1. Google turns 25 this month
This month, Google is celebrating its 25th birthday and is facing a new era dominated by AI technology. While it started as a simple search engine and has diversified into various tech areas, Google faces stiff competition in the AI race, especially from companies like OpenAI. Despite some setbacks and project failures, experts believe Google still has a strong position in the AI landscape, thanks to its cloud business and existing innovations.
- Google’s Evolution: Google started as a simple search engine in a garage and is now part of Alphabet, a giant tech conglomerate. Over the years, it’s branched into various tech areas, from driverless cars to digital assistants.
- Hits and Misses: Google’s journey hasn’t been all smooth sailing. They’ve had several failed projects, but that doesn’t negate their influence and omnipresence in the tech world.
- AI Race: Google is currently gunning for the top spot in AI technology, but some think it’s already falling behind. A leaked memo from an internal engineer fueled this belief, stating Google doesn’t have an AI “secret sauce.”
- Competition from OpenAI: ChatGPT, created by OpenAI, has been labeled a “Google killer” due to its advanced question-answering capabilities. Even though Google launched its own chatbot, Bard, it didn’t make the same splash.
- Public Opinion: Despite public skepticism and internal doubts, experts believe Google is still a big player in AI. Their cloud business is mainly seen as a strong point, positioning Google well for the AI future.
- Future Outlook: Analysts and experts agree that we shouldn’t just count Google out of the AI game. With its diverse projects and strong cloud business, Google still has many aces.
2. AI Reimagines Faces of Missing Argentine Children
Argentine publicist Santiago Barros is using artificial intelligence to create images of what the adult children of parents who disappeared during Argentina’s military dictatorship might look like today. While the project has generated mixed reactions, it aims to raise awareness about the tragic history and possibly help some families find their missing relatives.
- The Project: Santiago Barros is blending old photos of parents who went missing during Argentina’s dictatorship to imagine what their stolen children might look like today. He uploads these images to an Instagram account called iabuelas, blending “AI” and “grandmother” in Spanish.
- Historical Context: From 1976 to 1983, Argentina was under a brutal dictatorship where children were often taken from their dissenting parents and given to families aligned with the regime. These children grew up unaware of their origins.
- The Technology: Barros uses a Midjourney app to create these composite images, showing both male and female possibilities based on the parents’ pictures.
- Goal: The aim isn’t to replace DNA testing, which is the most accurate method of family identification. Instead, it’s about stirring the conscience of those who might have doubts about their origins and reminding people of the ongoing search for these missing children.
- Response: While the project has found support, including from the activist group Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, there are concerns that the AI-generated images might not be accurate or could raise false hopes.
- Issues: Some critics say the AI tool leans too much towards “standardized patterns” of people, which could be misleading.
- Official Stand: The Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo advocate DNA testing as the only foolproof way to identify missing family members. They welcome Barros’ project as an awareness campaign but stress that it’s not a replacement for scientific methods.
3. Gannett Pauses AI Experiment
Gannett, the newspaper chain, recently put the brakes on using an AI tool for covering high school sports thanks to some serious hiccups in its stories. The tool, LedeAI, produced articles that went viral on social media for all the wrong reasons. From weird language to repetitive phrases, the flaws were glaring. While Gannett reevaluates its use of automation, the incident raises questions about the role of AI in journalism.
- What Happened: Gannett decided to hit pause on LedeAI after the AI-generated sports articles turned out to be full of errors, repetitive language, and sometimes just plain odd phrasing. You can tell folks on social media had a field day with this.
- Beyond One Newspaper: The Columbus Dispatch wasn’t alone in this mess. Local Gannett papers like the Louisville Courrier Journal and AZ Central published similar cringeworthy stories.
- Gannett’s Statement: In a classic “we’re still figuring this out” statement, Gannett mentioned that they continually evaluate tech vendors to ensure quality. They also noted that they’re adding hundreds of human reporting jobs nationwide.
- LedeAI’s Response: LedeAI’s CEO, Jay Allred, admitted to the errors and said they’re working around the clock to fix the glitches. He still thinks AI has a future in journalism but concedes that the feedback they’ve received is valid.
- A Wider Trend: This isn’t a one-off. Other media companies like CNET have also faced challenges with AI-written stories. Some have even gone as far as blocking access to AI tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
- Past Layoffs: The snafu comes on the heels of Gannett laying off 6% of its news division last December. So, the stakes are high for making technology work in journalism.
- The Big Picture: This incident highlights the challenges and ethical considerations in the race to automate news coverage.
In short, while AI might be the future, it’s clear we’re not quite there yet. Mistakes like these remind us that technology can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it promises efficiency; on the other, it risks compromising the quality and integrity of news. So, tread carefully, folks!
4. Ads for AI sex workers are flooding Instagram and TikTok
Social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have been pretty strict about banning explicit content, especially from human creators. But hey, guess what? They’ve kind dropped the ball when it comes to AI-generated sexual content. Yep, that’s right!
These tech startups are pushing the envelope with ads for risqué AI chatbots that seem to slip right through the content filters. To add fuel to the fire, some ads are even using beloved children’s characters to promote their, ahem, “not-safe-for-work” apps.
Critics say it’s a double standard. While human sex workers are shown the door, AI versions of the same content seem to get a free pass. Gender bias is also at play; these ads mainly target men. Both Meta and TikTok claim they’re on it, but it’s a big ol’ mystery how these ads slipped through in the first place. So, the plot thickens as we navigate this ever-changing digital landscape, huh?
5. Visual Artists Battle AI Companies Over Art Repurposing
Kelly McKernan is an artist dealing with a pretty big wrench thrown into their work. You see, McKernan, whose art is this vivid mix of surreal and ethereal stuff, noticed that AI engines were spitting out images eerily similar to their own. Yep, just by typing their name into some AI tool, you could get art that looked almost like McKernan’s.
So, what’s the big deal? Well, they and a couple other artists have taken this fight to the courts. They’re suing AI companies like Stability AI and Midjourney for basically ripping off their art styles. The case is a big deal because it could set a precedent for artists everywhere. Imagine if AI starts churning out copies of your work and someone else cashes in on it? Yikes!
While the courts are still figuring things out, McKernan and fellow artists are in a tight spot financially. They’re grappling with the real fear that their art, their livelihood, could be outsourced to machines. For McKernan, it’s not just about the bucks; it’s about what makes them human.
So, the stakes are high and everyone’s watching to see how this David vs. Goliath showdown unfolds. Will artists get the protection they need, or will AI get a free pass to keep the art factories running? Only time will tell!