This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through June 22)


Ilya Sutskever Has a New Plan for Safe Superintelligence
Ashlee Vance | Bloomberg
“For the past several months, the question ‘Where’s Ilya?’ has become a common refrain within the world of artificial intelligence. …Now Sutskever is introducing [a new] project, a venture called Safe Superintelligence Inc. aiming to create a safe, powerful artificial intelligence system within a pure research organization that has no near-term intention of selling AI products or services. In other words, he’s attempting to continue his work without many of the distractions that rivals such as OpenAI, Google and Anthropic face.”


How AI Is Revolutionizing Drug Development
Steve Lohr | The New York Times
“Most of the early business uses of generative AI, which can produce everything from poetry to computer programs, have been to help take the drudgery out of routine office tasks, customer service and code writing. Yet drug discovery and development is a huge industry that experts say is ripe for an AI makeover. AI is a ‘once-in-a-century opportunity’ for the pharmaceutical business, according to the consulting firm McKinsey & Company.”


Starlink Mini Brings Space Internet to Backpackers
Thomas Ricker | The Verge
“SpaceX’s Starlink internet-from-space service is already available for boats, planes, vanlifers, Amazonian villages, and rural homes in over 75 countries—now it’s coming to backpackers. The new compact DC-powered Starlink Mini is about the size of a thick laptop and integrates the Wi-Fi router right inside the dish. And despite using less power than other Starlink terminals, it can still deliver speeds over 100 Mbps.”


Apple’s Vision Pro Team Is Reportedly Focused on Building a Cheaper Headset
Jay Peters | The Verge
“Apple may no longer be working on a new high-end Vision headset amid slowing sales of the Vision Pro, according to a new report from The Information. Instead, Apple has apparently been finding ways to reduce the cost of components for the first model and is working on a cheaper Vision headset that it aims to ship by the end of 2025.”


We’re Still Waiting for the Next Big Leap in AI
Will Knight | Wired
“More than a year after GPT-4 spurred a frenzy of new investment in AI, it may be turning out to be more difficult to produce big new leaps in machine intelligence. With GPT-4 and similar models trained on huge swathes of online text, imagery, and video, it is getting more difficult to find new sources of data to feed to machine-learning algorithms. Making models substantially larger, so they have more capacity to learn, is expected to cost billions of dollars.”


Let Slip the Robot Dogs of War
Jared Keller | Wired
“The Chinese military recently unveiled a new kind of battle buddy for its soldiers: a ‘robot dog’ with a machine gun strapped to its back. …China’s demonstration clearly rankled international observers, prompting at least one American lawmaker to call on the US Defense Department for a report on ‘rifle-toting robot dogs’ and their potential national security implications. But if the Chinese military is pioneering the weaponization of robot dogs, then the United States military isn’t far behind.”


Waabi’s GenAI Promises to Do So Much More Than Power Self-Driving Trucks
Rebecca Bellan | TechCrunch
“‘This technology is extremely, extremely powerful,’ said [Waabi founder and CEO Raquel] Urtasun, who spoke to TechCrunch via video interview, a whiteboard full of hieroglyphic-looking formulas behind her. ‘It has this amazing ability to generalize, it’s very flexible, and it’s very fast to develop. And it’s something that we can expand to do much more than trucking in the future. …This could be robotaxis. This could be humanoids or warehouse robotics. This technology can solve any of those use cases.'”


Apple, Microsoft Shrink AI Models to Improve Them
Shubham Agarwal | IEEE Spectrum
“In the last few months…some of the largest tech companies, including Apple and Microsoft, have introduced small language models (SLMs). These models are a fraction of the size of their LLM counterparts and yet, on many benchmarks, can match or even outperform them in text generation. …[And] because SLMs don’t consume nearly as much energy as LLMs, they can also run locally on devices like smartphones and laptops (instead of in the cloud) to preserve data privacy and personalize them to each person.”


Microphone Made of Atom-Thick Graphene Could Be Used in Smartphones
Alex Wilkins | New Scientist
“The main advantage of their graphene system is that it can be much smaller than a conventional microphone, says Verbiest, and would need a membrane that is just 10 micrometers across—an area 200 times smaller than a similarly performing conventional microphone.”

Image Credit: Li ZhangUnsplash

* This article was originally published at Singularity Hub

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