This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through January 27)


New Theory Suggests Chatbots Can Understand Text
Anil Ananthaswamy | Quanta
“Artificial intelligence seems more powerful than ever, with chatbots like Bard and ChatGPT capable of producing uncannily humanlike text. But for all their talents, these bots still leave researchers wondering: Do such models actually understand what they are saying? ‘Clearly, some people believe they do,’ said the AI pioneer Geoff Hinton in a recent conversation with Andrew Ng, ‘and some people believe they are just stochastic parrots.’ …New research may have intimations of an answer.”


Etching AI Controls Into Silicon Could Keep Doomsday at Bay
Will Knight | Wired
“Even the cleverest, most cunning artificial intelligence algorithm will presumably have to obey the laws of silicon. Its capabilities will be constrained by the hardware that it’s running on. Some researchers are exploring ways to exploit that connection to limit the potential of AI systems to cause harm. The idea is to encode rules governing the training and deployment of advanced algorithms directly into the computer chips needed to run them.”


Google’s Hugging Face Deal Puts ‘Supercomputer’ Power Behind Open-Source AI
Emilia David | The Verge
Google Cloud’s new partnership with AI model repository Hugging Face is letting developers build, train, and deploy AI models without needing to pay for a Google Cloud subscription. Now, outside developers using Hugging Face’s platform will have ‘cost-effective’ access to Google’s tensor processing units (TPU) and GPU supercomputers, which will include thousands of Nvidia’s in-demand and export-restricted H100s.


How Microsoft Catapulted to $3 Trillion on the Back of AI
Tom Dotan | The Wall Street Journal
“Microsoft on Thursday became the second company ever to end the trading day valued at more than $3 trillion, a milestone reflecting investor optimism that one of the oldest tech companies is leading an artificial-intelligence revolution. …One of [CEO Satya Nadella’s] biggest gambles in recent years has been partnering with an untested nonprofit startup—generative AI pioneer OpenAI—and quickly folding its technology into Microsoft’s bestselling products. That move made Microsoft a de facto leader in a burgeoning AI field many believe will retool the tech industry.”


Hell Yeah, We’re Getting a Space-Based Gravitational Wave Observatory
Isaac Schultz | Gizmodo
“To put an interferometer in space would vastly reduce the noise encountered by ground-based instruments, and lengthening the arms of the observatory would allow scientists to collect data that is imperceptible on Earth. ‘Thanks to the huge distance traveled by the laser signals on LISA, and the superb stability of its instrumentation, we will probe gravitational waves of lower frequencies than is possible on Earth, uncovering events of a different scale, all the way back to the dawn of time,’ said Nora Lützgendorf, the lead project scientist for LISA, in an ESA release.”


General Purpose Humanoid Robots? Bill Gates Is a Believer
Brian Heater | TechCrunch
“The robotics industry loves a good, healthy debate. Of late, one of the most intense ones centers around humanoid robots. It’s been a big topic for decades, of course, but the recent proliferation of startups like 1X and Figure—along with projects from more established companies like Tesla—have put humanoids back in the spotlight. Humanoid robots can, however, now claim a big tech name among their ranks. Bill Gates this week issued a list of ‘cutting-edge robotics startups and labs that I’m excited about.’ Among the names are three companies focused on developing humanoids.”


Is Cryptocurrency Like Stocks and Bonds? Courts Move Closer to an Answer.
Matthew Goldstein and David Yaffe-Bellany | The New York Times
“How the courts rule could determine whether the crypto industry can burrow deeper into the American financial system. If the SEC prevails, crypto supporters say, it will stifle the growth of a new and dynamic technology, pushing start-ups to move offshore. The government has countered that robust oversight is necessary to end the rampant fraud that cost investors billions of dollars when the crypto market imploded in 2022.”


Solid-State EV Batteries Now Face ‘Production Hell’
Charles J. Murray | IEEE Spectrum
“Producing battery packs that yield 800+ kilometers remains rough going. …’Solid-state is a great technology,’ noted Bob Galyen, owner of Galyen Energy LLC and former chief technology officer for the Chinese battery giant, Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL). ‘But it’s going to be just like lithium-ion was in terms of the length of time it will take to hit the market. And lithium-ion took a long time to get there.'”


I Love My GPT, But I Can’t Find a Use for Anybody Else’s
Emilia David | The Verge
Though I’ve come to depend on my GPT, it’s the only one I use. It’s not fully integrated into my workflow either, because GPTs live in the ChatGPT Plus tab on my browser instead of inside a program like Google Docs. And honestly, if I wasn’t already paying for ChatGPT Plus, I’d be happy to keep Googling alternative terms. I don’t think I’ll be giving up ‘What’s Another Word For’ any time soon, but unless another hot GPT idea strikes me, I’m still not sure what they’re good for—at least in my job.

Image Credit: Jonny Caspari / 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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