Earlier this month, DeepMind introduced a new “generalist” AI model called Gato. The model can play the Atari video game, captioned images, chat and stack blocks with a real robot hand, according to the alphabet’s artificial intelligence lab. In total, Gato can perform hundreds of different tasks.

But while Gato is undeniably captivating, some researchers are a little fascinated in the week since its release.

One of DeepMind’s top researchers and co-author of the Gato article, Nando de Freitas, couldn’t contain his excitement. “Game over!” he tweeted, suggesting that there was already a clear path from Gato to artificial general intelligence, or “AGI,” a vague concept of human or superhuman AI. The way to build an AGI, he argues, is mostly a matter of scale: making models like the Gato bigger and better.

Not surprisingly, de Freitas’ announcement sparked a breathtaking press report that Deepmind was “on the edge” of artificial intelligence on a human level. This is not the first time noise has surpassed reality. Other exciting new AI models, such as the OpenAI GPT-3 text generator and the DALL-E image generator, generate similar big claims.

For many in this field, this kind of hectic discourse overshadows other important research areas in AI. Read the whole story.

“Melissa Heikil.”

Required readings

I dug up the internet to find you today’s most fun / important / scary / fascinating technology stories.

1 Volunteers translate posts on Chinese social media into English
Although the publications have passed the censorship regime on the Internet in China, Beijing is not happy. (The Atlantic Ocean $)
+ WeChat wants people to use its video platform. That’s what they did for the digital protests. (TR)

2 The startup community in Ukraine resumes operations as usual
Many workers combine their daily work with post-war volunteering. (WP $)
+ Russian-speaking technology bosses living in the United States are severing ties with military workers. (NYT $)
+ YouTube has removed more than 9,000 war-related channels. (The guardian)

3 The shooting of Buffalo highlighted the shortcomings of the counter-terrorism technology agreement
Critics say the platforms have not done enough to tackle the root causes of extremism. (WSJ $)
+ America has survived more than 3,500 mass shootings since Sandy Hook. (WP $)

4 Crypto seems to have a problem with domestic trade
Just like the banking system, its supporters are fighting against it. (WSJ $)
+ Christine Lagarde believes that crypto is worth “nothing”. (Bloomberg $)
+ Crypto withstands a fierce storm. Some still hold on to an expensive life. (TR)
+ The crypto industry has lost about $ 1.5 trillion since November. (The Atlantic Ocean $)
+ Stablecoin Tether has paid $ 10 billion in withdrawals since the collapse. (The guardian)

5 The fusion industry is in turmoil
It’s not even underway yet, but fuel supplies are running low. (With cable $)
+ A hole in the ground could be the future of thermonuclear energy. (TR)
+ The Midwestern United States could face power outages this summer. (motherboard)

6 Big Tech is not worried about the economic downturn
Even if he lowered part of his market value along the way. (NYT $)
+ But lawmakers are determined to curb them with antitrust law. (Recode)
+ Their carbon emissions are also getting out of hand. (New Yorker $)

7 The US military wants to build a flying ship
The Liberty Lifer X will be independent of fixed airports and ports. (IEEE spectrum)

8 We need to change the way we recycle plastic
The good news is that the technology for revising it exists – it just needs to be improved. (With cable $)
+ French company uses enzymes to recycle one of the most common disposable plastics. (TR)

9 Why you should treat your phone use like drinking wine
Achieving this delicate balance by stopping the positive from turning into a negative. (The guardian $)

10 Inside the Healthy World of Internet Knitting 🧶
His favorite knitting creations have earned a cult profile. (Entrance)
+ How the ban on pro-Trump patterns revealed the world of online knitting. (TR)

Quote of the day

“I like the instant gratification of making the Internet better.”

– Jason Moore, who is credited with creating more than 50,000 pages on Wikipedia, says CNN on his motives for taking on the unpaid work.


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