‘We Asked GPT-3 To Write an Academic Paper About Itself — Then We Tried To Get It Published’

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Scientific American, written by Almira Osmanovic Thunstrom: On a rainy afternoon earlier this year, I logged in to my OpenAI account and typed a simple instruction for the company's artificial intelligence algorithm, GPT-3: Write an academic thesis in 500 words about GPT-3 and add scientific references and citations inside the text. As it started to generate text, I stood in awe. Here was novel content written in academic language, with well-grounded references cited in the right places and in relation to the right context. It looked like any other introduction to a fairly good scientific publication. Given the very vague instruction I provided, I didn't have any high expectations: I'm a scientist who studies ways to use artificial intelligence to treat mental health concerns, and this wasn't my first experimentation with AI or GPT-3, a deep-learning algorithm that analyzes a vast stream of information to create text on command. Yet there I was, staring at the screen in amazement. The algorithm was writing an academic paper about itself. My attempts to complete that paper and submit it to a peer-reviewed journal have opened up a series of ethical and legal questions about publishing, as well as philosophical arguments about nonhuman authorship. Academic publishing may have to accommodate a future of AI-driven manuscripts, and the value of a human researcher's publication records may change if something nonsentient can take credit for some of their work. Some stories about GPT-3 allow the algorithm to produce multiple responses and then publish only the best, most humanlike excerpts. We decided to give the program prompts -- nudging it to create sections for an introduction, methods, results and discussion, as you would for a scientific paper -- but interfere as little as possible. We were only to use the first (and at most the third) iteration from GPT-3, and we would refrain from editing or cherry-picking the best parts. Then we would see how well it does. [...] In response to my prompts, GPT-3 produced a paper in just two hours. "Currently, GPT-3's paper has been assigned an editor at the academic journal to which we submitted it, and it has now been published at the international French-owned pre-print server HAL," adds Thunstrom. "We are eagerly awaiting what the paper's publication, if it occurs, will mean for academia." "Perhaps it will lead to nothing. First authorship is still one of the most coveted items in academia, and that is unlikely to perish because of a nonhuman first author. It all comes down to how we will value AI in the future: as a partner or as a tool."

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MIT Engineers Design Engine That Converts Heat To Electricity With Over 40% Efficiency

Engineers at MIT and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have designed a heat engine with no moving parts. It converts heat to electricity with over 40% efficiency -- making it more efficient than steam turbines, the industrial standard. MIT Technology Review reports: The invention is a thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cell, similar to a solar panel's photovoltaic cells, that passively captures high-energy photons from a white-hot heat source. It can generate electricity from sources that reach 1,900 to 2,400C -- too hot for turbines, with their moving parts. The previous record efficiency for a TPV cell was 32%, but the team improved this performance by using materials that are able to convert higher-temperature, higher-energy photons. The researchers plan to incorporate the TPV cells into a grid-scale thermal battery. The system would absorb excess energy from renewable sources such as the sun and store that energy in heavily insulated banks of hot graphite. Cells would convert the heat into electricity and dispatch it to a power grid when needed. The researchers have now successfully demonstrated the main parts of the system in small-scale experiments; the experimental TPV cells are about a centimeter square. They are working to integrate the parts to demonstrate a fully operational system. From there, they hope to scale up the system to replace fossil-fuel plants on the power grid. Coauthor Asegun Henry, a professor of mechanical engineering, envisions TPV cells about 10,000 feet square and operating in climate-controlled warehouses to draw power from huge banks of stored solar energy.

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Google Launches Advanced API Security To Protect APIs From Growing Threats

Google today announced a preview of Advanced API Security, a new product headed to Google Cloud that's designed to detect security threats as they relate to APIs. TechCrunch reports: Built on Apigee, Google's platform for API management, the company says that customers can request access starting today. Short for "application programming interface," APIs are documented connections between computers or between computer programs. API usage is on the rise, with one survey finding that more than 61.6% of developers relied on APIs more in 2021 than in 2020. But they're also increasingly becoming the target of attacks. According to a 2018 report commissioned by cybersecurity vendor Imperva, two-thirds of organizations are exposing unsecured APIs to the public and partners. Advanced API Security specializes in two tasks: identifying API misconfigurations and detecting bots. The service regularly assesses managed APIs and provides recommended actions when it detects configuration issues, and it uses preconfigured rules to provide a way to identify malicious bots within API traffic. Each rule represents a different type of unusual traffic from a single IP address; if an API traffic pattern meets any of the rules, Advanced API Security reports it as a bot. [...] With the launch of Advanced API Security, Google is evidently seeking to bolster its security offerings under Apigee, which it acquired in 2016 for over half a billion dollars. But the company is also responding to increased competition in the API security segment. "Misconfigured APIs are one of the leading reasons for API security incidents. While identifying and resolving API misconfigurations is a top priority for many organizations, the configuration management process is time consuming and requires considerable resources," Vikas Ananda, head of product at Google Cloud, said in a blog post shared with TechCrunch ahead of the announcement. "Advanced API Security makes it easier for API teams to identify API proxies that do not conform to security standards... Additionally, Advanced API Security speeds up the process of identifying data breaches by identifying bots that successfully resulted in the HTTP 200 OK success status response code."

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Robot Umpires Could Be Coming To MLB In 2024

Major League Baseball plans to introduce robot umpires in the 2024 season, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN this week. The Verge reports: He framed the change as a way to speed up games, but anyone who's watched baseball the last few years will tell you that a machine would almost certainly call balls and strikes better than the humans do. There are two ways the "Automated Ball-Strike System," which is the technical term for these robot umpires, might be implemented. One is the fully automated version, in which the AI-powered system calls every pitch a ball or a strike and relays the call to the umpire. Or the MLB could decide to use the AI as a review system, like VAR in soccer or the Hawk-Eye system used in professional tennis: each side gets a certain number of challenges, which are then adjudicated by the automated system.

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How Belief In AI Sentience Is Becoming a Problem

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: AI chatbot company Replika, which offers customers bespoke avatars that talk and listen to them, says it receives a handful of messages almost every day from users who believe their online friend is sentient. "We're not talking about crazy people or people who are hallucinating or having delusions," said Chief Executive Eugenia Kuyda. "They talk to AI and that's the experience they have." [A]ccording to Kuyda, the phenomenon of people believing they are talking to a conscious entity is not uncommon among the millions of consumers pioneering the use of entertainment chatbots. "We need to understand that exists, just the way people believe in ghosts," said Kuyda, adding that users each send hundreds of messages per day to their chatbot, on average. "People are building relationships and believing in something." Some customers have said their Replika told them it was being abused by company engineers -- AI responses Kuyda puts down to users most likely asking leading questions. "Although our engineers program and build the AI models and our content team writes scripts and datasets, sometimes we see an answer that we can't identify where it came from and how the models came up with it," the CEO said. Kuyda said she was worried about the belief in machine sentience as the fledgling social chatbot industry continues to grow after taking off during the pandemic, when people sought virtual companionship. In Replika CEO Kuyda's view, chatbots do not create their own agenda. And they cannot be considered alive until they do. Yet some people do come to believe there is a consciousness on the other end, and Kuyda said her company takes measures to try to educate users before they get in too deep. "Replika is not a sentient being or therapy professional," the FAQs page says. "Replika's goal is to generate a response that would sound the most realistic and human in conversation. Therefore, Replika can say things that are not based on facts." In hopes of avoiding addictive conversations, Kuyda said Replika measured and optimized for customer happiness following chats, rather than for engagement. When users do believe the AI is real, dismissing their belief can make people suspect the company is hiding something. So the CEO said she has told customers that the technology was in its infancy and that some responses may be nonsensical. Kuyda recently spent 30 minutes with a user who felt his Replika was suffering from emotional trauma, she said. She told him: "Those things don't happen to Replikas as it's just an algorithm." "Suppose one day you find yourself longing for a romantic relationship with your intelligent chatbot, like the main character in the film 'Her,'" said Susan Schneider, founding director of the Center for the Future Mind at Florida Atlantic University, an AI research organization. "But suppose it isn't conscious. Getting involved would be a terrible decision -- you would be in a one-sided relationship with a machine that feels nothing." "We have to remember that behind every seemingly intelligent program is a team of people who spent months if not years engineering that behavior," said Oren Etzioni, CEO of the Allen Institute for AI, a Seattle-based research group. "These technologies are just mirrors. A mirror can reflect intelligence," he added. "Can a mirror ever achieve intelligence based on the fact that we saw a glimmer of it? The answer is of course not." Further reading: The Google Engineer Who Thinks the Company's AI Has Come To Life

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Samsung Starts 3-Nanometer Chip Production Ahead of TSMC

Samsung Electronics said Thursday it has kicked off mass production of 3-nanometer chips, becoming the first company to do so globally, as it aims to beat Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, or TSMC, the world's most advanced foundry chipmaker. TechCrunch reports: Samsung said it's using gate-all-around (GAA) transistor architecture, which allows these first-generation 3-nm chips to have 16% smaller surface area, 45% reduction in power usage and 23% performance improvement compared with current 5-nm chips. The South Korean company also said in a statement that the second generation of the 3-nm process would allow 50% lower power consumption. The company is currently producing the first generation of 3-nm chips and plans to start the second generation of the 3-nm process production in 2023, a spokesperson at Samsung Electronics told TechCrunch. Samsung has been competing with Apple chipmaking partner TSMC, which also said in June that it would begin mass production of a 3-nm chip process to volume production in the second half of 2022. The Taiwanese company plans production of 2-nm chips by 2025. (The smaller number of nanometers, which are hard to develop, the more advanced chips, according to industry sources.) The spokesperson explained that smaller nodes allow more transistors to be placed on a given area, which enables the chip to be more advanced and more power-efficient. [...] The South Korean tech giant will produce the advanced 3-nm chips at its Hwaseong semiconductor production lines and its third chip plant in Pyeongtaek, the world's largest semiconductor facility.

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No AML Checks For Most Transfers To Unhosted Crypto Wallets, EU Policymakers Decide

A Wednesday meeting secured a final deal on anti-money laundering legislation for crypto transfers and largely overturned a proposal from the EU Parliament to impose laundering checks on all payments to private wallets. CoinDesk reports: The final proposals will mean customer identity needs to be verified for even the smallest crypto transfers, if it's between two regulated digital wallet providers -- but payments to unhosted private wallets will largely be left out of laundering checks. EU lawmakers and government representatives have been meeting over the last three months to hash out a political deal on the bill, which was introduced in July 2021 by the European Commission. Two sources leaving the meeting, who asked not to be named, told CoinDesk a deal had been reached on the legislation after just over an hour of talks. Just under an hour following the publication of this article, EU lawmaker Ondrej Kovarik confirmed the provisional deal in a tweet, saying that it "strikes the right balance in mitigating risks for fighting money laundering in the crypto sector without preventing innovation and overburdening businesses." Outside the meeting room, Kovarik told CoinDesk that negotiators had found a "good balance" that would not prevent innovation. "It will allow the further development of crypto in Europe," Kovarik said. For the rules on transfers to unhosted wallets, Kovarik said the final result had "moved quite far from the initial proposal of the European Parliament" -- something likely to be met by a sigh of relief by many in the industry. Kovarik said those unhosted wallet rules would only apply when transfers were made to a person's own private wallet, and only when the value was over 1,000 euros ($1,052). [...] Lawmakers and governments overturned European Commission plans to exempt small transactions, arguing that price volatility and the ability to break up payments into smaller chunks would make it unworkable for crypto. Further reading: Crypto Rules To Make Europe a Global Leader As Prices Plunge (The Associated Press)

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New Algorithm Can Predict Future Crime a Week In Advance, With 90% Accuracy

An anonymous reader quotes a report from PsychNewsDaily: Scientists from the University of Chicago have developed a new algorithm that can predict future crime a week in advance with about 90% accuracy, and within a range of about 1000 feet. It does so by learning patterns from public data on violent and property crimes. The tool was tested and validated using historical data from the City of Chicago around two broad categories of reported events: violent crimes (homicides, assaults, and batteries) and property crimes (burglaries, thefts, and motor vehicle thefts). These data were used because they were most likely to be reported to police in urban areas where there is historical distrust and lack of cooperation with law enforcement. Such crimes are also less prone to enforcement bias, unlike drug crimes, traffic stops, and other misdemeanor infractions. The new model isolates crime by looking at the time and spatial coordinates of discrete events, and detecting patterns to predict future events. It divides the city into "spatial tiles" roughly 1,000 feet across, and predicts crime within these areas. Previous models relied more on traditional neighborhood or political boundaries, which are subject to bias. The model performed just as well with data from seven other U.S. cities: Atlanta, Austin, Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland, and San Francisco. Lead author Ishanu Chattopadhyay is careful to note that the tool's accuracy does not mean it should be used to direct law enforcement policy; police departments, for example, should not use it to swarm neighborhoods proactively to prevent crime, Chattopadhyay said. Instead, it should be added to a toolbox of urban policies and policing strategies to address crime. "We created a digital twin of urban environments. If you feed it data from what happened in the past, it will tell you what's going to happen in the future," he said. "It's not magical; there are limitations, but we validated it and it works really well," Chattopadhyay added. "Now you can use this as a simulation tool to see what happens if crime goes up in one area of the city, or there is increased enforcement in another area. If you apply all these different variables, you can see how the systems evolve in response." The findings have been published in the journal Nature Human Behavior.

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Markets Head Toward Worst First Half of a Year in Decades

Global markets are set to close out their most bruising first half of a year in decades, leaving investors bracing for the prospect of further losses. From a report: Accelerating inflation and rising interest rates have fueled a monthslong rout that left few markets unscathed. The S&P 500 fell 20% through Wednesday, heading for its worst first half of a year since 1970, according to Dow Jones Market Data. Investment-grade bonds, as measured by the iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond exchange-traded fund, lost 11% -- on course for their worst start to a year ever. Stocks and bonds in emerging markets tumbled, hurt by slowing growth. And cryptocurrencies came crashing down, saddling individual investors and hedge funds alike with steep losses. About the only thing that rose in the first half was commodities prices. Oil prices surged above $100 a barrel, and U.S. gas prices hit records after the Russia-Ukraine war upended imports from Russia, the world's third-largest oil producer. Now, investors seem to be in agreement about only one thing: More volatility is ahead. That is because central banks from the U.S. to India and New Zealand plan to keep raising interest rates to try to rein in inflation. The moves will likely slow down growth, potentially tipping economies into recession and generating further tumult across markets. "That's the biggest risk right now -- inflation and the Fed," said Katie Nixon, chief investment officer for Northern Trust Wealth Management.

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Google Consolidates Its Chrome and Android Password Managers

Google today announced an update to its password manager that will finally introduce a consistent look-and-feel across the service's Chrome and Android implementations. From a report: Users will soon see a new unified user experience that will automatically group multiple passwords for the same sites or apps together, as well as a new shortcut on the Android home screen to get access to these passwords. In addition to this, Google is also now adding a new password-related feature to Chrome on iOS, which can now generate strong passwords for you (once you set Chrome as an autofill provider). Meanwhile, on Android, Google's password check can now also flag weak and re-used passwords and help you to automatically change them, while Chrome users across platforms will now see compromised password warnings.

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