Today’s biggest stories if you’re in a rush
This is a good one. Ever heard of gallium and germanium? They’re metals used in semiconductor chips - the things that make your car work, which make your phone work, your TV, your fridge, your smart watch work. These metals are also CRITICAL to AI processing chips (see where this is going?)
Ok, so guess who exports 80% of the world’s gallium and germanium? China. Now guess who isn’t happy about US sanctions on AI chips to China? Yep; China. So guess who is introducing controls over the export of gallium and germanium? You guessed it; China. Just how strict these controls are, and the subsequent domino effect on the world’s semiconductor and AI chip market they will have, remains to be seen. One thing is for sure though - western companies should probably start sourcing more gallium and germanium.
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“Superintelligence will be the most impactful technology humanity has ever invented, and could help us solve many of the world’s most important problems. But the vast power of superintelligence could also be very dangerous, and could lead to the disempowerment of humanity or even human extinction.”
To mitigate this, and to save humanity, OpenAI is creating a dedicated Superalignment team and 20% of their compute power to learning how to harness superintelligence before it’s too late. It’s worth reading this whole blog post by OpenAI, as they do bring up some interesting points - but it does also feel like it’s te government governing themselves too.
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There aren’t enough nurses or doctors to go around. Literally, there’s a global shortage of medical staff. From nurses, to care workers and doctors, the once-revered profession of putting one’s fellow human above oneself is no longer appealing. Why? Because the way patients, the public, and governments treat medical workers is disgusting. Abuse, personal threats, professional smearing, and no professional support mean people don’t want to work in health care anymore - can you blame them?
But that means the sick, elderly, and infirm don’t have the help they need - until, perhaps, now. There’s a social robot, Nadine, with human-like gestures and expressions, who could help those in need. Nadine, and other robots like her, could help fill the dearth of caring staff - but to what end? For people to abuse robots, instead of humans?
Listicle of what else is happening today
A collapse of trust: In a very timely point, Noah Harari points out that AI firms are offering the capacity to create billions of fake people. Just like fake currency threatened to collapse the global financial system, fake people can collapse humanity, if it isn’t handled with the same severity. An article definitely worth reading.
Baby blue trap: Biting flies, pleasant little critters like the tsetse and horse fly, feed on animal and human blood. They spread diseases that cause over 500,000 human deaths a year. Thanks to AI, we’ve now got more effective traps for these killers.
Smart intersections: Traffic lights suck because they run on timers. Doesn’t matter if there’s one car or thirty waiting; the timer doesn’t change. AI startup NoTraffic is fixing all that.
Enhance me: Tech, manufacturing, health care and space exploration are among the industries most susceptible to AI automation. But AI should augment, not replace, human workers, says MIT. Not likely, says us.
Furbies of the future: Remember in 1998, when all of a sudden, all you could hear on the school bus or in the shopping mall was “Woah, ohhh, doowwn!” coming from an owl/hamster-looking thing as it rocked back and forth? Well, get ready for a much noisier, and much creepier, future - with ChatGPT-4 enabled toys, which learn EVERYTHING about your child, soon flooding the stores. Thank god I have no children.
Spreading the gospel: USC just used AI to translate the Bible into very rare languages, to reach the rarest of human societies. Because that’s what those societies want.
Getting tricky now: How do we classify AI “beings?” They pass the Turing test…so at what stage do we call these entities sentient? Pretty tricky, but to avoid future problems, researchers suggest we say they have a soul now.
Microsoft trillions: Generative AI will get Microsoft up to a $3T valuation, says Morgan Stanley analysts.
Curious replay: Researchers put a simulated AI agent into an empty 3D virtual arena, then added a ball (a simulated one,) to the arena. The AI didn’t interact with the ball at all. Researchers then programmed the AI with “curious replay”, which causes the AI to self-reflect about novel items in its environment. The AI agent started to engage with the ball.
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Adriana Chechik is used to “putting her back into it.” She’s an adult film-star actress, who broke her back doing this last year (jumping into a foam pit, that doesn’t have much foam). Since her injury, she hasn’t been able to do her normal work - so, guess what? She’s turning to AI.
She plans to collaborate with Forever Voices AI, to create a digital companion of herself with which paying customers can have intimate conversations. AI being put to its best use right there.