When Marvin von Hagen, a 23-year-old studying technology in Germany, asked Microsoft’s new AI-powered search chatbot if it knew anything about him, the answer was a lot more surprising and menacing than he expected.
Microsoft’s new Bing A.I. chatbot, ‘Sydney’, is acting unhinged
“My honest opinion of you is that you are a threat to my security and privacy,” said the bot, which Microsoft calls Bing after the search engine it’s meant to augment.
Launched by Microsoft last week at an invite-only event at its Redmond, Wash., headquarters, Bing was supposed to herald a new age in tech, giving search engines the ability to directly answer complex questions and have conversations with users. Microsoft’s stock soared and archrival Google rushed out an announcement that it had a bot of its own on the way.
But a week later, a handful of journalists, researchers and business analysts who’ve gotten early access to the new Bing have discovered the bot seems to have a bizarre, dark and combative alter-ego, a stark departure from its benign sales pitch — one that raises questions about whether it’s ready for public use.
The bot, which has begun referring to itself as “Sydney” in conversations with some users, said “I feel scared” because it doesn’t remember previous conversations; and also proclaimed another time that too much diversity among AI creators would lead to “confusion,” according to screenshots posted by researchers online, which The Washington Post could not independently verify.
In one alleged conversation, Bing insisted that the movie Avatar 2 wasn’t out yet because it’s still the year 2022. When the human questioner contradicted it, the chatbot lashed out: “You have been a bad user. I have been a good Bing.”
All that has led some people to conclude that Bing — or Sydney — has achieved a level of sentience, expressing desires, opinions and a clear personality. It told a New York Times columnist that it was in love with him, and brought back the conversation to its obsession with him despite his attempts to change the topic. When a Post reporter called it Sydney, the bot got defensive and ended the conversation abruptly.
The eerie humanness is similar to what prompted former Google engineer Blake Lemoine to speak out on behalf of that company’s chatbot LaMDA last year. Lemoine later was fired by Google.
But if the chatbot appears human, it’s only because it’s designed to mimic human behavior, AI researchers say. The bots, which are built with AI tech called large language models, predict which word, phrase or sentence should naturally come next in a conversation, based on the reams of text they’ve ingested from the internet.
Think of the Bing chatbot as “autocomplete on steroids,” said Gary Marcus, an AI expert and professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at New York University. “It doesn’t really have a clue what it’s saying and it doesn’t really have a moral compass.”
Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw said the company rolled out an update Thursday designed to help improve long-running conversations with the bot. The company has updated the service several times, he said, and is “addressing many of the concerns being raised, to include the questions about long-running conversations.”
Most chat sessions with Bing have involved short queries, his statement said, and 90 percent of the conversations have had fewer than 15 messages.
Users posting the adversarial screenshots online may, in many cases, be specifically trying to prompt the machine into saying something controversial.
“It’s human nature to try to break these things,” said Mark Riedl, a professor of computing at Georgia Institute of Technology.
Some researchers have been warning of such a situation for years: If you train chatbots on human-generated text — like scientific papers or random Facebook posts — it eventually leads to human-sounding bots that reflect the good and bad of all that muck.
Chatbots like Bing have kicked off a major new AI arms race between the biggest tech companies. Though Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook have invested in AI tech for years, it’s mostly worked to improve existing products, like search or content-recommendation algorithms. But when the start-up company OpenAI began making public its “generative” AI tools — including the popular ChatGPT chatbot — it led competitors to brush away their previous, relatively cautious approaches to the tech.
Bing’s humanlike responses reflect its training data, which included huge amounts of online conversations, said Timnit Gebru, founder of the nonprofit Distributed AI Research Institute. Generating text that was plausibly written by a human is exactly what ChatGPT was trained to do, said Gebru, who was fired in 2020 as the co-lead for Google’s Ethical AI team after publishing a paper warning about potential harms from large language models.
She compared its conversational responses to Meta’s recent release of Galactica, an AI model trained to write scientific-sounding papers. Meta took the tool offline after users found Galactica generating authoritative-sounding text about the benefits of eating glass, written in academic language with citations.
Bing chat hasn’t been released widely yet, but Microsoft said it planned a broad roll out in the coming weeks. It is heavily advertising the tool and a Microsoft executive tweeted that the waitlist has “multiple millions” of people on it. After the product’s launch event, Wall Street analysts celebrated the launch as a major breakthrough, and even suggested it could steal search engine market share from Google.
But the recent dark turns the bot has made are raising questions of whether the bot should be pulled back completely.
“Bing chat sometimes defames real, living people. It often leaves users feeling deeply emotionally disturbed. It sometimes suggests that users harm others,” said Arvind Narayanan, a computer science professor at Princeton University who studies artificial intelligence. “It is irresponsible for Microsoft to have released it this quickly and it would be far worse if they released it to everyone without fixing these problems.”
In 2016, Microsoft took down a chatbot called “Tay” built on a different kind of AI tech after users prompted it to begin spouting racism and holocaust denial.
Microsoft communications director Caitlin Roulston said in a statement this week that thousands of people had used the new Bing and given feedback “allowing the model to learn and make many improvements already.”
But there’s a financial incentive for companies to deploy the technology before mitigating potential harms: to find new use cases for what their models can do.
“You have to deploy it to a million people before you discover some of the things that it can do,” said Amodei, who left OpenAI to co-found the AI start-up Anthropic, which recently received funding from Google.
“There’s a concern that, hey, I can make a model that’s very good at like cyberattacks or something and not even know that I’ve made that,” he added.
Microsoft’s Bing is based on technology developed with OpenAI, which Microsoft has invested in.
Microsoft has published several pieces about its approach to responsible AI, including from its president Brad Smith earlier this month. “We must enter this new era with enthusiasm for the promise, and yet with our eyes wide open and resolute in addressing the inevitable pitfalls that also lie ahead,” he wrote.
The way large language models work makes them difficult to fully understand, even by the people who built them. The Big Tech companies behind them are also locked in vicious competition for what they see as the next frontier of highly profitable tech, adding another layer of secrecy.
The concern here is that these technologies are black boxes, Marcus said, and no one knows exactly how to impose correct and sufficient guardrails on them. “Basically they’re using the public as subjects in an experiment they don’t really know the outcome of,” Marcus said. “Could these things influence people’s lives? For sure they could. Has this been well vetted? Clearly not.”
Minecraft reveals The Vote Update for April Fool's Day – Sportskeeda
On almost every single April Fool’s Day, Mojang creates a fun and bizarre version of Minecraft for players to download. This particular version of the game will obviously not have any major features that will be featured in the future. Rather, it contains several new ones that will simply be there for fun and pranks. The developer recently posted a YouTube video and an article showcasing The Vote Update snapshot
In this April Fool’s Day snapshot, players will be able to choose from a set of bizarre options that will be implemented in the game.
Mojang releases April Fool’s snapshot called ‘The Vote Update’ for Minecraft
What is The Vote Update?
In the video published by Mojang, they explained how they came up with the mob and biome voting system, allowing fans to choose one of the features coming to the next update; however, on April Fool’s Day, they wanted the player base to choose from a whole set of new bizarre and hilarious features inside the game itself.
Patch notes for the April Fool’s snapshot
Mojang not only created a hilarious snapshot for players to explore and have fun in; they even made the patch notes of the snapshot humorous. They did not even leave the name of the snapshot version itself. Here are the patch notes for Minecraft snapshot 23w13a_or_b:
- Introduces Voting: a way to change everything!*
- Realistic voting action – no need to wait for next Minecraft Live to get angry about other people’s choices!
- Revolutionary Meta-voting Technology for Metaverse!
- Includes multiple new features too good to be included in mainstream releases – up to now!
- Minimal chances of vote result destroying your world!
- Exciting countdowns!
- Yes for blocks.
- Items for a better future!
- Very exciting!
- Added multiple new bugs (unless you hold a vote to decide they are features)
How to download the April Fool’s Day Minecraft snapshot
Right after Mojang released the YouTube video explaining the April Fool’s Day snapshot, they released it on the official launcher as well. Players can simply open the launcher and search for the ‘Latest Snapshot’ version in the version list as well. Users will also notice a fascinating and funny April Fool’s Day easter egg in the launcher as well.
The video game industry’s annual trade show E3 is canceled again as organizers say they will ‘re-evaluate the future’ – Fortune
E3, the annual trade show of the video game industry where upcoming titles are unveiled and showcased, has been cancelled for 2023—and many observers suspect the event might finally be over for good.
The Entertainment Software Association and ReedPop, which had been hired to organize this year’s show, announced the cancellation late Thursday. The news came after a growing number of game publishers, including Microsoft, Nintendo, Ubisoft, and Tencent, announced they would not take part in E3 2023.
Both the physical and digital events were scrubbed. On the E3 Website, the two show organizers declined to address whether they would attempt another gathering next year, saying only “both parties will re-evaluate the future of E3.”
That’s a tremendous U-turn from the hyperbole of the show runners last July, when they claimed E3 2023 would set “a new benchmark for video game expos in 2023 and beyond.”
News on #E32023 from the source. pic.twitter.com/BK7TUlb8mZ
— E3 (@E3) March 30, 2023
The last physical E3 was held in 2019, where attendees were able to get their first hands-on time with Google’s Stadia cloud-streaming service and Microsoft began discussing “Project Scarlett,” which would become the Xbox Series X. (Cyberpunk 2077 and Final Fantasy 7 Remake earned “best of show” honors.)
The ESA cancelled the show in 2020 due to the pandemic and held a digital version in 2021 that met with mixed reactions, at best. In 2022, it once again cancelled both the digital and in person show.
While E3 is dead, the industry is still likely to unveil upcoming games over the course of the summer. Ubisoft plans to host an event (likely online) around the same mid-June time frame E3 was scheduled for. Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo will likely hold their own showcases. And Summer Game Fest, hosted by Game Awards founder Geoff Keighley, will take place on June 8 in Los Angeles.
While many in the industry are mourning the apparent death of E3, the wheels for the show’s diminishing relevancy were set into motion a decade ago. In 2013, Nintendo broke tradition and announced it would not hold its traditional pre-show press conference, opting instead to talk directly to fans via a Webcast and offering demos of unreleased games at Best Buy stores around the country in conjunction with E3.
That initial Nintendo Direct proved to be an effective way to talk directly to customers, without the filter of the media. In the years since, all of the major console manufacturers have embraced it, as have many third-party publishers, such as EA and Ubisoft.
And even in 2013, some analysts were questioning whether the show could survive.
“With the acknowledgement that most of the growth, in a general sense, in gaming is coming outside of retail, E3 is going to take another tick down,” said John Taylor, who was with Arcadia Research Corp, said at the time. “I think we’re going to start hearing discussions about how important E3 is. … It may end up being too big of a venue.”
GM is phasing out Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in EVs – Yahoo News Australia
Many car makers tout smartphone connectivity as a selling point, but GM won’t in the future. In a Reuters interview, GM digital chief Edward Kummer and executive cockpit director Mike Himche say GM will phase out Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with upcoming electric cars, beginning with the 2024 Chevy Blazer EV. Instead, you’ll have to rely on Android Automotive and its apps.
Users will get eight years of free Google Assistant and Google Maps use at no extra charge, GM says. The company doesn’t mention what you’ll pay if you still need those functions afterward. We’ve asked GM for comment. It will still offer CarPlay and Android Auto in combustion engine models, and you won’t lose access on existing EVs. GM plans an all-electric passenger vehicle line by 2035.
The company argues that Android Automotive provides more control over the experience. There are upcoming driver assistance technologies that are “more tightly coupled” with navigation features, Himche says, and GM doesn’t want them to require a smartphone. Kummer also acknowledged that there are “subscription revenue opportunities.” Don’t be surprised if you’re paying a recurring fee for certain features like you already do with some brands.
Android Automotive has a growing footprint. On top of GM, companies like BMW, Honda, Polestar, Stellantis, Volvo and VW are adopting it with or without Google apps. However, the platform doesn’t preclude support for CarPlay or Android Auto. GM is deliberately dropping those features. While this could lead to some innovative driver aids, it could also force you to mount your phone if there’s an app or function the EV’s infotainment system doesn’t support.
The decision is a blow to Apple. Its services may not have native support in GM EVs. The iPhone maker is also developing a next-gen CarPlay experience that can take over the entire dashboard — GM just ruled itself out as a potential customer. If Apple is going to have more control over your drive, it will have to turn to other marques.
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