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What an exhilarating week it has been in the world of artificial intelligence!

This week in tech 11 2023

What an exhilarating week it has been in the world of artificial intelligence!
As an AI enthusiast and observer, I find myself glued to the headlines lately, scarcely able to keep up with the lightning pace of developments.
This past week alone saw major AI drama, breakthroughs, product launches, and more. Let me break it down for you!

Kicking things off, AI startup OpenAI underwent some serious leadership upheaval.
After apparent disagreements with the board, CEO Sam Altman was abruptly fired, along with President Greg Brockman.
This shocked many, given Altman’s high-profile status as the public face of OpenAI in recent months. However, researcher backlash was swift, with threats that key scientists would depart if Altman was not reinstated.
Whether due to this pressure or other reasons, just days later, Altman was remarkably brought back as CEO.
The leadership whiplash left some questioning OpenAI’s direction and decision-making process.
While new independent board members are expected, including Microsoft, which holds major financial ties, the dust seems to have settled for now with Altman back at the helm.

Now to the technology itself: OpenAI unveiled an internal AI system dubbed “qar” which can solve advanced mathematics problems.
This could be transformative for fields like physics and engineering, which rely on mathematical reasoning.
However, it also poses risks if deployed irresponsibly or used for malicious ends.
I would not be surprised if the controversial leadership shakeup was tied to disagreements over commercializing and open-sourcing such a powerful system.
There were also unverified reports that OpenAI scientists sent the board dire warnings about an AI breakthrough with dangers to humanity.
Whether overhyped fears or credible alarm bells, it is clear that with the astounding capabilities of systems like QAR also comes the need for great caution and oversight. Responsible voices must lead the way.

In more positive news, AI startup Inflection announced their new Inflection 2 model, which they claim is the second most powerful system behind OpenAI’s dominant GPT-4. Benchmark tests found it surpasses the popular Palm model from Google as well as Anthropic’s open source llama.
This is no small feat and suggests Inflection is rapidly catching up to industry leader OpenAI.
For a model a fraction of its size, Inflection 2 demonstrates remarkable performance and efficiency.
As more startups push the boundaries of generative AI, competition breeds innovation.

Additional new model debuts came from Claude and Pi. Anthropic updated Claude 2.1 with double the context size to improve coherence and faithfulness.
Early tests reveal reduced hallucination rates compared to the original Claude. Research collective Pi also integrated a fresh model into their chatbot which outscored others like Character.ai on standard benchmarks. While still overshadowed by OpenAI’s offerings, Claude and Pi exemplify the vital open ecosystem advancing AI broadly.

Turning to applications, Google and Microsoft made strides with their AI assistant products. Google’s Bard tool now has better YouTube integration, analyzing individual videos to offer detailed insights without needing to watch them. While a bit clumsy currently, I could see great potential for learning recipes or repair instructions on the fly. Microsoft’s Orca 2 also arrived, with smaller 7 billion and 13 billion parameter models that somehow beat their larger counterparts. This demonstrates that sheer size is not everything in AI design, opening possibilities like on-device inference.

On the media generation front, startups Stability AI, Hugging Face, and Runway ML released new systems for stable video generation.
With sliders to control motion and effects, results are quite surreal though still limited by length and resolution.
Runway’s “motion brush” caught my eye, allowing users to animate selective objects within images.
This fine-grained control over movement and lighting holds creative promise.

Not to be outdone, AI avatar company Luma improved their early-access Generative Identity Engine for 3D human synthesis. Adding negatives prompts and seed number manipulation, the generated figures appear more stable and customizable.
As digital identity technology matures, I foresee profound impacts on fields like gaming, fashion, and social VR.

Wrapping up some AI quick hits, Google Meet unveiled handy AI-powered hand raise detection for meetings.
A judge rightly dismissed an absurd lawsuit against Sarah Silverman over an AI-generated image.
And Microsoft blocked the word “Disney” from DALL-E prompts due to stringent copyright policies.
Reminding us that for all the magic, AI still exists within wider economic and legal bounds.

Phew, I’m out of breath just summarizing everything! It has been a non-stop news whirlwind in AI this past week, with exciting launches, crazy drama, and signs of the accelerating pace of progress. The future is unfolding before our eyes, bringing both tremendous opportunity as well as risks if not thoughtfully stewarded. But the genie is out of the bottle – AI will increasingly transform society and redefine what is possible. As an inveterate futurist, I say bring it on! But wisdom must accompany the wizardry. The stakes could not be higher, but I remain a techno-optimist at heart. Now, on to the next wave of mind-blowing AI innovation!

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