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Weeknotes 283 - more or less human through AI?

Weeknotes 283 - more or less human through AI?
"A human designing the algorithms to fight the algorithms with scrutiny strategies." (Midjourney)

Hi, y’all! Happy IoT Day! This is a long tradition initiated by Rob van Kranenburg years ago. And still some events all around the world. Furthermore another week with AI and robotics dominating the tech news. Welcome to the new subscribers! This week's newsletter includes news on AI trust, things, and care for AI. Among others. And will Apple indeed introduce a roaming homebot? The paper for this week is related to the thoughts that were triggered by being human in an AI world.

Triggered Thoughts

In a talk by Karen X Cheng from a couple of months ago, she discussed her fight with herself being dependent on the algorithm. In social media mainly. She has 5 antidotes formulated. All very much makes sense, but let me focus on nr 4: Human + AI. One statement she makes at the end is that we are now (and with this presentation) thinking about strategies to protect ourselves from the algo-encapsulation. But is it our responsibility, she wonders? Are we now responsible for making our seatbelts in the car? It is an illustrative metaphor as it is relatable to people to think about the relationship between humans and AI through the lens of social media algorithms. It is a good example of how it potentially shapes our real-world behavior. And it can inspire us to overcome obstacles.

Combining with this video of Alice Cappelle on the role of technology in Dune, where she addresses how we work together with technology, using Weil and others to make the case in the way of a co-performance with technology rather than choosing the dichotomy of being ruled by tech or ruling tech. Tech and tools are cultures; how would they see archaeologists of the future look at our tools? The video is nice to watch if you are into tech philosophy/ers and concepts like Solarpunk and radical pragmatism.

In the same YouTube streak, I watched John Maeda's latest design report. He references, amongst others, a paper on Humanlike Artificial intelligence (see below). He wonders what our approach to AI and our relationship with AI should be. Should we design against AI? Do we want to prevent humanizing AI? He concludes by focusing on creating “palpable customer-centric criticality value.” Stay resilient to delusion and illusion, circling back in a way to Cheng…

For the new subscribers or first-time readers, welcome! A short general intro: I am Iskander Smit, educated as an industrial design engineer, and have worked in digital technology all my life, with a particular interest in digital-physical interactions and a focus on human-tech intelligence co-performance. I like to (critically) explore the near future in the context of cities of things. And organising ThingsCon.

Notions from the News

This week in AI

Last week, Perplexity was hinting at advertising models for the AI tooling. Google is now possibly considering introducing a paywall, which is kind of unexpected or at least a change of routine.

Google considers charging for AI-powered search in big change to business model
Proposals would mark first time any of the software group’s core product falls behind a paywall

Are we indeed entering a time of AI gadgets? Or are gadgets the prelude to AI-enhanced things?

Welcome to the AI gadget era
The AI iPhone isn’t here yet — but is this the AI iPod era?
Terra AI “compass” enables users to take phone-free walks
Artificial intelligence and a gorpcore aesthetic combine in Terra – a “compass” created by design studios Modem Works and Panter & Tourron to enable people to go on walks without their phone.

How will we relate to the new category of AI social apps that build relations with us and also start expecting attention?

Who will be the new babysitters for my new needy AI apps?
Posted on Friday 29 Mar 2024. 1,320 words, 12 links. By Matt Webb.

A discourse on what open source AI stands for

Why we disagree on what open-source AI should be
How to read what multiple people mean by the word openness and see through the PR speak.

Sometimes, a longer existing product gets attention by the introduction of new versions. Like the ring.

Oura’s experimenting with a feature to detect early changes in your health
The experimental feature gives you a heads-up when it detects strain.

The physical AI is looking for new tech options

To Build a Better AI Supercomputer, Let There Be Light
OpenAI and other AI leaders think new leaps in machine intelligence will require new forms of computer hardware. One proposal involves connecting GPUs with light.

Some attention to AI safety. Research is lacking. Gary Marcus thinks it might endanger LLMs.

Anthropic researchers wear down AI ethics with repeated questions | TechCrunch
How do you get an AI to answer a question it’s not supposed to? There are many such “jailbreak” techniques, and Anthropic researchers just found a new
Despite the AI safety hype, a new study finds little research on the topic | Semafor
The findings by Georgetown University show a lopsided balance between research that advances AI and studies on how to make it safe.
An unending array of jailbreaking attacks could be the death of LLMs
A couple days ago I reported a survey saying that most IT professional are worried about the security of LLMs. They have every right to be. There seems to be an endless number of ways of attacking them. In my forthcoming book, Taming Silicon Valley, I describe two examples. The first sometimes gets an LLM to disgorge private information:

AI bias is a returning topic. Unplanned or planned bias.

Meta’s AI image generator can’t imagine an Asian man with a white woman
The AI tool consistently created images with two Asian people.

Copyright issues are not surprising in the grey zone of AI citations… And then, who to trust if you get a claim?

OpenAI’s GPT Store Is Triggering Copyright Complaints
A publisher says some chatbots in OpenAI’s GPT Store were created using its copyrighted textbooks. OpenAI has taken down some of the bots but could face more complaints from rights holders.
Fake AI law firms are sending fake DMCA threats to generate fake SEO gains
How one journalist found himself targeted by generative AI over a keyfob photo.
OpenAI transcribed over a million hours of YouTube videos to train GPT-4
How OpenAI, Google, and Meta deal with the limits of data online.

Can AI make art? And what does that say about what art makes art?

Artists’ AI dilemma: can artificial intelligence make intelligent art?
Pierre Huyghe’s uncanny machine-human hybrids in Venice are the latest attempt to find deeper meaning in a technology that leaves many creatives playing catch-up

You can imagine that a lip-sync challenge for AI-generated videos make sense for now…

AI-Generated Spoofs of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Are Flooding Instagram and TikTok
The next “Drag Race” Ru-volution doesn’t involve Ru at all.

Can AI scrutiny prevent deepfakes?

‘Time is running out’: can a future of undetectable deepfakes be avoided?
Tell-tale signs of generative AI images are disappearing as the technology improves, and experts are scrambling for new methods to counter disinformation
Our Approach to Labeling AI-Generated Content and Manipulated Media | Meta
We will begin labeling a wider range of video, audio and image content as “Made with AI” when we detect industry standard AI image indicators or when people disclose that they’re uploading AI-generated content.

A risk for the development of AI is in the monetization according Tim O’Reilly “The push for rapid growth through capital accumulation risks creating monopolies and limiting market experimentation and diversity.”

AI Has an Uber Problem
How Silicon Valley’s Race for Monopoly Inhibits Product-Market Fit

AI enhanced browsers, and relates that to privacy browsing?

It’s Time to Switch to a Privacy Browser
Ad trackers are out of control. Use a browser that reins them in.

And in the round of new AI capabilities within tooling:


Is Apple really working on their own humanoid or home robot?

Apple’s Work on Robots: What We Know So Far
With the Apple Car canceled, Apple is exploring new markets where it might be able to find new revenue streams, and personal robotics is apparently…
Apple Reportedly Developing Robots That’ll Roam Your Home
After shelving its self-driving car project, the iPhone maker is eyeing bots as its “next big thing,” according to Bloomberg.
An Apple Robot is less likely to happen than an Apple Car - 9to5Mac
With Apple now having dragged its decade-long car project to the trash can, the company is reportedly now working on…

More than humanoid. Sometimes robot news seems to focus on representations of humans or dogs only. Robots are much more generic, robotic things. Or does this count as an animaloid?

The best robot to search for life could look like a snake
Snaking into the ice on Enceladus might work better than drilling through it.

Tesla is announcing more on their plans for robotaxis. Meanwhile it introduced a new term for the Full Selfdrive Mode: Supervised. It dropped the beta label and is choosing a different strategy, not aiming for fully delegated (self-driving), but a team effort of the human and machine. It works rather well it seems.

Tesla Is Going All In on Robotaxis—Buckle Up
Autonomous vehicle tech has proven tricky for even the most sophisticated tech developers. But Tesla seems to be staking its future on it.

Hyundai is entering your home with its robots. And has a car with a driving license.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 is first autonomous car ever with a driver’s license
Hyundai’s successful electric car was equipped with advanced autonomous systems and went through a rigorous practical driving test in Las Vegas, which it passed successfully; The American public is not yet convinced that it is safe without a driver, but maybe now they will be

Smart home

Bricked devices, even as it was announced some years ago, it stresses what defines product qualities nowadays.

Google’s Nest Secure is shutting down today — and you’ve got options besides ADT
With Nest Secure now dead, here are some options for a Google Home-compatible security system

Google’s Airtags

Android’s AirTag competitor gears up for launch, thanks to iOS release
Google promised to wait for Apple to launch cross-platform “unwanted tag” detection.

The categories start to merge more and more. Is an AI-enhanced home a smart home or an AI-assistant primarily?

This AI Startup Wants You to Talk to Houses, Cars, and Factories
Archetype builds AI models that act as a translation layer between humans and complex sensors, using plain language to help people understand what’s happening in a building, car, or human body

And misc

A smartphone movie about your phone

Do you feel like you’ve lost a limb when you accidentally leave your phone at home? You are not alone. We need to talk about smartphones.

Indicators of innovation

Patents (Weakly) Predict Innovation
Post #2 for Patent Data Week

Paper for this Week

The Turing Trap: The Promise & Peril of Human-Like Artificial Intelligence

The benefits of human-like artificial intelligence (HLAI) include soaring productivity, increased leisure, and perhaps most profoundly a better understanding of our own minds. But not all types of AI are human-like-in fact, many of the most powerful systems are very different from humans-and an excessive focus on developing and deploying HLAI can lead us into a trap. As machines become better substitutes for human labor, workers lose economic and political bargaining power and become increasingly dependent on those who control the technology.

Erik Brynjolfsson; The Turing Trap: The Promise & Peril of Human-Like Artificial Intelligence. Daedalus 2022; 151 (2): 272–287. doi:

Have a great week!

I will be attending a session on Digital Rights, and on on the design approach for public challenges. I also hope to be able to visit STRP festival as I do every year. It is a bit shorter edition this year, but curious to check out the works. And don’t forget to check the IoT Day events. And oh, I might watch some of the best of Geeky Dingen; too bad this podcast had it's final episode.

Enjoy the week!

(In an earlier version that I also sent as email, I made a mistake with the edition nr (282)...)

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