This week’s awesome tech stories from the web (through January 21)

This week’s awesome tech stories from the web (through January 21)

What happens when the AI ​​has read everything?
Ross Andersen | The Atlantic
“Artificial intelligence in recent years has proven to be a quick study, even if it is being trained in a way that would shame the most brutal headmaster. Locked in airtight Borgesian libraries for months without bathroom breaks or sleep, AIs are told not to emerge until they’ve completed a self-paced crash course in human culture. On the syllabus: a decent fraction of all the extant text we have ever produced.”

Next up for CRISPR: Gene editing for the masses?
Jessica Hamzelou | MIT Technology Review
We know the basics of a healthy lifestyle now. A balanced diet, regular exercise and stress reduction can help us avoid heart disease – the world’s biggest killer. But what if you could take a vaccine too? And not a typical vaccine — one shot that would alter your DNA to provide lifelong protection? That vision is not far off, say researchers. Advances in gene editing, and especially CRISPR technology, may soon make that possible.

OpenAI used Kenyan workers for less than $2 per hour to make ChatGPT less toxic
Billy Perrigo | Time
“ChatGPT’s creator, OpenAI, is now reportedly in talks with investors to raise funds at a valuation of $29 billion, including a potential $10 billion investment from Microsoft. That would make OpenAI, which was founded in San Francisco in 2015 with the goal of building super-intelligent machines, one of the world’s most valuable AI companies. But the success story is not one of Silicon Valley geniuses alone. In its quest to make ChatGPT less toxic, OpenAI used outsourced Kenyan workers who earn less than $2 an hour, a TIME investigation has found.”

Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot grows a set of hands, attempts construction work
Ron Amadeo | Ars Technica
“Atlas isn’t just clumsy for picking things up and carrying them, though. It runs, jumps and spins while carrying heavy objects. At some point it jumps and throws the heavy toolbox up to his construction partner, all without losing his balance. It does all this on rickety scaffolding and improvised plank walkways, so the ground constantly shifts under Atlas’ feet with every step. Picking things up is the start of teaching the robot to do actual work, and it looks right at home on a rough construction site.”

These researchers used CRISPR to insert an alligator gene into catfish
Jessica Hamzelou | MIT Technology Review
“Millions of fish are raised in the United States every year, but many of them die from infections. In theory, genetically engineering fish with genes that protect them from disease can reduce waste and help limit the environmental impact of fish farming. A team of researchers has attempted to do just that – by inserting an alligator gene into the catfish genome.”

Can 3D printing help solve the housing crisis?
Rachel Monroe | The New Yorker
“Until last year, Icon, one of the largest and best-funded companies in the field, had printed fewer than two dozen houses, most of them essentially test cases. But when I met with Ballard, the company had recently announced a partnership with Lennar, the second-largest homebuilder in the U.S., to print a hundred houses in a development outside Austin. Much was riding on the project, which would be a test of whether the technology was ready for the mainstream.”

1923 Cartoon Eerily Predicted 2023’s AI Art Generators
Benj Edwards | Ars Technica
“[The vintage cartoon] depicts a cartoonist standing at his drawing table making plans for social events while an ‘idea dynamo’ generates ideas and a ‘comic dynamo’ renders the artwork. Interestingly, this separation of labor feels similar to our neural networks today. By 2023 itself, the ‘idea dynamo’ will likely be a large language model like GPT-3 (albeit imperfectly), and the ‘comic dynamo’ will most closely resemble an image synthesis model like Stable Diffusion.”

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman at GPT-4: “People are asking to be disappointed and they will be”
James Vincent | The Verge
“GPT-3 came out in 2020, and an improved version, GPT 3.5, was used to create ChatGPT. The launch of GPT-4 is highly anticipated, with several excited members of the AI ​​community and the Silicon Valley world already declaring it a giant leap forward. …’The GPT-4 rumor mill is a ridiculous thing. I don’t know where it all comes from, said the OpenAI boss. “People are begging to be disappointed, and they will be. The hype is just like… We don’t have an actual AGI and that’s kind of what’s expected of us.’I

Are we living in a computer simulation, and can we hack it?
Dennis Overbye | New York Times
“If you could change the laws of nature, what would you change? Perhaps it’s the pesky light-speed limit on cosmic travel—not to mention war, plague, and the eventual asteroid bearing Earth’s name. Maybe you want the ability to go back in time—to tell yourself how to relate to your parents, or to buy Google stock. Couldn’t the universe use a few improvements?”

Image credit: Victor Crespo / Unsplash

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