Hashtag Trending Nov.8-ChatGPT almost fully up to date; 12 cents to get data on a U.S. soldier; Is social media dead?

More from OpenAI’s blockbuster announcements yesterday – how can you pack that much into 45 minutes?   How much does it cost to get data on a U.S. soldier? 12 centsA global survey shows that people are overwhelmingly worried about misinformation. Is social media dead and could it be true – has the original USS Enterprise been found?

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These and more top tech stories on Hashtag Trending

I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US.

I’m still reeling from the OpenAI developer conference yesterday. A couple of points I may not have emphasized but I was reminded of when cruising the web today.

OpenAI’s latest release, GPT-4 Turbo now has a 128k context window which hits hard at Anthropic’s Claude, which has a 100k context window. 

This upgrade means GPT-4 Turbo can handle over 300 pages of text in a single prompt, a significant leap from its predecessor’s 32k limit. This is a game-changer for developers and enterprises who are always hitting the limits of the context window. 

Another point that blew me away was the way that GPT-4 could take in large files without needing to split them up or “chunk” them.  Presumably this is because of the larger context window, although it could also be a new feature that automatically does what you used to need a separate app or process to do.

OpenAI didn’t stop there; they’ve also made this powerhouse cheaper to use, with a 3x reduction in price for input tokens and a 2x cut for output tokens. Additionally, OpenAI’s Assistants API is set to revolutionize app development by enabling the creation of GPT-like interactions within apps. 

Then there was another killer piece that might have slipped under the radar: OpenAI’s text-to-speech feature now boasts human-quality speech with six preset voices.  You can still go to 11 labs for more voices, but what’s included now is pretty damn good.

Finally, and I verified it this morning for my setup, because some of the things in the demo are just being rolled out and are not available everywhere – but ChatGPT is now almost up to date. Altman made reference to that yesterday – the frustration that users have when ChatGPT would tell you it couldn’t answer a question because it’s training ended a couple of years ago.  Sure, you could get an add on to read the web but that had limitations.  In any event Altman announced what some had already seen – ChatGPT is up to date to April 2023 and Altman promised that they’d never let it get so far out of date again.

Sources include: Analytics India 

In another AI news story, Luminance’s Autopilot is a new tool that could take contract negotiations out of human hands. This AI system, demonstrated in London, can parse and negotiate non-disclosure agreements in minutes, a task that typically consumes hours of a lawyer’s day. 

The AI autonomously amends contract terms doing things like reducing a six-year term to three and setting liability caps, all while ensuring legal compliance. 

This innovation could significantly reduce the time delays caused by human workload and inattention. While Luminance is the first to announce such a tool, it’s built on a large language model similar to ChatGPT but trained on over 150 million legal documents. 

Predictably, the Law Society of England and Wales stated that they believe that human oversight remains indispensable for trust and accountability in legal negotiations. 

But even they admit that AI will be a means to free up lawyers for more complex and strategic work. But what happens to that mountain of junior lawyers that do nothing but grunt work for senior lawyers to review?

Sources include: BBC

A Duke University study has uncovered a disturbing trend where data brokers sell sensitive personal information about military personnel for as little as $0.12 per individual, without any oversight. This information includes details like home addresses, emails, political affiliations, and even data about children. The study highlights the ease with which this data can be acquired, even by potential foreign adversaries, posing a significant national security risk. The researchers were able to purchase comprehensive records on tens of thousands of service members with minimal cost and no vetting process. This unregulated trade of personal data is legal, raising serious questions about the need for congressional action to protect individuals, particularly those in sensitive positions, and to empower regulators like the FTC for enforcement. 

Sources include: Gizmodo 

A global survey has revealed that a whopping 85 per cent of people are concerned about the impact of online disinformation, with 87 per cent feeling it has already negatively affected their country’s politics. Unesco’s director-general, Audrey Azoulay, has emphasized the urgent need for regulation to safeguard information access while protecting freedom of expression and human rights. 

Unesco’s blueprint for governance aims to guide governments, regulators, and platforms in this endeavor. The survey, conducted by Ipsos across 16 countries, highlighted that a majority of internet users now get their news from social media, despite lower trust levels compared to traditional media. 

Disinformation and hate speech are perceived as significant threats, especially during elections, with a strong public call for government and regulatory action, as well as platform accountability. Unesco’s plan, developed from a broad consultation process, outlines seven key principles to align social media regulation with human rights standards, aiming for a consistent global governance framework.

Sources include: The Guardian 

And in that light, Wired’s Jason Parham wrote an article that reflects on how first-generation social media users, who grew up in the transition from analog to digital, are now witnessing the decline of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These platforms were once the hubs of community, creativity, and career development for many.  Maybe that disinformation is part of the reason why even millennials are turning away from social media.

But Parham kind of makes you miss the early days, when he shares a sense of nostalgia for the early days of social media, when the excitement of digital expression and online community building was fresh and new. 

He writes:

Millennials are the last of the analog world, both of yesterday and tomorrow, the bridge between what was and what will be. Maybe this is where my hesitation takes root, and why it feels like there are no good apps left for socializing the way we used to. We came of age on a diet of chatrooms and Myspace. Our expression was devoutly digital. We signed up en masse because what we sought in the next frontier of adulthood, we slowly realized, was being actualized online. Friendster, Blogger, Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook were where we found community, honed our creative urges, and secured careers. In time, we used social media to remake civic life.

This reflection prompts a collective mourning for a bygone era, as millennials grapple with the reality that the social media world they knew is fading, and the uncertainty of whether such a vibrant digital social era will ever be experienced again.

Sources include: Business Insider 

And not to leave you feeling bummed out, there is hope in the world for things that are lost but are found again. 

Star Trek enthusiasts are abuzz with the potential rediscovery of the original USS Enterprise model, which had been lost for decades. The model, a 3-foot version used in the shooting of the original series, appeared on eBay with a starting bid of $1,000 but was quickly taken down after fans recognized its significance. The model is particularly notable for its use in the opening credits and the pilot episode of Star Trek. Rod Roddenberry, the son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, has expressed interest in retrieving the model for the Roddenberry estate. The seller, who remains anonymous, hinted that the model was found in a storage locker and is now with a “proper team.” While the exact origins and authenticity of the model are still under speculation, the evidence suggests that this could indeed be the long-missing piece of Star Trek history.

Now if we could just find Paul McCartney’s original Rickenbacker bass – all would be right with the world. 

Sources include: Ars Technica 

And that’s the top tech news for today.

Hashtag Trending goes to air 5 days a week with a special weekend interview show we call “the Weekend Edition.”

You can get us anywhere you get audio podcasts and there is a copy of the show notes at itworldcanada.com/podcasts 

I’m your host, Jim Love – have a Wonderful Wednesday!  Cue the theramon.

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