This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through June 1)


OpenAI Says It Has Begun Training a New Flagship AI Model
Cade Metz | The New York Times
“The San Francisco startup, which is one of the world’s leading AI companies, said in a blog post that it expected the new model to bring ‘the next level of capabilities’ as it strove to build ‘artificial general intelligence,’ or AGI, a machine that can do anything the human brain can do. The new model would be an engine for AI products including chatbots, digital assistants akin to Apple’s Siri, search engines and image generators.”


Will Scaling Solve Robotics?
Nishanth J. Kumar | IEEE Spectrum
“Developing a general-purpose robot, one that can competently and robustly execute a wide variety of tasks of interest in any home or office environment that humans can, has been perhaps the holy grail of robotics since the inception of the field. And given the recent progress of foundation models, it seems possible that scaling existing network architectures by training them on very large datasets might actually be the key to that grail.”


Gene-Edited Salad Greens Are Coming to US Stores This Fall
Emily Mullin | Wired
“Last year, startup Pairwise started selling the first food in the US made with CRISPR technology: a new type of mustard greens with an adjusted flavor. …The company introduced the greens to the food service industry—select restaurants, cafeterias, hotels, retirement centers, and caterers—in just a few cities. A single grocery store in New York City also stocked them. Now, biotech giant Bayer has licensed the greens from Pairwise and plans to distribute them to grocery stores across the country.”


The New ChatGPT Offers a Lesson in AI Hype
Brian X. Chen | The New York Times
“When OpenAI unveiled the latest version of its immensely popular ChatGPT chatbot this month, it had a new voice possessing humanlike inflections and emotions. The online demonstration also featured the bot tutoring a child on solving a geometry problem. To my chagrin, the demo turned out to be essentially a bait and switch. The new ChatGPT was released without most of its new features, including the improved voice (which the company told me it postponed to make fixes). The ability to use a phone’s video camera to get real-time analysis of something like a math problem isn’t available yet, either.”


World’s Thinnest Lens Is Just Three Atoms Thick
Michael Irving | New Atlas
“[A Fresnel lens uses] a series of concentric circles of material to diffract light into a focal point, sacrificing some image clarity but allowing for much thinner lenses. And now, scientists have pushed that almost to the limit, creating a lens that’s just 0.6 nanometers (nm) thick, or only three measly atoms. That makes it the thinnest lens ever built, beating the previous record from 2016 which was 10 times thicker at 6.3 nm.”


Why Google’s AI Overviews Gets Things Wrong
Rhiannon Williams | MIT Technology Review
“On Thursday, Liz Reid, head of Google Search, announced that the company has been making technical improvements to the system to make it less likely to generate incorrect answers, including better detection mechanisms for nonsensical queries. It is also limiting the inclusion of satirical, humorous, and user-generated content in responses, since such material could result in misleading advice. But why is AI Overviews returning unreliable, potentially dangerous information? And what, if anything, can be done to fix it?”


1-bit LLMs Could Solve AI’s Energy Demands
Matthew Hutson | IEEE Spectrum
“For LLMs that are cheap, fast, and environmentally friendly, they’ll need to shrink, ideally small enough to run directly on devices like cellphones. …Researchers have long compressed networks by reducing the precision of [their] parameters—a process called quantization—so that instead of taking up 16 bits each, they might take up 8 or 4. Now researchers are pushing the envelope to a single bit.”


A New Computer Uses AR Glasses to Create a 100-Inch Virtual Workspace
Kyle Barr | Gizmodo
“The problem with the term ‘spatial computer’ is that most devices using the obtuse marketing term don’t actually look like computers. Yes, the Apple Vision Pro or Meta Quest 3 meet the definition of ‘computer,’ but most people still think of ‘PC’ as a desktop or a laptop. So now there’s the Spacetop G1, an AR laptop, trying to kick both the desktop and VR markets for being too stuck in their ways.”


World-First Tooth-Regrowing Drug Will Be Given to Humans in September
Bronwyn Thompson | New Atlas
“The world’s first human trial of a drug that can regenerate teeth will begin in a few months, less than a year on from news of its success in animals. This paves the way for the medicine to be commercially available as early as 2030. …The intravenous treatment will be tested for its efficacy on human dentition, after it successfully grew new teeth in ferret and mouse models with no significant side effects.”


Humanity Needs an Ethical Upgrade to Keep Up With New Technologies
Marcelo Gleiser | BigThink
“Technological advancements like nuclear weapons, genetic engineering with CRISPR, and artificial intelligence present significant ethical challenges and responsibilities. While it’s rational to be concerned about technological threats and dilemmas, many people react by blaming scientists or science itself, failing to recognize the difference between those who control the application of scientific findings.”

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Joel Kastner (RIT)

* This article was originally published at Singularity Hub

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