The field of digital bioacoustics is utilizing AI to understand animal communication. Researchers are using portable field recorders to collect audio data from animals and applying natural language processing algorithms to detect patterns and decipher what animals are saying to each other. For example, in a study of Egyptian fruit bats, researchers recorded and analyzed 15,000 sounds to understand their social interactions. The research revealed that bats are capable of complex communication, such as distinguishing between sexes and using signature calls that act like individual names.
Another example is the study of honeybees, where researchers used natural language processing and computer vision to decode sounds and movements in bee communication. This research has led to the discovery of specific signals used by bees, such as toots, quacks, and woops. The information gathered from these studies is challenging the idea that human language is superior and is raising important philosophical and ethical questions about interspecies communication. The field of digital bioacoustics is being compared to the invention of the microscope, as it is opening up new possibilities for studying animal communication.
Venture capital funding has declined significantly in recent quarters, with global funding almost halved compared to the previous year. The remaining capital is now being directed towards AI funds as AI has become highly attractive to venture capital firms. The VC market is struggling due to factors such as higher interest rates and a sustained supply chain shortage. In the past, investors were more likely to fund startups with little evidence of success, but now even promising startups find it difficult to attract attention from top VCs. The decline in venture funding can also be attributed to the radical increase in interest rates and the lack of IPOs and exit opportunities in the market.
The situation is worse for the crypto industry, with the number of deals and funding falling significantly. This collapse in crypto investments can be attributed to factors such as the failure of high-profile companies like Celsius, Voyager, and FTX. AI has dominated the market since the collapse of FTX, with AI startups raising billions of dollars in VC rounds. However, some crypto projects are adding AI components to attract VC interest. Despite the current challenges, there is hope for crypto founders as the cyclical nature of the crypto economy suggests more innovation and investor interest in the future.
A Finnish startup called Metroc has turned to prison labor to train its large language model, a Finnish-based search engine designed to help construction companies find building projects. To train artificial intelligence to understand clues in text about upcoming projects, Metroc hires inmates to read texts and answer questions about them. With few Finnish-speaking workers available around the world, the company chose prisons as a source of cheap labor.
Initially, it has hired around 20 inmates at three prisons, paying them €1.54 ($1.67) per hour to label the data. By doing so, Metroc also prepares inmates for the digital world outside prison. Some people see using prisoners for this kind of work as a continuation of exploitative labor tied to technology, but others point out the limited options available to prisoners in mainstream society.
China has been using artificial intelligence (AI) in its disinformation campaigns, according to researchers from Microsoft and other organizations. During the recent wildfires in Maui, China spread false information claiming that the fires were the result of a secret “weather weapon” being tested by the United States. The disinformation included photographs generated by AI, which was a new tactic for China. Previously, China’s influence campaigns focused on amplifying propaganda to defend its policies, but now it is making more direct attempts to sow discord in the United States.
The Chinese campaign also came at a time when the Biden administration and Congress are concerned about how to push back on China without escalating tensions. The impact of the campaign is hard to measure, but there are indications that few social media users engaged with the conspiracy theories. Researchers believe that China is building a network of accounts for future information operations, including the next US presidential election.
Coca-Cola has released a new limited-edition mystery flavor called Coca-Cola Y3000. The company used artificial intelligence (AI) to determine the flavor and packaging design. The goal is to keep customers, especially younger ones, excited about the brand in a time when health-conscious consumers are turning away from sugary drinks. Coca-Cola’s Creations platform has been used to create limited-edition flavors, like Y3000, to appeal to younger consumers. The AI-generated flavor is meant to have a futuristic taste that still resembles Coke, while the packaging features a Y2K aesthetic and AI-generated images that serve as inspiration.
Y3000 is available in zero and full sugar varieties in the US and Canada for a limited time. Customers can use the QR code on the packaging to access the Creations site and experience a futuristic online game. Additionally, Coca-Cola has partnered with luxury streetwear brand Ambush to release a limited-edition capsule collection. The company has previously released flavors inspired by space, dreams, and pixels, always with a twist of the unexpected. These limited-edition flavors are not meant to be permanent products but aim to engage and interest consumers.
During a recent Dolphins-Chargers game, AI robots were present in the stands, causing quite a stir. The robots, part of a promotion for an upcoming movie called “The Creator,” startled fans as they took their seats. A video clip of the robots in action was shared online, drawing attention to the unusual sight. Despite some fans finding the presence of the robots unsettling, the promotion seemed successful in generating buzz. The robots, resembling Johnny No. 5 from the film “Short Circuit,” did not smile, adding to their eerie presence. However, it remains to be seen if this marketing tactic will result in any accolades for the film during awards season. Overall, the incident at the game highlights the growing presence and abilities of AI technology in various industries, including entertainment.