Weeknotes 264 - unintended consequences of AGI projections

The whole OpenAI saga is still developing, so these reflections might be outdated… There is more news that contributes to longevity insights, though.

Weeknotes 264 - unintended consequences of AGI projections
Midjourney's interpretation of unintended consequences of AGI projections

Hi, y’all!

This week is elections in the Netherlands, with even some extreme right-wing parties as potential winners. The devastating situation in Gaza is at another critical moment; in Ukraine, chances seem to change for the worse, and the UN warns for 3C heating. I felt the need to acknowledge this first before diving into another big news event in the context of this newsletter that unrolled this weekend: the OpenAI saga…

At this very moment, Microsoft seems to play a master move in the end, having all the IP secured, controlling the computing power and now also having the senior leadership on board… Ben Thompson wrote a great analyses:

What is clear is that Altman and Microsoft are in the driver seat of AI. Microsoft has the IP and will soon have the team to combine with its cash and infrastructure, while shedding coordination problems inherent in their partnership with OpenAI previously (and, of course, they are still partners with OpenAI!).

I am not even trying to share all the news articles and tech analysts’ opinions here (like this, these, this, this, or this); it is clear that it is not so easy to build a world-dominating technology with society guardrails from within a company space. I hope that initiatives such as the EU AI act can offer some resistance to growing into villain-types we know from the superhero movies…

Also, just dropped on Youtube, a TED talk taped on 17 October by one of the remaining OpenAI tribe, Ilya Sutskever. He is optimistic both at AGI surpassing humans and a future where humans and AI live in a healthy collaboration mode.

Triggered thoughts

To elaborate a bit more on this, the predicted future of an AI-driven apathetic life building in the coming decade as we created for the earlier mentioned Design & AI pre-conference workshop, a future ACM Interactions magazine. The Prompt Fatigue was the metaphor here, in an interview this weekend (Dutch) with French philosopher Eric Sadin, the same phenomenon was indicated as promptism. He rightly points out that it is not about the total extinction of humans that we need to fear but that we might lose our human capacities, being numb without any agency.

More than fighting AI as a tool, I think that we need to create conscious designers who are aware and design human friction into the systems and be brave enough not to create the most easy-to-use seamless apps to support our life into a numb experience.

And, back to the opening, hopefully, we will not be forced into a state of escapism due to all that happens on a global scale (think Ready Player One)…

Events to check

Good to shift perspective; where can you meet interesting speakers and people?

Notions from the news

There is more than OpenAI. Before all developments were unrolled, Microsoft introduced custom AI copilots. As The Verge podcast rightly mentioned, the branding of copilots is messy mixing specific tools and category.

Microsoft Copilot Studio lets anyone build custom AI copilots
Businesses can start creating custom copilots right now.

And in another way, brands and AI can clash.

AI-generated movie posters with Disney logos force Microsoft to alter Bing Image Creator
Viral social media trend uses pictures of family dogs to create realistic movie posters.

Deepmind introduces an AI pop star clone that can create new music including videos of existing icons. Youtube is preparing…

Google DeepMind’s AI Pop Star Clone Will Freak You Out
Two new tools using DeepMind’s music generation algorithm Lyria let anyone make YouTube shorts using the AI-generated vocals of Demi Lovato, T-Pain, Troye Sivan and others. It’s haunting.
YouTube to offer option to flag AI-generated songs that mimic artists’ voices
Record companies will be able to request removal of content that mimics an artist’s ‘unique singing or rapping’

OpenAI as a peer for AI Models capabilities might change, but still, for now:

New Open Source AI Model from China Boasts Twice the Capacity of ChatGPT - Decrypt
Developed in China, the Yi series model takes a giant leap over its American competitors, at least by some metrics.

New AI-powered tools by Instagram, and more picture tools within Meta to distort reality. Last week, I described the possibility of having a GPT from your personal link list and other saved sources. It seems that Notion is working on this: Q&A your own enhanced brain…

Notion’s new Q&A feature lets you ask an AI about your notes
Out with files and folders, in with AI search engines.

AI tools can be discontinued too, like Clyde from Discord.

An overview of some AI tooling that has entered the world of architectural design. I hope the London event mentioned above will be captured, as it will deliver some more fundamental thoughts on the change in the design of urban space.

How AI Is Transforming the Field of Architecture and Design | HackerNoon
AI is still on the move, disrupting every industry. The impact of this technology is now highly significant, also, in the architectural industry.

Mundane coding is part of developing low-friction living (see above); Make it Real creates code for games from drawings.

“Make It Real” AI prototype wows devs by turning drawings into working software
Designer: “I think I need to go lie down.”

The designer's role in AI and AI in the design is that the AirBnB founder has an opinion; you need to team up.

If designers don’t embrace AI the “world will be designed without them” says AirBnb founder
Designers need to embrace AI or face having the future world designed without them, warns Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky in this exclusive interview.

Create new ways of discovery, mixing real and fake products to understand better what you really like; interesting experiment by Google.

Google will make fake AI products to help you find real gifts
Maybe now you can find that one jacket you’ve been dreaming of.

More Google: solving the biggest prediction game of all…

AI outperforms conventional weather forecasting for the first time: Google study
AI models may soon enable more accurate forecasts with higher speed and lower cost.

An AI that can learn language with human-like efficiency through "meta-learning for compositionality…

Breakthrough AI learns language with “human-like” efficiency
An new AI model learned to generalize language concepts with “human-like” efficiency and remix them to respond to novel inquires.

Following also the bigger developments sketched above, Scott Belsky dives into the implications: “When we lose the reins of our attention, we compromise our judgment. And, why should hybrid teams miss out on the benefits of proximity and spontaneity? Let's explore the implications of these topics.”

Navigating Attention-Driving Algorithms, Capturing the Premium of Proximity for Virtual Teams, & New AI Devices
When we lose the reins of our attention, we compromise our judgment. And, why should hybrid teams miss out on the benefits of proximity and spontaneity? Let’s explore the implications of these topics.

I think we did not have AI images influence our elections here, but some parodies were made. I wonder if it was different in Argentina…

Argentina’s AI election heralds a new future for politics | Semafor
Argentina’s election has been colored by the extensive use of artificial intelligence. It’s a sign of things to come as nations around the world head to the polls next year.

Oh, this summary made within Readwise is rather convoluted… The article argues that the current approaches to artificial intelligence, which focus on formal mathematical expression and leaderboard success, are reminiscent of the discredited epistemological foundations of logical positivism and behaviorism. The fixation on formalism and benchmark performance fails to consider alternative hypotheses and inhibits scientific progress.

The science of (artificial) intelligence - TechTalks
A science of artificial intelligence based on discredited epistemological foundations is doomed to fail, just as the attempt to build other science on them has failed. Scientific progress depends on better understanding of the phenomena, not just producing slight improvements in some well-defined ta…

Here are some more thoughts on wearing a device like the Humane pin.

Humane’s AI Pin seems to be forgetting what makes a good wearable
Would you rather yell at your chest or pull out your phone?
LukeW | Multi-Modal Personal Assistants: Early Explorations
With growing belief that we’re quickly moving to a world of personalized multi-modal software assistants, many companies are working on early glimpses of this p…

Smart home devices with advanced artificial intelligence (AI) models, such as generative AI, could significantly increase energy demands, according to a report in the journal Joule. No surprise, however, there might be a way to optimise the activity in the end?

The secret environmental cost hiding inside your smart home device
Some smart home makers say they can help reduce emissions.

Robots as sergeants…

Tiny, shape-shifting robot could one day be used to perform surgery from inside the body
A spider-inspired robot called mCLARI weighs less than a gram and could one day be deployed to aid first responders following a natural disaster or help out in surgery.

I like artists that create experiences and narratives to make you think. Like Tinkebell in the Netherlands and Maria Abramovic too.

Marina Abramović, a Shaman of Late Capitalism
Is the Royal Academy’s Marina Abramović retrospective spirituality or its monetization? You toss the coin.

Holiday gifts? Or unnecessary gimmicks? Can be the same of course.

Top 10 personal gadgets that mix style and functionality to maximize your everyday life - Yanko Design
It’s safe to say that the pandemic is now behind us and that all those dormant travel plans from 3 years ago are finally becoming much more easy to execute. The world has changed a lot in the last few years, however… technology has united us, blurring boundaries and allowing us to experience the wor…

Paper for the week

This feels timely… Authoritarian urbanism: on the normativity of a research field (German)

In view of increasing authoritarian, illiberal and populist trends worldwide, not least within established democracies, the examination of authoritarianism in interdisciplinary urban research has gained in importance in recent years. This article takes this renewed popularity as an opportunity to examine the topicality and development of the research field on authoritarian urbanism. The article reconstructs what was understood and researched under authoritarian urbanism and how it developed over time. In doing so, he identifies established assumptions and normative attributions in the study of authoritarian urbanism, shows how these arose and have influenced the debates since then, and discusses how these stand in the way of a better understanding of authoritarian urbanism.

Zupan, D. (2023). Autoritärer Urbanismus: zur Normativität eines Forschungsfeldes. sub\urban. zeitschrift für kritische stadtforschung11(3/4), 17-41.


See you all next week!

Hold tight. A lot of things can change in a week!

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