This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through April 27)


Meta’s Open Source Llama 3 Is Already Nipping at OpenAI’s Heels
Will Knight | Wired
“OpenAI changed the world with ChatGPT, setting off a wave of AI investment and drawing more than 2 million developers to its cloud APIs. But if open source models prove competitive, developers and entrepreneurs may decide to stop paying to access the latest model from OpenAI or Google and use Llama 3 or one of the other increasingly powerful open source models that are popping up.”


‘Real Hope’ for Cancer Cure as Personal mRNA Vaccine for Melanoma Trialed
Andrew Gregory | The Guardian
“Experts are testing new jabs that are custom-built for each patient and tell their body to hunt down cancer cells to prevent the disease ever coming back. A phase 2 trial found the vaccines dramatically reduced the risk of the cancer returning in melanoma patients. Now a final, phase 3, trial has been launched and is being led by University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH). Dr Heather Shaw, the national coordinating investigator for the trial, said the jabs had the potential to cure people with melanoma and are being tested in other cancers, including lung, bladder and kidney.”


An AI Startup Made a Hyperrealistic Deepfake of Me That’s So Good It’s Scary
Melissa Heikkilä | MIT Technology Review
“Until now, all AI-generated videos of people have tended to have some stiffness, glitchiness, or other unnatural elements that make them pretty easy to differentiate from reality. Because they’re so close to the real thing but not quite it, these videos can make people feel annoyed or uneasy or icky—a phenomenon commonly known as the uncanny valley. Synthesia claims its new technology will finally lead us out of the valley.”


Nuclear Fusion Experiment Overcomes Two Key Operating Hurdles
Matthew Sparkes | New Scientist
“A nuclear fusion reaction has overcome two key barriers to operating in a ‘sweet spot’ needed for optimal power production: boosting the plasma density and keeping that denser plasma contained. The milestone is yet another stepping stone towards fusion power, although a commercial reactor is still probably years away.”


Daniel Dennett: ‘ Why Civilization Is More Fragile Than We Realized’
Tom Chatfield | BBC
“[Dennett’s] warning was not of a takeover by some superintelligence, but of a threat he believed that nonetheless could be existential for civilization, rooted in the vulnerabilities of human nature. ‘If we turn this wonderful technology we have for knowledge into a weapon for disinformation,’ he told me, ‘we are in deep trouble.’ Why? ‘Because we won’t know what we know, and we won’t know who to trust, and we won’t know whether we’re informed or misinformed. We may become either paranoid and hyper-skeptical, or just apathetic and unmoved. Both of those are very dangerous avenues. And they’re upon us.'”


California Just Went 9.25 Hours Using Only Renewable Energy
Adele Peters | Fast Company
“Last Saturday, as 39 million Californians went about their daily lives—taking showers, doing laundry, or charging their electric cars—the whole state ran on 100% clean electricity for more than nine hours. The same thing happened on Sunday, as the state was powered without fossil fuels for more than eight hours. It was the ninth straight day that solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, and battery storage fully powered the electric grid for at least some portion of the time. Over the last six and a half weeks, that’s happened nearly every day. In some cases, it’s just for 15 minutes. But often it’s for hours at a time.”

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AI Hype Is Deflating. Can AI Companies Find a Way to Turn a Profit?
Gerrit De Vynck | The Washington Post
“Some once-promising start-ups have cratered, and the suite of flashy products launched by the biggest players in the AI race—OpenAI, Microsoft, Google and Meta—have yet to upend the way people work and communicate with one another. While money keeps pouring into AI, very few companies are turning a profit on the tech, which remains hugely expensive to build and run. The road to widespread adoption and business success is still looking long, twisty and full of roadblocks, say tech executives, technologists and financial analysts.”


Apple Releases Eight Small AI Language Models Aimed at On-Device Use
Benj Edwards | Ars Technica
“In the world of AI, what might be called ‘small language models’ have been growing in popularity recently because they can be run on a local device instead of requiring data center-grade computers in the cloud. On Wednesday, Apple introduced a set of tiny source-available AI language models called OpenELM that are small enough to run directly on a smartphone. They’re mostly proof-of-concept research models for now, but they could form the basis of future on-device AI offerings from Apple.”


If Starship Is Real, We’re Going to Need Big Cargo Movers on the Moon and Mars
Eric Berger | Ars Technica
“Unloading tons of cargo on the Moon may seem like a preposterous notion. During Apollo, mass restrictions were so draconian that the Lunar Module could carry two astronauts, their spacesuits, some food, and just 300 pounds (136 kg) of scientific payload down to the lunar surface. By contrast, Starship is designed to carry 100 tons, or more, to the lunar surface in a single mission. This is an insane amount of cargo relative to anything in spaceflight history, but that’s the future that [Jaret] Matthews is aiming toward.”

Image Credit: CARTIST / Unsplash

* This article was originally published at Singularity Hub

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