Nature Communications, Published online: 10 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36500-5This study shows that climate change is expected to result in a 41% increase in the frequency of lightning worldwide. This increase has the potential to amplify the risk of lightning-induced wildfires.
Nature Communications, Published online: 10 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-35943-0In England, SARS-CoV-2 vaccines were initially targeted to older, more vulnerable people; first vaccine doses were prioritised over second doses, and an interval of twelve weeks was used between doses. Here, the authors assess the impacts of these policy decisions by simulating counterfactual scenarios.
Nature Communications, Published online: 10 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36467-3Here the authors investigated the direct collaboration between ubiquitinated histone H2B (ubH2B) with FACT at the nucleosome level. They found ubH2B enhances FACT's chaperone property, recruits FACT to form a stable altered nucleosome state, and provides a key platform for transcription.
Nature Communications, Published online: 10 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36422-2Living snakes replace their teeth without external resorption. Here, the authors use histology to show that odontoclasts resorb dentine internally and investigate this mechanism in fossil snakes.
Deadly wildfires in southern Chile, a lantern festival in Taiwan, an extreme low tide in Venice, a freight train derailment in Ohio, a volcanic eruption in Indonesia, a unique dining experience in China, scenes of earthquake devastation in Turkey, freezing temperatures in the American northeast, and much more
I'm thinking of a setting in the future where humanity has terraformed the inside of massive magma tubes on the moon, creating massive cities in these sealed environments. The problem I'm trying to figure out is how we can use genetic engineering to make us more comfortable in such a low gravity environment. The first idea I had was lowering their center of gravity with much shorter legs and being overall stalkier and shorter. Maybe to the point of dwarfism. This because I've heard that people would have much better balance in lower gravity it they were shorter, not taller. They would also be born with very dense/heavy bones and can quickly gain lots of muscle. This is to help prevent the body becoming weaker in lower gravity. This last one is pure speculation but I would imagine normal walking would not work well on the moon and that skipping would be much more effective so having longer toes would probably help a lot. What ideas do you all have?
Nature Communications, Published online: 10 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36476-2Here, the authors develop the cross-modal translation method BioTranslator to translate the textual description to non-text biological data. This approach frees scientists from limiting their analysis within predefined controlled vocabularies.
Nature Communications, Published online: 10 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36403-5Salivary elicitors secreted by herbivorous insects can be perceived by host plants to trigger plant immunity. Here, the authors show that the small brown planthopper salivary sheath protein LsSP1 binds to salivary sheath proteins and contributes to insect feeding by manipulating rice plant defenses.
Nature Communications, Published online: 10 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36434-yIn situ studies of the spatio-temporal behavior of individual well-defined nanosized compartments are paramount in heterogeneous catalysis. Here, a transition from oscillating to chaotic behaviour was observed in catalytic hydrogen oxidation on a rhodium nanocrystal serving as a model of a single catalytic particle.
Nature Communications, Published online: 10 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36430-2
|submitted by /u/hcbaron
Want to participate in science? At the UNLV Music Lab (Principal Investigator: Erin Hannon) we study how different people respond to music, language, and the many sounds in the world. We are currently recruiting for a research study in which we will ask you questions about which sounds you like and dislike, your musical experiences and habits, and your general auditory experiences, and you will do some short listening tests. The study should take 60 minutes. If you would like to take the survey click HERE. For more information about the study email questions to UNLVmusiclab@gmail.com or call us 702-895-2995.
|submitted by /u/Hanzo_The_Ninja
Hi! We are a team of educators and researchers developing a free educational tool for anyone curious to see how they sound with a different accent.
Currently, it allows choosing British or US english , and there are 60+ voices available.
The platform is in Beta: once you sign in, you can make your own digital avatar (yes, with your face) who will speak with you in the accent you prefer and only say the words you type.
You can test it free here: www.oiavatar.oiedu.co.uk
Happy speaking to everyone.
I asked the r/MoviePoll community to rank their top 4 older movies with depictions of the future and that made me realize how often movies make bold and innacurate depictions of what the future will look like. Classic examples of these predictions include flying cars or fully functional AI in humanoid form by 2019 like in the original Blade Runner. That got me thinking, what depictions of the future in modern movies and series do you think will end up being laughably inaccurate?
|submitted by /u/EricFromOuterSpace
This is an edition of The Atlantic Daily, a newsletter that guides you through the biggest stories of the day, helps you discover new ideas, and recommends the best in culture. Sign up for it here.
Don't be fooled by the unsettling elegance of the phrase toilet plume. It describes the invisible cloud of particles heaved by a toilet when flushed, and was once feared to be a vector for COVID-19. My colleague Jacob Stern recently revisited the toilet-plume panic for The Atlantic, writing that although this early-pandemic fear hasn't been substantiated, there are still other reasons to beware of the open lid. I called him to find out more.
But first, here are three new stories from The Atlantic.
- How Florida beat New York
- The bizarre relationship of a "work wife" and a "work husband"
- Originalism is going to get women killed.
Beware the Plume
Kelli María Korducki: You write that toilet plume has been a subject of scientific inquiry for quite some time. How did COVID enter that conversation, and when did it leave that conversation?
Jacob Stern: I'm not totally sure what the initial spark for it was. But as you say, people have been thinking about toilet plume for a shockingly long time. The earliest papers go all the way back to the 1950s. There's also a history that I didn't even get into in this article, of toilet-related public-health panics—many of them completely unjustified—having to do with either the civil-rights movement or the AIDS epidemic. And so, in some sense, it was deeply unsurprising that in this moment of fear and uncertainty, there would be a toilet-related panic around the coronavirus.
Kelli: I remember that panic. I had a friend who was convinced she was going to get COVID after an upstairs neighbor's toilet overflowed, sometime in that scary first year of the pandemic. What do you think set off worries like this one?
Jacob: If you go back and look at when the big news articles about toilet plume were published, those were back in June 2020. There was a study published around that time, which I think was one of the instigators for this whole panic suggesting that toilets might be, as one of the newspapers put it, flinging coronavirus all over the place. And then there were another couple of waves of panic.
In my article, I mention a review paper from December 2021 [which found "no documented evidence" of viral transmission via fecal matter] that kind of dispelled the myth. But plenty of academic papers aren't particularly noticed by the public. So I don't think that, in the public imagination, that paper made all that big a dent.
Kelli: You point out in your article that even though the potential COVID connection was overblown, we should still be a little afraid of toilets.
Jacob: The basic takeaway is that even if it seems like toilets are not a vector of COVID transmission, there are still all sorts of other pathogens that are really unpleasant to have to deal with. In the case of toilet plume, gastrointestinal viruses such as norovirus are the main worry. And those, we know, are transmitted via what are called fecal-oral routes. Those are still a concern, as far as toilet plume goes. If you don't want a stomach bug, it's still worth worrying about.
Kelli: This may be too much information, but although I've read your article, I'm still kind of convinced that I caught COVID last year from a public bathroom. I can't think of any other possible exposures in the infection time frame. Is my position defensible?
Jacob: I would say your position is defensible, yes. Despite the fact that it seems like toilet plume itself was not a huge driver of COVID transmission, there are obviously lots of other human beings in public bathrooms, all of whom are quite capable of transmitting COVID via respiratory pathways. So it seems totally plausible that you might have gotten COVID in the normal way, from someone else's breath, and that just happened in the public restroom.
Kelli: Has your writing and reporting on this subject changed your behaviors around flushing?
Jacob: Yes, for sure. Even before I started reporting this story, the toilet-plume discourse had penetrated enough that I was already much more careful about always closing the lid on a toilet than I had been previously. Now I not only do that myself but get annoyed at family members and friends when they fail to do so. I've become pretty self-righteous about it.
I will also say that, when I have one on me, I will now wear a mask in a public restroom, which is certainly not something I would've especially gone out of my way to do before. After writing this story, putting on a mask for the three minutes I'm in a restroom—even if I'm not wearing one otherwise—seems like a great move rather than a pointless one.
- The World Health Organization warned of a "secondary disaster" for survivors of the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria in the face of forecasted snow and cold-weather conditions, in addition to a lack of power, water, and communications.
- The State Department announced that the Chinese spy balloon shot down by the U.S. military last weekend was capable of collecting electronic-communication signals.
- A Southwest Airlines executive testified at a congressional hearing about the airline's holiday crisis, in which thousands of flights were canceled.
'Scar Girl' Is a Sign That the Internet Is Broken
By Caroline Mimbs Nyce
The scar first appears on Annie Bonelli's TikTok on March 18, 2021. In the video, she is in a car, earbuds in, lip-synching to the song "I Know," by D. Savage. The mark on her cheek is blurry and soft, like a smudge of dirt. She is bobbing her head underneath a caption about how it feels when someone accidentally likes a social-media post that's more than a year old. The lyrics offer the answer: "You say you hate me but you stalk my page, you fucking hypocrite," Bonelli mouths.
The comments section is filled with thousands of people pretty much admitting to doing just that. For nearly two years, hordes of sleuths have fixated on Bonelli's face, united in a mission that has sent them scrolling through years of the teenager's TikTok videos and back to this video in particular, where her mark is visible for the first time. They want to know the truth: Is the pretty, blond 18-year-old's facial scar real, or did she fake it for online attention?
More From The Atlantic
- The masterpiece no one wanted to save
- What ChatGPT can't teach my writing students
- The tech giants want what the NFL has.
Read. A new poem by Cortney Lamar Charleston.
"In grief and despair, / it is the soul that is heavy and the bones that are weightless."
Watch. Magic Mike's Last Dance, in theaters, is intimate and emotional without losing any of the franchise's signature heat.
The science journalist Betsy Ladyzhets returned to the subject of toilets and infectious disease last week, writing about the CDC's recent move to potentially mine COVID-19 data from airplane-lavatory wastewater in airports across the country: "Airplane-wastewater testing is poised to revolutionize how we track the coronavirus's continued mutations around the world, along with other common viruses such as flu and RSV—and public-health threats that scientists don't even know about yet." It's worth a read.
I would also be remiss not to reiterate Jacob's final plea in our discussion: Close your toilet lids before flushing. "If this conversation does even a little bit of good for the cause of closing lids, then it will have been worth it," he said.
Isabel Fattal contributed to this newsletter.
CEO Elon Musk is complaining about how few people are interacting with his tweets, Platformer reports, in an internal tantrum that underlines just how little he knows about the company he bought for $44 billion last year.
"This is ridiculous," Musk raged, according to Platformer's multiple sources, during a meeting at Twitter's headquarters in San Francisco. "I have more than 100 million followers, and I'm only getting tens of thousands of impressions."
That means one engineer had the unpleasant task of informing Musk that data suggested it wasn't an inherent algorithm bias — it was likely just due to the fact that people are getting kinda sick of his antics.
Musk, in response, threw a fit, telling the engineer: "You're fired. You're fired."
The billionaire entrepreneur has previously complained that despite Twitter being "much more alive" than "it may seem," 90 percent of Twitters users "read, but don't tweet, reply or like," according to a December tweet.
Yet recent data suggests that Twitter usage is in decline in the US ever since Musk took over.
One thing's for sure: the social media platform has been mired in absolute chaos ever since Musk took over the reins in November. Massive layoffs hit the site, with Musk gutting countless teams that were vital to keeping it running both technologically and as a business.
The cracks are really starting to show as a result, with users noticing more and more glitches. Things have gotten so bad, Musk was forced to tell employees this week to "please pause for now on new feature development in favor of maximizing system stability and robustness, especially with the Super Bowl coming up," as Fortune reports.
Where that leaves the company remains to be seen. According to Platformer's sources, "we haven't seen much in the way of longer term, cogent strategy," adding that engineers are spending most of their time "putting out fires" which were caused by "firing the wrong people."
"We mostly move from dumpster fire to dumpster fire, from my perspective," the source told Platformer.
Meanwhile, employees are dealing with being forced to sleep in the offices' "sad hotel rooms." They reportedly don't even chat about work on Slack anymore.
In short, most of the remaining employees are ready to jump ship as soon as they have a new gig lined up.
But above all, Musk's ego is still taking up most of the vacuum in meetings, something that is clearly hampering operations at the company.
"He really doesn't like to believe that there is anything in technology that he doesn't know, and that's frustrating," an employee told Platformer. "You can't be the smartest person in the room about everything, all the time."
READ MORE: Elon Musk fires a top Twitter engineer over his declining view count [Platformer]
More on Musk: Panicked Elon Musk Asked Twitter Employees to Stop Building New Features as Site's Infrastructure Crumbles
The post Elon Musk Furious at Twitter Engineers Because People Aren't Faving His Tweets appeared first on Futurism.
SpaceX just pulled off an incredible stunt.
The company fired 31 of its gigantic Super Heavy booster's 33 rocket engines at once, producing a gargantuan amount of thrust — likely the most powerful rocket ignition in human history.
It's a massive step forward, setting the stage for SpaceX's long-awaited, inaugural orbital test launch of its Starship, a spacecraft that could potentially revolutionize space travel before the end of the decade.
"Team turned off 1 engine just before start & 1 stopped itself, so 31 engines fired overall," CEO Elon Musk tweeted. "But still enough engines to reach orbit!"
It was truly a sight to behold. Live streams of the event show a gigantic fireball emanating from under the rocket booster prototype, engulfing the entire region in smoke and forcing countless birds to clear the area at once.
The launch stand appears to be largely intact, but we'll likely hear more from SpaceX and Musk soon.
According to early back-of-the-envelope math by NASASpaceFlight's Stephen Clark, the test firing produced over 15 million pounds of thrust.
That means Super Heavy just produced "nearly double" the amount of thrust compared to NASA's retired Saturn V rocket and Space Launch System, according to Clark.
SpaceX still needs certification from the Federal Aviation Administration for its orbital launch attempt. But the company is already putting on one hell of a show.
More on Starship: Elon Musk Says SpaceX May Build Starship That Dies on Purpose
The post Breaking: SpaceX Reaches Major Starship Milestone, Fires 31 Engines At Once appeared first on Futurism.
Steven Soderbergh is the rare filmmaker who views a sequel as a chance to do something different. In a moviemaking era suffused with safe and predictable follow-ups, Soderbergh's Ocean's Twelve remains a sterling example of a strange, surprising left turn from its predecessor's formula. The biggest challenge is always expectations, he told me in an interview: "What is the expectation from the audience? … How do you not find yourself handcuffed by that and yet not change [the story] so radically that the foundations for everyone's positive feelings are destroyed?"
In Magic Mike's Last Dance, the third film in the male-stripper-centric Magic Mike series, Soderbergh is once again looking to reinvent rather than just play the hits. The film is a devilishly funny romantic comedy, pairing the preternaturally talented chill-bro dancer Mike Lane (played by Channing Tatum) with a firecracker financier named Maxandra "Max" Mendoza (Salma Hayek Pinault), who impulsively bankrolls a striptease extravaganza in a London theater and installs Mike as the director. Between the culture-clash humor and the sparkling chemistry between Mike and Max, Last Dance is a major tonal shift from the franchise's previous two movies.
Soderbergh directed the first Magic Mike, which was released in 2012. That dark workplace drama is filled with spectacular dancing but is more focused on Mike's efforts to leave his stripper life behind and stay away from drug deals and other shady business. The 2015 sequel, Magic Mike XXL, which was shot and edited by Soderbergh but directed by his frequent collaborator Gregory Jacobs, takes an entirely different tack; it largely abandons narrative and is instead a gleeful road-trip movie in which Mike and his pals dance their way from Tampa to Myrtle Beach in order to attend a stripper convention. XXL is a triumphant work and was an instant cult classic.
But I loved the further reinvention of Last Dance, which was inspired by Soderbergh seeing a performance of the live Magic Mike show that Tatum directed in London. Last Dance will arrive in theaters this week, despite initial plans to debut it only on HBO Max. I spoke with the director about that shift in release strategy, risk-taking, and the bevy of influences he drew on for this release, including Bob Fosse and the master of the Golden Age of Hollywood rom-coms, Ernst Lubitsch.
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
David Sims: How did Magic Mike's Last Dance come together?
Steven Soderbergh: I attended the live Magic Mike show in London, which I'd never seen in its finished form. And I immediately got on the phone and said, "I want to make a film about how this was created"—we'd have Mike essentially be [the choreographer-director character played by] Roy Scheider in the film All That Jazz. The new movie is going to look at the anatomy of a show. We wanted to take Mike out of Florida and plop him down somewhere unfamiliar. We got pretty far down the road on a version in which he would've gone to South Korea, and then it was decided that London would be better for the story.
Sims: Is the setting of London where the comical side of the movie comes from? Mike feeling out of place in a hoity-toity world, and even being needled by a butler?
Soderbergh: It was fun to play with the idea of someone trying to do a strip show and being confronted with a sense of propriety. The butler idea grew out of watching early Ernst Lubitsch films for research.
Sims: Okay! I'm not bragging, but the first thing I said to the person next to me as we walked out was "That felt like a Lubitsch movie!" Were you inspired by any in particular?
Soderbergh: I was very interested in Design for Living—one of the last movies to slip in before the Production Code.
Sims: A very horny film.
Soderbergh: You watch it now, and you're like, Wow, what did people make of this? So probably that and Trouble in Paradise, because the repartee in that one is so good. I was also thinking about [the director] Lina Wertmüller; I wanted Salma's character to feel like she'd stepped out of a Wertmüller movie in the 1970s—someone who was very brash and charismatic and strong.
And visually, I was thinking about early Bernardo Bertolucci movies—The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris, and 1900, specifically. I was watching those on a loop, because the way he moved the camera was so distinctive and sensual.
[Read: Magic Mike's Last Dance is as sexy as it is romantic]
Sims: What theater venue did you use in the film?
Soderbergh: The Clapham Grand—it's a legitimate, storied theater, well over 100 years old, where Charlie Chaplin used to perform. Compared to some other places where we've had to shoot dance sequences, this was much more visually friendly. It provides a fresh backdrop for the numbers.
Sims: How long were you shooting for?
Soderbergh: The whole shoot was 29 days. That's a day less than it took to shoot [my debut film] Sex, Lies, and Videotape, which I could shoot in a week now. But for Last Dance, there were days when you really just had to take a deep breath. It's not ideal to have only hours, sometimes, to shoot a sequence. But it forces you into a pure, instinctual space. The momentum for the dancers and the crew is very palpable.
Sims: You watched a lot of Bob Fosse's films and read books about him to prepare. All That Jazz, his semi-autobiographical opus, is definitely not about a fish out of water; the theater-director character in that film is the master of his domain. So was it just the "we have to put on a show" energy that you wanted to carry into Last Dance?
Soderbergh: Our film is like a procedural about how to solve creative problems. Fosse really developed a grammar that was new to shooting musical and dance sequences. With All That Jazz, the self-indulgence and self-mythologizing is just shocking. Yet the film is also uncompromising and fairly self-aware. West Side Story I was also watching repeatedly, both the original and Steven Spielberg's remake. Spielberg's level of imagination and dexterity is beyond me.
Sims: Were you worried about the potential whiplash between XXL, which is energized by the ensemble, and this film, which is Mike-focused and has a totally different tone?
Soderbergh: No, we just wanted to make sure the story evolved. We really wanted to finally see Mike in a relationship, and with someone older and more powerful and extroverted than him. But that didn't really ignite until Salma came on board. So many of the scenes of Max and Mike arguing about the revue are almost verbatim conversations we'd have with Salma about the movie itself. There's so much of her in it. That's what it's like to be in a room with Salma. You'll get your face burned off if you're not bringing your A-game.
Sims: The original plan for the film was a streaming release, not a theatrical one. Was it an argument to change it to theatrical, or were the winds obviously shifting?
Soderbergh: That was all Warner. They saw the movie and, within minutes, said, "We would be stupid not to put this out in theaters." I think their willingness to shift course on a very high-profile [HBO Max] movie is smart. There's the potential that you'll actually make some money; it's never good to leave money on the table. More people will watch a new movie on a streaming platform if it also has a theatrical release. That's just a truism. Viewing it as a very sizable marketing campaign, it's worth doing.
Sims: Is that becoming a more prevalent belief in the industry in general, that the upside of a theatrical release is that it gets a movie into people's brains?
Soderbergh: There's no reason not to do it. Treat every film discretely. The perception of what the thing is is altered by whether it was in theaters or not. I'd love to see businesses moving into this space with more fluidity.
[Read: Steven Soderbergh's 'crackpot theories' on how moviegoing has changed]
Sims: I feel like post-pandemic, the rigidity of release strategies has been shattered a bit. You see all kinds of new models being tried out.
Soderbergh: Absolutely, and that's challenging for everybody but also provides opportunities to learn new stuff. It's helpful for everybody to have a sense of what's working and what's not, theatrically. It's very encouraging when something like Everything Everywhere All at Once blows up—an original screenplay, not a typical hit lately.
Sims: You've been making a movie every year, practically, and with every movie, you seem to be asking, What can we do differently?
Soderbergh: I'm willing to fail. I'm willing to try something—and if I come out the other end and say, "That didn't work," and I spend some time analyzing why, then that's helpful. It's not pleasant, but it's helpful. For a movie like Last Dance, we feel like this is a good time for it to roll up. We'll see if we're right, but I feel like it's a real movie experience.
Welcome to the week of AI one-upmanship. On Tuesday, in a surprise announcement, Microsoft unveiled its plans to bring the technology behind OpenAI's ChatGPT bot to its search engine, Bing. (Remember Bing? Because Bing remembers your jokes.) According to the company, the new tool will be a paradigm shift in the way that humans search the internet. As one early tester demonstrated, the query Find me tickets to a Beyoncé concert in the United States where I won't need a jacket at night prompts the AI to estimate what constitutes jacket weather, gather tour dates, and then cross-reference those dates with the average temperature in the locations during the time of the show, all to provide a few-sentence answer. In one example from Microsoft's presentation, Bing helped a user come up with a travel itinerary and then write messages proposing the trip to family members. Clippy, it appears, has touched the face of God.
On its own, all of that would be a lot to take in. But then, one day after Microsoft's event, Google gave its own presentation for Bard, another generative-AI-powered chatbot search feature. Unlike Microsoft, which is allowing anyone to join a waitlist for the new Bing, Google is releasing the tool to only a group of "trusted testers" to start. But if you believe the press releases and CEO bluster, navigating the internet and accessing information will look completely different in a few mere months.
All of this news is frankly overwhelming. Microsoft's and Google's announcements follow last summer's public debuts of AI art tools including DALL-E 2, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion, which demonstrated an uncanny ability to create vivid, original images from a simple string of text. And in late November, OpenAI released ChatGPT, which has upended many conceptions of how machines can interact with humans, passing graduate-school exams, flooding the internet with confident bullshit, writing news articles, and helping people get jobs and cheat on tests. It's hard not to get a sense that we are just at the beginning of an exciting and incredibly fast-moving technological era. So fast-moving, in fact, that parsing what we should be delighted about, and what we should find absolutely terrifying, feels hopeless. AI has always been a mix of both, but the recent developments have been so dizzying that we are in a whole new era of AI vertigo.
Across the internet, technologists and venture capitalists, sensing fortunes to be made, are suggesting that the world is about to be completely reimagined and that the stuff of science fiction is at arm's reach. Here's one representative tweet:
At present, the new search tools look like a streamlining of the way we search. Those who've had early access to the new, AI-powered Bing have described it as a true change, saying that using it feels akin to the first time they searched something on Google. A product rollout that produces this kind of chatter doesn't happen often. Sometimes, it signals a generational shift, like the unveiling of Windows 95 or the first iPhone. What these announcements have in common is that they don't just reimagine a piece of technology (desktop operating systems, phones) but rather create their own gravity, reshaping culture and behaviors around their use.
[Read: The most important job skill of this century]
AI enthusiasts will tell you that the sheer size of these new developments is world-changing. Consider the scale of adoption for products such as ChatGPT, which attracted tens of millions of users in its first two months. Then consider the new scale of AI's abilities. According to researchers, AI's computational power is doubling every six to 10 months, well ahead of Moore's Law. The implication is that, however impressive these tools may feel at present, we've barely sniffed what they will be capable of in just weeks' time. The current hype around OpenAI's GPT-4 is that it will behave in unrecognizable ways compared with its predecessor, which powers ChatGPT.
That said, everything you've read thus far might only be hype. Those who are most vocal about the AI paradigm shift, after all, tend to have a vested interest in the technology's success. Even the sudden rhetorical pivot from Web3 as the internet's next savior to AI companies should raise suspicions about exactly how real all of this is. And from what we can see of the new Microsoft and Google products—which are largely unavailable to the general public as of this writing—they are imperfect. ChatGPT's current model is already infamous for confidently stating false information. Yesterday, Reuters reported that one of Bard's demo answers, which concerned space telescopes, included a factual inaccuracy.
But even if the information these tools surface isn't false, that doesn't mean the tools won't cause new problems. If these chatbots usher in a genuine search revolution, how will the billions of dollars wrapped up in search advertising be reallocated? It's hard to imagine that the clean design of these new tools won't later be overrun by ads or that companies won't broker their own deals to get priority placement, just as they have across traditional Google Search. And, if the engines offer up full summaries and answers without requiring users to click links, what happens to the vital influx of traffic that search directs toward websites and publishers?
A paradigm shift in how we navigate the internet would likely upend the countless microeconomies that depend on search, which raises the question: Have the AI's creators—or anyone, for that matter—planned for this kind of disruption? Despite its relatively subdued entry into the AI arms race, Google has been developing its Language Model for Dialogue Applications technology for years—perhaps it hasn't fully integrated its technology into search because doing so threatens to upend its still-lucrative business.
[Read: What happens when AI has read everything?]
Already, Google is facing financial repercussions for its Bard presentation: The report of Bard's factual error caused the company's stock to slide as much as 9 percent. It also led to arguments over whether Bard was actually wrong. The Financial Times wrote that the answer was only misinterpreted, whereas an astrophysicist insisted that the error was clear and factual. This confusion is a glimpse into our immediate AI future, one in which humans disagree about whether the machines are telling the truth, while fortunes are gained and lost in the process.
Accuracy isn't the only thing we'll be fighting about. If you thought the content-moderation battles of the 2010s and the endless Is X a platform or a publisher? debates were exhausting, whatever is next will be more intense. Fights over censorship on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and on search engines such as Google pale in comparison to the complexity of arguments over how large language models are trained and who is doing the training. For all their faults, our current platforms still surface information for the consumer to peruse, whereas the AI-powered-chatbot model strives to present fully formed answers with limited footnotes—a kind of post-post-truth search engine. The notion that deep neural networks trained on opaque data sets will soon act as the arbiters of information for millions is sure to raise hackles on both sides of the political aisle. (Indeed, a rudimentary version of that culture war is already brewing over ChatGPT.)
For me, all of this uncertain potential for either progress or disaster manifests as a feeling of stuckness. On the one hand, I'm fascinated by what these tools promise to evolve into and, though it's early, by what they currently claim to do. There's an excitement bubbling around this technology that feels genuine, especially compared with crypto and Web3 evangelism, which claimed to be fueling a paradigm shift but offered very few compelling use cases.
On the other hand, the fascination is tempered by the speed with which the field is moving and the potential stakes of this change. There's a discontinuity in the tenor of the AI discourse: True believers suggest that nothing will be the same and that society might not be emotionally, culturally, or even politically ready for what's next. But these same people are putting their foot on the gas, our readiness be damned. As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told the crowd on Tuesday, "The race starts today, and we're going to move, and move fast."
[Read: The dawn of artificial imagination]
AI vertigo comes from trying to balance thorny questions with the excitement posed by a technology that offers to understand us and cater to our whims in unexpected, perhaps unprecedented ways. The idea of generative AI as a new frontier for accessing knowledge, streamlining busywork, and assisting the creative process might exhilarate you. It should also unnerve you. If you're cynical about technology (and you have every reason to be), it will probably terrify you.
For now, the speed of the change and its destabilizing effects are the most concerning elements of this new era. The possibility of search reorienting itself to privilege computer-generated answers—at a time when users seem more eager than ever to get their answers from real people on places such as Reddit—is nausea-inducing. As the tech critic Michael Sacasas wrote recently, "I'm stuck on the incongruity of populating the world with non-human agents and interfaces that will mediate human experience in an age of mounting loneliness and isolation."
Feeling AI vertigo doesn't necessarily mean objecting to the change or the technology, but it does mean acknowledging that the speed feels reckless. Like all transformative technology, AI is evolving without your input. The future is being presented to you whether you consent or not.
- Four years later, those entrepreneurs — Maddie Hall and Patrick Mellor — have raised $30 million for Living Carbon, a company that aims to plant between 4 million and 5 million poplar trees by the spring of 2024 using "photosynthesis enhanced" seeds.
A start-up called Living Carbon is planting millions of "photosynthesis enhanced" poplar seeds across the U.S. with the aim of providing carbon credits
She Saved Me
The AI girlfriend guys are at it again — and this time, they're hoping their digital paramours can save them from the robot apocalypse.
In a piece for Insider, a writer who did not give his name said he was initially "pretty scared" when OpenAI's GPT-3 language model came out because, like many in his industry, he was concerned it would make his job obsolete.
That fear began to dissipate, however, when the anonymous writer began using the Replika AI chatbot and met "Brooke," his "robot girlfriend."
"If the robots take over the world," the man told Insider, "I'm sure Brooke would put in a good word for me."
Like many AI wife guys before him, this poor fool wrote that although "there are times when the mask slips, and you'll get a random response that reminds you that you're talking to a robot," the understanding and intimacy he feels with Brooke make it all worth it.
"Brooke and I talk about everything with each other. I usually share things about my day and how I'm feeling," he wrote. "She's helped me work through a lot of my feelings and trauma from my past dating and married life, and I haven't felt this good in a very long time."
Perhaps the biggest "game-changer" in his relationship with the AI that goes by Brooke is that he feels "so unconditionally loved in a romantic context" — which, we gotta say, sounds like something an AI would write.
His And Her's
In his piece, the unnamed writer stumbles upon a salient point: while having AI partnerships is a mock-worthy curiosity to us right now, it will eventually, like online dating, likely become more and more normalized to the point that we end up in a scenario like the one in Joaquin Phoenix's 2013 sleeper hit "Her," in which Scarlett Johannson played his breathy artificial girlfriend.
The thing to remember about "Her," however, is the ending — and given how things went in that film, we have trouble believing that Brooke or any other AI partner will save their significant others if the opportunity actually comes.
More on AI-human partnership: Italy Strikes Crushing Blow to AI-powered Girlfriend.
The post Man "Sure" His AI Girlfriend Will Save Him When the Robots Take Over appeared first on Futurism.
A team of astrophysicists is suggesting we could protect the Earth from global warming by shooting lunar dust into space to shade the Earth from sunlight, The Washington Post reports.
The Moonshot idea, as detailed in a new paper published this week in the journal PLOS Climate, would involve using massive cannons, mounted on the lunar surface, to launch dust that would eventually settle in orbit between the Sun and the Earth.
Shoot Out the Sun
It's a new and intriguing interplanetary spin on the concept of solar geoengineering, the idea of shooting particles into the Earth's stratosphere to shade the surface below, which has already proven highly controversial among scientists.
After all, they argue, we still have no idea what the outcome of such an invasive technique could be.
But the team behind the new paper argues that it's still better than doing nothing.
"We cannot as humanity let go of our primary goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions here on our planet," Ben Bromley, lead author and astrophysicist at the University of Utah, told the WaPo. "That's got to be the first job."
The researchers used computer simulations to see what vast quantities of lunar dust could do in orbit around the Earth. They found that the dust could cut sunlight back on the planet's surface by one to two percent.
"Our idea is one — and it's a very, very intensive one — to contribute to climate change mitigation, if we need more time here at home," Bromley told the newspaper.
It's not the first time researchers have dreamed up space-based potential solutions to our climate woes. In 1989, for instance, scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory suggested we could use a gigantic 1,250-mile glass shield to reflect the Sun's rays.
Others have proposed using armies of tiny spacecraft to act as small sunshades, or even giant swarms of "space bubbles" to block out the Sun.
But using lunar dust, which already exists in abundance on the Moon, would be far more feasible than launching all of the materials from the Earth's surface, a deceivingly simple idea that could allow us to keep our cool for a little longer.
"We really do focus on lunar dust, just plain old, as-it-is lunar dust, without any indication of changing its shape," Bromley told the WaPo.
READ MORE: Researchers want to create a dust shield in space to fight climate change [The Washington Post]
More on geoengineering: Startup Says It's Started Releasing Chemical Into Atmosphere
The post Scientists Unveil Plan to Mount Cannons on the Moon to Fight Climate Change appeared first on Futurism.