Lots of AI news today 👀
I’m very happy about that, you know AI is the field I feel the most at home 🏡
Talking about AI…I’d REALLY appreciate two minutes of your time to fill up this questionnaire about AI. It’ll help me understand how people see this technology (it’s anonymous unless you want to give me your name), and develop new, better courses 🚀
Let’s get to this week’s news!
What happened: Proteins are not just the nutrients that give you massive biceps, they are the building blocks of life. They power every single biological process, from diseases to energy, to food.
One year ago Deepmind released Alphafold, an AI model capable of predicting the 3d structure of a protein. Knowing this information is essential to understanding what a protein does. I talked about it in this LinkedIn post back when it happened.
What changed now? Well, using that AI model was hard for non-AI experts, so Deepmind asked it to predict the structure of every known protein and simply published the results for anyone to use.
What I’m thinking: I’ve been saying that AI is a tool for the past 5 years of my life (check out my TEDx on this concept). This is probably one of those applications that truly has the potential to revolutionize our lives. I can’t wait to see what scientists will do with it.
What happened: The tickets for the boss’s 2023 US tour went on sale on Ticketmaster, which decided to use a technology called dynamic pricing. It basically means that prices aren’t set, but algorithms figure them out to maximize revenues. According to a 2018 Deloitte and Salesforce report, 40% of brands that use artificial intelligence do their dynamic pricing (that’s what you need to blame when the flights for your holidays skyrocketed).
Ticketmaster says that most Springsteen tickets cost under $200, and just 11% are part of a variable pricing strategy.
What I’m thinking: This is an interesting case. From one side of the story, dynamic pricing is a standard practice in many applications. But think about the phenomenon of concert tickets: it’s literally designed around a lot of people trying to buy tickets at the same time. That’s the perfect storm for algorithms to make prices skyrocket.
Is it ethical then? Some people say that it’s just an alternative to scalpers, which allows artists to keep more money. I can see that, but nevertheless using a technology DESIGNED to skyrocket prices and blame “the algorithm” is a bit hypocritical.
What happened: 3 philosophers run an experiment. They asked the famous American Philosopher Daniel Dennett 10 philosophical questions about philosophical topics such as consciousness, God, and free will. Then they did the same with GPT3, the most powerful AI model available (which they trained using Dennett’s work).
Then they picked a bunch of people and showed them the questions alongside 5 different answers: 4 produced by AI, and one by Dennett. People needed to identify which one was Dennett’s.
“Regular people” were just slightly better than chance, guessing just 1.2 of the 5 questions correctly on average (chance would be 1 out of 5).
Experts like PhDs in philosophy or Dennett’s experts were better, but still pretty bad! They got roughly 5 out of 10.
What I’m thinking: First of all this was not a Turing test! Experts couldn’t interact with the algorithm, or they’d probably have discovered which one was AI pretty easily. This is still a big problem though. We recently talked about the case of the Google engineer attributing sentience to AI. So we know two things:
1+2 can create A LOT of trouble. I’m curious to hear your thoughts, reply to this email or join the conversation on LinkedIn.
Congratulations, you now know much more about tech than the people sitting next to you on the beach during the summer holiday I hope you’re having ☀️
If you get caught in any conversation about AI, remember to tell people where you heard all these cool things from 👀
See you next week!
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