This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through October 21)


Minds of Machines: The Great AI Consciousness Conundrum
Grace Huckins | MIT Technology Review
“AI consciousness isn’t just a devilishly tricky intellectual puzzle; it’s a morally weighty problem with potentially dire consequences. Fail to identify a conscious AI, and you might unintentionally subjugate, or even torture, a being whose interests ought to matter. Mistake an unconscious AI for a conscious one, and you risk compromising human safety and happiness for the sake of an unthinking, unfeeling hunk of silicon and code. Both mistakes are easy to make.”


OpenAI in Talks for Deal That Would Value Company at $80 Billion
Cade Metz | The New York Times
OpenAI is in talks to complete a deal that would value the company at $80 billion or more, nearly triple its valuation less than six months ago, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions. …OpenAI declined to comment. Nearly a year after OpenAI sparked an AI boom with the release of the online chatbot ChatGPT, the Silicon Valley deal-making machine continues to pump money into the field’s leading companies.”


Figure Unveils Its Humanoid Robot Prototype
Evan Ackerman | IEEE Spectrum
“When Figure announced earlier this year that it was working on a general-purpose humanoid robot, our excitement was tempered somewhat by the fact that the company didn’t have much to show besides renderings of the robot that it hoped to eventually build. …As it turns out, the company progressed pretty darn fast, and today Figure is unveiling its Figure 01 robot, which has gone from nothing at all to dynamic walking in under a year.”


We Don’t Actually Know If AI Is Taking Over Everything
Karen Hao | The Atlantic
“More and more of this technology, once developed through open research, has become almost completely hidden within corporations that are opaque about what their AI models are capable of and how they are made. …Now we have a way to measure just how bad AI’s secrecy problem actually is. Yesterday,  Stanford University’s Center for Research on Foundation Models launched a new index that tracks the transparency of 10 major AI companies, including OpenAI, Google, and Anthropic.”


Thirty Years Later, a Speed Boost for Quantum Factoring
Ben Brubaker | Quanta
Shor’s algorithm will enable future quantum computers to factor large numbers quickly, undermining many online security protocols. Now a researcher has shown how to do it even faster. …The broader lesson of [Oded] Regev’s new algorithm, beyond the implications for factoring, is that quantum computing researchers should always be open to surprises, even in problems that have been studied for decades. ‘This variant of my algorithm was undiscovered for 30 years and came out of the blue,’ Shor said. ‘There’s still probably lots of other quantum algorithms to be found.'”


AI Chatbots Can Guess Your Personal Information From What You Type
Will Knight | Wired
The way you talk can reveal a lot about you—especially if you’re talking to a chatbot. …[Computer science professor Martin Vechev] and his team found that the large language models that power advanced chatbots can accurately infer an alarming amount of personal information about users—including their race, location, occupation, and more—from conversations that appear innocuous.”


What if We Could All Control AI?
Kevin Roose | The New York Times
Should AI be governed by a handful of companies that try their best to make their systems as safe and harmless as possible? Should regulators and politicians step in and build their own guardrails? Or should AI models be made open-source and given away freely, so users and developers can choose their own rules? A new experiment by Anthropic, the maker of the chatbot Claude, offers a quirky middle path: What if an AI company let a group of ordinary citizens write some rules, and trained a chatbot to follow them?”


Amazon Plans to Deploy Delivery Drones in the UK and Italy Next Year
Amrita Khalid | The Verge
“Despite running into obstacles in the US, Amazon is planning to expand its Prime Air drone delivery program to two additional countries. Amazon announced today that it will soon make drone delivery available for Prime members in Italy and the United Kingdom—in addition to expanding to one more yet-to-be-named US city.”

Image Credit: Douglas Sanchez / Unsplash

* This article was originally published at Singularity Hub

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