Friday Links: Speaking to Whales, 2023+2024 posts and Copyright

Plus deflating the economy...

Friday Links: Speaking to Whales, 2023+2024 posts and Copyright

AI news rolls towards the year-end, and we’re starting to get 2023 recap and 2024 predictions posts. I suspect we’ll see a lot of them; this first couple might have you covered already.

Links for this week:

  • Stephanie Palazzolo’s 2024 AI Predictions: in what will undoubtedly be a flood of 2024 AI prediction articles. But it was first on the pile: chip competition, AI company drama, AI impacts the US general election, and things beyond transformer models start to get traction. All quite safe bets, I’d say.
  • Sharon Goldman does the opposite with a 2023 Lookback: a handy month-by-month timeline of top stories. All links to VentureBeat stories, but nevertheless, a neat glimpse of just how much happened in 12 months!
  • The New York Times sues OpenAI, Microsoft for infringing copyrighted works. The latest salvo in the copyright wars. This was most likely spiced up by last week’s deal between OpenAI and Axel Springer. The latter deal is about using up-to-date paywalled content rather than training. My guess is the NYT might end up being happy with a settlement that gets them something similar since enforcing copyright on training will probably be hard. One worrying scenario is a super concentration of news providers, with only the biggest making deals to be listed in AI results.
  • Conversations with Whales: While it may not really count as a conversation, it’s remarkable that we can now generate sound patterns that whales react to. The idea of mapping languages in the animal kingdom has gotten a lot of exposure recently (including in the Royal Society Christmas Lectures). AI is only just being applied here, but it seems highly plausible that training neural networks on whale song and video could give us a lot of clues as to how they communicate.
  • Vinod Khosla predicts AI will deflate the economy over the next 25 years. Others have made the same suggestion, but hearing this prediction repeated boldly is a timely reminder that there really are significant economic upheavals to come. I plan to write about this more in the future. It is already obvious AI will deflate the value of certain work to near zero by making it effectively free and instant. It will also enable new types of goods and services (as well as new materials, medical treatments, and other things) to come into being. The open question is which effect will be strongest.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

PS: since I’ve been catching up with news in the last couple of weeks, I’m very aware of the controversy over Subst’s policy (or lack thereof) on hate speech. This is making me strongly reconsider hosting this content here. More on that in the new year.

Midjourney: a smiling colorful female steampunk robot celebrating new year in the snow