This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through June 18)


This AI Model Tries to Re-create the Mind of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Pranshu Verma | The Washington Post
“The model, called Ask Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is based on 27 years of Ginsburg’s legal writings on the Supreme Court, along with a host of news interviews and public speeches. A team from the Israeli artificial intelligence company, called AI21 Labs, fed this record into a complex language processing program, giving the AI an ability, they say, to predict how Ginsburg would respond to questions. ‘We wanted to pay homage to a great thinker and leader with a fun digital experience,’ the company says on the AI app’s website.”


Meta Could One Day Let You Create an Incredibly Lifelike 3D Replica of Yourself From a Phone Scan
Andrew Liszewski | Gizmodo
“Instead of spending an hour in a chair surrounded by hundreds of cameras, users simply have to pan their smartphone across their face, from side-to-side, and then recreate a series of 65 specific facial expressions. The researchers say the process now takes about three-and-a-half minutes, and using a neural network that was previously trained on the 3D facial data captured from 255 diverse subjects inside a camera rig similar to Mugsy, the new approach can generate surprisingly lifelike 3D avatar models.”


Google’s ‘Sentient’ Chatbot Is Our Self-Deceiving Future
Ian Bogost | The Atlantic
“…a Google engineer became convinced that a software program was sentient after asking the program, which was designed to respond credibly to input, whether it was sentient. A recursive just-so story. I’m not going to entertain the possibility that LaMDA is sentient. (It isn’t.) More important, and more interesting, is what it means that someone with such a deep understanding of the system would go so far off the rails in its defense, and that, in the resulting media frenzy, so many would entertain the prospect that Lemoine is right.”


Amazon Says Its Drones Will Deliver Packages to Backyards This Year
Scharon Harding | Ars Technica
“According to Amazon, Lockeford residents will soon be able to sign up for drone deliveries for free. After, they can place orders on Amazon like usual, with ‘thousands of everyday items’ available for drone delivery. Amazon has been working with a goal of a five-pound payload, which may sound small but represents 85 percent of Amazon deliveries, Bloomberg reported in April.”


This Road Wirelessly Charges Electric Cars as They Drive
Andrew Liszewski | Gizmodo
“[Stellantis] recently unveiled a unique new test track in Chiari, Italy, called the ‘Arena del Futuro’ circuit (Arena of the Future) that could potentially allow EVs to run laps forever without ever needing to stop and charge. …To take advantage of the track’s power-sharing capabilities, an EV simply needs to be upgraded with a special receiver that sends the power directly to its electric motor. In testing, a Fiat New 500 was able to maintain highway speeds while circling the track without having to use any of the power stored in its batteries.”


Tesla Autopilot and Other Driver-Assist Systems Linked to Hundreds of Crashes
Neal E. Boudette, Cade Metz, and  | The New York Times
“Nearly 400 crashes in the United States in 10 months involved cars using advanced driver-assistance technologies, the federal government’s top auto-safety regulator disclosed Wednesday. …Speaking with reporters ahead of Wednesday’s release, Steven Cliff, the NHTSA administrator, said the data—which the agency will continue to collect—’will help our investigators quickly identify potential defect trends that emerge.’i


Can Democracy Include a World Beyond Humans?
James Bridle | Wired
“This understanding of politics also means that our decisionmaking processes must extend beyond our own human lives: to nonhuman animals, to the planet, and in the very near future to autonomous AI. I call this a ‘more-than-human’ politics, drawing from ecologist and philosopher David Abram’s concept of a more-than-human world, a way of thinking that fully acknowledges and engages with all living beings and ecological systems.”


How to Be a Techno-Optimist
Jonny Thomson | Big Think
“It’s perfectly reasonable to suggest that there are many existing problems with technology, and that it, alone, is insufficient for good to prevail. Instead, we might sympathize with Danaher’s ‘modest techno-optimism.’ According to this view, ‘we have the power to create the right institutions for generating, selecting, and creating material technologies, and acting on that belief in a cautious and sensible manner can make it more likely that the good will prevail over the bad.’i

Image Credit: Karsten Winegeart / Unsplash

Singularity Hub Staff
Singularity Hub Staff
Singularity Hub chronicles technological progress by highlighting the breakthroughs and issues shaping the future as well as supporting a global community of smart, passionate, action-oriented people who want to change the world.
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