Weekly recap: 2023-04-02

Posted by Q McCallum on 2023-04-02

What you see here is the last week’s worth of links and quips I have shared on LinkedIn, from Monday through Sunday.

For now I’ll post the notes as they appeared on LinkedIn, including hashtags and sentence fragments. Over time I might expand on these thoughts as they land here on my blog.

2023/03/27: Humans in the loop

Key point in AI safety: A law firm has deployed an internal chatbot for its attorneys. But it still knows to keep a human in the loop:

Tech summit: Allen & Overy turns to the magic of AI for savings” (The Times UK)

(Remember my main AI safety rule: “never let the machines run unattended.”)

2023/03/27: It’s all about the basics

According to this newsletter (and the embedded tweet it references), OpenAI – the company behind ChatGPT – is hiring a “Killswitch Engineer.” Someone to unplug the servers in case the AI bot runs amok.

Laugh if you will, but this meets my first rule of AI safety: “never let the machines run unattended.”

(It’s also a hell of a marketing ploy, if OpenAI indeed posted this: why fight the criticism and fears around AI chatbots, when you can lean all the way in?)

2023/03/28: AI moves into the real world

Per this article, “traditional legacy industries — such as manufacturing, transportation, logistics and healthcare” are poised to “be deeply transformed by technology.” Including AI.

A new technology boom is at hand” (FT)

That’s all well and good, but there’s a catch: once you’re using AI in the physical world – managing factory systems, say – it has to actually work. There’s no room for hand-waving and papering over poor results. A real-world incident of model failure can have real-world consequences.

Here’s to hoping that every group that implements AI in these as-of-yet-untapped fields first implements a strong AI risk management function. They’ll need it.

2023/03/30: Apple an BNPL

Apple strolls into the buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) space with “Apple Pay Later”:

Apple Starts to Roll Out ‘Pay Later’ Service After Delay” (Bloomberg)

Key point:

In a new approach for the company, Apple will be funding the loans via a new subsidiary called Apple Financing LLC. The company will also be handling its own credit checks and running the other underlying technologies needed to power the service […].

Apple getting into the credit #risk game? Interesting. They’ve long been in the business of selling pricey devices… It’s quite possible they have a good handle on how to gauge a person’s creditworthiness.

2023/03/30: AI is not an add-on

New blog post: why it’s a mistake to just treat AI as a quick add-on to a company.

(If you want the most out of AI, you need to be strategic about how you employ it.)

AI isn’t something you just add to a company

2023/03/31: Truth in an age of generative AI

Interesting article on the synthetic (AI-generated) image of the Pope in a winter coat:

Künstliche Intelligenz: Fake-Franziskus geht viral” (Der Spiegel)

There’s a key point in there, on the widely-available access to generative AI. Quoting someone who had commented on the image:

_»Das Zeitalter der Wahrheit ist vorbei.«_

("The era of truth is over.")

Now, we can debate whether the era of truth ever started, but that’s a story for another day …

We talk about how the pandemic changed our appetite for in-person interaction.

In a world where we can’t believe what we see on-screen, face-to-face contact will become even more valuable.

Anyway, can’t wait to see all of the synthetic April Fool’s images tomorrow…

(Though I see that MidJourney has suspended free trials … so there’s at least some hope.)