This Week in AI: AI Wins a Grammy

This Week in AI: AI Wins a Grammy

Also: Workers are being exploited...again

Annotation Blues

🤖 While AI feels remarkably intuitive, in reality, MLMs are trained by humans. As it turns out, cheap, exploitative labor is used by some of these models.

In a deep dive in the spirit of Nickel & Dimed and Nomadland, Josh Dzieza went undercover for The Verge. His long-form journalism is worth reading in full.

  • Workers in numerous countries are fed tedious tasks on an irregular schedule, sometimes earning barely $1/hour: “A several-second blip of footage took eight hours to annotate, for which Joe was paid about $10.”
  • Hundreds of workers were employed in Kenya before AI companies moved operations to Asia, leaving newly trained workers with no work—or pay.
  • The highest-paying jobs remain in the US: “You can make $45 an hour teaching robots law or make $25 an hour teaching them poetry.”

👨🏻‍💻 While much of the media’s focus is on jobs that AI will replace, the industry is also creating numerous jobs—for now. Some are offering a living wage. Sadly, many are not.

In order to resist repeating poor labor patterns, as evidenced in other industries, AI startups need to create better working conditions, even for the so-called “gig workers.”

AI Agriculture

🦟 Could AI be the key to stopping invasive insects? TartanPests’s robotic arm is making the case.

  • The spotted lanternfly has spread to 14 states since landing in Pennsylvania in 2014.
  • Native to Vietnam and China, they’ve wreaked havoc on grapes, peaches, oak trees, almonds, and hops.

🦾 TartanPest’s armed is equipped with a “microtractor.” Hooked up to a camera, the robotic arm uses a deep learning model to identify the spotted lanternfly’s eggs and scrub them from the crop.

  • With Monsanto being forced to pay $6.9M in a recent lawsuit for making false claims about Roundup’s safety, farmers are going to be seeking more non-chemical means for treating plants.

Next Year’s Grammy Goes To…AI

🎤 The question of AI’s role in music is a hot topic, with a the House Judiciary committee discussing generative artificial intelligence and copyright laws in May.

  • The panel included legal and academic experts exploring the nuances of current laws, and how regulators and creators need to adapt to handle the deluge of generative content being trained on existing material. Artists whose livelihood depends on compensation for their works also gave testimony.

The hearing can be summarized by a fundamental question posed by NY congressman Jerry Nadler:

How can we promote innovation and further development of generative artificial intelligence models while also protecting the rights of creators, whose works are the engine that fuels these models, and who must compete with AI-generated work in the marketplace?

👨🏽‍🎤 The music industry moved one step closer to adoption, however, with The Recording Academy announcing that the 2024 Grammy Awards will allow music created with the help of AI tools.

While songs with “no human authorship” banned from the awards, a little AI boost will now be allowed. As Recording Academy CEO, Harvey Mason Jr, explains:

If there's an AI voice singing the song or AI instrumentation, we'll consider it. But in a songwriting-based category, it has to have been written mostly by a human. Same goes for performance categories—only a human performer can be considered for a Grammy.

Zombie AI-calypse

🧟‍♂️ On one side, you have AI revolutionizing industries and doing away with massive amounts of grunt work. On the other: zombies.

  • In his 2021 book, Being You: A New Science of Consciousness, cognitive and computational neuroscience professor Anil Seth explores the latest science behind consciousness.

In this excerpt, Seth weighs out how close AI is to achieving true consciousness.

  • “Running beneath many of these worries, especially the more existential and apocalyptic, is the assumption that AI will — at some point in its accelerating development — become conscious. This is the myth of the golem made silicon.”

Does Seth believe AI is on the verge of creating this myth? Not quite.

  • “If we persist in assuming that consciousness is intrinsically tied to intelligence, we may be too eager to attribute consciousness to artificial systems that appear to be intelligent, and too quick to deny it to other systems — such as other animals — that fail to match up to our questionable human standards of cognitive competence.”

AI Tool of the Week

⚒️ Adobe is all over AI tools. To stay competitive with the slew of generative tools hitting the marketplace, Photoshop has a remarkable tool in beta: Generative Fill.

Basically, you can take any photo and have Adobe’s AI recreate the broader landscape—or completely create a new one, all based on your prompts.

This isn’t the only tool allowing for such expansive thought: Dall-E 2 has its own fill feature, outpainting. Just like Adobe, you can prompt a range of ideas to expand your photography skills in previously undreamed of ways.