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A visitor is walking past an AI sign at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition Center in Shanghai, China, on July 6, 2024.

Ying Tang via Reuters Connect

On Tuesday, OpenAI blocked API access to its ChatGPT large language model in China, meaning developers can no longer tap into OpenAI’s tech to build their own tools. While the company didn’t offer a specific reason for the move, an OpenAI spokesperson told Bloomberg last month that it would start cracking down on API users in countries where ChatGPT was not supported. China has long blocked access to the app, but developers were able to use the API as a backdoor to access the toolbox. Not anymore.

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Midjourney

The US Department of Homeland Security is preparing for the worst possible outcomes from the rapid progression of artificial intelligence technology technology. What if powerful AI models are used to help foreign adversaries or terror groups build chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear weapons?

The department’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction office, led by Assistant Secretary Mary Ellen Callahan, issued a report to President Joe Biden that was released to the public in June, with recommendations about how to rein in the worst threats from AI. Among other things, the report recommends building consensus across agencies, developing safe harbor measures to incentivize reporting vulnerabilities to the government without fear of prosecution, and developing new guidelines for handling sensitive scientific data.

We spoke to Callahan about the report, how concerned she actually is, and how her office is using AI to further its own goals while trying to outline the risks of the technology.

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Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator, speaks at the Wall Street Journal Digital Conference in Laguna Beach, California, U.S., October 18, 2017.

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

A hacker breached an OpenAI employee forum in 2023 and gained access to internal secrets, according to a New York Times report published Thursday. The company, which makes ChatGPT, told employees but never went public with the disclosure. Employees voiced concerns that OpenAI wasn’t taking enough precautions to safeguard sensitive data — and if this hacker, a private individual, could breach their systems, then so could foreign adversaries like China.

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A photo illustration of a smartphone displaying the NVIDIA Corporation stock price on the NASDAQ market, with an NVIDIA chip visible in the background.

Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Reuters

Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s competition chief, has warned of a “huge bottleneck” involving Nvidia. The US semiconductor company plays a pivotal role in designing chips necessary for training and running artificial intelligence models and applications — good for 80% of the market. In recent months, Nvidia has become a $3.1 trillion company — now the third-most-valuable firm in the world behind only Microsoft and Apple.

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Two hands touching each other in front of a pink background.

Photo by Igor Omilaev on Unsplash

27.1 billion: From April to June, investors poured $27.1 billion into US-based artificial intelligence startups, according to PitchBook. That’s nearly half of the $56 billion that all American startups raised during that time. Startup investment is up 57% year over year — something for which the AI industry can claim lots of credit.

48: Google’s greenhouse gas emissions are up a whopping 48% since 2019, thanks in no small part to its investments in AI. In the tech giant’s annual environmental report, it chalked up the increase to “increased data center energy consumption and supply chain emissions.” It previously set a goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2030 and now says that’s “extremely ambitious” given the state of the industry. Many AI firms are struggling to meet voluntary emissions goals due to the massive energy demands of training and running models.

9,000: The Brazilian government on Tuesday ordered Meta to stop training its AI models on citizens’ data. The penalty? A fine of 50,000 Reals (about $9,000). The government gave Meta five days to amend its privacy policy and data practices, citing the “fundamental rights” of Brazilians.

75: Bipartisan consensus is hard to come by these days. But in a recent survey of US voters, conducted by the AI Policy Institute, 75% of Democrats and 75% of Republicans said it’s preferable that AI development is slow and steady as opposed to the US racing ahead to gain a strategic advantage over China and other foreign adversaries.

President Joe Biden signs an executive order about artificial intelligence as Vice President Kamala Harris looks on at the White House on Oct. 30, 2023.

REUTERS/Leah Millis

US President Joe Biden on Monday signed an expansive executive order about artificial intelligence, ordering a bevy of government agencies to set new rules and standards for developers with regard to safety, privacy, and fraud. Under the Defense Production Act, the administration will require AI developers to share safety and testing data for the models they’re training — under the guise of protecting national and economic security. The government will also develop guidelines for watermarking AI-generated content and fresh standards to protect against “chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and cybersecurity risks.”

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How is AI shaping culture in the art world?
How is AI shaping culture in the art world? | GZERO AI

In this episode of GZERO AI, Taylor Owen, host of the Machines Like Us podcast, recounts his conversation with media theorist Douglas Rushkoff about the cultural implications of the ongoing AI revolution, which raised a couple of questions: Will AI enhance cultural production, similar to Auto-Tune and Photoshop, or produce art that truly moves society. Will people even care about its role in cultural production? However, Owen notes that current AI-generated content often lacks the cultural depth that our art and culture demand.

So, I recently had a wonderful conversation with the media theorist Douglas Rushkoff about what this current moment in AI means for our culture.

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