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Microsoft brings AI to Windows - H+ Weekly - Issue #416
This week - a billionaire does longevity experiments on himself; OpenAI officially joins the conversation on regulating AI; former Google exec bets on $1T US bioeconomy; and more!
During this year's Build conference, Microsoft unveiled a range of new AI tools that will soon be available on Windows and other Microsoft products.
Firstly, Microsoft is adding an AI chatbot to Windows 11 called Windows Copilot. Visually, it looks similar to what can be found in Bing Chat and will provide similar functionality. Windows Copilot will be able to summarize content you’re viewing in apps, rewrite it, explain it, change the Windows settings or open other apps installed on your computer.
Windows Copilot will be integrated directly into Windows 11 and available to open and use from the taskbar across all apps and programs.
Another big announcement was that all Microsoft Copilots and Bing Chat will be using plugins built with the same standard that OpenAI uses for ChatGPT. This means the same plugin will work across all Microsoft AI assistants, from Windows Copilot to 365 Copilot to Bing and Edge, and on ChatGPT.
With that one move, over 50 currently available plugins will be ready to use in all Copilots, with thousands more coming soon, said Satya Nadella.
Microsoft is also introducing 365 Copilot to Edge which will bring a deeper integration between Bing and Microsoft 365 apps like Outlook, Word, Excel, and more.
Bing will become the default search engine for ChatGPT. Currently, this feature is available to ChatGPT Plus customers, with wider availability for everyone else coming later.
Even Microsoft Store is getting new AI features. The most notable of these features is AI Hub - a dedicated section in the Microsoft Store on Windows that will curate the best AI experiences built by the developer community and Microsoft.
Developers using Windows Terminal might be interested in seeing GitHub Copilot integrated into the Terminal. This will allow developers who use GitHub Copilot to ask the AI assistant to help write commands, get code recommendations or explain errors inside the Terminal app. Microsoft is also experimenting with GitHub Copilot-powered AI in other developer tools like WinDBG.
In addition to these announcements, Microsoft unveiled a suite of AI tools for developers, aimed at simplifying and expediting app creation. Among these tools is Azure AI Studio, an all-in-one solution for building, training, evaluating, and deploying the latest AI models, including open-source models.
🦾 More than a human
Since the accident in 2011, Gert-Jan Oskam wasn’t able to walk. But thanks to an implant that reads his brain waves and sends instructions to his spine to move the right muscles, he was able to walk for the first time in over a decade. “A few months ago, I was able, for the first time after 10 years, to stand up and have a beer with my friends,” said Oskam.
Neuralink says it has FDA approval for study of brain implants in humans
Elon Musk's brain-implant company Neuralink on Thursday said the FDA had given the green light to its first-in-human clinical trial, a critical milestone after earlier struggles to gain approval. The FDA nod "represents an important first step that will one day allow our technology to help many people," Neuralink said in a tweet. It did not elaborate on the aims of the study, saying only that it was not recruiting yet and more details would be available soon.
▶️ Will My Son’s Blood Make Me Younger? (15:06)
Bryan Johnson, a billionaire who is now spending most of his time experimenting on himself to become younger, shares his latest experiment involving blood plasma transfusion. The idea is to check what will happen when Johnson’s father receives Johnson’s plasma and if there is any positive impact on Johnson’s father. At the same time, Johnson will get blood plasma from his son.
Inspired by the achievements of soft robotics, researchers have created a new type of brain implant that is inserted under the skull through a 2cm wide hole and then expands to be 4cm wide. This technique promises to maximise the area covered by the implant while providing a less invasive way of inserting it. The implant has only been tested in a model of the human head and a mini pig. Researchers are currently working to add more electrodes and scale the device for use in clinical trials.
🧠 Artificial Intelligence
Governance of superintelligence
"Now is a good time to start thinking about the governance of superintelligence—future AI systems dramatically more capable than even AGI", write OpenAI leaders in a call for creating a safe way to introduce superintelligence into society. OpenAI proposes to create an international agency for AI to oversee, monitor and guide the development of superintelligent systems, similar to what IEAE does in the nuclear energy industry and research. The regulations and scrutiny should only apply to the big players on the AI scene. Smaller players, like AI researchers, startups or open-source projects should be exempted from burdensome mechanisms like licenses or audits to allow innovation to happen. The proposed actions are a formal reiteration of what Sam Altman proposed to a US Senate subcommittee last week when asked how he would regulate AI.
Microsoft pledges to watermark AI-generated images and videos
In order to address the problem of extremely convincing deepfakes, images generated by Bing Image Creator and Designer will contain watermarks and metadata labelling them as AI-generated. The watermark will follow Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA) interoperable specification and will be included in the generated images in the coming months.
Adobe is bringing generative AI tools to Photoshop, allowing users to use Firefly - Adobe’s text-to-image generator - straight in Photoshop. The new features will enable users to extend images beyond their borders, use generative AI to add objects to images and use a new generative fill feature to remove objects with far more precision than the previously available content-aware fill. For now, these features will only be available in the beta version of Photoshop.
Just Calm Down About GPT-4 Already
Rodney Brooks, the pioneer in robotics and founder of iRobot (the creators of Roomba), dispels the AI hype in his interview with IEEE Spectrum. “What the large language models are good at is saying what an answer should sound like, which is different from what an answer should be”, says Brooks. The discussion also delves into the subject of predicting the future of technology and self-driving cars (another technology that has been excessively overhyped in recent years). Additionally, Brooks shares insights about his new venture involving collaborative robots aimed at automating warehouses.
▶️ Gary Marcus - The Urgent Risks of Runaway AI – and What to Do about Them (14:02)
Gary Marcus, an AI researcher famous for his critical stance on AI, advocates for an urgent reevaluation of whether we're building reliable AI systems (or misinformation machines), explores the failures of today's AI and calls for a global, nonprofit organization to regulate the tech for the sake of democracy and our collective future.
Drones emerged as one of the most deployed systems in the ongoing war in Ukraine. “This war is a war of drones, they are the super weapon here,” Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs, told Newsweek earlier this year. For the price of a single jet fighter, you can get hundreds if not thousands of small drones. With the increasing capabilities of small and cheap drones, new tactics arise, and everyone is taking notes in this new arms race.
AI weed-killing drones are coming for mega farms
Precision AI, a Canadian startup, has developed drones equipped with AI systems to identify and eliminate weeds without the need for extensive chemical spraying. The drones can distinguish between crops and unwanted weeds with 96% accuracy and apply herbicides only where necessary, reducing herbicide use by up to 90% compared to traditional methods. The company plans to introduce a fully autonomous spraying drone and offer its services commercially next year, targeting North America initially. However, regulatory challenges and resistance from the farming community remain obstacles to the widespread adoption of drone-based weed control.
Why Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt Is Betting Big On The $1T US Bioeconomy
Eric Schmidt, a former CEO of Google, switched to biotech and is now advocating for the US bioeconomy, valued at over $1 trillion. He believes it's time to scale the bioeconomy to a global phenomenon worth $4-30 trillion and emphasizes the need for collaboration and diversity in the field. Schmidt highlights successful companies like Genentech, BioNTech, and Impossible Foods that have leveraged biotechnology for scalable solutions. He also calls for the US to build a national infrastructure and streamline regulatory processes to support the bioeconomy's growth. Lastly, Schmidt sees the potential of AI-biology symbiosis and emphasizes the importance of AI in scientific discovery.
Gene Therapy in the Womb Is Inching Closer to Reality
Researchers presented progress in in-utero gene therapy that aims to correct genetic abnormalities before birth, offering a better chance at a healthy life. The therapy involves delivering DNA-editing tools, such as CRISPR, to target cells via a delivery vehicle like a virus or nanoparticle. Challenges include targeting cells in organs like the brain and ensuring widespread distribution of the therapy. Safety, immune response, and the risk of germline edits are also important considerations. While progress is being made, human trials are still estimated to be 5 to 10 years away.
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