This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through April 20)


15 Graphs That Explain the State of AI in 2024
Eliza Strickland | IEEE Spectrum
“Each year, the AI Index lands on virtual desks with a louder virtual thud—this year, its 393 pages are a testament to the fact that AI is coming off a really big year in 2023. For the past three years, IEEE Spectrum has read the whole damn thing and pulled out a selection of charts that sum up the current state of AI.”


The Next Frontier for Brain Implants Is Artificial Vision
Emily Mullin | Wired
“Elon Musk’s Neuralink and others are developing devices that could provide blind people with a crude sense of sight. …’This is not about getting biological vision back,’ says Philip Troyk, a professor of biomedical engineering at Illinois Tech, who’s leading the study Bussard is in. ‘This is about exploring what artificial vision could be.'”


Microsoft’s VASA-1 Can Deepfake a Person With One Photo and One Audio Track
Benj Edwards | Ars Technica
“On Tuesday, Microsoft Research Asia unveiled VASA-1, an AI model that can create a synchronized animated video of a person talking or singing from a single photo and an existing audio track. In the future, it could power virtual avatars that render locally and don’t require video feeds—or allow anyone with similar tools to take a photo of a person found online and make them appear to say whatever they want.”


Meta Is Already Training a More Powerful Successor to Llama 3
Will Knight | Wired
“On Thursday morning, Meta released its latest artificial intelligence model, Llama 3, touting it as the most powerful to be made open source so that anyone can use it. The same afternoon, Yann LeCun, Meta’s chief AI scientist, said an even more powerful successor to Llama is in the works. He suggested it could potentially outshine the world’s best closed AI models, including OpenAI’s GPT-4 and Google’s Gemini.”


Hala Point: Intel Reveals World’s Biggest ‘Brain-Inspired’ Neuromorphic Computer
Matthew Sparkes | New Scientist
“Hala Point contains 1.15 billion artificial neurons across 1152 Loihi 2 achips, and is capable of 380 trillion synaptic operations per second. Mike Davies at Intel says that despite this power it occupies just six racks in a standard server case—a space similar to that of a microwave oven. Larger machines will be possible, says Davies. ‘We built this scale of system because, honestly, a billion neurons was a nice round number,’ he says. ‘I mean, there wasn’t any particular technical engineering challenge that made us stop at this level.'”


US Air Force Confirms First Successful AI Dogfight
Emma Roth | The Verge
“Human pilots were on board the X-62A with controls to disable the AI system, but DARPA says the pilots didn’t need to use the safety switch ‘at any point.’ The X-62A went against an F-16 controlled solely by a human pilot, where both aircraft demonstrated ‘high-aspect nose-to-nose engagements’ and got as close as 2,000 feet at 1,200 miles per hour. DARPA doesn’t say which aircraft won the dogfight, however.”


What If Your AI Girlfriend Hated You?
Kate Knibbs | Wired
“It seems as though we’ve arrived at the moment in the AI hype cycle where no idea is too bonkers to launch. This week’s eyebrow-raising AI project is a new twist on the romantic chatbot—a mobile app called AngryGF, which offers its users the uniquely unpleasant experience of getting yelled at via messages from a fake person.”


Insects and Other Animals Have Consciousness, Experts Declare
Dan Falk | Quanta
“For decades, there’s been a broad agreement among scientists that animals similar to us—the great apes, for example—have conscious experience, even if their consciousness differs from our own. In recent years, however, researchers have begun to acknowledge that consciousness may also be widespread among animals that are very different from us, including invertebrates with completely different and far simpler nervous systems.”


Two Lifeforms Merge in Once-in-a-Billion-Years Evolutionary Event
Michael Irving | New Atlas
“Scientists have caught a once-in-a-billion-years evolutionary event in progress, as two lifeforms have merged into one organism that boasts abilities its peers would envy. Last time this happened, Earth got plants. …A species of algae called Braarudosphaera bigelowii was found to have engulfed a cyanobacterium that lets them do something that algae, and plants in general, can’t normally do—’fixing’ nitrogen straight from the air, and combining it with other elements to create more useful compounds.”

Image Credit: Shubham Dhage / Unsplash

* This article was originally published at Singularity Hub

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