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AI Wild West
The swirl is happening
Another week and more AI firehose news and announcements. This reminds me of the dotcom boom, but bigger and faster - and with different players.
There are two must-reads for this week. Yuval Harari’s piece is linked at the bottom. and Bill Gates’ The Age of AI has begun. I quote:
…we should keep in mind that we’re only at the beginning of what AI can accomplish. Whatever limitations it has today will be gone before we know it. I’m lucky to have been involved with the PC revolution and the Internet revolution. I’m just as excited about this moment. This new technology can help people everywhere improve their lives. At the same time, the world needs to establish the rules of the road so that any downsides of artificial intelligence are far outweighed by its benefits, and so that everyone can enjoy those benefits no matter where they live or how much money they have. The Age of AI is filled with opportunities and responsibilities.
And because of this opportunity, we are seeing the bigger players emerge displaying what they have had in play for years. Even Google’s release of Bard was somewhat tepid in the face of the OpenAI Firehose. And Firehose it was indeed. After launching partners, then GPT-4, this week OpenAI announced plugins, allowing integrations for a vast array of use cases. And while your social feed is no doubt dominated by the hundreds of apps using AI in some way or form, there are a few AI tools that will write our emails, attend our meetings – and change our lives.
OpenAI is winning that race, but adjacently we will see more use cases with different LLMs. Firefly, from Adobe, gave us a telling view of the creative future. It is an AI tool that enables users to modify images and create multimedia content by providing simple text inputs. Unlike other AI art models such as Stable Diffusion and DALL-E, Adobe says its Firefly engine, which can generate new images from text descriptions, has been trained solely on legal and ethical sources, making its output clear for use by commercial artists. This spells out its power:
The industry is moving so quick and OpenAI is defining the game, so much so that as soon as you’re used to a first iteration you need to ask yourself - Is GPT-4 Worth the Subscription. Just 6 months ago, we didn’t have what we have now - and we already have FOMO about what’s being released. Oh and while we are talking images - Microsoft announced image Creator. Tell Bing to create an image of whatever you need an image of. And so did Canva. Bubble territory.
OpenAI raised the game again when it released a limited alpha version of Chat-GPT that could browse the Internet. One of the previous limits was that data was only until September 2021 - but now with almost real-time data, we’re getting to a point where this generative AI is growing beyond what we thought possible in such a short period of time. And it’s also risky. The world wide web is certainly not safe training data, curated as a training dataset.
It’s a wild west out there. On the one hand, you have Levi’s using AI-Generated Models to ‘Increase Diversity’ and on the other you have AI-Generated Images Of Donald Trump Getting Arrested - actually creating fake news! No wonder we have many arguing for a slow-down in pace.
When it comes down to it, however, and we take a step back, the everyday man and woman will be thinking - how does this all affect me? Recent research shows that the influence of GPT technology spans all wage levels, with higher-income jobs potentially facing greater exposure. Whatever you think, we’re going to have to define what is unique about us as humans. Going back to Gates’ piece, there is a section about education, how it will be redefined over the coming years. We’re already grappling with plagiarism from AI, we’re seeing creativity being spawned in real-time, and if you see a little later down in this piece, Kanye West being reimagined by AI. What is authenticity in this new world? And how, therefore do we need to educate ourselves to be useful.
The weekly play-by-play of what’s next in AI is useful if only to spark oneself into a state of dumbfoundedness, but I’m more interested in what we need to do to successfully exist in this new world. Being authentic? Being unique? When the Internet arrived, many tried to ignore its obvious impact. This time, we must think ahead so we don’t fall into the traps of the past. We are right at the beginning of the AI age. Any limitations that we are seeing now will just be blips in a month’s time.
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Here are my recommendations for this week:
Navigating the unpredictability of everything: We repeatedly fail to predict the future. Does that mean “strategy” is senseless? No, it means you need these techniques to navigate a volatile world.
So You Think You’re A Critical Thinker - The promise of the internet was that it would be a tool to melt barriers and aid truth-seekers everywhere. But it feels like polarization has worsened in recent years, and more internet users are being misled into embracing conspiracies and cults.
Chew slowly, keep moving and eat 30 plants a week: 12 rules for gut health - when we think about gut health, we tend to focus on food. “Food is just one part of it, and I think people either engage in food-blaming, or think they need to eat all these expensive things,” says nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik. “But actually, there are other things, such as sleep, exercise and how we’re eating, that are just as important.” The good news is they’re easy, low cost, and you can start right away. After being hit by an annual virus - this was a welcome read.
Thoughts Are Made to Be Thrown Out - We humans are so used to fretting over predicted and remembered scenarios that we forget that our entire lives still occur in the present, including all of that fretting about hypotheticals. We can barely imagine what it’s like for most animals, who only experience what’s actually happening. We can’t imagine it because that means we’d be imagining what it would be like to never have developed imagination.
Why Growth Requires Struggle - It’s difficult to tell the depth and scope of one’s emotional pain. It doesn’t help that the definition of trauma has pretty much expanded to include anyone who is emotionally triggered by anything, no matter how mundane or irrelevant. Therefore, it’s often difficult to know exactly what is just enough challenge for that person to heal and what is too much. This is why self-awareness is so important.
Must Read: Yuval Harari: You Can Have the Blue Pill or the Red Pill, and We’re Out of Blue Pills - A.I. could rapidly eat the whole of human culture — everything we have produced over thousands of years — digest it and begin to gush out a flood of new cultural artifacts. Not just school essays but also political speeches, ideological manifestos, holy books for new cults. By 2028, the U.S. presidential race might no longer be run by humans.
All of these values are combined to generate a unique ID. Surprisingly, each user’s device and browser specifications differ so much that they get a unique ID among millions.
The Quest for Injectable Brain Implants Has Begun - The hard electrodes inserted into the brain to treat Parkinson’s and paralysis damage the organ’s soft tissue. A new invention could change that.
The secret history of Elon Musk, Sam Altman, and OpenAI - there’s beef between these two.
How Will AI Impact The Future of Music? - In music or the arts in general, it’s an especially sensitive conversation. Some people fear that they’ll lose their jobs, others worry that the value of human creativity is going to be diminished even more than it already has been, and many are concerned that they’ll be left behind as technology once again makes entire business models obsolete. At this point, it’s clearly inevitable that AI is going to have an impact on the future of music, but what does that look like?
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