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AI is overwhelming our news, but here are a few of the more cogent articles I have found:

Baidu is the first Chinese company to make its LLM (Large Language Model) available to the public. Called Ernie Bot. it received 1 million users in the first 19 hours after its start and averaged 23,000 queries every minute during its first 24 hours. It differs significantly from other chatbots, including role-playing and "the considerate elder sister". After Baidu, 4 more Chinese companies produced their own LLM chatbots.

A newcomer to the self-driving car field called Wayve can use AI to ask questions of its cars and get answers back. Its LLM is a hybrid version named LINGO-1 which collects video data and driving data to view what the vehicle sees and what it does. Based in the UK, it recently anwered questions like "Why did you stop?" with the reply "Because the traffic light is red."

In a recent TED talk, AI researcher Gary Marcus discussed the dangerous risks of out-of-control AI, including the unsafe high speeds now occuring as too much AI is brought into our lives without adequate supervision and controls. He advocates for an immediate re-evaluation of the reliability of the systems we are using and urgently wants a nonprofit global organization to supervise the technology so that democracy and indeed our lives can be protected.

Architect Greg Tate is testing large-scale ideas of construction and design made possible by AI. His focus is on the Los Angeles area, like suburbs, deserts, beaches, freeways and amusement parks, as he pushes the design process to the very edges of impossibility.

I am seeing increasing collaboration between AI and 3D printing. For example. MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) has developed a program called Style2Fab allowing users to create products without understanding the technical specifications needed to design in 3D. Style2Fab is aimed not only at new users but is meant to lighten the workload of experienced makers as well. The developers at MIT have their eye on the medical field particularly.

In another step toward combining AI and 3D printing, engineers at the Lawrence Livermore National Library have created a new 3D printed material that can mimic biological tissue, calling their efforts "augmented humanity". (I find that concept and nomenclature chilling.) As an example, the team devised a 3D printed wearable piece to be worn on the finger that is able to make text messages available in braille.

Again at MIT, researchers are working on robots that can learn from their mistakes. These devices are designed especially for home use. Creating so-called multi-skilled robots demands extensive data collection, a process called self-supervised learning. This approach is also being used at Meta and at New York University.

Reinforcement learning is also being used with a mobile robot called Spot in Australia. A distributor of electricity decided to incorporate AI into its everyday jobs in a process called "photographic digitisation". Data was collected about familiar poles, powerlines, insulators and cable joints. The company then used thermal inspections, light detection, and automating a camera to take pictures. They also gave the robot rewards for proper activity, incorporating ideas like encouraging curiosity and emphasizing that there are no wrong answers.

"What open AI really wants" is the tantalizing title of an article on Sam Altman, co-founder of Open AI and described as a younger version of Elon Musk without Musk's "baggage". The answer to that question is said to be, "everything".

"The Dezeen Guide to AI" offers an overview of terms and concepts used in most discussions of the technology. Included are terms like deep learning, neural networks, superintelligence, singularity, and hallucinations (better known as falsehoods).

Another TED talk proposes that AI could be good for education rather than a detriment. Sal Khan thinks that opportunities exist for every student to have a personal AI tutor and every teacher an AI teaching assistant.

A report from the University of Oxford's Internet Institute reveals that gig workers, those that compile the massive amounts of data used to fuel AI, are greatly underpaid, their salaries and working conditions falling far below accepted standards of labor rights. For example, AI workers in Kenya are paid less than $2 per hour to see that ChatGPT is safer, according to an investigation by Time magazine.

If you have been confused about the difference between AI ands AR (Augmented Reality), this article is a good place to start. It describes AR in clear and simple terms and lays out its territory well.

Now on to other October treats:

The Museum of Modern Art in New York (MOMA) has gone full tilt into new practices in architecture and design with 2 new exhibits, one called "Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism", the other "Life Cycles: The Materials of Contemporary Design". Included are algae-based biopolymers (translation: seaweed becomes plastic) and animal waste into furniture (translation: cow dung becomes chairs).

An article on the personal life of Matisse illuminates some of the lesser known facts of the artist's life. Did you, know, for example, that he originally planned to become a lawyer, that he once bought a Cezanne painting that he didn't have the money for, that his "Blue Nude" was burned in effigy? It's an interesting read.

Beatrice Cortez has constructed an unusual sculpture called "Ilopango, the Volcano that Left" that is traveling along the Hudson River in New York on a 3-day journey. From its initial site at the Storm King Art Center it goes to the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston and thence through the Federal Lock and Dam near the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy. Cortez asks us to consider the implications of movement and impermanence, as well as to ask whether a sculpture can turn into a performance.

Curving architecture is once again at the forefront of design issues as we look at the flowing lines of a 10,000 square foot home in the Hamptons in New York. Called "Blue Dream", the house features a roof made of a material usually used for racing yachts, a wrap-around glass window overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and sloping interior walls.

Tate Modern is showing contemporary African Photography, leading viewers through the varied landscapes, time zones and borders in Africa.

The National Museum of Scotland now has a gigantic "E. coli" wafting through it at roughly 5 million times bigger than its normal size. Created by Luke Jerram, this single-cell organism floats around the Victorian pillars in the Museum's Grand Gallery. E. coli is usually found in the intestines of humans and animals, asking us to think about the relationship of ourselves and germs. A time-lapse video takes you through the installatiion of the sculpture.

The Getty Museum introduces us to Ushabtis figurines that were created to be put into tombs. The figures usually had their arms crossed over their chests and were made of a variety of materials like faience, a ceramic made withoout clay. Egyptian lore reveals that when someone died, they were born again in the afterlife and their Ushabtis came to life also to perform tasks for the owner. Instructions for the figurines were were usually inscribed in the Book of the Dead.

The 22nd edition of Kiaf SEOUL included more than 210 galleries from 20 nations. This review introduces some advisory picks that were featured. See especially Noh Sangho's The Great Chapbook 3 and Brian Rochefort's Paint Can 4.

Tate Modern is also showing Philip Guston's works in the artist's first major retrospective in the UK in almost 20 years. Guston was known to take refuge from the chaotic world around him with surprising imagery that often combines oddly paired figures and objects.

You can now download the catalog of "Unreal" at Gallerium Arts in Canada which included Whitaker's "Alerion".

An exhibition titled "Myths of our Time" held in Seoul Fort Hill included 3 instensely focused female artists, each with a strong personal voice and a masterful touch.

Carol K. Brown brings a complex attitude to her artwork. Her series "Someplace Else" features water color paintings apparently filled with joy , although a careful perusal reveals some pretty wry observations. Another series called "Modified Husband" uses watercolor and drawing in ink: as you can imagine, the husband in these is hardly a hero. Fascinating work.

c. Corinne Whitaker 2023