Jun 2, 2023 10 min read

🤔 Wiser! #126: Future of Humanity | AI's Simple Failures | Salesforce | TikTok Ban | Metaverse

🔐 Wiser! #126: This week's newsletter for paying subscribers looks at AI's threat to humanity. Can it be a real threat when AI can't even complete simple tasks? Plus: the top stories from the tech economy you need to know about to stay one step ahead of your competition.

🤔 Wiser! #126: Future of Humanity | AI's Simple Failures | Salesforce | TikTok Ban | Metaverse
Table of Contents


w/Wiser! #126 - 2nd Jun 2023


Preamble

Are you using AI yet? According to new research from Pew, only 14% of Americans are using ChatGPT, and most of them are not using it seriously. If you're in the majority and not yet using one of the many AI tools on the market, then you're putting yourself at a serious disadvantage.

Now, you're possibly saying to yourself that there's a ton of hype about AI and that will follow the natural curve and fall away. True...ish! IMHO, what is absolutely for sure is that generative AI is here to stay. It's in its infancy too, which means now is the time to get on board and find ways to use it in your everyday work. Now, I'm not saying drop everything you've done for ever. Just don't get left behind.

It's also still free on many platforms, with few limitations. The point is that now is the time to experiment and move with the tech. It's going at such a rapid pace, that it will be no time at all before it's advanced to new levels that will make it harder to learn and adapt.

If you have any questions or need a few pointers in the right direction, reply to this email, or visit the Wiser! chat group on Slack. I've just installed Anthropic's CLAUDE into the chat group so that Wiser! members can play around with it.

ATB, Rick

P.s. Remember: Insight and Information Gives You Leverage!

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“This is one of the few newsletters I subscribe to and it is well worth a read.” - Graham Spriggs, Insurance Consultant, Writer, Educator.

w/Premium Content


Will AI lead to the extinction of humanity when it can’t even write 10 sentences that end in “apple”?

Some of the leading figures in the tech industry are warning about the potential dangers of AI, likening the risks to pandemics and nuclear wars. In a statement released by the Center for AI Safety, over 350 executives, researchers, and engineers in the AI field (including the guy who runs ChatGPT) emphasised the need to prioritise mitigating the risk of AI leading to human extinction.

For me, the greater concerns are spreading misinformation, eliminating jobs, and causing societal disruptions. But then there’s the other side of AI, the side that is less spoken about but is nonetheless, reality.

AI is a super smart dumb ass!

Ask it to write ten simple sentences that end in a certain word, and every single one of them fails. What’s worse, the AI doesn’t even know that they’ve failed!

Continue reading….

Will AI end humanity when it can’t write 10 simple sentences?
Experts warn of humanity’s extinction. Other experts believe the fears distract from issues such as bias and misinformation. Despite the debate, the pace of AI acceleration is unprecedented. Will it replace human thinking? I’m not so sure when AI can’t complete the simplest of tasks!

w/SocialMedia


TikTok is suing Montana over statewide ban

TikTok filed a lawsuit on Monday in the US District Court of Montana to challenge the state’s ban of the social platform. TikTok is suing the state directly, stating in the lawsuit that Montana’s law violates the First Amendment.

“Montana's ban abridges freedom of speech in violation of the First Amendment, violates the US Constitution in multiple other respects and is preempted by federal law,” the lawsuit reads. The law prohibits the ByteDance-owned platform from operating in the state, as well as preventing Apple’s and Google’s app stores from listing the TikTok app for download.

Here’s The Thing: It’s one thing to say you’re going to ban the app used by over 150 million Americans, and something else to actually do it! Montana may have made headlines with the ban, but they’ve failed to explain how they’d do it. Or the basis for imposing the ban. TikTok obviously will challenge the ban and, IMHO, will win in the courts. But for me, the bigger issue is the US’ inability to ever regulate BigTech in the United States. The EU, UK, India and China all seem capable to slapping the wrist of BigTech and imposing constraints to rein them in. Which tells you all you need to know about the witchhunt against TikTok, the non-US tech company that’s eating their lunch. Source: Engadget


w/BigTech


Could Salesforce go bust?

Salesforce's shares dropped more than 5% after its Q1 earnings report, despite the company raising its full-year earnings and operating margin targets. CEO Marc Benioff emphasised the opportunity that the company sees in generative AI, characterising OpenAI's GPT large language models as "definitely not just the technology of this lifetime, but maybe any lifetime."

Here’s The Thing: The headlines don’t tell the story of what’s happening at Salesforce. Whilst revenue grew 11% to $8.25 billion, cash-flow was up and and overall the earnings performance met market expectations, the underlying issue is that Salesforce’s customer acquisition costs have gotten out of whack with its annual recurring revenue growth. Say what? In plain English, what this means is that it will now take Salesforce over 10 years to payback the cost of winning every new customer (traditionally, the ballpark is 2 years or less). Either Salesforce, the bellweather for the SAAS industry, will have to sort its sales performance out, or more likely cut over $2 billion from its sales and marketing budget. Source: Salesforce


w/Metaverse


Has Meta upstaged Apple in the virtual reality headset race?

Meta Platforms announced its latest mixed-reality headset, the Quest 3, just before Apple is expected to unveil its own entry to the field. Despite Meta's headsets being the market leader, the promised metaverse future has not arrived, and sales in Meta's Reality Labs unit fell by half in the first quarter. Apple's headset is expected to cost around $3,000, so Meta's more budget-friendly options may appeal to more shoppers.

Here’s The Thing: This is Apple. They have a history of turning products with lacklustre results into hits, and the company's arrival may boost interest in virtual and augmented reality. If the mixed reality headset really is announced next week, as widely expected, this will bring a focus back onto the sector that Meta have pumped $36 billion into already.  Source: The Information

8 Brands shaping the utility of the metaverse and virtual reality
Dive into the metaverse as I explore the utility of virtual reality through the case studies of 8 consumer brands. Discover real-life applications and learn how VR is transforming our digital world!

w/AI


Instacart launches AI-powered search tool for personalised recommendations

Instacart has launched a new AI search tool called "Ask Instacart", powered by OpenAI's ChatGPT. This tool aims to provide personalised recommendations for customers' shopping questions, including product recommendations, information on food preparation, dietary considerations, and more.

Here’s The Thing: Everyone’s doing it now. OpenAI have made it super easy for businesses to plug in the generative AI model right into the user experience. Which means that the experience we’re all used to when we search for something is changing, and fast. This is the biggest threat to Google’s core business. Because right now, we all search based on the way Google has defined the market. But that’s about to change, with AI capable of handling more sophisticated and individualised searches. Shaun and I covered it in the last episode of the podcast.


w/AI


Good news for all lawyers: the robots aren’t taking over your jobs (yet).

A US attorney relied on ChatGPT for assistance in preparing a brief for a lawsuit against Avianca, a Colombian airline. However, the AI-generated research proved to be problematic as it included non-existent court cases. Avianca's legal team discovered the fabrications when they couldn't find the cited cases in legal databases.

Here’s The Thing: this incident highlights the risks of relying solely on AI for your work, especially when it is critical that the information is totally fact based. I’ve spent tons of hours using AI and it’s great, but also has its limitations. From first hand experience, I’m acutely aware of AI’s ability to generate inaccurate and unreliable information. So, whilst I have no doubt that AI will replace many jobs, it’s not going to replace them all. And the need for human oversight is going to be greater. Source: CBS News


w/AI


Scientists in Switzerland have helped a paralysed man walk again using AI

Scientists in Switzerland have recently helped Gert-Jan Oskam regain control over his lower body, after he had been paralysed from the waist down for over a decade due to a motorcycle accident. They achieved this by creating a "digital bridge" between Oskam's brain and spinal cord, bypassing the injured sections and allowing him to walk again.

Here’s The Thing: The researchers captured Oskam's thoughts and used a "thought decoder" to translate them into spinal cord stimulation, reestablishing voluntary movement. Using miniature chips implanted in the brain, the signals created by the still active thoughts are picked up and transmitted to the limb, bypassing the body’s broken nervous system. The patient has even shown signs of neurological recovery, being able to walk (on crutches) with the implant turned off. Source: Nature


w/AI


Most Americans have not used ChatGPT (yet)

The Pew Research Center recently surveyed American adults' experiences with ChatGPT. And the results were pretty surprising given all the hype and attention, plus its FREE!

The survey reveals that while a majority of adults in the US are aware of ChatGPT, only a small percentage have actually used it — 14%, to be exact.


w/Robotics


Robotics startup 1X deploys humanoid robot as security guard

The robotics startup 1X, backed by OpenAI, has outpaced Elon Musk's Tesla by deploying the first humanoid robot in a professional environment. Their EVE robot has been integrated as a security guard in an android manufacturing site, taking surveillance to an entirely new level.

The robots are equipped with advanced monitoring systems, including cameras, alarm sensors, and motion detectors.

Here’s The Thing: The future of manual work will built around robots. Many will be humanoid in design to given them the flexibility to complete numerous human-like tasks, without ever getting tired or needing a coffee break. In this case, the semi-autonomous robot workers are remotely controlled through virtual reality. The point is that the agility of the EVE Robot is astonishing. It can open doors and windows, grasp objects, and perform tasks similar to humans. Source: FirstPost


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Just some headlines


Further reading

What happens when the AI chat bot breaks your heart?
🔐 Premium: Companionship chatbots are designed to foster human-like connections. Some users report developing intimate relationships verging on human love. They turn to the bots for emotional support, companionship, and even sexual gratification.
Duolingo’s use of GPT4 for personalised customer experience
🔐 Premium: At Duolingo, humans and AI work together to create a high-quality learning experience. Human experts design the course curriculum and raw content, while AI algorithms, and now GPT-4, create interactive exercises and personalise the learning experience for customers.
Stable Diffusion copywrite issues are a legal minefield
🔐 Premium: The copyright lawsuits against Stable Diffusion are a complex challenge for the AI industry. The courts have never ruled on the copyright implications of generative AI, and the outcome of these lawsuits could have far-reaching consequences for the entire industry.

w/Productivity


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