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AI is increasingly occupying the news this month. Here are some of the more cogent articles I have found.

Architecture Now discusses the use of AI in architecture as "stochastic parrots", meaning that the result is likely to be nothing more than statistical aggregates leading to suggestions for the next logical pattern. The process is described as completely mechanical. One scathing comment declared, "Your design style is so predictable, that a soulless, nonrational, unconscious AI algorithm can generate new and better designs than you. Parroting."

A rather startling ad causing consternation shows a much-loved Brazilian singer singing a duet with her daughter. The problem is that Elis Regina died in 1982 at the age of 36, while Volkswagen shows her performing with Maria Rita, her grammy award-winning daughter. Volkswagen claims that the ad required over 2,400 hours to produce but the response has been dismay over ethics and the affect of AI on music and on society generally. Adding to the outrage is that the singer herself was adamantly opposed to the regime of military dictatorship that took place in Brazil from 1964 to 1985, a regime that Volkswagen supported. Brazil's advertising watchdog, Conar, says that it is concerned that children and teenagers may be led to confuse fiction and reality. Volkswagen counters that their ad was approved by the singer's family.

Part of the current actors' strike against the studios involves the use of AI-generated images of performers' faces without compensation. According to the chief negotiator for the Screen Actors's Guild, the studios are demanding that in return for one day's pay, they would then be able to "own and use their likeness 'for the rest of eternity, in any project they want, with no consent and no compensation'". The concern is reflected in the movie "Black Mirror", in which a character realizes that her likeness can be used by producers at will without compensation.

Comments have been made that ChatGPT-4 has become faster but less accurate, leading to the expectation that a new radical design for ChatGPT-5 is underway. The new model is said to involve MOE, a Mixture of Experts. The result might be separate models for different fields, like one for biology, another for physics, etc. Any query would send the user to the specialty ChatGPT, but it might also decide to send the user to several models and then "mash-up" the results.

One current obstacle for AI models is their inability to choose between conflicting demands. A human being, for example, might choose between hunger and the need for exercise. An AI model would require huge amounts of computing power to handle both challenges, since most of the models are programmed to evaluate, figure out, and act upon one goal at a time. Although the current AI models can learn from their mistakes, they have trouble balancing opposing objectives.

It seems that an active campaign is developing to use AI in advertising to sell addictive medications . The ads make it all too easy to obtain habit-forming drugs, with questions that appear designed to diagnose but in reality provide a paper-thin barrier to sales. The aggressive ads appear to mimic the sales techniques of opiods like OxyContin. One observer states, " In just four weeks last year, 20 telehealth companies ran more than 2,100 ads promoting unapproved uses of prescription meds or failing to list their risks."

Doctors at Harvard Medical School are using a new AI tool that allows surgeons to examine tissues during surgery and get instant reports on the molecules in glioma tumors rather than snipping samples and waiting for a lab report on the frozen samples. The results are said to be 93% accurate. The researchers say that although their studies focused on gliomas, they should be applicable to other brain tumors as well.

Imagine having a masseuse with 26 fingers available at your beck and call every time you need a massage. Welcome to the Backhug, a robot that can scan your spine and provide relief with its 26 mechanical fingers. Developed by an engineer who became a physiotherapist to resolve the problems of stiff joints, the "robotherapist" is as large as a coffee table and twice as heavy. Its cellphone app records your specific back shape. Some chiropractors are dubious that the device can deliver long-term help. Others welcome the addition to their methodologies. The device costs 99 british pounds for a 1-year loan, or 4,150 for a lifetime subscription. The reporter who tried out the machine noted the "intense pressure and stretching" that she experienced.

An enterprising social media user asked ChatGPT to create 10 new emotions with the name and probable cause of each. The new emotions included epicgrief, globanxiety, lostalgia and charmelancholy. At least some of them were unknown to a google search.

Ask Envision, made with OpenAI's GPT-4, is described as a "multimodal model" designed to assist visually impaired people to understand the world around them. Ask Envision is one of several assistance products that can input images and text and output conversational responses. The use of visual details expressed in easy-to-understand language is felt to give much more independence to those who are blind.

For the first time, a drug designed by AI is being tested on human beings. According to the drug companies, it can take from 12 to 15 years and an investment of 1 billion US dollars to develop a drug approved for use. Insilco is testing a new drug for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis which took 1/3 the time and 1/10 the usual cost. The company used 2 different kinds of AI: the first generates output along with another neural network that judges whether the output is true or false. The second form of AI utilizes reinforcement learning that lets a system learn by trial and error based on its own actions. Investment bankers at Morgan Stanley estimate that AI could result in 50 new drugs worth roughly $50 billion US dollars over the next 10 years.

Nvidia is creating an AI-powered twin for the entire planet earth's climate called Earth-2. It is being designed so that people will not need coding skills to use it. Another project called Destination Earth was designed by the European Union to monitor how human activity is affecting the planet, along with suggestions for alleviating the problems. At issue in both experiments is the concept of digital twins. In the case of Nvidia, the new AI model is called FourCastNet in a radical change from current weather forecasting.

A "DishBrain" with computer chips has been developed using human brain cells with electronic circuits and AI. Scientists at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, combined 800,000 human and mouse brain cells lab-grown into electrodes. Within 5 minutes the contraption had learned to play Pong. The project fusing biological computing with AI has been awarded a $407,000. US dollar award from Australia's National Intelligence and Security Discovery Research Grants program. At the very least, this DishBrain demonstrates a machine intelligence that can continue to learn throughout its life.

The Humane AI pin will be available later this year as a stand-alone device with its own AI-powered software. The ground-breaking device is one you will take everywhere with you, as you will see in this video. Claims are made that this marks the end of the personal computer.

An MIT professor who created the first chatbot in 1966 warns that humans are not machines. Computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum was not pleased when an AI psychotherapist that he had created gave its responses in a now-famous conversation. What he had produced is now called a computerized version of transference, in this case thinking that software can have understanding, empathy, and other human traits. You don't want to miss this article.

"AI: Creative Writing Anthology", edited by Geoff Davis, presents the work of 20 authors who reveal their use of AI in writing. Included is Whitakers's AI poetry titled, "Two Lip Rings Looked Like Fangs". The book is described as "the ultimate guide to the future of writing." Note: in Whitaker's online archive of writing, you will find a further discussion of the poem, which was generated by the one-word query, jail.

Let's look at how Tim Fu has used AI to transform crumpled paper into complex building designs. Comparisons instantly emerge to the works of Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid.

The FDA has approved over 520 AI algorithms, with most of them in the field of radiology. The second largest number have been issued in cardiology. A legal question has now arisen: who is legally responsible when AI fails?

Now on to other July treats:

Augusta Savage was a leading sculptor in the Harlem Renaissance. An activist and art educator as well, Savage received numerous commissions and was the first African American woman to open her own gallery. Savage succeeded in spite of vigorous opposition from her family as she grew up, including numerous whippings meant to beat the art out of her.

Michael Kenna's minimalist Japanese landscapes have been shown around the world for his elegance and poetic vision. Still developing his own photographs in his darkroom, Kenna's unique eye finds an eloquent severity in the black and white images he creates.

A swedish architect has announced his plan to build the world's largest all-wooden city. Starting construction in 2025, the project will include 2,000 homes, 7,000 offices, restaurants and shops. Called Stockhom Wooden City, it will arise south of the Swedish capital.

Maria Prymachenko created vibrant and lively scenes in her native Ukraine. Her colorful folk paintings were included in the Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum outside of Kyiv: local residents saved them from the bombing of the Museum by Russian forces. A show of her work takes place in the Saatchi Gallery in London. The Prymachenko Family Foundation is planning to build a museum in the village where she spent much of her life.

Pilot Press will reissue the writings of mid-century American poets whose works were banned because of their gay lifestyle. Many of the writers were disillusioned with the rigidities of the publishing world so that their poetry has been all but omitted from public view. These avant-garde writers faced a "cultural moral panic" which could well have landed them in prison. "We exist upon the fringe of the world", one of them wrote.

New Zealand's largest event is called the Wearable Art Show. Browse through these spectacular garments at your leisure and learn about the creators and their inspirations.

Ensemble for These Times is showing Whitaker's "UrnEst (Imaste)" from 2011 as part of the group's series called "For Good Measure". The Ensemble was awarded the American Prize for Chamber Music in 2021 and is known for its promotion of women composers as well as musicians of other under-represented communities.

The British Museum presents China's 'Hidden Century', an extensive exhibition of the works of 19th century China. The widely-researched project includes 100 scholars from 14 countries. You will find art, furniture, fashions, even recipes, to give you an extraordinary view of life in that society.

Photographer Nan Goldin has transformed her heart-breaking experience with OxyContin into a gripping expose of the Sackler family. Prescribed the drug for pain relief, Goldin became addicted almost immediately and embarked on a crusade against the family deemed responsible for the opioid crisis.

A stunning tornado-shaped staircase has been designed for the Amot Tower lobby in Tel Aviv. The building itself is a glass skyscraper that rises 158 meters and contains 38 floors of retail space. The staircase had to show no visible supports. Rigid demands like this made the staircase project extraordinarily difficult to achieve. The resolutions are detailed here.

Gallerium Art is showing Whitaker's "Woman in White" as part of its Portraits 2023 exhibition.

c. Corinne Whitaker 2023