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This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through December 2)

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When AI Unplugs, All Bets Are Off
Matthew Smith | IEEE Spectrum
“The next great chatbot will run at lighting speed on your laptop PC—no internet connection required. …Every big name in consumer tech, from Apple to Qualcomm, is racing to optimize its hardware and software to run artificial intelligence at the ‘edge’—meaning on local hardware, not remote cloud servers. The goal? Personalized, private AI so seamless you might forget it’s ‘AI’ at all.”

The ‘Self-Operating’ Computer Emerges
Bryson Masse | VentureBeat
As [OthersideAI developer Josh] Bickett described, the [self-operating computer] framework ‘lets the AI control both the mouse where it clicks and all the keyboard triggers essentially. It’s like an agent like autoGPT except it’s not text based. It’s vision based so it takes a screenshot of the computer and then it decides mouse clicks and keyboards, exactly like a person would.’”

These Clues Hint at the True Nature of OpenAI’s Shadowy Q* Project
Will Knight | Wired
Reports of a mysterious breakthrough called Q* at OpenAI sparked anxious rumors. …What could Q* be? Combining a close read of the initial reports with consideration of the hottest problems in AI right now suggests it may be related to a project that OpenAI announced in May, claiming powerful new results from a technique called ‘process supervision.’ The project involved Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI’s chief scientist and cofounder, who helped oust Altman but later recanted—The Information says he led work on Q*.”

The Inside Story of Microsoft’s Partnership with OpenAI
Charles Duhigg | The New Yorker
“At around 11:30 am on the Friday before Thanksgiving, Microsoft’s chief executive, Satya Nadella, was having his weekly meeting with senior leaders when a panicked colleague told him to pick up the phone. An executive from OpenAI, an artificial intelligence startup into which Microsoft had invested a reported thirteen billion dollars, was calling to explain that within the next twenty minutes the company’s board would announce that it had fired Sam Altman, OpenAI’s CEO and co-founder.”

Could a Drug Give Your Pet More Dog Years?
Emily Anthes | The New York Times
“Aging may be an inevitability, but it is not an unyielding one. Scientists have created longer-lived worms, flies, and mice by tweaking key aging-related genes. These findings have raised the tantalizing possibility that scientists might be able to find drugs that had the same life-extending effects in people. That remains an active area of research, but canine longevity has recently started to attract more attention, in part because dogs are good models for human aging and in part because many pet owners would love more time with their furry family members.”

Making an Image With Generative AI Uses as Much Energy as Charging Your Phone
Melissa Heikkilä | MIT Technology Review
This is the first time the carbon emissions caused by using an AI model for different tasks have been calculated. …Luccioni and her team looked at the emissions associated with 10 popular AI tasks on the Hugging Face platform, such as question answering, text generation, image classification, captioning, and image generation. They ran the experiments on 88 different models.”

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Admit It, the Cybertruck Is Awesome
Saahil Desai | The Atlantic
“‘This car is very amateurish,’ Adrian Clarke, a former car designer for Land Rover and a writer for the Autopian, told me. But at least it’s different. Most other EVs can’t say as much, even though the electric age can and should be a chance to make cars not just harder, faster, stronger, and better, but also stranger.”

Robots Made from Human Cells Can Move on Their Own and Heal Wounds
Philip Ball | Scientific American
“In 2020 biologist Michael Levin and his colleagues reported that they had made ‘biological robots’ by shaping clusters of [frog] cells into tiny artificial forms that could ‘walk’ around on surfaces. …Some researchers argued that such behavior wasn’t so surprising in the cells of amphibians, which are renowned for their ability to regenerate body parts if damaged. But now Levin and his colleagues at Tufts University report in Advanced Science that they have made similar ‘robotlike’ entities from human cells. They call them anthrobots.”

Exactly How Much Life Is on Earth?
Dennis Overbye | The New York Times
“What’s in a number? According to a recent calculation by a team of biologists and geologists, there are a more living cells on Earth—a million trillion trillion, or 10^30 in math notation, a 1 followed by 30 zeros—than there are stars in the universe or grains of sand on our planet.”

Image Credit: Maxim Berg / Unsplash

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