AI should take a cold shower

Hey there,

sorry if the last newsletter got caught off and I kept you hanging without Microsoft’s CEO’s quote 😂. I swear it wasn’t done on purpose to keep the suspense. Here’s what he said: A race starts today. We’re gonna move, and we’re gonna move fast.

I try to write Tech Pizza at the last possible moment so you get the freshest news, but sometimes that means that rush gets in the way. Forgive me, I’m just a human (sometimes I may get some help from ChatGPT though).

Anyway, this week’s news:

  • 🚿 AI should take a cold shower
  • Pizza Bytes 🍕: AI for war, video surveillance, crypto regulation and more.
  • Tiramisù 😋

Let’s get started 🕺

🚿 AI should take a cold shower

Last week we talked about how Google lost $100B because of an error in their demo of Bard, their version of ChatGPT.

We also praised Microsoft because they integrated ChatGPT in both their search engine (Bing), and in their browser (Edge).

Now people found out that there were major errors in Bing’s demo too. Actually, much bigger problems than Google’s.

I’ll just show you the worst mistakes. Bing’s demo showed how it could summarize Gap’s Q3 2022 financial report. Bing answered in a realistic way but was often totally wrong. A few examples:

Bing: “Gap Inc. reported gross margin of 37.4%, adjusted for impairment charges related to Yeezy Gap, and merchandise margin declined 370 basis points.”

Truth: That’s the unadjusted gross margin. The gross margin adjusted for impairment charges was 38.7%. And the merchandise margin declined 480 basis points if we’re adjusting for impairment charges.

It gets worse.

Bing: “Gap Inc. reported operating margin of 5.9%, adjusted for impairment charges and restructuring costs, and diluted earnings per share of $0.42”

Truth: all these numbers are made up. The operating margin including impairment is 4.6% and excluding impairment is 3.9%. Adjusted diluted earnings per share is $0.71 and unadjusted is $0.77.

Bing: “Gap Inc. reaffirmed its full year fiscal 2022 guidance, expecting net sales growth in the low double digits”

Truth: Gap expects net sales to be down mid-single digits.

At some point, Bing is asked to compare Gap to Lululemon’s financial statements, and Bing compared made-up numbers to made-up numbers.

What do we learn from this?

The first thing is that the media’s narrative is controlling people’s sentiments around AI. According to the media (and therefore to most people), OpenAI is God and Google is struggling. The reality is that no one is God and everyone should struggle a bit more.

What’s absolute insanity is that this wasn’t a live demo: Microsoft had the time to check and fix the errors and they didn’t do it.

The second thing we learn is that we still have a long way to go. I still believe that this technology will change the world, but it will take time, especially for an industry like search where AI’s problems are particularly dangerous.

Sometimes it’s good to stop for a second, take a cold shower, and re-center expectations, otherwise, we risk getting another AI winter once we realize that this technology wasn’t God after all.

AI Pizza Bytes 🍕

  • People managed to uncover Bing’s “meta-prompt”: some sort of general directions that the chatbot is instructed to follow to answer people. To be fair, there’s no guarantee that’s the real meta-prompt and not something the AI came up with.
  • Interview with Satya Nadella (Microsoft’s CEO) on AI and why they’re better than Google. Another cool quote: Google is the 800-pound gorilla in search. I want people to know that we made them dance. 🦍
  • Google’s CEO recruits the entire company to test Bard, their version of ChatGPT.
  • Amazon’s self-driving car division Zoox starts their taxi service.
  • The company EventLabs started an AI service to allow people to clone voices. They had to shut it down because people were using it to create scams.
  • Darker news: DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has taught AI how to fly an F-16 fighter jet.
  • Runway launches Gen-1: a new suite of AI-based features to allow video makers to edit videos with simple text-based commands.
  • France wants to implement AI-based video surveillance for the Paris Olympics. French people aren’t happy.

Crypto Pizza Bytes 🍕

  • The SEC (Security Exchange Commission) ordered the crypto exchange Kraken to stop offering their staking service and pay a $30M fine. A staking service allows you to earn crypto by locking it in your account. According to the SEC, that’s a security. It looks like the SEC went from “let’s work with crypto exchanges to figure out regulations” to “crypto = bad”. Thanks, SBF.
  • The SEC also ordered Paxios to stop issuing Binance’s stablecoin BUSD.
  • The music producer behind Rihanna’s hit “B***** better have my money” sold his royalties as an NFT. That means people will get a cut of future revenues made through its royalties. Pretty cool, but OpenSea (the major NFT trading platform) has halted sales of the NFTs.
  • Shopify launches new tools to allow anyone to sell crypto products.
  • AI Crypto Tokens are skyrocketing. AI hype + crypto = non-sense moon 🚀
  • The founders of bankrupt crypto hedge fund 3AC started a new exchange to trade…crypto claims of bankrupt crypto ventures. Basically: if you lost money in crypto now you can trade your lost money for other crypto. What could possibly go wrong?
  • There’s now a rehab center for crypto-addicted people in Switzerland…

“Everything else” Pizza Bytes 🍕

  • Twitter increases Tweet length to 4.000 characters for paying users. That’s a lot of characters (like 2 tech pizzas).
  • Elon Musk was found not guilty of fraud for his “funding secured” tweets.

Tiramisù 😋

The sweet part of the newsletter: fun news from the crazy world of tech.

  1. Use AI to pretend you know how to play piano.
  2. Twitter’s new CEO.
  3. How tech feels like today:

You reached the end of this edition 😢

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