Google repositions itself to counter the ChatGPT threat • The Register

Shortly Sundar Pichai appears to be in a tight spot over OpenAI’s ChatGPT engine, preparing Google to counter the perceived threat.

According to an internal New York Times memo, Pichai has “upended the work of numerous groups within the company to respond to the ChatGPT threat,” and is pulling in employees from other departments to address the threat to OpenAI’s plans . It is said to be “Code Red” for the chocolate factory.

The question is whether Google’s core product, search, will be supplanted by AI systems that can provide more accurate research, and that’s a big if, at least for now.

“No company is invincible, all are vulnerable,” said Margaret O’Mara, a professor at the University of Washington. “For companies that have become extraordinarily successful with one market-defining cause, it’s difficult to have a second doing something completely different.”

The report suggests that Google will make a series of AI announcements in May to address growing threats to the search giant’s business model. We’ll see if these are functional products or just Google catching up.

Google has dominated the search market for 20 years, and anything threatening this hugely lucrative business — which accounts for about 90 percent of Alphabet’s profits — Sundar might well have cause for concern.

ArtStation cracks down on anti-AI art protests

The ongoing battle between human artists and ArtStation, the Epic Games website that displays the images and allegedly exploits the data for AI purposes, has escalated.

Last week, many users of the site protested the use of their uncredited images to train AI art generation models. The fear is that ArtStation will allow AI trainers to take over legitimate human labor and not only create art, but potentially put artists out of business. In response, artists began posting “AI is theft” banners on their profile pages.

Now, ArtStation has reportedly lowered the bar and bans such subversive creations. “For the sake of the user friendliness of the website, we moderate posts that violate our terms of service,” it said on twitter.

“We understand concerns about AI and its impact on the industry. We’ll be sharing more about improvements to give users more control over what they see and how they use ArtStation in the near future.”

In other words, curl up after your creative types. This one will likely play for some time to come.

The US Senator closes the door on AI as he exits

Outgoing Senator Rob Portman (D-OH) introduced the Facial Accountability, Clarity, and Efficiency In Technology Act (FACE IT) to Congress, calling for much tighter scrutiny by the US federal government using AI-powered facial recognition technology.

The law would require the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to set minimum acceptable accuracy standards for facial recognition technology and give citizens the option not to be solely identified by such systems. It also wants to ensure that a human authority has to grant authority to use such systems.

“Facial recognition technology can be used to protect our communities, but I’m concerned about the potential for abuse,” said Portman, who is leaving Congress in January.

“I’m proud to introduce the FACE IT Act because given the impact on civil liberties of the federal government’s use of facial recognition technology, we need to legislate to establish rules for the use of this technology. We need to make sure federal law enforcement and other agencies have the tools to do their jobs well, but it’s important that we set rules for those tools.”

He also introduced the Stop Unlawful Adverse Machine Impacts Act Through a National Assessment Act that would “clarify that existing civil rights laws apply to decisions made by AI systems as if those decisions were made by humans.”

The proposed legislation, which appears unlikely to make it into the statute books given the turbulent state of Congress, seems more about public relations and a possible future lobbying career than an attempt to establish sound policy. Google repositions itself to counter the ChatGPT threat • The Register

Rick Schindler

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