Is OpenAI's Sam Altman's future worth $7 trillion?

The contemporary world of artificial intelligence (AI) has a maxim: if something is not possible with state-of-the-art generative AI systems today, just wait—it will be next month. Serving as a powerful reminder not to underestimate the capabilities of rapidly emerging systems, this maxim is making its way into the halls of state power, exemplified by the United States’ strategy of tech containment in its great power competition with China. This competition unfolds as some Middle Eastern states, particularly the United Arab Emirates (UAE), increasingly play an assertive role in the development of emerging technologies like AI, intertwining with AI’s modern maxim. Nothing exemplifies this optimism more than reports that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is in talks with, among others, the UAE government to raise $5 trillion to 7 trillion (yes, trillion) for increased chip-building capacity, following news that Altman sought billions of dollars for a chip company focused on Tensor Processing Units. The newly minted Abu Dhabi-based investment fund MGX, chaired by UAE national security advisor Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan, is in “early” talks with OpenAI to help fund Altman’s chip-building endeavor. That such an endeavor is even being considered indicates that AI’s modern maxim is taking root among diverse actors who are intent on harnessing AI. The perception is that generative AI models will only get more sophisticated and those states intent on playing leading roles in the global economy of the future must act decisively now or find themselves irrevocably disadvantaged in the long-term. One could be forgiven for believing that generative AI has already fulfilled the…Is OpenAI's Sam Altman's future worth $7 trillion?

I’ve been forcibly blue-checked on Elon Musk's X. Here’s what it’s like.

If you’ve been on X, the Elon Musk-owned platform formerly known as Twitter, over the past day or so, you’ve likely seen at least one influential account you follow share their shock (and dismay) over receiving a blue checkmark on their profile. Tweet may have been deleted Tweet may have been deleted As previously reported, Musk changed the verification rules on X – once again. Now, any user who has at least 2,500 followers who pay for the $8 per month X Premium subscription service will get a free X Premium subscription of their own. And one of the “perks” of the subscription service is the blue checkmark badge. Tweet may have been deleted Apparently, though, not too many noticed Musk’s new policy before the blue checkmarks began forcing their way on to their accounts.Well, if you received a blue checkmark on the house courtesy of Elon Musk…welcome to the club!Last April, I became one of the first recipients of a “spite” blue checkmark, as some have come to see these badges, because I was a member of a small group including @dril who covered the Block the Blue campaign — an effort from some of the platform’s power users to block any paying blue checkmark user on the site.Here’s what it’s likeMany users have asked me about it over the past year, inquiring just how “paid” X looks for a user that is, well, not paying.I can confirm that involuntarily badged users not only get the blue checkmark badge…I’ve been forcibly blue-checked on Elon Musk's X. Here’s what it’s like.

The era of AI in politics is here. With the right safeguards, it can benefit society

This column was written entirely by me, with no involvement or assistance from artificial intelligence whatsoever. The same, however, cannot be said of robocalls made January in the New Hampshire primary that appeared to be from President Joe Biden; nor of recent audio that seemed to capture the voice of Manhattan Democratic Party leader Keith Wright. Both of these high-profile incidents were deepfakes — phony recordings generated by artificial intelligence designed to sound authentic but in reality are fabricated. And whether it’s an imposter President Biden or a counterfeit Keith Wright, both episodes portend the threat posed to our elections and our democracy by bad faith actors skilled at manipulating AI.    The era of artificial intelligence in politics is officially here, whether we like it or not, and the truth is the current regulatory landscape is insufficient to prevent the dangers of widespread fraud and disinformation. This will be the dominant tech story of the 2024 election cycle, up and down the ballot, and the consequences of how we respond now will reverberate for years. But the choice before us is a simple one: Do nothing and let deception further corrupt our politics, dupe voters and imperil free societies; or demand real regulations that not only defend the voting public against fraud — but allow us to unleash the positive benefits that AI can offer us all. Artificial intelligence possesses enormous potential to democratize politics by transforming voter contact with nuanced communication at massive scale, and reducing dependence on big donors. It’s exciting to…The era of AI in politics is here. With the right safeguards, it can benefit society

All Tomorrow’s Futures – TODAY!

Well how much fun was that. The amazing Eva Pascoe and the good folk from the Cybersalon think tank invited me up to the launch of “All Tomorrow’s Futures” at the British Science Fiction convention in Telford at the weekend.ShareEva kindly wrote the forward to my new book “Money in the Metaverse” but is better known for co-founding Cyberia, the first internet cafe in UK, located at 39 Whitfield Street in the heart of London’s famous West End.As an aside, Ironbridge (just outside Telford) was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, so I could not help but stop off and pay homage to the structure itself.I had lovely day out learning about coke. Meanwhile back at the Telford International Centre, Eva was gearing up to the book launch.“All Tomorrow’s Futures” is anthology of new speculative fiction produced through an interesting combination of art and science. The writers produced rough drafts of the these stories and the stories and then sent them out to domain experts (eg, me) for comment and critique. The writers then took the expert input and used it to refine their work.I was a subject matter expert for Part 3, the section on Finance and Digital Money, and I have to say that I loved it! It was so interesting (and fun) working with the writers and watching them evolve material far more imaginative and expressive than I would have thought of myself.Editor Stephen Oram, Contributor Eva Pascoe and “Expert” Me (Next to actual physical books!)The book…All Tomorrow’s Futures – TODAY!

April Fools' Day: 8 brands that dropped cringey online pranks

Not to sound hyperbolic, but April Fools’ Day is the worst. Not because of all the shitty pranks by attention-starved YouTubers, but because of the shitty pranks by attention-starved multinational corporations.April Fools’ Day is meant to be light-hearted and fun, but nothing takes the winds out of its sails than the onslaught of bad brand jokes. Thus to our torture, and to save you some time, we’ve gathered some of the worst April Fools Day tweets made by companies that are supposedly worth millions of dollars. Allegedly, all the money can’t go to funnier jokes.8 brands that dropped the cringiest online pranksFunnily enough, X kicked things off for us “announcing” that the company is planning on making all DMs, drafts, and bookmarks public as part of its effort to “celebrate transparency.” Tweet may have been deleted X CEO Elon Musk added to the cringe by tweeting that he’d be joining Disney as its new Chief DEI Officer to help make its content “more WOKE.” Tweet may have been deleted On the more light-hearted side of cringe brand tweets, Oreo announced that the cookie and the creme were going through a severe divorce and that each would be offered separately. Tweet may have been deleted Several other food brands followed suit with similar fake announcements, although Burger King has stayed suspiciously quiet (I wonder why?). Tweet may have been deleted Tweet may have been deleted Tweet may have been deleted View this post on Instagram Eye-rolling jokes and poor taste announcements…April Fools' Day: 8 brands that dropped cringey online pranks

Conservatives turned 'DEI' into another dog whistle. Black Twitter isn’t having it.

It’s hard being a DEI in a time like this, ain’t it?In the aftermath of the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland on Tuesday, many on the right have blamed the tragedy on DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) initiatives. SEE ALSO: Baltimore’s Key Bridge collapse put the internet’s conspiracy brain on gross display Thus, “DEI” seems to be turning into a new alt-right buzzword in the same vein as “CRT” and “Woke” — dog whistles meant to rally like-minded readers against efforts at racial equity. See, for example, this X user calling Baltimore’s elected mayor, Brandon Scott, the “DEI mayor.” Tweet may have been deleted This post in particular kicked off a wave of backlash amongst Black Twitter, who immediately saw the tweet as thinly veiled racism, essentially calling Baltimore’s mayor the n-word. Of course, Black Twitter loves a good joke, and because “DEI” was so oddly used as a not-so-subtle adjective, they ran with it. Tweet may have been deleted Tweet may have been deleted Tweet may have been deleted Tweet may have been deleted Tweet may have been deleted Tweet may have been deleted Tweet may have been deleted Tweet may have been deleted Tweet may have been deleted Tweet may have been deleted This post from user Alecia Renece explains, that calling Mayor Scott the “DEI Mayor” was meant to harm Black folk, who instead turned it into a joke, thus de-weaponizing something that was meant to hurt us. Will it stop alt-right…Conservatives turned 'DEI' into another dog whistle. Black Twitter isn’t having it.

New Hampshire House passes AI election rules after Biden deepfake

The New Hampshire state House advanced a bill Thursday that would require political ads that use deceptive artificial intelligence (AI) disclose use of the technology, adding to growing momentum in states to add AI regulations for election protection.  The bill passed without debate in the state House and will advance to the state Senate. The bill advanced after New Hampshire voters received robocalls in January, ahead of the state’s primary elections, that included an AI-generated voice depicting President Biden. Steve Kramer, a veteran Democratic operative, admitted to being behind the fake robocalls and said he did so to draw attention to the dangers of AI in politics, NBC News reported in February. New Hampshire’s attorney general’s office has said the calls violated the state’s voter suppression law. The new bill would require disclosure when deceptive AI is used in political advertising within 90 days of an election, and the disclosures would be used to explain that the ad’s image, video, or audio has been “manipulated or generated” by AI and “depicts speech of conduct that did not occur.” The bill includes exemptions for satire and parody. The new measure is part of a growing trend of states taking on bills aimed at adding AI regulations for election-related content. An analysis released by Voting Rights Lab earlier this week tracked more than 100 bills in 39 state legislatures that contain provisions intended to regulate the potential for Ai to produce election disinformation.   The digitally-altered robocall depicting Biden in New Hampshire reignited…New Hampshire House passes AI election rules after Biden deepfake

Gen Z is apparently reviving the Facebook 'Poke'

The Facebook “Poke” is back…though was it really ever in? Young folks — you know, Gen Z and the like — are apparently using the Poke more than ever. Last week, Facebook said it had seen a 13x spike in Pokes over the last month.The oft-forgotten feature on the oft-forgotten social media site is having a moment, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you young folks are flocking to Facebook. It seems like it’s more of a curiosity. Multiple outlets reported that the rise in Pokes was due to a design change that put the feature more front-and-center. Basically if you search for pokes or poking, it’s easier to bring up a person’s Poke page. Tweet may have been deleted “We know poking has strong network effects, but we didn’t expect poking to grow so rapidly after these changes,” a spokesperson for Meta told NBC News. “We didn’t announce anything about poking at the time either.” SEE ALSO: One man’s frustrating journey to recovering his Myspace In case you forgot, Poking is literally just reminding someone you exist. You Poke them, they get a notification. It was an early feature back when Facebook was king. There’s definitely a sense of nostalgia for some users of that time. But young people are apparently poking as well. Meta said more than 50 percent of the new Pokers were done by users aged 18 to 29, Business Insider reported. So it’s not just Olds who used to actually use Facebook. Now that we’re all…Gen Z is apparently reviving the Facebook 'Poke'

White House releases first government-wide policy to mitigate AI risks 

The White House on Thursday morning released its first government-wide policy aimed at mitigating the risks of artificial intelligence (AI), requiring agencies to take further action to report the use of AI and address risks the technology may pose. Federal agencies will be required to designate a chief AI officer, report how they use AI and add safeguards as part of the White House memo. The announcement builds on commitments President Biden laid out in his sweeping AI executive order issued in October. “I believe that all leaders from governments, civil society and the private sector have a moral, ethical and societal duty to make sure that artificial intelligence is adopted and advanced in a way that protects the public from potential harm, while ensuring everyone is able to enjoy its full benefits,” Vice President Harris said on a call with reporters. The new memo and requirements help promote “the safe, secure and responsible use of AI” by the federal government, she said. As part of the memo, agencies will have 60 days to designate a chief AI officer. That officer will coordinate the use of AI across their agencies. The memo does not determine if the position will be a political appointee or not, and the administration expects that in some cases it will be and for other agencies it will not, according to a senior administration official. Agencies will also be required to create “AI use case inventories” that list each of its AI uses annually, and submit the inventory…White House releases first government-wide policy to mitigate AI risks 

X / Twitter use is down by nearly a quarter since the Musk Era started, report says

An uptick in bots, a rise in hate speech, and content moderation policies that are unevenly applied to the social media platform’s users.These are just some of the issues that have plagued X, formerly known as Twitter, since Elon Musk acquired the company back in October 2022.Now, roughly a year and a half later, it appears that Musk’s X has lost almost a quarter of its user base. SEE ALSO: Elon Musk says Grok AI will be available to premium X users ‘later this week’ According to new data from third-party mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower, X’s number of daily active mobile app users in the U.S. has fallen by 23 percent since November 2022. That would be the first full month in which X operated under Musk. When looking at year-over-year data, mobile app users in the U.S. are down 18 percent from just one year ago.As of last month, there were 27 million daily active users on X’s mobile app in the U.S.X on the decline?According to Sensor Tower’s research, as first reported by NBC News, X had “the most material decline in active users compared to its peers.”And the contrast between X’s social media competitors is stark. Tweet may have been deleted Next to Musk’s X, the platform that has faced the biggest decline in users based on mobile app data from Sensor Tower, is TikTok. The viral short form social video app use base declined by 9.5 percent since Nov. 2022. Instagram fell nearly 4.5 percent, Snapchat…X / Twitter use is down by nearly a quarter since the Musk Era started, report says