Showing all posts tagged: artificial intelligence

Screenwriters strike win seen as victory over generative AI

28 September 2023

The recent long running strike by members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in the United States, has ended. But the settlement secured by the WGA not only means fairer pay and conditions for screenwriters, it is also seen as a victory over Generative AI technologies, which were being used as a form of leverage against the striking writers.

At a moment when the prospect of executives and managers using software automation to undermine work in professions everywhere loomed large, the strike became something of a proxy battle of humans vs. AI. It was a battle that most of the public was eager to see the writers win.


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Publishing contracts that allow AI chatbots to learn from books

29 July 2023

A few weeks ago, I wrote about two authors, Mona Awad and Paul Tremblay, who had filed a law suit against OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT. Awad and Tremblay were claiming books they had written were being used to help “train” the AI powered chatbot. They say this had happened without their prior knowledge or permission.

It now looks like there may be a solution to this problem, but not perhaps the one writers have been seeking. According to a tweet by the Australian Society of Authors (ASA), some book publishers in the United States are adding clauses to their publishing contracts, allowing the works of authors to be used to train generative chatbots:

We know that some terms of service in publishing have already included clauses allowing the use of authors’ work to train AI and we are now hearing that authors in the US are being asked by publishers to agree to clauses which allow their work to be used to train generative AI.

That’s sure as hell one way to “solve” the problem. But I wonder if authors agreeing to their works being used in this fashion are being offered additional remuneration? And what of writers who disagree with such a proviso? Do their works go unpublished?


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Can AI avatars of dead loved ones ease the grief of death?

24 July 2023

Special relatively and cosmic consciousnesses may one day possibly, maybe, precipitate interactions (of who knows what sort) with deceased family and friends. But that day, if it ever arrives, will be in the far, far, distant future. The idea though of making contact with the dead is fantastical, but nonetheless one which has probably preoccupied people since the dawn of time.

And seeking comfort, following the death of someone close, may be why some people give the idea thought. Perhaps a deceased near and dear could somehow alleviate the grief of those left behind, if only there were a way to reach them. And possibly some people have found a way to make this happen, by way of LLM chat bots such as ChatGPT, says Aimee Pearcy, writing for The Guardian:

At the peak of the early buzz surrounding ChatGPT in March, [Sunshine] Henle, who works in the artificial intelligence industry, made a spur-of-the-moment decision to feed some of the last phone text messages and Facebook chat messages she had exchanged with her mother into the platform. She asked it to reply in Linda’s voice. It had been a few months since her mother had died, and while Henle had previously connected with a local therapist to help her cope with her grief, she found it disappointing. “It felt very cold and there was no empathy,” she says.

Indeed some people have found solace in their AI interactions with deceased family members, but for others the experience has been anything but comforting. It’s a concept though that gives rise to numerous ethical and legal problems. Can we go ahead and create AI avatars of the dead without the permission of the person in question? But what of the potential for misuse of the technology, and possible misrepresentation of the thoughts of the deceased?

Last year, the Israeli AI company AI21 Labs created a model of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a former associate justice of the supreme court. The Washington Post reported that her clerk, Paul Schiff Berman, said that the chatbot had misrepresented her views on a legal issue when he tried asking it a question and that it did a poor job of replicating her unique speaking and writing style.



Center for AI Safety warns of risk of extinction from AI

8 July 2023

The California based Center for AI Safety recently issued a short but stark warning about the dangers of artificial intelligence (AI), suggesting the risk of extinction — presumably ours, along with other species — is a distinct possibility:

Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, creator of ChatGPT, is among those who have put their signature to the statement. Despite the risk the Center for AI Safety believes is posed by AI, they did not however suggest any specific course of action to counter the danger.



Mona Awad, Paul Tremblay claim ChatGPT learned from their books without permission

7 July 2023

Canadian novelist Mona Awad, and American author Paul Tremblay, have filed a lawsuit against OpenAI, developer of ChatGPT, alleging breach of copyright. Both writers believe their works were used to assist “train” the artificial intelligence chatbot, after discovering ChatGPT is capable of crafting intricately detailed summaries of their books.


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Debbie Disrupt, AI newsreader, broadcasting on Disrupt Radio

19 June 2023

Debbie Disrupt, Disrupt Radio's AI newsreader

Debbie Disrupt, AI newsreader, image via Disrupt Radio.

Entrepreneurial thinkers and business mavericks are in the sights of Disrupt Radio, Australia’s newest national radio network, which goes to air, or a streaming device near you, on Monday 26 June 2023. Australian comedian and broadcaster Libbi Gorr, also known as Elle McFeast and Irish rocker and activist Bob Geldof, will be kick starting proceedings during the station’s first week, with both set to feature on the breakfast show.

Veteran radio and television presenter, George Donikian has been brought on-board to read morning news bulletins, while Debbie Disrupt, an AI radio presenter will take the afternoon news shift. I don’t know if Debbie Disrupt is the first AI newsreader to ever present on a radio show, but her presence has media pundits talking. At the moment they remain unsure whether her participation is a cost consideration, or a publicity stunt.

I’m leaning more to the latter. Any suitably experienced radio presenter could read the news, but having an AI robot that can do the job instead? That’ll bring in the listeners, at least to begin with. I also see an element of expectation here. Something would be wrong if a start-up digital radio station called Disrupt didn’t have at least one AI presenter on the crew.


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Only human artists, not AI creators will receive Grammy awards

19 June 2023

The Recording Academy of the United States recently amended their rules to stipulate that only human artists and creators can receive Grammy awards. Speaking in a recent interview, Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, said AI musical compositions can be entered for consideration, but at this stage no awards will be presented to such works.

At this point, we are going to allow AI music and content to be submitted, but the GRAMMYs will only be allowed to go to human creators who have contributed creatively in the appropriate categories. If there’s an AI voice singing the song or AI instrumentation, we’ll consider it. But in a songwriting-based category, it has to have been written mostly by a human. Same goes for performance categories – only a human performer can be considered for a GRAMMY.

The 2024 Grammy Awards are scheduled to take place on Wednesday 31 January 2024.


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The Beatles get by with a little help from AI with new song

14 June 2023

Guitar and amplifier, image by Firmbee

Image courtesy of Firmbee.

With emphasis on the word little. Recent comments made by Sir Paul McCartney, bass player and co-songwriter of defunct 1960s British music act the Beatles, that AI has brought about a “new” song by the band, are perhaps a tad misconstrued. AI technology has indeed assisted in the production of a previously unreleased Beatles song, but application of the technology was somewhat limited.

In 1978 John Lennon, late Beatles guitarist and co-songwriter, recorded a number of demo songs in his New York home, using a portable audio cassette player, variously called a boombox or ghettoblaster. In 1995, when the remaining members of the Beatles were preparing to release the Beatles Anthology, they considered using Lennon’s demo songs as a basis for some new Beatles tracks. This resulted in the inclusion of two songs, Real Love, and Free as a Bird, in the Anthology set.

Starr, Harrison, and McCartney also wanted to include a third track from Lennon’s demo tape, called Now And Then, but there was a problem: the quality of Lennon’s vocals on the recording wasn’t the greatest. Despite their best efforts to tidy up the singing, the group — George Harrison in particular — wasn’t happy with the result. So the idea was shelved.

AI technology however has recently been able to extract Lennon’s vocals from his forty-five year old demo recording, and elevate the quality to a level McCartney and Starr, the surviving band members, are satisfied with. But that was the limit of AI’s part in bringing about this new — and according to McCartney — final Beatles song. The song, and it’s still not certain that it is Now And Then — though Beatles pundits believe it is — is expected to be released later in 2023.

Unless there are other forgotten, or lost, demo tapes made by Beatles members, lying undiscovered somewhere, it is to be hoped whatever track is eventually released, is indeed the last “new” material we hear from the old Liverpool musicians. I say that as I have the concern AI will surely manufacture additional, unauthorised, tracks that mimic the sound and style of the Fab Four, and be passed off as “newly discovered” lost recordings made by the band, by unscrupulous parties.


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Microsoft launches web AI copilot, but you must fly with Edge

8 February 2023

Microsoft today announced the launch of a turbo-charged version of its Bing search engine. In short, it promises to everything ChatGPT can do, and more. And on paper, at least, it sounds impressive:

We’ve updated the Edge browser with new AI capabilities and a new look, and we’ve added two new functionalities: Chat and compose. With the Edge Sidebar, you can ask for a summary of a lengthy financial report to get the key takeaways — and then use the chat function to ask for a comparison to a competing company’s financials and automatically put it in a table. You can also ask Edge to help you compose content, such as a LinkedIn post, by giving it a few prompts to get you started. After that, you can ask it to help you update the tone, format and length of the post. Edge can understand the web page you’re on and adapts accordingly.

But you’ll need to use Edge, the browser Microsoft has been relentless foisting onto Windows users, for the copilot to function. A cunning way if ever there was one to boost market share of the Edge browser. Now did someone at Microsoft think of coupling the AI powered version of Bing with Edge, or did ChatGPT make that suggestion?


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ChatGPT is the fastest growing consumer application ever

4 February 2023

Krystal Hu, writing for Reuters:

“In 20 years following the internet space, we cannot recall a faster ramp in a consumer internet app,” UBS analysts wrote in the note. It took TikTok about nine months after its global launch to reach 100 million users and Instagram 2-1/2 years, according to data from Sensor Tower.

ChatGPT is going to change the world, and everyone wants a piece of the action.


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