OpenAI’s New Features, TikTok Algorithm Changes, Google’s Document Leak, and More

July 4, 2024 (3 weeks ago)

AI Companies’ Feature Updates

In the wake of an Oxford study that suggested barely anyone uses AI tools on a daily basis, three major AI companies have rolled out feature updates for their chatbots in an attempt to make them useful for someone other than coders and Tech Bros left over from the crypto bubble.

Anthropic’s New Tools for Claude

Opening I’s ostensibly less evil cousin, Anthropic, announced tool use for Claude, allowing it to perform tasks and manipulate data.

Perplexity’s Pages

AI search engine Perplexity announced Pages, which will create research reports on any topic that can be customized, shared, or presumably handed in to your teacher.

OpenAI’s New Features

OpenAI just gave free ChatGPT users the ability to upload images and files and use custom GPTs. Those features were previously paywalled, which, as this fan points out, obviously points towards something special coming for paying users. Maybe ChatGPT could be our Mom. They’re going to give us something so special, like an AI mom.

ChatGPT for Education

OpenAI also just announced ChatGPT U E EDU, which basically gives schools an education discount to convince them to use it. It comes on the heels of a report claiming the company finally signed that rumored Apple deal to put their AI tech in the next iPhone.

Potential Changes in OpenAI’s Structure

That same report claims Sam Altman has discussed transforming OpenAI from a wacky capped profit controlled by a nonprofit into either a B Corporation allowed to care about something other than benefiting shareholders, or a regular old for-profit company. But it’s only because that might be necessary to achieve a Utopia designed by Sam’s machine God and populated by sentient robots after they’ve killed us all off. Okay, trust him, it’s worth it.

TikTok’s Algorithm Changes

TikTok is working on a modified version of its recommendation algorithm that would not share any backend with its Chinese counterpart Duan, and thus potentially save the app from being banned in the US. That’s all according to insider sources who spoke to Reuters, but not according to TikTok, who immediately tweeted that the report is misleading and inaccurate. But they seemed to be referring specifically to the claim that a US-centric algorithm would enable Bytedance to sell TikTok. They didn’t explicitly deny they’re working on such an algorithm.

TikTok’s Response to Algorithm Claims

In fact, Crystal, who the report’s co-author, says that when she reached out for comment on the story, TikTok told her the info was correct. To be fair, they probably didn’t read the whole thing before getting bored and swiping up.

Potential Impact of TikTok Ban

But even if TikTok survives in the US, it may have to deal with upcoming bills like this one from New York’s Governor that could ban smartphones in schools. And then how will kids ignore their history class to watch another kid tell them that Helen Keller wasn’t real or play chess on TikTok on their phones?

Google’s Document Leak

Google has confirmed that this week’s massive document leak revealing key details about how its search algorithm works is real after taking two days to cover their ears and pretend everything’s fine. As required by law, the tech giant didn’t get into specifics. They only cautioned against making inaccurate assumptions about search based on out-of-context, outdated, or incomplete information, suggesting that the public trust Google’s demonstrably inaccurate public statements instead.

Google’s AI Overview Issue

Google also took a moment to put up a blog post explaining why Google search’s new AI overviews told people it was okay to put glue in pizza sauce and eat rocks last week. Step one: it’s good for you. It gave those answers simply because prior to those screenshots going viral, practically no one asked Google how many rocks they should eat. How would Google search know that it wasn’t okay to eat one little rock if it had never thought about it before?

Data Void Issue

Google says AI overviews cited a satirical article recommending eating rocks because of a data void issue. There’s just hardly any info on the web about whether eating rocks is okay formatted as an answer to the question of how many rocks one should eat.

Spotify’s Refund Announcement

Spotify has announced that they will be giving refunds to customers who bought Car Thing after the company announced they would be remotely bricking all Car Things. They initially offered purchasers, well, uh, nothing. Some who complained were offered a few months of Spotify Premium, but wouldn’t you know it, the company suddenly started offering refunds not long after a class action lawsuit was filed accusing Spotify of misleading customers by selling a product that would quickly be rendered unusable.

Google Cloud’s Explanation

Google Cloud has released a public explanation for how it wound up accidentally deleting a customer account two weeks ago. Namely, somebody on Google’s end accidentally left a parameter blank. Now, that might not sound like an issue worthy of an entire blog post from a multi-billion dollar company, but the customer in question was UniSuper, an Australian pension fund charged with managing 135 billion Australian dollars.

Internet Archive’s DOS Attack

The Internet Archive, the organization that runs the Wayback Machine, was hit with a several day-long DOS attack involving tens of thousands of fake information requests per second. According to the archive’s Director of Library Services, while the exact motivation for the attack is unknown, a group called SN Black Meta has taken credit for the assault by posting what appears to be the profile picture of an edgy 14-year-old from the early 2000s. Who could possibly understand what’s going on in his dark mind?

The Simulation’s Showrunner

AI company The Simulation has announced Showrunner, an app that wants to be the Netflix of AI with AI-generated original series. The TV shows are pretty creative. There’s one about super intelligent AI devices, a family drama about two siblings that create an AI version of their dead mom, and there’s even a horror anime about a future where humans choose to physically augment themselves with AI technology. Even worse, they want watchers of these shows to generate their own episodes. Yes, because the thing that will surely make AI-generated TV shows better is fanfiction.

World of Tanks Custom Tank Simulator

And a creator on Chinese video site Billy Billy has gone viral on social media thanks to an incredibly intricate custom tank simulator for World of Tanks. Using soda bottles for shells, a Meta Quest 2 as a periscope, a Logitech driving wheel, and some kind of crank situation to control the main gun, it looks fing awesome.

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