Tech Beat by Namecheap – 17 March 2023
Email scams and phishing attempts have been around for decades but have become increasingly prevalent as users have become more complacent about clicking links online. With digital messages arriving through dozens of apps on multiple devices, it’s nearly impossible to screen everything. Email scammers have become more sophisticated in their tactics, executing deep fake-level email scams that even the savviest online users have trouble detecting. Read our full story on modern email scams that are impersonating people much closer to home.
In other news
- ChatGPT-4 has hit the streets. As of March 14, people with ChatGPT+ access can now access an improved version of the generative AI system. According to the New York Times, GPT-4, the new artificial intelligence system from OpenAI, offers more precise and accurate information, with 10 times as many parameters as GPT-3. It can perform a wider range of language tasks, including translation, summarizing documents, and answering complex questions, and the model can describe images in detail (though this functionality hasn’t yet been made public for safety reasons) and offers a better sense of humor. And while GPT-4 demonstrates impressive skills, it’s still limited to data sources from 2021 and earlier, and it still may generate false information. Yes, it’s a relief to know that AI isn’t perfect… yet.
- Apple pumps the brakes on artificial intelligence. AI may be advancing at a breakneck pace, but Apple is taking a slower approach to developing artificial intelligence tech. The Wall Street Journal details how, rather than rushing to create technology that could end up being invasive, Apple has blocked an update of a ChatGPT-powered app over AI’s potential harm, following a series of incidents in which AI-generated content included misinformation, bias, or offensive material.
- Disrespectful to the craft. Actors say they’re being asked to sign away their voices to AI. Artificial intelligence is throwing up ethical questions in many job roles, and voice actors are not immune from the latest AI controversy. According to VICE, voice actors are being asked to sign away their rights to their work so that AI tech can create synthetic versions of their voices. It’s argued that this practice is exploitative and could lead to long-term damage if their voices were to be used without their permission in the future.
- Fly brain has uncanny similarities to AI neural networks. In what looks to be a breakthrough in neuroscience, Gizmodo reports that a team of scientists has released a complete reconstruction and evaluation of a fruit fly’s brain. This is the first time scientists have imaged and analyzed an entire insect brain at such high resolution. But as exciting as this advance is to neuroscientists, there’s still a lot more research ahead. For example, the results fail to provide details on how the brains change over time, or how they alter between individuals. However, it signals a step toward being able to truly understand — and even code — consciousness.
- An app that sees dead people? Critics are questioning the ethics of PimEyes, a facial recognition platform that searches the web for matching images, scraping photos from social media profiles and obituaries without consent. As described in Wired, the platform’s approach raises alarms surrounding privacy and data protection, as it potentially exposes sensitive information of both living individuals and those who have passed away.
- Saving the rainforests with artificial palm oil. C16 Biosciences, a biotechnology company co-founded by Shara Ticku, has developed a revolutionary “palmless palm oil” that could one day overturn the $60 billion palm oil industry that contributes to the massive destruction of rainforests and habitats. Fast Company reports that the product may represent a sustainable alternative to conventional palm oil — a product used widely in cosmetics, food, and other applications — that does not contribute to deforestation or loss of biodiversity.
- US government admits to purchasing Americans’ location data. FBI Director Christopher Wray acknowledged during a Senate hearing that the agency has purchased location data from private companies in the past. Furthermore, Wired reports that the Department of Homeland Security has also purchased location data for millions of Americans from marketing firms that obtained the information from sources such as mobile games. Such admissions raise significant privacy concerns among lawmakers and the public, as such practices may circumvent constitutional protections against unreasonable searches.
Tip of the week: Prepare for the AI age
It seems that the news is full of stories about the onset of artificial intelligence right now, with ChatGPT at the forefront. But instead of succumbing to traditional fears and being an ostrich with your head in the sand, it’s surely better to become a cheetah and see how these powerful technologies can accelerate growth. So how can we make the best possible use of these new breakthroughs in our web-based projects? Here are some ideas:
- Check out your competition. If you find that your rivals are taking up Dall-E, ChatGPT, or other tools specific to your field, then maybe that’s something you won’t want to miss out on.
- See how you can upgrade. Keeping your tech updated should always be a first priority. If that means upgrading and taking on more AI solutions, then it’s better sooner than later to stay ahead of the game.
- Work with your robots. It doesn’t need to be the clichéd “us-and-them” conflict. Instead, we should try to introduce a culture where we are collaborating with our AI and working towards shared goals. We can use these tools to help us “work smarter, not harder” by delegating lower-level tasks to our robotic friends.
- Stay fresh and agile. In a world where tech has fast-moving capabilities, it’s important we stay flexible and ready to change and progress all the time. Many analysts suggest that learning how to use these tools is important for staying relevant in every field. AI can free management up for strategizing and staying ahead of the game.
We may have recently seen some revolutionary developments in the AI industry, but as long as we can roll with the changes, then the future is looking good.