Five Minute Blockchain – No. 56
Estimated reading time: 6 min 12 sec
Quote of the Week
“Mitigating the risk of extinction from A.I. should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks, such as pandemics and nuclear war.”
One-sentence statement signed by AI experts, published on the Center for AI Safety webpage. LINK
AI experts warn about AI
This week’s big trust/content/tech topic is puzzling: Why would experts warn about the potential threats of AI? After all, this is the technology they are working on, in a race one against the other to make the technology better.
Essentially, founders like Sam Altman urge that AI platforms should be regulated. Another idea is that AI platforms should be required to have a license to operate from a government agency which has yet to be established.
Google rolls out AI/LLM powered “Search Generative Experience” to some users.
As announced during the recent Google Event I/O 2023, users who have signed up for the Search Labs program can now use “Search Generative Experience” (SGE) – a Google search supported by AI.
The key idea of SGE is to support users with “longer, multistep searches. These queries might not necessarily be answered by one website.
Below is an illustrative example of how this could work:
“Maybe you’re starting to map out a decision that you’d typically need to break down into smaller parts, like ‘Learning ukulele vs guitar.’ Search will provide an AI-powered snapshot so you can get help understanding what factors to consider.”
BabyLM Challenge aims to create powerful AI with small language models
ETH Zurich and others are part of a particular challenge to perform research towards small but effective language models for AI. This is interesting because large current models can only operate with extensive cloud resources. Smaller models could be easier to handle while still providing lots of output.
How Adobe adds “product” to AI
The big tech and software companies are racing to react to generative AI. Last week Adobe introduced its offering, called Firefly. The software enables the generation of images and is part of the well-established Photoshop. Firefly enables “generative fill”, providing many new options for visuals and pictures.
Benedict Evans on how this is different from other offerings.
“Adobe made a very successful shift to subscription SaaS in the last decade. Now it’s trying the same with generative AI, launching a de novo image generation product in Firefly and adding generative features to Photoshop.
The more generally important part of this, I think, is the move to add interface, control and product to the prompt: instead of typing 50 words into a box and waiting to see what you get, there are options and switches to give you some control.”
Examples of how Firefly can be used (Thread on Twitter)
Was Google Bard trained on Gmail data? Yes, no, maybe?
Asked what data was used for training, Bard, the AI software from Google, recently replied to a user that Gmail data was used. This might have been a case of AI hallucination, where platforms make up answers. But even the potential use of (private) Gmail data set off a flurry of comments and articles, as many users and journalists would consider this a breach of privacy … and trust. Google wanted to ensure that Bard was not trained in using Gmail data and that the software was “hallucinating” in this particular answer. But the honest answer is a bit more complicated. A good write-up of the whole situation can be found under the link.
Apple App Store generated $1.1 trillion of commerce in 2022
Apple released a study with data about the amount and type of revenue generated globally in the App Store. To this end, the company commissioned a research firm for a report, which can be downloaded for free.
The numbers are very, very high. $1.1 trillion (Europe, long ladder = one billion)
“Apple says its App Store ecosystem generated $1.1 trillion in developer billings and sales in 2022, 90% of which was commission-free — a metric it likes to tout to downplay the growing complaints about the high cost of doing business on a marketplace that generally takes a 15% to 30% commission on in-app purchases and paid downloads, with some exceptions.
This $1.1 trillion breaks down as $910 billion in total billings and sales from the sale of physical goods and services, $109 billion from in-app advertising and $104 billion for digital goods and services.”
In 2019 the full-year revenue was “only” $519 billion (Europe: Milliard), which means the figure doubled during the pandemic.
An app for short attention spans
“Web Roulette, a mobile web browser app for iOS built for the short attention spans of the TikTok era. With the debut version out now, you can add your favorite websites or choose from its suggestions, then swipe through the sites to see what’s new or shake the app for a surprise web page when boredom strikes.”
Digital nomads are a new type of tourist but with some adverse effects on local communities
Cities from Canggu to Medellín are welcoming tech workers, but locals complain they’re being priced out.
Fireside Chat: A Twitter competitor with (potentially) 45 million users
A key element and difference to Twitter are rewards for good entries:
“Created by Pi Network and dubbed Fireside Forum, the initially text-based social platform is enlisting a model where users can spend tokens rewarding and elevating posts they like or invest them in penalizing the posts they don’t. The company’s aim is the Pi Network model will help suppress content considered spam, misleading, toxic or all of the above.”
White Paper from World Economic Forum suggests ways to regulate Crypto
Here is a new approach to creating trust and some form of regulation for crypto assets:
“The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently published a white paper titled “Pathways to the Regulation of Crypto-Assets: A Global Approach,” advocating for a collaborative approach towards crypto regulation on a global scale. The white paper highlights the unique challenges and necessary considerations regarding the regulation of crypto-assets. Considering the borderless, open-source, decentralized nature of these digital currencies, their regulation requires a delicate balance between preventing harm, protecting users, and promoting innovation.”
Tokenization gains popularity in finance, elsewhere
“Asset tokenization is increasingly being tested to improve costly capital markets operations like securities issuance. New York-based Fireblocks, which helps businesses create and manage digital assets, believes tokenization will enjoy exponential adoption over the next two years, as early-adopter businesses start to experience the very tangible benefits.”
SAP to start NFT platform
An initial trial has been done with a German retailer in the area of customer loyalty:
… As a trial, Tchibo minted 1,000 NFTs on the Polygon blockchain for its Royalty Club. Some Golden NFTs were redeemable for small prizes.
- Twitter is now worth only a 3rd of what Elon Musk paid (Reuters)
- Twitter’shrinking role as a traffic source for news publishers
- Vietnam pressures TikTok to censor more content or face a ban (Rest of World)
- Multichain, the cross-chain protocol, confirmed Wednesday that the team could not contact its chief executive amid ongoing technology problems. (The Block)
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