This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through June 8)


The CEO of Zoom Wants AI Clones in Meetings
Nilay Patel | The Verge
“Like virtually every other company, Zoom now has a big investment in AI—and [CEO Eric Yuan’s] visions for what that AI will do are pretty wild. Eric really wants you to stop having to attend Zoom meetings yourself. You’ll hear him describe how he thinks one of the big benefits of AI at work will be letting us all create something he calls a ‘digital twin’—essentially a deepfake avatar of yourself that can go to Zoom meetings on your behalf and even make decisions for you while you spend your time on more important things, like your family.”


AI Used to Predict Potential New Antibiotics in Groundbreaking Study
Eric Berger | The Guardian
“The report, published Wednesday in the journal Cell, details the findings of scientists who used an algorithm to mine the ‘entirety of the microbial diversity that we have on Earth—or a huge representation of that—and find almost one million new molecules encoded or hidden within all that microbial dark matter,’ said César de la Fuente, an author of the study and professor at the University of Pennsylvania.”


OpenAI Insiders Warn of a ‘Reckless’ Race for Dominance
Kevin Roose | The New York Times
“The members say OpenAI, which started as a nonprofit research lab and burst into public view with the 2022 release of ChatGPT, is putting a priority on profits and growth as it tries to build artificial general intelligence, or AGI, the industry term for a computer program capable of doing anything a human can.”


The Near Future of Deepfakes Just Got Way Clearer
Nilesh Christopher | The Atlantic
“Throughout this election cycle—which ended [this week] in a victory for [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party after six weeks of voting and more than 640 million ballots cast—Indians have been bombarded with synthetic media. …But for all the concern over how generative AI and deepfakes are a looming ‘atomic bomb’ that will warp reality and alter voter preferences, India foreshadows a different, stranger future.”


Pilotless Air Taxis? Joby Sees the Possibility With New Acquisition
Andrew J. Hawkins | The Verge
“Joby’s electric air taxis are still a couple years away from launch, but the company says it wants to position itself to take advantage of autonomous flight when the technology is ready for commercial application. Xwing, which was founded in 2016, has conducted 250 autonomous test flights as well as 500 auto-landings. And, in April 2023, it was the first company to receive an official project designation for the certification of a large unmanned aerial system from the Federal Aviation Administration, Joby says.”


The Age of the Drone Police Is Here
Dhruv Mehrotra and Jesse Marx | Wired
“A Wired investigation, based on more than 22 million flight coordinates, reveals the complicated truth about the first full-blown police drone program in the US—and why your city could be next. …As police departments look to expand their use of unmanned aerial aircraft, no agency has embraced the technology quite like the [Chula Vista Police Department].”


Starship Launch: Fourth Test Succeeds as Both Stages Splash Into Sea
Matthew Sparkes | New Scientist
“SpaceX’s Starship, the largest rocket ever constructed, has made a successful fourth test flight, with both its first and second stages carrying out their missions as planned before splashing down into different oceans. …This fourth flight test focused on getting Starship back from orbit after its previous test reached space for the first time.”


Google’s AI Overviews Misunderstand Why People Use Google
Kyle Orland | Ars Technica
“The value of Google has always been in pointing you to the places it thinks are likely to have good answers to those questions. But it’s still up to you, as a user, to figure out which of those sources is the most reliable and relevant to what you need at that moment. …When your AI is just summarizing the top search results from around the web, it’s only ever going to be as smart or as dumb as the search engine itself. Without the human factor that helps make sense of Google’s map of the web, a Google-powered ‘AI Overview’ is always going to fail in some remarkable ways.”


Most Life on Earth Is Dormant, After Pulling an ‘Emergency Brake’
Dan Samorodnitsky | Quanta
“Sitting around in a dormant state is actually the norm for the majority of life on Earth: By some estimates, 60% of all microbial cells are hibernating at any given time. Even in organisms whose entire bodies do not go dormant, like most mammals, some cellular populations within them rest and wait for the best time to activate.”

Image Credit: Paris Bilal / 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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