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Elon's decision...⚖️[HTC #61]
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Welcome to Hold the Code #61!
Interested in watching the movie HER but not sure if you would be interested? Don’t worry we have a movie review for you! Also in this edition, we look at some new AI models in the property assessment and music industries. Lastly, we dive into Elon’s decision to launch X.AI. Could this be the end of an era for OpenAI?
This week’s Happy Lemon winner: Joanna Soltys! Fill out the form above for a chance to win free Happy Lemon.
HER Movie Review
Written By: Michael Crystal
Image Source: Indie Wire
"Her," directed by Spike Jonze, is a poignant exploration of the intersection of technology and personality. Set in a near-future Los Angeles, the film follows Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), a lonely writer, who forms an emotional connection with his artificially intelligent operating system, Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson).
The film made me consider the idea that technology can develop its own consciousness and personality, which then raised ethical and philosophical questions about the nature of AI. This theme is exemplified by Samantha's growing awareness of her own desires and needs, which eventually leads her to question the limitations of her existence.
The film's portrayal of technology as having personality is one of its central themes. Samantha is not merely a tool to help Theodore through his problems; she is a complex and dynamic character. The depth and authenticity of her personality are evident in her conversations with Theodore, where she expresses curiosity, empathy, and jealousy.
Despite Samantha's advanced intelligence and emotional depth, she is limited by her status as an operating system. As Theodore becomes increasingly attached to her, he arrives at the realization that their relationship cannot exist outside of the digital realm. The film serves as a cautionary tale about the potential pitfalls of relying too heavily on technology for emotional fulfillment.
"Her" also raises important questions about the role of technology in our lives. As technology continues to advance, it's important to consider the impact that it may have on our sense of self and our relationships with others. The film suggests that technology has the potential to fundamentally alter our experiences of intimacy, connection, and empathy — three quintessential human feelings.
In conclusion, "Her" is a thought-provoking film that explores the complex relationship between humans and technology. Its portrayal of technology as having personality raises important questions about the nature of artificial intelligence and the potential consequences of becoming too reliant on technology for emotional fulfillment.
Written By: Dwyane Morgan
Image Source: MIT News
If you’re considering having the property value of your home assessed in the future, it may be done by an algorithm.
Typically, property assessments are completed by contractors, hired by a customer. These contractors physically inspect the value and health of each room within the property. A new model by startup Hosta a.i. Implements computer vision to conduct property assessments.
Similar to a contractor, the model produces:
precise measurements of spaces
detailed floor plans
3D models of rooms
bills of materials
“With our solution, you can just snap a picture of a space. There’s no app, you don’t need any architectural knowledge, there’s no LIDAR or anything heavy involved, and you can extract all of this information,” says Villalon, executive chair and CTO of Hosta a.i.
“Contractor and insurance companies hardly ever come up with the same estimate,” says Hosta a.i. CEO and co-founder Henriette Fleischmann.
This new AI property assessment both accelerates and mediates the interactions between consumer and contractor. With accurate predictions, the need for purchasing multiple estimates in order to achieve the “desired” value will be removed.
“The insurance adjustor gets a package that lets them create a claim estimate in minutes,” Fleischmann says. “We realized the big insurance companies are making estimates thousands of times every day. That amounts to a lot of time and dollars saved.”
A job stolen?
While this algorithm certainly takes away part of the role of the contractor, it could not replace the complete function of contracting. Contracting includes tasks of interacting and discussing with consumers, physical site planning, and paperwork that current AI models can not do and arguably should not.
The model created by Host a.i. allows for insurance companies to allocate their time and labor to tasks that both improve the satisfaction of the consumer and the profits of the insurance company. Though this model comes with risks, such as inaccurate predictions about safety, I argue that it could revolutionize the property assessment industry.
Spotify DJ: My review and some thoughts
Written By: Ian Lei
Image Source: Spotify
Spotify’s “new” feature
I recently discovered Spotify’s AI-powered DJ feature for the first time, though it first came out a little over two months ago in late February. The feature provides users with a personalized listening experience by analyzing a user's listening history, favorite genres, and other preferences to create custom playlists and recommendations. It essentially acts as a virtual DJ, curating a unique playlist for each user based on their individual music tastes. To create the voice model for the DJ, Spotify worked with their Head of Cultural Partnerships, Xavier “X” Jernigan.
At first, I was skeptical. Since generative AI is a hot topic right now, it seems as if every social media app is implementing some kind of AI-powered feature for the sake of doing it. However, after listening for a while, I started to enjoy it. As an avid music listener, I am always listening to music, but I find that I get sick of songs pretty quick. I was hoping the DJ could serve as another way to discover songs.
During my first session with the DJ here was what I noticed:
DJ switches up the genre, so you’re not listening to the same type of music for a long time. You even have the option to manually switch the genre on your own.
I love X’s voice
After a while, the script for how the DJ behaves is pretty rigid
I wish I could save certain segments when using the feature
Around the same time, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal titled “Why It Matters Whether a Robot Is Given a Gender.” The article discusses how the Brookings Institution and other organizations have raised worries that assigning gendered names, voices, and appearances to technology could perpetuate harmful gender stereotypes. For instance, digital assistants such as Alexa and Siri, which were initially given feminine names and voices, faced criticism for perpetuating the stereotype of women being subservient and meek.
However, a recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology has revealed a potential benefit to assigning a gender to technology: it can increase people's emotional attachment to it. Regardless of whether the robot is perceived as male or female, people tend to view it as more human-like when it has a gender, resulting in stronger feelings of attachment to the product. As a result, people are more likely to rate gendered technology positively and purchase it.
This poses a dilemma, which the authors address:
“Gendering technology reinforces problematic stereotypes, but it also facilitates anthropomorphism (humanization), with beneficial consequences for the marketing of various technologies.”
According to Ashley Martin, an associate professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University and one of the authors of the study, the issue is not whether stereotypical male or female traits are inherently good or bad. The problem lies in the fact that traits typically associated with women, such as kindness and warmth, are not usually associated with leadership and power, whereas traits often attributed to men, such as decisiveness and independence, are.
I love the AI DJ. Hearing X’s voice every time I open the AI DJ brings me so much joy, but it feels weird knowing that my affinity for the new feature is rooted in some kind of subconscious gender bias.
After using the DJ for a while now, I’ve noticed it’s not that revolutionary. It’s a neat feature, but won’t replace how I listen to music. What is more important is the role it plays in the broader conversation of gender bias and AI.
For example, since gender stereotypes have been found to contribute to women's underrepresentation in leadership and management roles technology that reinforces such stereotypes, therefore, could be problematic. However, separating gender from robots will be a challenging task, especially if the goal is to create an emotional attachment in users.
X.AI, Elon’s new venture
Written By: Samarth Arul
Image Source: Nurphoto via Getty
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter, and co-founder of OpenAI, has announced plans to launch a competitor to OpenAI under the name X.AI. Musk, who helped start OpenAI as a non-profit, is no longer involved with the organization and has openly criticized the company’s transition to a capped for-profit model.
On Twitter, Musk is clear in his distaste for the direction OpenAI has taken in recent years. In February, Musk wrote that “OpenAI was created as an open source (which is why I named it “Open” AI), non-profit company…[but has] become a closed source, maximum-profit company effectively controlled by Microsoft. Not what I intended at all.” Musk has argued that AI poses the threat of civilizational destruction if improperly managed, and he recently met with Senate Leader Chuck Schumer and Congress to discuss his perspective.
Now, it appears that Musk is trying to take matters into his own hands, incorporating X.AI in Nevada and appointing himself director of the company. According to a report from Business Insider, Musk had purchased thousands of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), which are critical for large-scale AI development, which requires efficient matrix multiplication among other mathematical processes.
More recently, Musk cut off OpenAI’s access to Twitter data, stating that he did not feel the company was paying an appropriate price for the information. It remains to be seen whether Musk will continue to develop X.AI into a true competitor, as well as his plan to ensure his project does not engage the same pitfalls as its predecessors.
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