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ChatGPT usage adoption - H+ Weekly - Issue #419
This week - synthetic human embryos; a second AI "godfather" feels lost over life's work; lab-grown sushi; NASA's contest to grow food in space; and more!
ChatGPT took the world by storm at the beginning of the year, becoming the fastest-growing app in history. It amassed 100 million users within just two months of its release and became a prominent topic of conversation during the first quarter of 2023.
So it was surprising to see Business Insider reporting a low adoption rate of ChatGPT and Google Bard. According to a report by Morgan Stanley, which surveyed 2,000 people, only 19% of respondents used ChatGPT, while a mere 9% used Google Bard.
OpenAI does not disclose the number of active users among its 100 million user base. If the results of the Morgan Stanley report accurately reflect reality, it suggests that ChatGPT has about 19 million active users.
There are also indications that ChatGPT's growth has plateaued. SimilarWeb.com's report reveals that traffic to ChatGPT reached a plateau in May. Google Trends result for "ChatGPT" shows a similar pattern.
Shortly after Business Insider published the article, GitHub released the results of its survey on the impact of AI tools on developers. The survey, which polled 500 developers in the US, found that 92% of them use AI tools both at work and outside of work.
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🦾 More than a human
Synthetic human embryos created in groundbreaking advance
Scientists in the UK have created synthetic human embryos using stem cells, in a groundbreaking advance that sidesteps the need for eggs or sperm. Scientists say these model embryos, which resemble those in the earliest stages of human development, could provide a crucial window on the impact of genetic disorders and the biological causes of recurrent miscarriage. However, the work also raises serious ethical and legal issues as the lab-grown entities fall outside current legislation in the UK and most other countries. There is also a significant unanswered question on whether these embryos, in theory, have the potential to grow into living creatures. So far, none of the synthetic embryos grown from animals has successfully developed into living animals.
“We are in the dark age of bionics”, says Hugh Herr, a leading bionics researcher, in this conversation with Patrick Kane. Herr shares some of his research, which includes a deeper and seamless integration between prosthetics and the human body, and improving access to bionic prosthetics. When asked about human augmentation, Herr said that by the end of this century, human morphology will be unrecognisable. Thanks to bionics, the definition of a human body will stretch to include synthetic parts and will expand the potential and strength of the human body.
🧠 Artificial Intelligence
Function calling and other API updates - OpenAI
OpenAI announced updates to their API services, which include new models with improved steerability and lower prices for API calls. There is also a new functionality called function calling. With function calling, developers can provide a custom function to the model and based on the user’s input, the model will call that function when it needs to be called. This new functionality aims to improve the integration between GPT-powered apps and external tools and APIs.
In this lecture, Geoffrey Hilton compares digital computation with analogue computation and argues why the latter is better for building power-efficient intelligent systems. Hilton also shares how researching this topic made him realise that digital intelligence will be better than biological intelligence quicker than he thought and influenced his recent switch towards advocating for AI safety.
AI 'godfather' Yoshua Bengio feels 'lost' over life's work
After Geoffery Hilton, Yoshua Bengio is the second of the “Godfathers of AI” who raised concerns over where AI research and industry are heading. In this interview with BBC, he said he feels lost over his life’s work and compares his feeling to what the investors of the atomic bomb might have felt. Meanwhile, the third Godfather of AI, Yann LeCun, dismisses the fears that AI is an existential threat to humanity and is quite vocal about that on Twitter.
In November last year, some of the best robotics engineers gathered together to take part in The Avatar XPRIZE finals with the goal to create a robotic avatar system that could transport human presence to a remote location in real-time. The competition featured 17 teams from around the world focused on creating intuitive and user-friendly interfaces that could be operated by anyone. The avatar systems had to complete tasks in a simulated science mission on an alien planet, and teams were ranked based on completion time. The competition showcased the potential of combining human intelligence with robots for applications such as care provision, disaster relief, and critical repairs. The full 17-hour-long broadcast from both days of the finals is available on YouTube.
Micromouse is a robotics competition dating back to 1977 with a simple rule - build the fastest possible maze-solving robot. Some of those tiny and impressive autonomous machines zip through the mazes with unbelievable speed and can complete them within seconds. In this video, Veritasum explains the rules and the history of the contest, and how the participants and their creations innovated to solve the maze.
Bay Area-founded pizza startup Zume reportedly shuts down after raising $445 million
After 8 years and $445 million in investments ($375 million of it came from SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund), Zume, a company that promised to cook pizzas with robots in the back of a truck, while en route to customers’ homes, has ceased to exist.
Space Farmers of the Future May Grow Fungi, Flies and Microgreens
The Deep Space Food Challenge, a competition by NASA and the Canadian Space Agency, aims to develop innovative food solutions for future astronauts on long-duration space missions. Scientific American speaks with some of the finalists who brought their fungi-based proteins, bacteria-based protein powder, or artificial photosynthesis for growing mushrooms to the table. The technologies developed for space travel also have potential applications on Earth, addressing food security and sustainability challenges. The next phase of the competition will focus on testing the durability and long-term safety of the designs.
Down to Earth: Is this lab-grown fish the future of seafood? We put it to the taste test
Lab-grown meat does not have to be limited only to fake beef for burgers. Finless Foods works on making lab-grown fish created from a 51-49% mix of cells grown in its lab and a proprietary blend of plant-based materials that help achieve a similar look, feel, smell, taste and nutrient profile between its fish and those caught from the sea. Gabrielle Canon, who had a chance to taste cell-cultivated nigiri, said that “texture wasn’t an exact match but the flavour was impressive to my admittedly unrefined palate”.
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