[News] The AI Thread!

News updates on the development and ramifications of AI. Obvious header joke is obvious.

Prederick wrote:

Writers are getting deepfaked on Amazon

(Platformer Link, requires membership or Free Trial)

CNN article on the same subject if you don't want to sign up.

Jane Friedman, who has authored multiple books and consulted about working in the writing and publishing industry, told CNN that an eagle-eyed reader looking for more of her work bought one of the fake titles on Amazon. The books had titles similar to the subjects she typically writes about, but the text read as if someone had used a generative AI model to imitate her style.

“When I started looking at these books, looking at the opening pages, looking at the bio, it was just obvious to me that it had been mostly, if not entirely, AI-generated … I have so much content available online for free, because I’ve been blogging forever, so it wouldn’t be hard to get an AI to mimic me” Friedman said.

With AI tools like ChatGPT now able to rapidly and cheaply pump out huge volumes of convincing text, some writers and authors have raised alarms about losing work to the new technology. Others have said they don’t want their work being used to train AI models, which could then be used to imitate them.

“Generative AI is being used to replace writers — taking their work without permission, incorporating those works into the fabric of those AI models and then offering those AI models to the public, to other companies, to use to replace writers,” Mary Rasenberger, CEO of the nonprofit authors advocacy group the Authors Guild, told CNN. “So you can imagine writers are a little upset about that.”

Last month, US lawmakers met with members of creative industries, including the Authors Guild, to discuss the implications of artificial intelligence. In a Senate subcommittee hearing, Rasenberger called for the creation of legislation to protect writers from AI, including rules that would require AI companies to be transparent about how they train their models. More than 10,000 authors — including James Patterson, Roxane Gay and Margaret Atwood — also signed an open letter calling on AI industry leaders like Microsoft and ChatGPT-maker OpenAI to obtain consent from authors when using their work to train AI models, and to compensate them fairly when they do.

Apropos of nothing, I saw just a fantastic post from an AI artist online a few days ago explaining how they love sharing their art but will not share their process due to concerns over it being stolen and replicated and.... like.... just....

Ultimately, it doesn't matter, but to me, that's just giving the game away, right there.

Paper exams, chatbot bans: Colleges seek to ‘ChatGPT-proof’ assignments

When philosophy professor Darren Hick came across another case of cheating in his classroom at Furman University last semester, he posted an update to his followers on social media: “Aaaaand, I’ve caught my second ChatGPT plagiarist.”

Friends and colleagues responded, some with wide-eyed emojis. Others expressed surprise.

“Only 2?! I’ve caught dozens,” said Timothy Main, a writing professor at Conestoga College in Canada. “We’re in full-on crisis mode.”

Practically overnight, ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence chatbots have become the go-to source for cheating in college.

Now, educators are rethinking how they’ll teach courses this fall from Writing 101 to computer science. Educators say they want to embrace the technology’s potential to teach and learn in new ways, but when it comes to assessing students, they see a need to “ChatGPT-proof” test questions and assignments.

For some instructors that means a return to paper exams, after years of digital-only tests. Some professors will be requiring students to show editing history and drafts to prove their thought process. Other instructors are less concerned. Some students have always found ways to cheat, they say, and this is just the latest option.

An explosion of AI-generated chatbots including ChatGPT, which launched in November, has raised new questions for academics dedicated to making sure that students not only can get the right answer, but also understand how to do the work. Educators say there is agreement at least on some of the most pressing challenges.

— Are AI detectors reliable? Not yet, says Stephanie Laggini Fiore, associate vice provost at Temple University. This summer, Fiore was part of a team at Temple that tested the detector used by Turnitin, a popular plagiarism detection service, and found it to be “incredibly inaccurate.” It worked best at confirming human work, she said, but was spotty in identifying chatbot-generated text and least reliable with hybrid work.

— Will students get falsely accused of using artificial intelligence platforms to cheat? Absolutely. In one case last semester, a Texas A&M professor wrongly accused an entire class of using ChatGPT on final assignments. Most of the class was subsequently exonerated.

— So, how can educators be certain if a student has used an AI-powered chatbot dishonestly? It’s nearly impossible unless a student confesses, as both of Hicks’ students did. Unlike old-school plagiarism where text matches the source it is lifted from, AI-generated text is unique each time.

In some cases, the cheating is obvious, says Main, the writing professor, who has had students turn in assignments that were clearly cut-and-paste jobs. “I had answers come in that said, ‘I am just an AI language model, I don’t have an opinion on that,’” he said.

I didn't know that paper tests had gone out to any great degree before COVID. That would definitely fix it. And show a renewed need for cursive writing (for speed).

Now I get why it's such a big problem. It's structural, since we have made testing a solo, on-demand process. Cheating was bad enough in the 80's. Hard to imagine what it's like now, and what succeeding at it will do to the ethics of today's students.

Bring back the little blue exam books you had to buy in the school store.

Feels to me like you could sniff out a lot of this cheating by making it a routine thing that students have to verbally present and discuss their papers. Make them demonstrate that they possess the understanding of the material in their paper, and press them on how they came to certain points and conclusions, and what ideas got left on the cutting room floor. If all they can do is regurgitate exactly what's on the page, you have your answer.

I certainly don't want to just totally dismiss the issue but it seems like this is much more the breaking point of an already existing issue than a totally new thing. The testing model in use has been known to be flawed for a long time now

ChatGPT In Trouble: OpenAI may go bankrupt by 2024, AI bot costs company $700,000 every day

OpenAI, the AI studio that practically started the conversation around AI among regular, non-technical folks, may be in massive trouble.

In its bid to become the face of generative AI through their AI chatbot ChatGPT, Sam Altman’s AI development studio has put itself in a position, where it might have to soon declare bankruptcy, as per a report by Analytics India Magazine.

Apparently, it costs OpenAI about $700,000 every day to run just one of its AI services – ChatGPT. As a result, Sam Altman’s OpenAI is burning through cash at the moment. Furthermore, despite their attempt to monetise GPT-3.5 and GPT-4, OpenAI is not generating enough revenue to break even at this point. This is leading to an alarming situation.

User base in decline

While OpenAI and ChatGPT opened up to a wild start and had a record-breaking number of sign-ups in its initial days, it has steadily seen its user base decline over the last couple of months. According to SimilarWeb, July 2023 saw its user base drop by 12 per cent compared to June – it went from 1.7 billion users to 1.5 billion users. Do note that this data only shows users who visited the ChatGPT website, and does not account for users who are using OpenAI’s APIs

OpenAI’s APIs are also a part of the problem. Many companies who were initially discouraging their employees from using ChatGPT are now buying access to OpenAI’s APIs and are creating their own AI chatbots, in a variety of different workflows.

The problem however, as Analytics India Magazine notes, is that there are several open-source LLM models that are free to use and are allowed to be repurposed, without any licensing issues. As a result, they can be properly customised and adapted to very specific use case scenarios that an organisation might have.

In such a case, why would someone choose OpenAI’s paid, proprietary, and restricted version, over the more adaptable and free-to-use LLaMA 2, especially given its potential superiority in specific scenarios?

Feels like an underpants gnomes business model they got there.

Phase 1: Run a service with insane operating expenses

Phase 2: ?

Phase 3: Profit

*Legion* wrote:

Feels like an underpants gnomes business model they got there.

Phase 1: Run a service with insane operating expenses

Phase 2: ?

Phase 3: Profit

It's the US. Phase 2 is "Give themselves exorbitant executive salaries, then when the company declares bankruptcy exempt themselves from any financial responsibility whatsoever".

Can we jack that cost per day up some more if we all spam ChatGPT with requests? Asking for a friend.

Easy, all they need to do is charge an exorbitant fee for the API, insult their power users, and then ask the AI how to get rich.



This is fine.

‘Embrace it or risk obsolescence’: how will AI jobs affect Hollywood?

Since actors joined writers on the picket line in July, the two guilds, on their first joint strike since 1960, have found a common locus of fear and frustration: the potential encroachment of artificial intelligence on their livelihoods.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) warns of the possibility that generative AI – the type of machine-learning systems capable of creating text, images and video, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT – could allow studios, represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), to cut costs by forgoing the employment of human writers for AI-produced scripts. The Screen Actors Guild (Sag-Aftra) is concerned with the use of digital likenesses, particularly after Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the guild’s chief negotiator, said studios proposed to pay background actors for a day’s work to use their images in perpetuity. (The AMPTP has disputed this claim as a “mischaracterization”.)

All the while, entertainment companies, or tech conglomerates with entertainment divisions, have continued to expand their human staff tasked with the development, research or management of AI. Last month, Netflix made headlines for a job listing for an AI product manager with an annual salary somewhere between $300,000 and $900,000 (according to Sag-Aftra, 87% of the guild’s actors make less than $26,000 a year). A review of Disney’s job board by the Guardian found at least a dozen roles related to machine learning, several of them within its media & entertainment division. Tech companies such as Amazon and Apple have, of course, numerous open machine learning positions, with some specifically tied to entertainment (a Seattle-based AI role for Prime Video Personalization and Discovery offers, according to the listing, “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape the future of TV for billions of viewers worldwide. We know our future success is inextricably tied to being a center of excellence in machine learning science and we invest in it.”).

Hollywood’s quiet AI hiring spree, first reported by the Hollywood Reporter and the Los Angeles Times, is not necessarily tied directly to AI-generated scripts or actors’ likenesses, nor are all the positions related to generative AI, the subject of much ethical debate and concern. But taken together, the push to expand AI employment indicates an industry-wide arms race to build up companies’ machine learning capabilities, cutting across many aspects of the business. “All of the studios see the opportunity,” said Dawn Chmielewski, a US entertainment business correspondent at Reuters and the co-author of Binge Times, a book on Hollywood’s streaming wars.

“Obviously, cost is a consideration, but also keeping abreast of the pace of technological change. The studios are not unfamiliar with how Silicon Valley can create a technology that suddenly and dramatically changes their business.”

Some of these positions build on existing AI capabilities within entertainment companies, which already use machine learning for recommendations, advertising and dubbing of foreign languages. Disney is hiring for US-based machine learning engineers for its recommendation algorithms at Hulu and Disney+; Netflix seeks an applied machine learning scientist for the globalization team ($150,000 to $700,000) to “develop algorithms that power high quality localization at scale” and “shape the future of localization and global entertainment at Netflix”.

Episode 68 of A More Civilized Age, the star wars rewatch podcast recently had a very interesting deep dive episode about the strikes with Adam Conover, who has participated in the strike negotiations for one of the guilds. It's really good.

AI-generated works are not covered by copyright.

Note that because the "painter" indicated in his copyright filing that the software did this autonomously, without any input from him, that was what the judge in this case used for his examination as to whether the US Copyright Office made the right decision. Because of the way appealing a decision on copyright works, no new information can be used. The judge can only look at whether the Copyright office applied the law in the proper manner.

Under current jurisprudence, non-humans are not entitled to IP protection.

There is a future discussion that will need to be had by IP Offices around the world in order to set some guidelines that will determine at what point does a human giving a detailed and specific set of instructions to an AI piece of software result in it being copyrightable?

By that I mean the following:

Computer - make a painting in the style of [artist X] with a moon, clouds and a traintrack.

That would not be entitled to copyright.

Computer - Make a painting in the style of [artist X] with 1/3 of a crescent moon visible at the top of the painting. There should be storm clouds in the distance with 2 or three bolts of lightning hitting the ground, and one arcing from cloud to cloud. There should be some kids on swingsets that are illuminated by two late-model SUVs that appear to have been driven through many mud puddles and have some rust patches around the wheel wells. One child should be a boy between 7 and 8, the other of undefined gender around 14 years old. There should be some adults sitting at a round picnic table made of faded plastic with cigarette burns on it and a broken umbrella in the middle...

At what point does the giving of instructions to a piece of software to make a drawing turn from the AI doing it blindly, to a human using it?

Consciousness in Artificial Intelligence: Insights from the Science of Consciousness - a great big sweeping review of current theories and studies.

From the abstract: "Our analysis suggests that no current AI systems are conscious, but also shows that there are no obvious barriers to building conscious AI systems."

They are still using neuroscientific understandings to judge consciousness.

Robear wrote:

They are still using neuroscientific understandings to judge consciousness. :-)

They still can't define consciousness.

"Define" is a tricky word. There are functional measures of consciousness that work well in clinical settings, for coma patients and patients under anesthesia. There are fMRI and EEG indicators of various levels of consciousness. We also have a good handle on many of the brain mechanisms that underlie consciousness. What we don't have is a complete understanding of how it works, although there are a number of competing hypotheses currently being ferociously contested.

My understanding is that we can *define* consciousness - According to Goldfine and Schiff, "Consciousness: It's Neurobiology and the Major Classes of Impairment", 2011:

Normal human consciousness is defined as the presence of a wakeful arousal state and the awareness and motivation to respond to self and/or environmental events. In the intact brain, arousal is the overall level of responsiveness to environmental stimuli.

This is important, because all we know of what consciousness looks like comes from our understanding of it in humans and animals. We don't have, as far as I know, any instances of what some sort of *different* consciousness would look like. All we can do right now is to shoot for something that makes us say "There, that resembles us!".

We can use it, we can define it usefully, we can understand many of the underlying mechanisms. What we lack is the big picture. Why are we conscious, how did it arrive, and how do we distinguish any *particular* state as conscious or unconscious. In sum, what does it mean "to be" something conscious? A fish, or a platypus, or a human, as opposed to being - experiencing the world as - something else, or not being conscious?

Also important to point out that the most advanced and highly detailed machine we have to record brain activity - the fmri machine you mention - is like looking at a computer monitor coated in three feet of Vaseline. The things it tells us are vague and fuzzy at best.

That definition of consciousness you quote is a spectrum that also includes all living things, including plants and single celled creatures, which limits its usefulness. It also doesn’t limit things to individual living things; a super organism like a beehive or ant colony possesses consciousness. Heck you can argue that cities like New York or Tokyo are conscious.

What point are you trying to make by noting that fMRI results are "blurry"? They have proven extremely useful over time. Are you saying that those results are uniformly unreliable? Given that in these devices, we can reliably distinguish between states of consciousness verified by other testing, I'm unsure why it matters.

A test that just ruled out certain living things arbitrarily would not really be useful, as you want to it to be able to identify both conscious and non-conscious entities. That width of definition actually increases usefulness, in the standard account.

But I have not seen evidence that an ant colony or a city is conscious. Is there such? How do we know an ant colony or a city is self-aware?

The average fmri has a resolution of about 3-4mm. A really really good one can get down to a little under a millimeter. There are about 50,000 neurons and 700 million synapses in that space. Fmri’s cannot tell us anything about what is going on at a cellular level.

The best an fmri machine can do is, at a very rudimentary level, allow us to map the boundaries of different areas of the brain, and tell us - again at a very rudimentary level - when those areas are engorged with blood. It can tell us, as an example, and without any type of precision, approximately where the primary somatosensory cortex ends and where the somatomotor cortex begins. If your brain is a skyscraper, an fmri machine can tell you what floor the gathering is at but it can’t tell you whether it’s a party or a business meeting, let alone who is leading it or how many people used the bathroom.

As you know, fmri machines also do not actually measure any type of brain activity directly, since brain activity is electrical and all the fmri can do is measure blood and oxygen flow. Now, that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful - but it’s sure a lot less useful the average layperson or soft scientist seems to imagine based on my conversations with them. And sure, an EEG measures electricity but only at the surface level of the brain. That’s certainly not helpful when discussing the location or origination or chemical makeup of consciousness.

Additionally, fmri machines only work when the brain is held super still. Any type of movement renders the output unusable, which means to this day we can’t confirm what the blood flow in a moving brain looks like.

If you want more musings on whether a super organism or a city is conscious according to one (or any) of our many, many attempts to define the term, check out David Eagleman, neuroscientist at Stanford. He has a lecture in podcast form where he argues that superorganisms and cities fulfill our definition of consciousness. In fact he argues that the human animal brain can be considered a super organism more akin to a beehive than a single organ.

I don’t agree with Eagleman on a few specific items, but his experiments that show that our brain’s concept of “bullet time” in high stress situations is the result of our long term memories being handled by the amygdala during those encounters and not due to us having increased reaction time alone are enough to make him an impressive figure in the study of conciousness. He also does a ton of work with synthesthesia which is extremely fascinating.

Edit: to clarify, when I use words like imprecise or rudimentary, I’m talking about anything less than a clear, precise brain observation at least at the cellular level, and preferably at the molecular or subatomic level. Clearly anything better than what the fmri machine can do is currently nonexistent, but we’ll need that level of granularity to rule out panpsychism, the idea that consciousness is a characteristic that exists at the quantum level. A theory that’s not as crazy as you might think!

Thank you! I should note that I am still a Functionalist and feel no need to unify physicalism and dualism. I'm very much in the camp of Dr. Daniel Dennett, as a reference point.

Inside the AI Porn Marketplace Where Everything and Everyone Is for Sale

On CivitAI, a site for sharing image-generating AI models, users can browse thousands of models that can produce any kind of pornographic scenario they can dream of, trained on real images of real people scraped without consent from every corner of the internet.

The “Erect Horse Penis - Concept LoRA,” an image-generating AI model that instantly produces images of women with erect horse penises as their genitalia, has been downloaded 16,000 times, and has an average score of five out of five stars, despite criticism from users.

“For some reason adding ‘hands on hips’ to the prompt completely breaks this [model]. Generates just the balls with no penis 100% of the time. What a shame,” one user commented on the model. The creator of the model apologized for the error in a reply and said they hoped the problem will be solved in a future update.

The “C**k on head (the dickhead pose LoRA),” which has been downloaded 8,854 times, generates what its title describes: images of women with penises resting on their heads. The “Rest on stomach, feet up (pose)” has been downloaded 19,250 times. “these images are trained from public images from Reddit (ex. r/innie). Does not violate any [terms of service]. Pls do not remove <3,” wrote the creator of the “Realistic Vaginas - Innie P***y 1” model, which has been downloaded more than 75,000 times. The creator of the “Instant C*mshot” model, which has been downloaded 64,502 times, said it was “Trained entirely on images of professional adult actresses, as freeze frames from 1080p+ video.”

While the practice is technically not allowed on CivitAI, the site hosts image generating AI models of specific real people, which can be combined with any of the pornographic AI models to generate non-consensual sexual images. 404 Media has seen the non-consensual sexual images these models enable on CivitAI, its Discord, and off its platform.

A 404 Media investigation shows that recent developments in AI image generators have created an explosion of communities where people share knowledge to advance this practice, for fun or profit. Foundational to the community are previously unreported but popular websites that allow anyone to generate millions of these images a month, limited only by how fast they can click their mouse, and how quickly the cloud computing solutions powering these tools can fill requests. The sheer number of people using these platforms and non-consensual sexual images they create show that the AI porn problem is far worse than has been previously reported.

The Specter of AI-Generated 'Leaked Songs' Is Tearing the Harry Styles Fandom Apart

Discord communities within the Harry Styles and One Direction fandom are tearing themselves apart over “leaked snippets” of supposed demo songs that may or may not be AI-generated and are being sold to superfans for hundreds of dollars each.

The controversy has turned into a days-long crowdsourced investigation and communitywide obsession, in which no one is really sure what’s real, what’s fake, whether they’re being scammed, or who or what made the songs that they’re listening to.

Over the last few weeks, a flurry of Harry Styles and One Direction snippets—which are short samples of a track designed to prove legitimacy so people will pay of the full thing—have begun popping up on YouTube, TikTok, and, most importantly, Discord, where they are being sold. The problem is no one can tell which, if any, of the songs are real, including AI-analysis companies who listened to the tracks for 404 Media.

“400$ FOR TWO OUTTAKES,” Wxytiv posted in a Discord beneath two snippets called Part_of_Me_snip.mp3 and I_Just_Wanna_Love_You_snip.mp3. In another Discord, they posted multiple “Announcements” per day teasing the release of leaked tracks and repeatedly threatening to leave the Discord forever if people don’t show sufficient deference to them: “Would y’all like to proceed to a group-buy for Don’t Let It Break You Heart multitracks + 2 other version ? 125/$250.” In a separate but connected Discord called THEFINAL, users are directed to PayPal money to a few different accounts to buy the full songs: “I’m sending $1 but I’m sending more when I get paid sorry,” one user posted.

Meanwhile, Styles fans are readily sending money via PayPal to a series of middlemen who claim to have the full tracks. They are also dissecting copyright databases looking for any evidence of the songs’ existence, checking to see if the snippets are deleted from social media via copyright takedown from the rights holders as “proof” they are real, and reaching out to anyone associated with One Direction in an attempt to try to learn more information about the songs.

Which also reminds me of this article from a few months ago:

Inside the Discord Where Thousands of Rogue Producers Are Making AI Music

UTOP-AI, the album created by the Discord community, features original songs using AI-generated vocals from famous artists including Travis Scott, Drake, Baby Keem, and Playboi Carti. Qo, Snoop Dogg, and twenty other people involved in the AI Hub community worked on it.

This album puts into practice what drew Qo and Dogg to AI music in the first place—the ability to create material for artists they wish to hear more of. “If you're not aware, Utopia is an upcoming album that Travis Scott has been teasing for quite some time, but has never been released. A couple of members decided ‘You know what? We should just make Utopia ourselves at this point. We have the technology now.’ It's entirely written and produced by community members, and is being released sometime soon,” AI Hub's Snoop Dogg said.

“We have a lot of very talented vocalists and producers that have worked on it,” Qo said before the album's release. “The only issue now is that our first single to it was just striked, as it was blowing up on tiktok, so we are unsure of where we will be putting it for streaming. Most likely it will be exclusively YouTube and Soundcloud.”

After the album was released on YouTube on Saturday, it was taken down about three hours later after being flagged for copyright by Warner Music Group. It was also taken down due to copyright infringement on Soundcloud but has since been reuploaded on YouTube by a fan account.

“It got ~150k plays on SoundCloud and ~17k total on YouTube with 500 people watching the premiere,” Qo said.

The album had a disclaimer in the description section stating that the video is exempt from copyright laws under the Fair Use doctrine, which states that people are allowed to use copyrighted materials for free for select purposes, including non-profit and educational purposes. Whether or not something is Fair Use is determined based on four factors: the purpose of the use, the nature of the original copyrighted work, the amount of the work used in proportion to its whole, and the effect of the new work on the market it belongs to.

The Fair Use argument is what many AI music creators are using to defend their work, stating that they are not profiting off of the music and instead, are either parodying the song or making songs for educational purposes.

“The fan and consumer experience as it relates to music is bigger than the music itself. Fandom is created through experience, concept and the personal relationships that fans have with their favorite artists,” Fowlkes said. “Still, it's important that artists have control over their art.”

Because AI is so new, Fowlkes said there is still no concrete definition or criteria that have determined what exactly about an AI song infringes copyright.

“There really isn't any precedent that states that someone's vocal tone is copyrightable so the two most obvious legal issues relate to the right of publicity and the ingestion of copyrighted material to create new works,” he added. “The right of publicity extends the legal right to control how your name, image and likeness is commercially exploited by others which can extend to someone's voice. Additionally, although the Drake and The Weeknd replica song didn't explicitly sample any lyrics from their songs, the way the new song was created was by directly ingesting Drake, The Weeknd and Metro Boomin songs to create something that sounds similar to their work. The way AI is trained feels like a major hurdle for any argument against copyright infringement.”