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Read Now: Why Silicon Valley is fertile ground for obscure religious beliefs – 101 Latest News



Why Silicon Valley is fertile ground for obscure religious beliefs

#Silicon #Valley #fertile #ground #obscure #religious #beliefs

It wasn’t science that convinced Google engineer Blake Lemoine that one of the company’s AIs is sentient. Lemoine, who is also an ordained Christian mystic priest, says it was the AI’s comments about religion, as well as his “personal, spiritual beliefs,” that helped persuade him the technology had thoughts, feelings, and a soul.

“I’m a priest. When LaMDA claimed to have a soul and then was able to eloquently explain what it meant by that, I was inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt,” Lemoine said in a recent tweet. “Who am I to tell God where he can and can’t put souls?”

Lemoine is probably wrong — at least from a scientific perspective. Prominent AI researchers as well as Google say that LaMDA, the conversational language model that Lemoine was studying at the company, is very powerful, and is advanced enough that it can provide extremely convincing answers to probing questions without actually understanding what it’s saying. Google suspended Lemoine after the engineer, among other things, hired a lawyer for LaMDA, and started talking to the House Judiciary Committee about the company’s practices. Lemoine alleges that Google is discriminating against him because of his religion.

Still, Lemoine’s beliefs have sparked significant debate, and serve as a stark reminder that as AI gets more advanced, people will come up with all sorts of far-out ideas about what the technology is doing, and what it signifies to them.

“Because it’s a machine, we don’t tend to say, ‘It’s natural for this to happen,’” Scott Midson, a University of Manchester liberal arts professor who studies theology and posthumanism, told Recode. “We almost skip and go to the supernatural, the magical, and the religious.”

It’s worth pointing out that Lemoine is hardly the first Silicon Valley figure to make claims about artificial intelligence that, at least on the surface, sound religious. Ray Kurzweil, a prominent computer scientist and futurist, has long promoted the “Singularity,” which is the notion that AI will eventually outsmart humanity, and that humans could ultimately merge with the tech. Anthony Levandowski, who cofounded Google’s self-driving car startup, Waymo, started the Way of the Future, a church devoted entirely to artificial intelligence in 2015 (the church was dissolved in 2020). Even some practitioners of more traditional faiths have begun incorporating AI, including robots that dole out blessings and advice.

Optimistically, it’s possible that some people could find real comfort and wisdom in the answers provided by artificial intelligence. Religious ideas could also guide the development of AI, and perhaps, make the technology ethical. But at the same time, there are real concerns that come with thinking about AI as anything more than technology created by humans.

I recently spoke to Midson about these concerns. We not only run the risk of glamorizing AI, and losing sight of its very real flaws, he told me, but also of enabling Silicon Valley’s effort to hype up a technology that’s still far less sophisticated than it appears. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Rebecca Heilweil

Let’s start with the big story that came out of Google a few weeks ago. How common is it that someone with religious views believes that AI or technology has a soul, or that it’s something more than just technology?

Scott Midson

While this story sounds really surprising — the idea of religion and technology coming together — the early history of these machines and religion actually makes this idea of religious motives in computers and machines a lot more common.

If we go back into the Middle Ages, the medieval period, there were automata, which were basically self-moving devices. There’s one particular automata, a mechanical monk, that was particularly designed to encourage people to reflect on the intricacies of God’s creation. Its movement was designed to call upon that religious reverence. At the time, the world was seen as an intricate mechanism, and God as the big clockwork designer.

Jumping from the mechanical monk to a different type of mechanical monk: Very recently, a German church in Hesse and Nassau made BlessU-2 to commemorate the 500-year anniversary of the Reformation. BlessU-2 was basically a glorified cash machine that would dispense blessings and move its arms and have this big, religious, ritualized kind of thing. There were a lot of mixed reactions to it. One in particular, was an old woman who was saying that, actually, a blessing that she got from this robot was really meaningful. It was a particular one that had significance to her, and she was saying, “Well, actually, something’s going on here, something that I can’t explain.”

Rebecca Heilweil

In the world of Silicon Valley and tech spaces, what kinds of other similar claims have popped up?

Scott Midson

For some people, particularly in Silicon Valley, there’s a lot of hype and money that can get attached to grandiose claims like, “My AI is conscious.” It brings a lot of attention. It activates a lot of people’s imaginations precisely because religion tends to go beyond what we can explain. It’s that supernatural attachment.

There’s a lot of people that will willingly fan the flames of these conversations in order to sustain the hype. I think one of the things that can be quite dangerous is where that hype isn’t kept in check.

Rebecca Heilweil

Every so often, I’ll be talking with Alexa or Siri and ask some big life questions. For instance, if you ask Siri if God is real, the bot will respond: “It’s all a mystery to me.” There was also this recent example of a journalist asking GPT-3, the language model created by the AI research lab OpenAI, about Judaism and seeing how good its answers could be. Sometimes the answers from these machines seem really inane, but other times they seem really wise. Why is that?

Scott Midson

Joseph Weizenbaum designed Eliza, the world’s first chatbot. Weizenbaum did some experiments with Eliza, which was just a rudimentary chatbot, a language processing software. Eliza was designed to emulate a Rogerian psychotherapist, so your average counselor, basically. Weizenbaum didn’t tell participants that they were going to be talking to a machine, but they were told, you’re going to be interacting through a computer with a therapist. People would say, “I’m feeling quite sad about my family” and then Eliza would pick up on the word “family.” It would pick up on certain parts of the sentence, and then almost throw it back as a question. Because that’s what we expect from a therapist; there’s no meaning that we expect from them. It is that reflective screen, where a computer doesn’t need to understand what it’s saying to convince us that it’s doing its job as a therapist.

This Recode reporter had a brief chat with a re-creation of the Eliza chatbot that’s available on the web.

We’ve got a lot more complex AI software, software that can contextualize words in sentences. Google’s LaMDA technology has a lot of sophistication. It’s not just looking for a simple word in the sentence. It can contextually locate words in different kinds of structures and settings. So it gives you the impression that it knows what it’s talking about. One of the key sticking points around conversations around chatbots is, how much does the interlocutor — the machine that we’re talking to — genuinely understand what is being said?

Rebecca Heilweil

Are there examples of bots that don’t provide particularly good answers?

Scott Midson

There’s a lot of caution about what these machines do and don’t do. It’s all about how they convince you that they understand and those kinds of things. Noel Sharkey is a prominent theorist in this field. He really does not like these robots that convince you that they can do more than they actually can do. He calls them “show bots.” One of the main examples that he uses of the show bots is Sophia, the robot which has been given honorary citizenship status in Saudi Arabia. This is more than a basic chatbot because it is in a robot body. You can clearly tell that Sophia is a robot, for no other reason than the fact that the back of its head is a transparent casing, and you can see all the wires and things.

For Sharkey, all of this is just an illusion. This is just smoke and mirrors. Sophia doesn’t actually warrant personhood status by any stretch of the imagination. It doesn’t understand what it’s saying. It doesn’t have hopes, dreams, feelings, or anything that would make it as human as it might appear. The fact is, duping people is problematic. It has a lot of swing-and-miss phrases. It sometimes malfunctions, or says questionable, eyebrow-raising things. But even where it is at its most transparent, we are still going along with some level of illusion.

There’s a lot of times when robots have that “It’s a puppet on a string” thing. It’s not doing as many independent things as we think it is. We’ve also had robots going to testimonials. Pepper the robot went to a government testimonial about AI. It was a House of Lords evidence hearing session, and it sounded like Pepper was speaking for himself, saying all the things. It was all pre-programmed, and that wasn’t entirely transparent to everyone. And again, it’s that misapprehension. It’s managing the hype that I think is the big concern.

Rebecca Heilweil

It kind of reminds me of that scene from The Wizard of Oz where the real wizard is finally revealed. How does the conversation around whether or not AI is sentient relate to the other important discussions happening about AI right now?

Scott Midson

Microsoft Tay was another chatbot that was sent out into Twitter and had a machine algorithm where it would learn from its interaction with people in the Twittersphere. Trouble is, Tay was trolled and within 16 hours had to be pulled from Twitter because it was misogynistic, homophobic, and racist.

How these robots — whether sentient or not — are made very much in our image is another huge set of ethical issues. A lot of algorithms will be trained on datasets that are entirely human. They speak of our history, of our interactions, and they’re inherently biased. There are demonstrations of algorithms that are biased on the basis of race.

The question of sentience? I can see it as a bit of a red herring, but actually, it’s also tied into how we make machines in our image and what we do with that image.

Rebecca Heilweil

Timnit Gebru and Margaret Mitchell, two prominent AI ethics researchers, raised this concern before they were both fired by Google: by thinking about the sentience discussion and the AI as a freestanding thing, we might miss the fact that the AI is created by humans.

Scott Midson

We almost see the machine in a certain way, as detached, or even kind of God-like, in some ways. Going back to that black box: There’s this thing that we don’t understand, it’s kind of religious-like, it’s amazing, it’s got incredible potential. If we watch all these adverts about these technologies, it’s going to save us. But if we see it in that kind of detached way, if we see it as kind of God-like, what does that encourage for us?

This story was first published in the Recode newsletter. Sign up here so you don’t miss the next one!


Read Now: Macs, MR, and more: Everything coming from Apple in a jam-packed June – 101 Latest News



WWDC 2023: Tim Cook steht vor einer Herausforderung

#Macs #coming #Apple #jampacked #June

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Read Now: Best iPhone 14 Camera Accessories – CNET – 101 Latest News



Best iPhone 14 Camera Accessories     - CNET

#iPhone #Camera #Accessories #CNET

$90 at Amazon

Aputure MC LED video light

Powerful lighting on a budget

$100 at PolarPro

PolarPro Apex Minimalist tripod

PolarPro Apex Minimalist tripod

Our favorite iPhone tripod (Update: Out of stock)

Not too long ago, photographers used to laugh at smartphones. A lot has changed over the years, however, with many phone launches focusing on the cameras themselves. Now smartphones can take impressive photos on par with even the best cameras. All you need is some additional gear, and you can be shooting photos that border on professional-grade. 

The iPhone 14 and 14 Pro offer excellent features that creative professionals will enjoy, like multiple rear cameras — including a superwide-angle lens — that can capture incredible photos and videos. 

Perhaps the most notable, however, is the addition of ProRes, which started in the previous generation and is available on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. It enables you to produce a far more professional-looking postproduction look. This means that, now, creative professionals can incorporate these phones into their productions. 

And sure, you can simply walk outside with your phone and snag some beautiful footage, but there’s a wealth of iPhone 14 accessories you can use that’ll help elevate both your videos and photos to new levels to wow your followers.

Here’s our list of the best gear to pair with your iPhone to give your shots a boost. Every iPhone 14 accessory listed here has been tested by us to make sure it works as well as it’s supposed to. If it didn’t impress, it didn’t make the list. Look no further if you’re after the best iPhone filming accessories to take your skills to the next level. These excellent accessories will make shooting a breeze. 

Read more: Best iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro Cases You Can Buy Right Now

The best iPhone camera accessories 

There’s no one accessory that by itself will revolutionize your iPhone photography, as different products bring different things to the table. I love the Moment Anamorphic lens as it lets you achieve a stunning cinematic look with your phone. DJI’s phone gimbal meanwhile provides superb stability to get super smooth-looking shots, while the Aputure MC LED video light simply lets you light up the scene you’re shooting when the sun goes down. 

But an LED light will do nothing to improve your audio, so you’ll need to look towards the Rode VideoMicro if sound quality is important. These items all add something different to your photo and video production and used together let you take your mobile video production to a whole new level. Want some inspiration? Here’s my guide for shooting better video with your phone. 

SmallRig Mobile Video Cage

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Camera cages are common tools that let you attach a wide variety of accessories to a DSLR, including lights, microphones, handles and external monitors. SmallRig’s new mobile cage offers much the same functionality, but for your iPhone, and with multiple mounting points around the edge to attach whatever accessories you need like microphones. 

I’ve been using the cage with an attached Aperture LED light, PolarPro tripod and Rode microphone (all seen below), which makes for an incredible mobile vlogging rig. SmallRig also offers various attachments of its own, including top and side handles, which help provide stability when you’re hand-holding while filming. The cage is solidly built from aluminum, has bayonet lens mounts (see below), and has a convenient clasp for easily slotting your phone in and out. 

Moment Anamorphic lens

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Anamorphic lenses are normally something you’d find in a professional cinematographer’s kit bag. These lenses provide a wider aspect ratio that you get in a wide angle lens, along with distinctive blue-line lens flares that give footage a much more filmic quality. Moment’s mobile anamorphic lens does exactly that for your iPhone.

Clip it on and it’ll squeeze your footage into the shorter, wide shots format that completely transforms the look of the video you can take from your phone. I’ve absolutely loved the look of my phone footage using the lens and it’s a must-have for any budding film producers wanting to up their game with their phone. 

You’ll need to shoot with apps like Filmic Pro that let you “unsqueeze” the footage so it doesn’t look all distorted on most cameras. The lens uses a bayonet mount that attaches to compatible cases, including Moment’s own ones or a variety of third-party options, including the SmallRig cage mentioned above.

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Aputure MC LED video light

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

iPhone cameras don’t have the greatest lighting, so having a backup light is always a good idea. This USB-C rechargeable video light is packed with LED lights and is small enough to fit into the palm of your hand but puts out a huge amount of light when you’re short of proper lighting.

It’s great for lighting up your subjects, whether that’s for portraits, product photography or macro or to light up yourself if you’re vlogging at night. The power output is easily adjustable, as is the color temperature of the light. 

It also has a variety of creative light effects to spice up your production, including simulations of fireworks, lightning, a flickering fireplace or the flashing red and blue of police car lights.

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DJI Om 5 gimbal

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The iPhone 14’s built-in image stabilization is already superb, but for an even smoother ride, consider using a dedicated gimbal like DJI’s OM 5. It evens out all but the most aggressive movements, allowing you to get smooth tracking footage of you running behind your subject as you film a chase scene. 

It also has a built-in extendable selfie stick, which not only makes it great for YouTube vloggers, but also allows for more creative angles by holding it up higher, or even flipping it over and having the camera run close to the ground or through grasses.

Rode VideoMicro microphone

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Recording good audio for your vlogs or your next iPhone-based short film is crucial, and while the iPhone does a decent job of capturing audio, a dedicated microphone will take things to the next level. Rode’s VideoMicro shotgun mic can plug into your phone’s Lightning port (via an adapter) and provides crystal-clear audio when recording with the standard iPhone camera app or any third-party video app, making it one of the best iPhone camera accessories on the market. 

I love using it on top of my phone for vlogging and the included wind shield is superb for cutting out wind noise when working on location. Alternatively, get a 3.5mm extension cable and you can try using the mic on the end of a boom pole for recording audio in a conversation you’re filming.

It’s a great investment if you’re looking for a directional microphone.

Profoto B10

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

At $1,349, industry goliath Profoto’s B10 studio flash will be little more than a pipe dream for most. But if you want to get truly professional lighting on location or in a studio using your iPhone, the B10 is second is one of the best iPhone camera accessories. . This pro flash is designed primarily for use with DSLRs but can also be used with iPhones and Android phones via the Profoto app. If you’re ready to take your smartphone photography to the next level, it allows you to get shots with your phone that would simply not be possible to achieve without it. 

Sure, most pros probably wouldn’t consider shooting a major project on just their phone, but it’s a potentially great backup in case of camera failure, or simply a lightweight and convenient way to test ideas in the field without hauling bags of gear around.

It also comes with a carrying case that will protect it from other elements. Its rechargeable battery provides a battery life that can provide more than 400 full flashes.

Moment MagSafe tripod

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Rather than use screw clamps to secure your phone in place, Moment’s tripod mount uses Apple’s MagSafe system, which makes it incredibly quick to pop your phone in place and start shooting. When you’re done, just rip your phone away from the magnetic disk and pop it back in your pocket. Easy!

The minimalist approach to the mount’s design makes it extremely compact so it’s no hassle to always carry it with you for when inspiration strikes. The magnets are strong, too, so you don’t need to worry about your phone popping loose while you’re walking along. It’s available as a mount by itself, or with the cold-shoe bracket (pictured) to attach a microphone when vlogging.

PolarPro Apex Minimalist tripod

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Having a solid tripod can make all the difference in getting stable, wobble-free video, particularly if you want to put yourself in the frame. PolarPro’s Apex Minimalist tripod is a great option for mobile producers, as its compact size means it’s easy to chuck into a backpack, but it’s burly enough to support bigger cameras should you need to. 

I love using it for static shots, and for holding my phone up to shoot vlogs while walking around. It comes either with an integrated twist-locking ball head, or as the tripod legs only. I prefer the latter as it allows me to use my own compact ball heads, which are more stable with heavier loads.

How we test iPhones

We test phones in real-world scenarios, looking at the performance of the processor, battery and cameras, and judge how each model compares to its competition. We take value into account, as well as extra features like storage, connectivity, software additions and anything else that will make a real difference to your life with the product. 

Accessories like the ones seen in this list are treated in exactly the same way; they’re put to real-world use both indoors and outside, evaluating how well they perform and whether they’re worth the money. Everything that’s featured here has been tested by our own fair hands and if it didn’t impress, it didn’t make the list. 

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Read Now: Ford offering flexible EV leases to Uber drivers – 101 Latest News



Ford offering flexible EV leases to Uber drivers

#Ford #offering #flexible #leases #Uber #drivers

Ford is teaming up with Uber to offer flexible leases on electric vehicles to rideshare drivers.

Uber is under pressure from governments around the world to get more of its drivers into EVs to reduce tailpipe pollution and fight climate change. And Ford is eager to get more of its Mustang Mach-Es on the road as it pours billions of dollars into EV production while incurring huge losses.

Under the new Ford Drive program, Uber drivers would be able to lease a Mustang Mach-E for flexible terms, either one or four-months, depending on the location. And there are other benefits as well. According to Ford:

The vehicle is delivered to the driver within two weeks, and they use the Ford Drive app to manage payments and service. In each city, the Ford Drive team works with local dealers to purchase a fleet of Mach-Es. Service and maintenance of those vehicles are conducted through dealers as well. 

But the lease program won’t have a wide rollout yet. To start out, the companies are piloting the program in three cities: San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Ford Drive actually launched already in San Diego, with Ford leasing 150 EVs to Uber drivers in 2022. California is the biggest EV market in the US, and the biggest market for EVs driven on Uber’s ridehail platform.

Uber has been operating its own EV ridehail service in dozens of cities since last year. Only premium EVs, like Tesla, Polestar, and, of course, the Ford Mustang Mach-E, would be considered eligible for Comfort Electric trips. It will sit alongside the company’s other EV product, Uber Green, which gives drivers an extra fee (usually $1) to use electric vehicles.

This is the second major partnership to be announced by Ford in recent days. Last week, the automaker said it would adopt Tesla’s EV charging standard in the interest of opening up Elon Musk’s dependable and widespread charging network to Ford EV owners.

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