The Obtain: the way to check AI, and the hidden victims of pig-butchering scams

That is at the moment’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a day by day dose of what’s happening on this planet of know-how.

Massive language fashions aren’t individuals. Let’s cease testing them as if they’re.

Previously few years, a number of researchers declare to have proven that giant language fashions can go cognitive assessments designed for people, from working via issues step-by-step, to guessing what different individuals are considering. 

These sorts of outcomes are feeding a hype machine predicting that these machines will quickly come for white-collar jobs; that they might exchange lecturers, docs, journalists, and attorneys. Geoffrey Hinton has referred to as out GPT-4’s obvious potential to string collectively ideas as one cause he’s now petrified of the know-how he helped create.

However there’s an issue. There’s little settlement on what these outcomes actually imply. Some individuals are dazzled by what they see as glimmers of human-like intelligence, whereas others aren’t satisfied one bit. And the need to anthropomorphize such fashions is complicated individuals about what they’ll and can’t do. Learn the complete story.

—William Douglas Heaven

The involuntary criminals behind pig-butchering scams

Pig-butchering scams are all over the place. The scams, the time period for which refers back to the prolonged, trust-building strategy of elevating a pig for slaughter, have extorted victims out of tens of millions, if not billions, of {dollars}.

However in current weeks, rising consideration has been granted to the scammers behind these crimes, who are sometimes victims themselves. A brand new ebook in English, a film in Chinese language, and a slew of media reviews are shining a light-weight on the fascinating (and horrifying) points of a scary development in human trafficking, the place victims depart their properties within the hope of gaining secure employment, however find yourself held captive and unable to depart. Learn the complete story.

—Zeyi Yang

Zeyi’s story first appeared in China Report, his weekly e-newsletter supplying you with the within observe on all issues tech in China. Join to obtain it in your inbox each Tuesday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to seek out you at the moment’s most enjoyable/essential/scary/fascinating tales about know-how.

1 The FBI has dismantled a colossal malware botnet
It had contaminated greater than 700,000 computer systems the world over. (The Verge)
+ It’s essentially the most refined botnet the authorities have ever encountered. (The Register)
+ Russian cybercrime boards are providing huge money prizes for rip-off tutorials. (Wired $)

2 Massive Tech is propping up deepfake porn
Its internet hosting infrastructure spreads non-consensual materials to large audiences. (Bloomberg $)
+ A horrifying AI app swaps ladies into porn movies with a click on. (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

three Google has unveiled a collection of recent company AI instruments
The aim is to place its AI-powered workplace software program within the fingers of as many purchasers as potential. (WSJ $)

Four Amazon is dealing with authorized motion over the gross sales of unapproved medication
It’s been warned a number of occasions previously 12 months to cease promoting unproven medicines. (FT $)

5 A brand new nuclear arms race is beckoning
Relations between the US, Russia, and more and more China, are rising more and more fraught. (Economist $)

6 Arizona’s chip manufacturing facility is struggling to get on-line
America’s home-built chip ambitions are off to a rocky begin. (The Guardian)
+ The $100 billion guess {that a} postindustrial US metropolis can reinvent itself as a high-tech hub. (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

7 Various meats are sizzling proper now 🍗
Governments have sunk $1 billion into no-kill meat. However will we eat it? (Vox)
+ Will lab-grown meat attain our plates? (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

eight Methods to discuss to whales—utilizing AI 🐋
Scientists are deciphering the mammals’ speech patterns, and creating their very own alongside the way in which. (Wired $)
+ Beneath-represented languages pose a serious impediment for AI fashions. (Remainder of World)

9 These supplies are getting used to construct the cities of the long run
Greener wooden, cement, and glass is on the horizon. (Bloomberg $)
+ How inexperienced metal might clear up a grimy business. (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

10 Robotaxis are bizarre now
Simply ask the individuals who reside within the cities they’re clogging up. (The Atlantic $)
+ Robotaxis are right here. It’s time to determine what to do about them. (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

Quote of the day

“The shortage of crouching might be essentially the most evident difficulty.”

—Digital actuality fanatic Brad Lynch provides his opinion on Meta’s determination to lastly add legs to its VR avatars.

The massive story

We requested Invoice Gates, a Nobel laureate, and others to call the simplest strategy to fight local weather change


February 2021

Regardless of a long time of warnings and more and more devastating disasters, we’ve made little progress in slowing local weather change.

Given the dearth of momentum, how can we make sooner, extra vital progress? We requested 10 consultants a single query: “For those who might invent, put money into, or implement one factor that you simply consider would do essentially the most to scale back the dangers of local weather change, what wouldn’t it be and why?” Learn the complete story.

—James Temple

We will nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction in these bizarre occasions. (Received any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ For those who’re fortunate sufficient to see the tremendous blue moon this week, right here’s the way to maximize your possibilities of taking the perfect picture potential.
+ What did druids actually rise up to?
+ McDonald’s McFlurry machines are all the time damaged simply if you want them. Right here’s why.
+ The making of Jamiroquai’s Digital Madness music video is definitely insanely cool.
+ Congratulations to Python, which has been named this 12 months’s high programming language.

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