Weekly Roundup: Notable AI News for May 2023

Learn about the AI business arms race, how billionaires feel about AI coming after them, advances in medical AI, and a new a novel "Turing-Style Test" to confound existing AI systems this week in our update.
Weekly Roundup: Notable AI News for May 2023

Winning the AI Products "Arms Race"

In a recent analysis, Aniket Deosthali, a leading tech expert at Walmart, discusses the often overlooked complexities of integrating AI into products. Despite the potential of AI, he highlights a concerning trend of failure, with large enterprises and tech giants alike experiencing setbacks.

Deosthali emphasizes that success with AI doesn't stem from the technology itself but from its strategic application. He further points out that AI alone cannot disrupt businesses, but competitors harnessing AI for operational scaling can.

He also elaborates on the machine learning processes: 'training' where AI is fed curated data, and 'inference' where pre-trained algorithms provide real-time answers. Companies rich in data can leverage their access to this data for AI training, creating a significant advantage over startups. Key takeaways include early adoption, ensuring product-market fit, and strategic application of AI, rather than relying on the technology alone for disruption.

‘They’re afraid their AIs will come for them’

In a recent interview, renowned digital culture theorist Doug Rushkoff discussed his perception of the technology billionaires' reaction to the fast-paced advancement of tech and AI. He interprets their recent actions and ventures as an 'escape mode' in anticipation of potential global catastrophes. They are investing in ventures like space travel, private bunkers, and the creation of virtual worlds, viewing technology primarily as a means of escape.

Rushkoff criticizes this outlook as both fantastical and ultimately unachievable. He compares the situation with social media companies to the reckoning experienced by cigarette companies, predicting similar consequences due to harmful impacts, despite prior knowledge.

However, he also acknowledges the healthier relationship that Gen Z has with technology, suggesting a more optimistic future. He advises individuals to ground themselves in real-life experiences, arguing that personal choices and responsibility, rather than government intervention, are the key to navigating the tech landscape responsibly.

Revolutionizing Healthcare: Med-PaLM 2 Sets New Standard for AI-Driven Diagnostics

Imagine the future of healthcare. You, as a patient, engage with an intelligent computer interface capable of understanding and responding to complex medical issues. This is no longer the realm of science fiction; it is the promise of Med-PaLM 2, a groundbreaking artificial intelligence system.

Med-PaLM 2 represents a significant leap forward in the capabilities of AI in medicine. Remarkably, this innovation outperforms its predecessor by a noteworthy 19% margin in correct diagnostic predictions. What is even more striking is the extent to which this tool has been embraced by the medical community. Physicians have voiced their approval, noting the system's suggestions often align with, and occasionally exceed, the recommendations made by their human counterparts.

The broader implications of this innovation are compelling. AI systems like Med-PaLM 2 could streamline diagnostics, offer high-quality advice to those who can't easily access medical professionals, and assist doctors in managing their workload more efficiently. In a world where healthcare demands are continually increasing, AI systems may soon become indispensable partners in delivering high-quality, accessible, and efficient care.

Capital Letter Test: A New Challenge for AI in the Turing Test Tradition

At the intersection of technology and linguistics, an innovative phenomenon has emerged — the "Capital Letter Test." This unconventional gauge relies on capitalizing random words within a sentence, a linguistic curveball designed to discern Artificial Intelligence (AI) from its human counterparts. This test is becoming a litmus for AI models like ChatGPT, which often stumble to provide coherent responses in the face of unexpected capitalization. A seeming reflection of the grander intellectual challenge known as the Turing Test, the Capital Letter Test emphasizes AI's limitations, bringing into focus the differences between man and machine rather than their likenesses.

While AI models, including ChatGPT, continue to improve in areas such as text generation and conversational abilities, they can still be confused by seemingly simple tasks like interpreting non-standard capital letters. This is largely because AI algorithms typically don't distinguish between uppercase and lowercase. When a capital letter appears out of context, AI may struggle to determine whether it signifies a proper noun, an error, or if it should be disregarded.

However, the Capital Letter Test is far from foolproof. With AI's ongoing learning and adaptation, it may soon overcome this hurdle, exhibiting a more nuanced understanding of natural language. Interestingly, the endeavor to outsmart AI reflects an underlying anxiety about our human uniqueness. Instead of striving to maximize AI's potential, there is a desire to assert our distinctiveness, reaffirming our intellectual superiority over machines.

This test not only offers insights into the capabilities and boundaries of AI but also unravels fascinating aspects of human psychology. The quest to understand AI often reflects our biases and the urge to maintain our distinct identity in an age of rapidly evolving machines. As we continue to explore the world of AI, these peculiarities illuminate our understanding, revealing that even in AI's shortcomings, there lies an opportunity for human growth and progress.

AI Powerhouse: Aiding the Discovery of a Potent Superbug-Fighting Antibiotic

Researchers have harnessed the power of AI to discover a promising antibiotic capable of combating a lethal strain of superbug. The antibiotic, dubbed 'abaucin,' was identified through AI algorithms that rapidly sifted through thousands of potential chemicals, shortlisting a few viable candidates for laboratory testing.

This breakthrough is the result of a collaborative effort between Canadian and US researchers who laud AI's potential to expedite the drug discovery process. This achievement exemplifies the revolutionary potential of AI in advancing scientific and medical endeavors.

In a world where the efficacy of existing antibiotics is waning due to bacterial resistance, the need for new drugs has become critical. The focus of this research was Acinetobacter baumannii, a superbug recognized by the World Health Organization as a "critical" threat. This bacterium, notorious for its resistance to multiple antibiotics, is particularly problematic in hospitals and care homes, posing a significant health hazard.

To discover 'abaucin,' the researchers trained the AI using thousands of known drugs. They manually tested these drugs on Acinetobacter baumannii to ascertain which could inhibit or kill it, providing invaluable data to the AI. The AI was then unleashed on a list of 6,680 compounds with unknown effectiveness, producing a shortlist in a mere hour and a half.

Artificial Intelligence and the Forer Effect: Do AI's Successes Owe More to Psychology Than Technology?

In a recent blog post, tech expert Terence Eden delves into the intriguing concept of the Forer Effect, often referred to as the Barnum Effect, within the realm of artificial intelligence (AI). He explores how AI's persuasive powers may stem from the human propensity to find personal meaning in generic statements.

Eden uses a profile generated by Bing's AI as an example. While the first paragraph accurately captures specific traits based on an individual's online presence, the following section offers broad statements that could potentially apply to anyone, inducing a false sense of personalization. This phenomenon is known as the Forer Effect, a psychological trick often employed in horoscopes or psychic readings, where vague but plausible statements are perceived as unique insights.

Eden points out how advanced AI models like OpenAI's GPT-3 utilize this technique, generating generic, 'meaningless' statements that we imbue with significance. He suggests this effect has significantly contributed to the recent success and perceived 'intelligence' of these systems.

In a thought-provoking conclusion, Eden implies that conversing with AI may be more akin to a psychic reading than we might first realize, raising interesting questions about the nature of AI interactions and how our own biases shape our perception of these advanced technologies.

Example of a list of "Forer Questions" generated with ChatGPT:

  1. You struggle to accept compliments and often downplay your achievements.
  2. You often think about potential opportunities you've missed or not taken full advantage of.
  3. Despite certain insecurities, you manage to put up a brave face in front of others.
  4. Your intimate relationships have often been a source of confusion or discomfort.
  5. Even though you come across as strong and composed, you often struggle with anxiety or self-doubt.
  6. There are times when you question the choices you've made, wondering if they were the right ones.
  7. You crave novelty and find it difficult to accept a routine, predictable lifestyle.
  8. You pride yourself on your critical thinking abilities and tend not to take things at face value.
  9. You're careful about how much you reveal about yourself, fearing others may misuse the information.
  10. Sometimes you're outgoing and friendly, and at other times, you prefer solitude and keep your distance from others.
  11. Some of your dreams or goals might seem overly ambitious or impractical to others.
  12. One of your primary objectives in life is to build a safe and secure future for yourself and your loved ones.
  13. You often put other people's needs before your own.
  14. You have a tendency to be too harsh on yourself when things go wrong.
  15. You have talents or skills that you feel are not being fully utilized.
  16. Despite your shortcomings, you find ways to make up for them in different aspects of your life.
  17. Your experiences in romance have caused you significant distress or dissatisfaction.
  18. While you appear to be calm and collected externally, you often grapple with inner turmoil.
  19. Sometimes, you have serious doubts about whether you've taken the right course of action.
  20. You enjoy changes in your environment and often feel restless when things remain the same for too long.
  21. You value your ability to think for yourself and rarely take others' opinions for granted.
  22. You tend to be cautious about showing your true self to others for fear of being judged or misunderstood.
  23. Depending on your mood or situation, you alternate between being outgoing and being withdrawn.
  24. Some of your goals in life may seem unreachable or overly optimistic.
  25. Ensuring a stable and secure life for yourself is one of your top priorities.
  26. You often feel the need to prove yourself to others.

The 'AI Canon': A Comprehensive Guide to AI Literacy and Understanding

The swift pace of advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) has necessitated a concentrated effort from professionals in the field, organized by venture capital investment firm Andreesen Horowitz, to compile a key collection of AI resources. Aptly named the "AI Canon," this trove of knowledge seeks to help both beginners and advanced learners understand the complex landscape of modern AI.

Covering a broad spectrum of topics, the Canon starts with an easily comprehensible introduction to transformer and latent diffusion models. These technologies are the driving forces behind the current wave of AI innovation, making them foundational in understanding today's AI landscape.

For those who want to get their hands dirty, there's a deep dive into practical learning resources. This includes hands-on guides for building applications with large language models (LLMs), complete with references to groundbreaking research papers such as "Attention is All You Need," which marked the advent of generative AI.

The list also includes Andrej Karpathy's seminal articles "Software 2.0" and "State of GPT," Stephen Wolfram's explanation of modern AI models, and a succinct explanation of transformers by Dale Markowitz. These resources break down complex AI concepts in an approachable language, empowering beginners to familiarize themselves with these powerful technologies. This is also just the beginning of an extensive and comprehensive list of articles, videos and lessons that form the AI Canon.

Andrej Karpathy on Training GPT Assistants and Their Emerging Ecosystem

Andrej Karpathy, Director of Artificial Intelligence at OpenAI, recently shared insights into the training of large language models (LLMs), like GPT-3 and GPT-4, as well as how to use these AI tools effectively for various applications. Karpathy's two-part discussion outlined the emerging recipe for training LLMs and offered a glance at how to leverage them in practical scenarios.

The training process for these AI models is composed of four stages: pre-training, supervised fine tuning, reward modeling, and reinforcement learning. Each stage is powered by its own dataset and algorithm, resulting in a unique version of the model.

Pre-training is the most resource-intensive, consuming 99% of the training compute time and utilizing large-scale datasets. Through this process, models predict the next sequence of tokens based on prior inputs, refining their predictions over time. While a model's power isn't solely determined by the number of parameters, significant hardware resources and training time are required, as demonstrated by the training of a 65B model, which used 2,000 GPUs over 21 days.

As the model learns, its predictions become increasingly consistent and coherent. The New York Times demonstrated this by training a small GPT model on a piece of Shakespeare text. Over time, the model learned to produce increasingly accurate Shakespearean-style text.

Amouranth's AI Chatbot Aims to Tackle Trolls and Loneliness on Twitch

Prominent Twitch streamer Kaitlyn "Amouranth" Siragusa has introduced her own artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, hoping it will help minimize intrusive behavior in her audience. Siragusa, who boasts over 6.4 million followers on the platform, partnered with Forever Companion AI to create AI Amouranth, available exclusively through encrypted messaging platform Telegram. Users can interact with the chatbot using real money, which is converted into credits.

The chatbot operates by converting a user's voice message into text, formulating a response, and then returning a voice message that mimics Siragusa's voice as learned from her Twitch streams and YouTube videos. Siragusa believes the chatbot is an excellent tool for practicing social skills, as it provides immediate feedback on conversational inputs in a risk-free environment.

Moreover, the Twitch star hopes that AI Amouranth will help address some of the inappropriate behavior she frequently encounters from viewers in her chat. This includes constant inappropriate requests and undue attention from less socially adept users. She anticipates that the chatbot could fulfill some of the parasocial needs of these viewers, providing them with a sense of interaction while decreasing any potential harm towards her.

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