Artificial intelligence and robotics updates

October 3, 2023 | 1:23pm
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Artificial intelligence and robotics updates
October 3, 2023

Actor Tom Hanks and CBS talk show co-host Gayle King are warning fans about ads featuring imposters generated by artificial intelligence.

"Beware," Hanks says in an Instagram post that evidently showed a copy of an unauthorized digital version of him.

"There is a video out there promoting some dental plan with an AI version of me. I have nothing to do with it." — AFP

October 1, 2023

Meta's chief technology officer is quick to push back on assertions that the company has fallen behind rivals like ChatGPT in the explosive surge across the tech industry in generative AI.

"The majority of the world's population will have their first experience of generative artificial intelligence with us," Andrew "Boz" Bosworth tells AFP at the company's recent Connect conference for developers.

Meta unveiled AI-infused chatbots with personalities at the gathering, along with tools for creating images or written content using spoken prompts. — AFP

September 28, 2023

Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg says the tech giant is putting artificial intelligence into digital assistants and smart glasses as it seeks to gain lost ground in the AI race.

Zuckerberg made his announcements at the Connect developers conference at Meta's headquarters in Silicon Valley, the company's main annual product event.

"Advances in AI allow us to create different (applications) and personas that help us accomplish different things," Zuckerberg says as he kicks off the gathering. — AFP

September 27, 2023

Small, artificially intelligent boxes tied to tree trunks in the Brazilian Amazon are the latest weapon in the arsenal of scientists and environmentalists battling destructive jungle invaders.

The boxes, named "curupiras" after a folkloric forest creature who preys on hunters and poachers, sport sensors and software trained "to recognize the sounds of chainsaws and tractors, or anything that could cause deforestation," project manager Thiago Almeida tells AFP.

"We recorded the sound of chainsaws and tractors in the forest... then, all the collected sounds were passed on to the AI team to train (the program) so that... it would only recognize these sounds and not the characteristic sounds of the forest, such as animals, vegetation and rain," he explains. — AFP

September 26, 2023

The company behind ChatGPT says it is adding voice and image capabilities to the generative artificial intelligence (AI) platform long limited to written prompts.

Capabilities being added to paid versions of the service allow users to have conversations with the AI and even "show" it what they are talking about, according to OpenAI.

"Voice and image give you more ways to use ChatGPT in your life," OpenAI says in a post. — AFP

September 20, 2023

AI is both a threat and an opportunity for journalism, with more than half of those surveyed for a new report saying they had concerns about its ethical implications on their work.

While 85% of respondents had experimented with generative AI such as ChatGPT or Google Bard for tasks including writing summaries and generating headlines, 60% said they also had reservations.

The study, carried out by the London School of Economic's JournalismAI initiative, surveyed over 100 news organisations from 46 countries about their use of AI and associated technologies between April and July. — AFP

September 17, 2023

AI is transforming the fashion world but the fast growing technology will never be a replacement for designers' "original creativity", according to the head of a pioneering project. 

Fashion innovator Calvin Wong has developed the Interactive Design Assistant for Fashion (AiDA) -- the world's first designer-led AI system.

It uses image-recognition technology to speed up the time it takes for a design to go from a first sketch to the catwalk. — AFP

September 7, 2023

Chinese tech giant Tencent on Thursday claims its new chatbot had some capabilities on par with top US rival ChatGPT, as the global artificial intelligence race heats up.

Tencent's "Hunyuan Aide", which it released to the public on Thursday, follows the similar ERNIE Bot rolled out by fellow Chinese company Baidu last month.

Beijing introduced fresh regulations last month for AI developers, aiming to allow them to stay in the race with the likes of ChatGPT maker OpenAI and Microsoft while tightly controlling information online. — AFP

September 7, 2023

Google says it will mandate that political advertisements on its platforms disclose when images and audio have been altered or created using tools such as artificial intelligence (AI).

The change to Google's ad policy is to take effect in November, about a year ahead of what is likely to be a contentious US presidential election and as fears mount that generative AI will be used to mislead voters.

"For years we've provided additional levels of transparency for election ads," a Google spokesperson says in response to an AFP query. — AFP

August 18, 2023

China put into force this week its newest regulations on artificial intelligence-generated content, a watered-downed version of stricter draft rules that seek to keep the country in the AI race while maintaining firm censorship on online content.

Rapid advancements in generative AI have stoked global alarm over the technology's potential for disinformation and misuse, with deepfake images showing people mouthing things they never said.

Chinese companies have rushed to develop artificial intelligence services that can mimic human speech since the release of San Francisco-based OpenAI's ChatGPT, which is banned in the country. — AFP

August 12, 2023

Hollywood's striking actors fear that artificial intelligence is coming for their jobs -- but for many stunt performers, that dystopian danger is already a reality.

From "Game of Thrones" to the latest Marvel superhero movies, cost-slashing studios have long used computer-generated background figures to reduce the number of actors needed for battle scenes. 

Now, the rise of AI means cheaper and more powerful techniques are being explored to create highly elaborate action sequences such as car chases and shootouts -- without those pesky (and expensive) humans.  — AFP

August 10, 2023

The White House launches a competition offering millions of dollars in prize money for creating new artificial intelligence systems that can defend critical software from hackers.

Competitors vying for some of the $18.5 million in prize money will need to design novel AI systems that quickly find and fix software vulnerabilities in electric grids, subways or other key networks that could be exploited by hackers, President Joe Biden's administration said.

"This competition will be a clarion call for all kinds of creative people in organizations to bolster the security of critical software that American families and businesses and all of our society relies on," the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Arati Prabhakar, says. — AFP

August 2, 2023

A large Swedish study suggests that artificial intelligence could help almost halve the workload of radiologists when it comes to searching routine scans for signs of breast cancer. 

The interim results of the trial were hailed as promising, but the authors cautioned that more research was needed before AI can be used to screen for breast cancer on a wider scale.

While increasingly convincing chatbots such as ChatGPT have driven speculation about the future potential applications of AI, one area in which the technology has already shown proficiency is in reading medical scans. — AFP 

July 20, 2023

The story of the invention of the atomic bomb told in the new film "Oppenheimer" is a "warning" to the world as we grapple with artificial intelligence, insists the movie's director Christopher Nolan.

The British-born maker of "Memento", "Dunkirk" and the "Batman" trilogy said he believes a lot of the anguish around technology "in our imagination stems from (Robert) Oppenheimer," the physicist who helped invent nuclear weapons during World War II.

What he and his team at the Los Alamos Laboratory in the United States did was "the ultimate expression of science... which is such a positive thing, having the ultimate negative consequences," Nolan said.

Like back then, the startling advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are raising similar fears about the dangers of a technology with potentially uncontrollable consequences.

Some worry that AI could escape its creators and endanger humanity, much like scientists and others fretted eight decades ago with the dawn of the nuclear age.

"That was a moment in history. This is one too," Nolan's star Cillian Murphy — who plays the haunted scientist — told AFP while the pair were in Paris to promote the film, which opens across the globe this weekend. — AFP

June 29, 2023

Geoffrey Hinton, one of the so-called "godfathers" of artificial intelligence, has urged governments to step in and make sure that machines do not take control of society.

Hinton made headlines in May when he announced that he was quitting after a decade of work at Google to speak more freely on the dangers of AI, shortly after the release of ChatGPT captured the imagination of the world.

The highly respected AI scientist, who is based at the University of Toronto, was speaking to a packed audience at the Collision tech conference in the Canadian city.

"Before AI is smarter than us, I think the people developing it should be encouraged to put a lot of work into understanding how it might try and take control away," Hinton said.

"Right now there are 99 very smart people trying to make AI better and one very smart person trying to figure out how to stop it taking it over and maybe you want to be more balanced," he said. — AFP

June 14, 2023

European Parliament lawmakers will vote Wednesday to kickstart talks to approve the world's first sweeping rules on artificial intelligence systems like ChatGPT, aiming to curb potential harms while nurturing innovation.

Although the EU's plans date back to 2021, the draft rules took on greater urgency when ChatGPT exploded onto the scene last year, showing off AI's dizzying development and the possible risks.

There is also growing clamour to regulate AI across the Atlantic, as pressure grows on Western governments to act fast in what some describe as a battle to protect humanity.

While AI proponents hail the technology for how it will transform society, including work, healthcare and creative pursuits, others are terrified by its potential to undermine democracy.

Once adopted by the EU parliament, officials say negotiations for a final law with the bloc's 27 member states will begin almost immediately, starting later Wednesday. — AFP

June 8, 2023

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announces a world-first summit on artificial intelligence, seeking a leading role for the UK in limiting potential doomsday risks as he visited Washington.

Sunak will meet President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday for talks during which he will also voice unstinting support for Ukraine, as the young Conservative leader wages an often uphill battle to show the UK's post-Brexit relevance.

Opening his two-day trip, the prime minister announced that Britain would hold the world's first summit on artificial intelligence in the second half of the year.

"AI has an incredible potential to transform our lives for the better. But we need to make sure it is developed and used in a way that is safe and secure," Sunak says.

"Time and time again throughout history we have invented paradigm-shifting new technologies and we have harnessed them for the good of humanity. That is what we must do again," he adds.

The Group of Seven called for action on AI during a summit in Japan last month. — AFP

June 6, 2023

Top Chinese officials told Elon Musk about plans to launch new regulations on artificial intelligence on his recent trip to the Asian giant, the tech billionaire says, in his first comments on the two-day visit.

The Twitter owner and Tesla CEO -- one of the world's richest men -- held meetings with senior officials in Beijing and employees in Shanghai last week.

"Something that is worth noting is that on my recent trip to China, with the senior leadership there, we had, I think, some very productive discussions on artificial intelligence risks, and the need for some oversight or regulation," Musk says.

"And my understanding from those conversations is that China will be initiating AI regulation in China."

Musk, whose extensive interests in China have long raised eyebrows in Washington, spoke about the exchange in a livestreamed Twitter discussion with Democratic presidential hopeful and vaccine conspiracy theorist Robert Kennedy Jr, the nephew of John F. Kennedy. — AFP

June 4, 2023

Ever since the poem churning ChatGPT burst on the scene six months ago, expert Gary Marcus has voiced caution against artificial intelligence's ultra-fast development and adoption.

But against AI's apocalyptic doomsayers, the New York University emeritus professor told AFP in a recent interview that the technology's existential threats may currently be "overblown."

"I'm not personally that concerned about extinction risk, at least for now, because the scenarios are not that concrete," said Marcus in San Francisco.

"A more general problem that I am worried about... is that we're building AI systems that we don't have very good control over and I think that poses a lot of risks, (but) maybe not literally existential."

Long before the advent of ChatGPT, Marcus designed his first AI program in high school — software to translate Latin into English — and after years of studying child psychology, he founded Geometric Intelligence, a machine learning company later acquired by Uber. — AFP

May 27, 2023

The boss of OpenAI, the firm behind the massively popular ChatGPT bot, says that his firm's technology would not destroy the job market as he sought to calm fears about the march of artificial intelligence (AI).

Sam Altman, on a global tour to charm national leaders and powerbrokers, said in Paris that AI would not -- as some have warned -- wipe out whole sectors of the workforce through automation.

"This idea that AI is going to progress to a point where humans don't have any work to do or don't have any purpose has never resonated with me," he says. — AFP

May 23, 2023

No employee should be "subject to the will of a machine", European trade union chief Esther Lynch has warned, calling for regulation to ensure humans remain in control as artificial intelligence technology advances at breakneck speed.

In the same way that European Union treaties protect health and safety in the workplace, rules are needed to guarantee "the human-in-control principle" when it comes to AI, Lynch said in an interview ahead of a major gathering of union representatives in Berlin.

"We need to be guaranteed that no worker is subject to the will of a machine," Lynch told AFP, a scenario she said would be "dystopian". — AFP

May 20, 2023

The world must urgently assess the impact of generative artificial intelligence, G7 leaders say Saturday, announcing they will launch discussions this year on "responsible" use of the technology.

A working group will be set up to tackle issues from copyright to disinformation, the seven leading economies said in a final communique released during a summit in Hiroshima, Japan.

Text generation tools such as ChatGPT, image creators and music composed using AI have sparked delight, alarm and legal battles as creators accuse them of scraping material without permission. — AFP

May 14, 2023

As people brace for the disruptive impact of artificial intelligence on jobs and everyday living, those in the world of audio books say their field is already being transformed.

AI has the ability to create human-sounding recordings -- at assembly-line speed -- while bypassing at least part of the services of the human professionals who for years have made a living with their voices.

Many of them are already seeing a sharp drop off in business. — AFP

May 11, 2023

Google says it is opening Bard, a rival to Microsoft-backed ChatGPT, to 180 countries as it expands use of artificial intelligence across its platform.

Executives at an annual Google developers conference in Silicon Valley say that generative AI will also be used to supercharge the tech giant's leading search engine.

"We have been applying AI for a while, with generative AI we are taking the next step," Google chief executive Sundar Pichai tells thousands of developers gathered for the event. — AFP

May 10, 2023

Google is expected to enrich its popular online services with more artificial intelligence on Wednesday as it scrambles to catch up with rival Microsoft despite fears that AI poses a threat to society.

Leaks ahead of the internet titan's annual developers conference have revealed that Google will also show off new gadgets, including a foldable smartphone, and reveal additions to its Pixel line of devices.

Most attention will focus on Google's expected release of a more muscular version of its Bard generative AI being put to work across the platform. — AFP

May 10, 2023

A group of academics says on Wednesday that health professionals must warn the world about the dangers of artificial intelligence (AI), as clamors grow for work on the technology to be halted.

The academics wrote in the BMJ Global Health journal that time was running out to take action because corporations, the military and governments were working so fast to develop AI tools.

AI exploded into the public consciousness last year with ChatGPT, a bot capable of generating tracts of coherent text from short prompts. — AFP 

May 4, 2023

Microsoft on Thursday expands public access to its generative artificial intelligence programs, despite fears that tech firms are rushing ahead too quickly with potentially dangerous technology.

The AI-enhanced features of the company's Bing search engine and Edge internet browser are now open for anyone to use, Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president, says in a blog post.

"This means that it will now be easier than ever for everyone to try the new Bing and Edge by simply signing into Bing with your Microsoft Account," Mehdi says. — AFP

May 4, 2023

A US regulator put artificial intelligence in the crosshairs ahead of a White House meeting Thursday with tech firms to strategize about its dangers.

"While the technology is moving swiftly, we already can see several risks," Federal Trade Commission chief Lina Khan writes in a guest essay in the New York Times.

"Enforcers and regulators must be vigilant."  — AFP

May 3, 2023

Shares in companies that specialize in publishing school textbooks and offering online classes take a big hit after signs emerged that AI-bots such as ChatGPT were eating into their business.

Silicon Valley-based Chegg is an education tech company that provides online homework help and textbooks, and its CEO admitted that the explosion of generative AI chatbots had hurt revenue.

"In the first part of the year, we saw no noticeable impact from ChatGPT on our new account growth and we were meeting expectations on new sign-ups," Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig tells analysts. — AFP

Get the latest AI technology and robotics updates at Philstar.com. (Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay ) 

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