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AI is already so ubiquitous that it has been incorporated into almost everything we use, sometimes with humorous, more often with annoying, results. (For example, Xfinity just greeted me by saying "Bello".) Here are some intelligent updates I have found:

Adobe has made an explicit pledge not to use customer data to train its AI algorithms. The guarantee comes on the heels of a previous announcement that some customers felt was giving broad rights to the company over user material. These objections resulted in some customers canceling their subscriptions and others threatening to. The new declarations came as Adobe was sued by the Justice Department for making its subscriptions difficult to cancel.

Stanford University has held its first RAISE health symposium in conjunction with the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence. The purpose of these conferences was to affect the responsible use of AI in fields like biomedical research, education, and patient care. Another concern is the "unintended consequences" of some of these programs and what coordinated efforts will be required to combat and control them, an effort Stanford is callling "ethical integration". Transparency was another topic discussed, as well as the complexity of hospital systems.

Describing itself as a "pioneering medical technology company", Endiatx has created a robotic pill to be swallowed, soon to be presented to the FDA for review. Founded in 2019, Endiatx wants to develop mini robots inserted into the human body for diagnosis and treatment. Their main product, the PillBot, offers an ingestible robot-in-a capsule fitted out with sensors, cameras, and wifi abilities so that doctors can see the insides of the gastrointestinal tract with greater precision.

A Chinese company called Starpery Technology claims to be training a large-scale language model (LLM) to place into its male and female sex robots. The sex doll, expected to be available in August of this year, will use voice and body to interact with users. The dolls come equipped with gestures and words that are meant to enhance an "emotional connection". Starpery is planning to develop robots that can do household chores, help the disabled, and care for seniors. Weight remains a problem in these devices: realistic robots are currently limited to 80 pounds, which could make them vulnerable to tipping over and injuring the user. The company believes it will be at least 10 years for robots that are lighter to be able to do household tasks safely.

AI startup Anthropic says that its LLM Claude 3 Opus can be just as persuasive as humans, feeding into the larger controversy about AI outsmarting people. Elon Musk claims that this capability will take place by the end of 2025. One review of Claude 3 Opus found that although it could be persuasive, it had been trained on noncotroversial topics. Additionally, the results so far have been lab-tested only but not in the "real" world.

Ilya Sutskever, co-founder of OpenAI, has started a new company focused on safe superintelligence. Two other founders include OpenAI's Daniel Levy and Apple's former AI lead and Cue co-founder Daniel Gross.

China has just published its first text-to-video generative AI model which is free for everyone to try. Called Kling, it already boasts 600 million active users, unlike OpenAI's Sora which is still not accessible by the general public. Currently the algorithm cannot respond to queries written entirely in English, but you can either translate the English into Chinese or just add a few Chinese words. While generally proficient, according to the reviewer, Kling tends to be grainy and blurry. Its answers right now can only be 5 seconds long. This report allows you to see some Kling-generated videos made available by an AI open source group in China.

During the UEFA Euro 2024 football tournament, referees were assisted by the latest video aided referee (VAR) technology. The VAR refs could track any motion, however slight, made by the ball and players. Proponents point out that the AI is able to quickly absorb huge amounts of data that the refs normally would not have available to them. For example, the AI can see 29 locations on each player's body. Inside the ball as well you will find a tiny sensor attached by wires to the outside surface. The data are retrieved from these sensors 10 times faster than cameras at the event.

The CEO of Zoom, facing slowdown in usage after the easing of the pandemic, has big plans for expansion going forward. Eric Yuan wants your digital twin to attend Zoom meetings in your place and even make decisions for you, leaving you free to go to the beach or visit your family. Your avatar will (eventually - he admits we're not there yet) read your email, create your own personal LLM, maybe even create several personalized LLM's for you, improve your negotiating skills. The main obstacle is not just the technology, Yuan believes, but our lack of understanding of the human brain.

A new AI Research Lab is trying to make biology programmable. The researchers say that they have generated a new fluorescent protein equivalent to 500 million years of evolution. They have open-sourced the smallest model for study by others.

Have you met AI Steve? He is running for Parliament in the UK under the new independent SmarterUK party. AI Steve is expected to hold thousands of talks with voters in his district, while the "real" Steve will eventually do the voting, as expressed by the constituents, when Parliament convenes. Apparently AI Steve can receive inputs and analyze them much more rapidly than "real" Steve could, acting as a sort of co-pilot. Additionally, the new party is planning to recruit 5,000 human "validators" to eliminate what they call "daft" policies.

Mashable claims that one of the most difficult hurdles faced by AI is that it doesn't do funny very well. One example given: when asked, "Why did the man put his money in the blender?", the algorithm answered, "Because he wanted to make time fly."

Meta has expanded its AI translations to 200 additional languages but they have used translators rather than native speakers. Although many of these languages are rare, it is suggested that native speakers would give more accurate renditions. Included are languages like Lingurian, Bosnian, Icelandic, and Welsh.

It's fatty, squishy, covered with grooves and ridges, and weighs about 3 pounds Yet it contains some 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses. We call it the human brain and it is exceptionally difficult to map. Just using a small bit of a mouse's brain takes years to analyze and reconstruct. A team at MIT has now developed a "holistic" brain mapping platform which reduces the time to study the human brain to just a few days.

Now on to other July treats:

A new online archive of the works of Pablo Picasso is now available to the public for the first time. Included are 19,000 photos as well as essays, interviews and artworks. In the future, 200,000 texts from the artist's workshop will be digitized and added to the site.

Roman Verostko was an early pioneer in digital imaging. He loved drawing and once stated, "Elementary pen plotting tools and simple programming techniques have provided me with more challenges than I can exhaust in my lifetime." A Benedictine monk and Catholic encyclopedist, Verostko's deep curiosity led him to explore the inexplicable in a style known as Algorithmic Art. Verostko died on June 1, 2024.

Roberto Matta is considered a master surrealist who cast a strong influence on Abstract Expressionism. Matta rejected the idea of a single vantage point and explored the "fluctuating energy" of the universe.

"Not A Hotel" is the title of a new resort on Sagishima Island, Japan. The resort is built on 30,000 sqm of land with a spectacular view of the Seto Inland Sea. The design by BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) is meant to combine Japanese and Scandinavian design esthetics. The resort will offer 3 and 4 bedroom single story villas, each with its own characteristics. The project is expected to open in 2026.

Hajaime Nakatomi is a bamboo artist who created the Frill series using clouds as his underlying theme. The artist embraces subtle irregularities in his work as a counter to carefully engineered designs.

Hints of death and mortality fill the works of Chiharu Shiota, with viewers finding themselves enmeshed in a world of red threads. The artist was working on a major exhibition at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo when she learned that her cancer had returned. The threaded environments are meant to erase the boundaries between the audience and the works so that you lose track of where you are. Instead a sense of eternal truths begins to emerge.

Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, has given a Dulux Colour Award to New Zealand student Beth Williams. Williams has created an architectural project called "Keeper of My Memories" based on her childhood dreams. The dreamscapes are vividly imaginative, each with its distinctive palette, This is a young artist worth watching.

A downloadable catalogue from the Civilisations Brussels Art Fair offers a treasure trove of sculptural objects from different cultures around the world. This is a rare opportunity to see and learn from essentially non-western artists with a wide range of aesthetics. (Thanks to GS for this.)

Maria Kreyn creates large-scale turbulent seascapes from her studio in Brooklyn. She had been inspired by a commission to paint the works of Shakespeare, ending with The Tempest. She comments, "Paintings aren’t exclusively for galleries. Paintings are for human beings. I mean that in the deepest possible way.”

Elegant, stylized, powerful - these are the words that come to mind when viewing the works of Los Angeles artist Takako Yamaguchi. Born in Japan, Yamaguchi draws upon symbols and motifs from her native country, emboldened by what she calls "poetics of resistance". Her works manage to be both subtle and bold, blending centuries of art traditions into contemporary statements.

c. Corinne Whitaker 2024

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