This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through May 4)

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Sam Altman Says Helpful Agents Are Poised to Become AI’s Killer Function

James O’Donnell | MIT Technology Review

“Altman, who was visiting Cambridge for a series of events hosted by Harvard and the venture capital firm Xfund, described the killer app for AI as a ‘super-competent colleague that knows absolutely everything about my whole life, every email, every conversation I’ve ever had, but doesn’t feel like an extension.’ It could tackle some tasks instantly, he said, and for more complex ones it could go off and make an attempt, but come back with questions for you if it needs to.”archive page

COMPUTING

Expect a Wave of Wafer-Scale Computers

Samuel K. Moore | IEEE Spectrum

“At TSMC’s North American Technology Symposium on Wednesday, the company detailed both its semiconductor technology and chip-packaging technology road maps. While the former is key to keeping the traditional part of Moore’s Law going, the latter could accelerate a trend toward processors made from more and more silicon, leading quickly to systems the size of a full silicon wafer. …In 2027, you will get a full-wafer integration that delivers 40 times as much compute power, more than 40 reticles’ worth of silicon, and room for more than 60 high-bandwidth memory chips, TSMC predicts.”

FUTURE

Nick Bostrom Made the World Fear AI. Now He Asks: What if It Fixes Everything?

Will Knight | Wired

“With the publication of his last book, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, in 2014, Bostrom drew public attention to what was then a fringe idea—that AI would advance to a point where it might turn against and delete humanity. …Bostrom’s new book takes a very different tack. Rather than play the doomy hits, Deep Utopia: Life and Meaning in a Solved World, considers a future in which humanity has successfully developed superintelligent machines but averted disaster.”

TECH

AI Start-Ups Face a Rough Financial Reality Check

Cade Metz, Karen Weise, and Tripp Mickle | The New York Times

“The AI revolution, it is becoming clear in Silicon Valley, is going to come with a very big price tag. And the tech companies that have bet their futures on it are scrambling to figure out how to close the gap between those expenses and the profits they hope to make somewhere down the line.”

ROBOTICS

Every Tech Company Wants to Be Like Boston Dynamics

Jacob Stern | The Atlantic

“Clips of robots running faster than Usain Bolt and dancing in sync, among many others, have helped [Boston Dynamics] reach true influencer status. Its videos have now been viewed more than 800 million times, far more than those of much bigger tech companies, such as Tesla and OpenAI. The creator of Black Mirror even admitted that an episode in which killer robot dogs chase a band of survivors across an apocalyptic wasteland was directly inspired by Boston Dynamics’ videos.”

ETHICS

ChatGPT Shows Better Moral Judgment Than a College Undergrad

Kyle Orland | Ars Technica

“In ‘Attributions toward artificial agents in a modified Moral Turing Test’…[Georgia State University] researchers found that morality judgments given by ChatGPT4 were ‘perceived as superior in quality to humans’ along a variety of dimensions like virtuosity and intelligence. But before you start to worry that philosophy professors will soon be replaced by hyper-moral AIs, there are some important caveats to consider.”

SPACE

New Space Company Seeks to Solve Orbital Mobility With High Delta-V Spacecraft

Eric Berger | Ars Technica

“[Portal Space Systems founder, Jeff Thornburg] envisions a fleet of refuelable Supernova vehicles at medium-Earth and geostationary orbit capable of swooping down to various orbits and providing services such as propellant delivery, mobility, and observation for commercial and military satellites. His vision is to provide real-time, responsive capability for existing satellites. If one needs to make an emergency maneuver, a Supernova vehicle could be there within a couple of hours. ‘If we’re going to have a true space economy, that means logistics and supply services,’ he said.”

AUTOMATION

Google’s Waymo Is Expanding Its Self-Driving ‘Robotaxi’ Testing

William Gavin | Quartz

“Waymo plans to soon start testing fully autonomous rides across California’s San Francisco Peninsula, despite criticism and concerns from residents and city officials. In the coming weeks, Waymo employees will begin testing rides without a human driver on city streets north of San Mateo, the company said Friday.”

VIRTUAL REALITY

Ukraine Unveils AI-Generated Foreign Ministry Spokesperson

Agence France-Presse | The Guardian

“Dressed in a dark suit, the spokesperson introduced herself as Victoria Shi, a ‘digital person,’ in a presentation posted on social media. The figure gesticulates with her hands and moves her head as she speaks. The foreign ministry’s press service said that the statements given by Shi would not be generated by AI but ‘written and verified by real people.’”

Image Credit: Drew Walker / Unsplash

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Singularity Hub Staff