This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through April 1)


ChatGPT Is About to Revolutionize the Economy. We Need to Decide What That Looks Like.
David Rotman | MIT Technology Review
“The optimistic view: it will prove to be a powerful tool for many workers, improving their capabilities and expertise, while providing a boost to the overall economy. The pessimistic one: companies will simply use it to destroy what once looked like automation-proof jobs, well-paying ones that require creative skills and logical reasoning; a few high-tech companies and tech elites will get even richer, but it will do little for overall economic growth.”


Why Exams Intended for Humans Might Not Be Good Benchmarks for LLMs Like GPT-4
Ben Dickson | VentureBeat
“According to a technical report released by OpenAI, GPT-4 performs impressively on bar exams, SAT math tests, and reading and writing exams. However, tests designed for humans may not be good benchmarks for measuring LLMs’ capabilities. Language models encompass knowledge in intricate ways, sometimes producing results that match or exceed average human performance. However, the way they obtain the knowledge and use it is often incompatible with that of humans. That can lead us to draw wrong conclusions from test results.”


The Unbelievable Zombie Comeback of Analog Computing
Charles Platt | Wired
“When old tech dies, it usually stays dead. No one expects rotary phones or adding machines to come crawling back from oblivion. Floppy diskettes, VHS tapes, cathode-ray tubes—they shall rest in peace. Likewise, we won’t see old analog computers in data centers anytime soon. They were monstrous beasts: difficult to program, expensive to maintain, and limited in accuracy. Or so I thought. Then I came across this confounding statement: Bringing back analog computers in much more advanced forms than their historic ancestors will change the world of computing drastically and forever. Seriously?”


The Woolly-Mammoth Meatball Is an All-Time Great Food Stunt
Yasmin Tayag | The Atlantic
i‘Typically unexpected, funny, or edgy, stunt foods are ‘pure marketing,’ Mark Lang, a marketing professor at the University of Tampa, told me. They work because they’re bonkers enough to break through the noise of social media and get people talking, he said. But so far, they have caught our attention by twisting familiar items. Lab-grown meat, and all the permutations of protein it makes possible, is pushing us into a new era of stunt marketing, one involving foods people may have never tried.”


A Big Rover Aims to Be Like ‘UPS for the Moon’
Kenneth Chang | The New York Times
“[Founder and CEO Jaret Matthews] said Astrolab would make money by lifting and deploying cargo for customers on the lunar surface. That could include scientific instruments. In the future, the rover could help build lunar infrastructure. ‘Essentially providing what I like to call last-mile mobility on the moon,’ Mr. Matthews said. ‘You can kind of think of it like being UPS for the moon. And in this analogy, Starship is the container ship crossing the ocean, and we’re the local distribution solution.’i


Would Building a Dyson Sphere Be Worth It? We Ran the Numbers.
Paul Sutter | Ars Technica
“What if we decided to build a Dyson sphere around our sun? Could we do it? How much energy would it cost us to rearrange our solar system, and how long would it take to get our investment back? Before we put too much thought into whether humanity is capable of this amazing feat, even theoretically, we should decide if it’s worth the effort. Can we actually achieve a net gain in energy by building a Dyson sphere?”


Cops Used Creepy Clearview AI a Million Times, CEO Says
Mack DeGeurin | Gizmodo
“Clearview AI, the shady US facial recognition firm whose surveillance tech is used by at least 2,400 law enforcement agencies, says police have run nearly a million searches using its service. The company’s database of images scraped from social media sites now reportedly numbers around 30 billion, a staggering 50% increase from figures reported just last year. Despite repeated fines and years of pushback from civil liberties organizations, the figures suggest business is still booming for Clearview.”


Why the AI Industry Could Stand to Slow Down a Little
Casey Newton | The Verge
“Tech coverage tends to focus on innovation and the immediate disruptions that stem from it. It’s typically less adept at thinking through how new technologies might cause society-level change. And yet the potential for AI to dramatically affect the job market, the information environment, cybersecurity, and geopolitics—to name just four concerns—should gives us all reason to think bigger.”


That Was Fast! Microsoft Slips Ads Into AI-Powered Bing Chat
Devin Coldewey | TechCrunch
“While no one expects Microsoft, or Google, Amazon, Meta and all the others to operate these expensive and computation-hungry language models out of the goodness of their hearts (assuming they have hearts and there is good in them), it would be nice to see a little more thought put into how advertising can better be integrated. When the whole model is changing, the obvious solution—that happens to be a lot like one you used in the old times—is unlikely to be the best.”


ChatGPT Can Replace the Underpaid Workers Who Train AI, Researchers Say
Chloe Xiang | Motherboard
“In a new paper, political science researchers from the University of Zurich found that ChatGPT could outperform crowd-workers who perform text annotation tasks—that is, labeling text to be used in training an AI system. They found that ChatGPT could label text with more accuracy and consistency than human annotators that they found on Mechanical Turk, an Amazon-owned crowdsourcing platform, as well as trained annotators such as research assistants.”

Image Credit: Danist Soh / 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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