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Trying to separate the wheat from the chaff, I will link you to some of the better articles I have found on AI:

Just a few moments ago, the United Nations announced the appointment of an International High-level Advisory Board to bring a "globally inclusive approach" to the issues posed by AI. The Board is tasked with analyzing and making recommendations for the international regulation of AI for the good of humanity. The Board members and their backgrounds are listed here.

The new smartphones from Google, meaning the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, have taken AI beyond what was available before. You can now change someone's expression by lifting a previous photo of them from your library. The feature is called Best Take.

A remarkable $100 million dollars has just been poured into an AI startup called Prins AI, reflecting the intense demand for innovative AI programs. Prins AI addresses the issue of "smart workers", digital personnas that substitute for humans in tasks like training videos, broadcast media, nft's, entertainment, education, and marketing. Real humans are offered cryptocurrencies as a reward for participating in the training.

MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) brings us an insight into how Meta and other companies hired real actors to make fake people appear more human. For as little as $300. a live actor's expressions, face, gestures and movements could be put into a database for a company called Realeyes - the involvement of Meta was not revealed until the human actor arrived for the project. The activity took place during the actors' strike, offfering an easy way to earn without crossing a picket line. Here is what the job posting read: "This is fully a research-based project. Your individual likeness will not be used for any commercial purposes.” The pay was to be $150./hour for a minimum of 2 hours. In order to sign up, the actors had to sign away some rights "in perpetuity", these rights applicable for systems and technologies that might not even be in existence. One issue among many here: what does informed consent mean in a world of AI?

For those struggling to understand the language being used to describe how AI works, this article from Ars Technica may be a good place to start.

A more technical and mathematical explanation of AI is offered by Stephen Wolfram in an article entitled, "What Is ChatGPT Doing … and Why Does It Work?". Wolfram looks at random choices, probabilities surrounding simple words vs those for pairs or longer search queries, and estimations. As he tells us, the web might contain a few hundred billion words, in books perhaps another 100 billion. Clearly there is no way to estimate the possible choices that could be made.

A word of caution to viewers. In the onslaught of articles about AI, it is essential to exercise extreme caution. A resource called Marktechpost AI Newsletter claims to offer the latest links to articles and research on AI. As far as I can determine, there is only one writer and researcher behind this newsletter. Named Asif Razzaq, he claims to have graduated from Dalian University of Technology located in China. A further Google search states that Dalian University of Technology has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). I neither recommend nor disagree with the information on this site. I mention it simply as a cautionary tale for us all.

Google has been working on a method to diagnose diabetic retinopathy early in the disease process. Over 420 million diabetic patients exist world wide, making a manual check for the retinopathy physically impossible. Untreated, the condition can lead to blindness. An AI model scanned more than 100,000 identified lesions, leading to a program called Automated Retinal Disease Assessment. It is hoped that the program can assist densely populated countries like India and Thailand which don't have enough eye specialists.

Researchers at Northwestern University have created a walking robot in 26 seconds. The result looks more like a toy sponge than a robot, but it did contain some internal muscles that could move the model forward, albeit very slowly. The robot is described as "nothing like any animal that has ever walked the earth" but the speed of its production is considered remarkable. A video shows the AI's first, second, and third attempts at producing the model.

AI, DL (Deep Learning), and LLM (Large Language Models) appear about to be displaced by AGI (Artificial General Intelligence). We are told that AGI means a person, a digital person rather than a carbon-based person, but one that can think, learn, joke and love. This quasi/human is what got Google engineer Blake Lemoine fired from his job when he claimed that it/she/he was sentient. AGI, it is claimed, will make humans the 2nd smartest species on earth. When you hear the phrase "the alignment problem", that is a euphemism for creatures that could wipe us all off the planet, enslave us, or convince us that horrific acts are acceptable.

Axios reports back from the Denver Democracy Summit, where AI dominates the topics under discussion. Here you will find some of the suggestions for controlling the use of AI images, many of them aimed at camera-makers. Some major technology companies are adding metadata called Content Credentials to combat "deep fakes". THe White House is apparently also calling for labeling of all AI generated videos and images.

Now on to other November treats:

Christie's Auctions has recently offered for sale a private collction of art from India, giving us an unusual opportunity to see 500 years of Indian painting from the 15th to the 20th century. The works were collected by Toby Falk, an art historian and avid collector.

"Nest of You" brings us an interactive installation that questions our "co-dependent relationships" based on shared data. From a known universe of belongings and homes, we now exist in a virtual world where we are in constant view, leaving tiny traces of ourselves for others to manipulate. The project reminds us: "Without forethought, we entrust these breadcrumbs to a handful of tech giants." It also asks, what happens if our tech giants cease to exist? Traces of visitors to the exhibit are digitally collected and fed into the "nest", asking who owns what of ourselves?

The Getty brings us a graphic biography of Surrealist Claude Cahun, as part of a series called "Visualizing Queer History". Cahun was born Lucy Schwobv in 1894 in France. Along with her partner Suzanne Malherbe, they created the personnas Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, artists and Surrealists participating in the avant-garde and gay world. Rebelling against the Nazi regime, they were sentenced to death, although the war ended before the execution occurred. Cahun wrote, "neuter is the only gender that always suits me".

The British Museum has announced that it will digitize its entire collection. The $12 million dollar project came about as a response to the numerous art thefts as well as the demand for repatriation of some pieces. Recently it appears that a former staff member had stolen 2,000 pieces from the Museum's collection, with only 350 recovered so far.

If you have any doubt that architecture has been invaded by AI, look at this building in Chicago desiged by Studio Gang. The mixed-use building reaches 82 stories high. Called Aqua Tower, it has been named one of the most ground-breaking structures of the past ten years. On the domestic architecture scene, you might want to look at 6 new homes that I have designed using AI.

One over-looked negative effect of Covid is its destruction of rare indigenous languages. Remaining speakers of almost-extinct languages are inevitably tribal elders. In places like the Russian far north, pre-existing marginalization has made the elders more susceptible to illness. In Australia, the government had to translate health warnings into numerous aboriginal languages, some of which were spoken by just a few tribal survivors. In the Amazon there exist perhaps 50 individual language families, although there may be only one person still alive who speaks them. There the government's insistence on opening up indigenous lands for extraction and ranching is intensifying the problem. Linguists worry that early ways of perceiving the world are being lost.

I have long been a fan of glass art, so it is a pleasure to introduce you to the work of Amber Cowan. Cowan specializes in the use of recycled, upcycled and seond-life pressed glass. In upscale art-speak, "her pieces reference memory, domesticity and the loss of an industry through the re-use of common items from the aesthetic dustbin of American design." In plain talk, her works are elaborate, elegant, amd simply gorgeous.

Photographer Sheila Metzner has received some well-earned recognition from the Getty Museum. Internationally acclaimed for her soft tonalities and muted colors, Metzner has triumphed in a field dominated by men. At her own site you can get a glimpse of the range of her vision and the beautiful legacy she has created.

c. Corinne Whitaker 2023