuries away

The Luddites were clothworkers in nineteenth-century rural England who saw their livelihoods threatened by power looms. Wealthy factory owners began installing the machines, forcing the cloth workers to work in dangerous factories at lower wages. In response, the cloth workers formed a clandestine rebellion, issuing threats and breaking into factories to destroy the machines.

The Luddites’ resistance to technology offers lessons for the present day. As intelligent technology rapidly reshapes work, there is growing fear about the impact on livelihoods. Workers in various industries, from Hollywood writers to warehouse shippers, are already experiencing the effects of automation. Reports project that AI could shift millions of jobs by the end of the decade.

The article advocates for embracing the cause of the Luddites, ensuring that everyone benefits from the gains of machines. In an era where tech billionaires profit while inequality widens, remembering the Luddites’ skepticism about technology as always a beacon of progress is essential.

Big Pharma bets on AI to speed up clinical trials

Major drug companies are increasingly using AI to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of clinical trials. Human studies make up the most expensive and time-consuming part of drug development, but AI technology is being used to speed up patient recruitment for trials, leading to faster completion and potential cost savings. Companies like Amgen, Bayer, and Novartis are using AI to analyze public health records, prescription data, and medical insurance claims, as well as their own internal data, to identify suitable patients for trials. 

Pharmaceutical firms are hoping that AI will help them to discover the next blockbuster drug. While AI in clinical trials is not yet widespread, it is increasingly playing a sizeable role in the process. The US Food and Drug Administration has received around 300 applications that utilize AI or machine learning in drug development, and most of these applications have emerged in the past two years. However, experts emphasize that AI is only as good as the data it’s given, and there is also a risk of overestimating drug success if patients in trials receive more attention and believe they are receiving an effective treatment.

China’s AI ‘war of a hundred models’ heads for a shakeout

China’s surge in generative AI has led to a flood of product announcements from startups and tech giants, leading to warnings of an imminent shakeout from investors. There are currently at least 130 large language models (LLMs) in China, accounting for 40% of the global total. However, investors and analysts argue that most companies have failed to find viable business models, are too similar to each other, and are grappling with rising costs. 

Tensions between Beijing and Washington, as well as difficulties obtaining AI chips, have also affected the sector. The top technology companies in China, including Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu, are seen to have the biggest headstart and deep pockets to succeed, given their wide range of services and large user bases. Nevertheless, opinions differ on which firms will last and find success in the market.




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