Apple reportedly prepping a pair of high-end Mac desktops ahead of WWDC

ARS Technica - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 08:51
Apple's Mac Studio desktop.

Enlarge / Apple's Mac Studio desktop. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

As Apple rumors go, the long-rumored 15-inch MacBook Air sounds almost certain to be announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference next week. But as Apple’s plans take shape, it also seems possible that we’ll see new Mac desktops featuring high-end M2 Max and M2 Ultra chips.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman believes that these new chips are most likely to power an updated range of Mac Studio desktops, a little over a year after the first Studios were initially introduced. As recently as a few months ago, Gurman speculated that the M2 generation would skip over the Mac Studio entirely and that Apple would instead opt to use the newer chips as a selling point for a new Apple Silicon Mac Pro.

But that version of reality may not come to pass. Gurman says these new Mac models have Mac14,3 and Mac14,4 model identifiers, while the Mac Pro that Apple is testing internally is identified as Mac14,8. (We initially thought these no-adjective model identifiers were a throwback to the PowerPC days, but the reality is more boring; Apple just isn’t using unique Mac names in model identifiers anymore, possibly to combat leaks and the speculation that arises when new IDs break cover.)

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Categories: Tech News

Bobby McFerrin’s Circlesongs project has everyone singing for joy

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 08:45

Just about every Monday afternoon at Freight & Salvage, Bobby McFerrin reenacts the creation of the universe.

No stars or planets coalesce in the venerable Berkeley venue, but sitting on stage flanked by the four vocalists in his ensemble Motion, the NEA Jazz Master taps into a protean force conjured by spontaneously generated melodies and rhythms.

Since November 2021, the vocal sorcerer has convened Circlesongs at the Freight, encounters that are both Motion performances and open mic sessions in which audience members can join McFerrin, Tammi Brown, Bryan Dyer, David Worm and Destani Wolf to start new rounds of improvisation. You never know who might drop by. Grammy Award-winning jazz violinist Mads Tolling has joined the fray and a few weeks ago Phish bassist Mike Gordon checked out the scene.

In a departure from the Monday meetings, McFerrin is bringing Circlesongs to the weekend with evening Motion performances at the Freight June 1 and 2. The idea is to make the practice as accessible as possible, while offering a taste of the immersive experience available at the CirclesongSchool retreat taking place at Grace Cathedral July 24-29.

For McFerrin, everything’s going according to his planless plan. He started the Freight sessions looking for a situation to heal his voice and spirit after a few rough years. Calling Worm, a longtime compadre, he said, “We’re going to improvise, not continuously but throughout,” McFerrin recalled in a January interview shortly before he received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award. “I want nothing more than to sing with other people.”

McFerrin brings a singular body of experience to presiding over the Circlesong sessions. He’s conducted the world’s greatest orchestras, scored a chart-topping pop hit with 1988’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” and has performed and recorded with a succession of fellow musical adventurers, including Yo-Yo Ma, Chick Corea, and Herbie Hancock.

Watching him lead Circlesongs brings to mind recent essays by Ted Gioia, the dauntingly original music writer who lived in Palo Alto for many years. He’s been publishing a new book, “Music to Raise the Dead,” chapter by chapter, on Substack, and he argues that music’s essential role in human evolution is largely uncredited in contemporary musicology.

“In ancient myths, we hear of the world literally being sung into being out of chaos,” Gioia writes, “and that’s true whether we’re discussing the quasi-magical Songlines of Aboriginal culture in Australia or Shiva creating the universe, in Hindu iconography, with a damaru, an hourglass-shaped drum of tremendous antiquity, or a host of other mythic traditions.”

In his ability to absorb and channel any new sound that enters the Circlesong orbit, McFerrin seems to embody music’s generative power, creating harmony and groove out of disorder. The process is as much a spiritual calling as a creative practice, though McFerrin might argue that’s there’s really no distinction.

In many ways finding a community to sing with lifted McFerrin out of a debilitating bout of depression. He and his wife Deb had moved back to San Francisco in 2019 after two decades in the Philadelphia area, and he was dealing with the onset of Parkinson’s.

“I went through a period of depression because I wasn’t singing anymore, and the voice I did have was flawed,” he said. “I couldn’t get any sound. I didn’t have much control over it. And it took me about a year and a half to get through it.”

It was her upbringing in the Black church, rather than her formal musical training, that provided a path into Motion for Santa Cruz singer Tammi Brown. At the initial gatherings McFerrin convened for the Motion singers to get to know each other, “I felt a lot of trepidation,” she said.

It’s not that she was unfamiliar with improvisation. An accomplished jazz singer who earned national attention for her work on the award-winning album “Lost American JazzBook,” she was used to “a very organized way of presenting music,” she said, like her June 24 concert at Kuumbwa “Tammi Brown Sings Ella.”

In getting accustomed to responding to open mic contributions by people who might not be trained musicians, she found herself drawing on her church background. “There’s a moaning type of effect to invoke the spirit, a loose thing but with tonality and in key,” she said. “Bobby really helped me to get to a place of comfort with it. It’s like having an empty canvas. Someone throws some paint, you add your piece and it grows from there.”

The group has taken on a life of its own apart from McFerrin, performing as the a cappella quartet Attúne. In Motion, McFerrin is the “center and foundation,” Brown said. “When he’s not there the focal point turns into four people. It’s the same process, but has a different point of beginning.”

Contact Andrew Gilbert at


When: 8 p.m. June 1-2

Where: Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley

Tickets: $35-$39, 510-644-2020,

Categories: Local News

‘Transformers’ Statues Cause a Big Fight in Georgetown

N.Y. Times - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 08:45
A professor decorated a sidewalk in Georgetown with 10-foot sculptures of Bumblebee and Optimus Prime. The well-heeled locals were not pleased.
Categories: Local News

Why Is the Fed Seeking Advice From the Architect of Past Financial Meltdowns?

TruthOut - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 08:42

As the leader of a body that determines the fate of the world behind closed doors, the head of the Federal Reserve is highly scrutinized. Observers, for example, used to guess what former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan was thinking about interest rates based on the weight of his briefcase. If the load was heavy, the reasoning stood, Greenspan had paperwork to convince the other members on the panel that...


Categories: World News

Monthly Horoscope: Gemini, June 2023

Motherboard (Vice) - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 08:41

It’s Gemini season, which can mean you’re feeling energized, full of confidence, and ready to have fun! The sun in your sign is an excellent time for celebration, and indeed, you may feel relieved and eager to party as Mercury finishes its post-retrograde shadow period on June 1!

Last month, Mercury was retrograde, which might have put you in a sluggish mood, or confused and delayed your conversations. Things have cleared up over the last few weeks while Mercury moved through its post-retrograde shadow period, and now that the shadow is officially over, clear communication can finally reign! A feeling of emotional clarity could arise. Your dreams at night may finally become less weird, and you could be reconnecting with your intuition or inner voice in some significant way.

Venus in Cancer makes a harmonious connection with Neptune in Pisces on June 2, which can bode well for your career or popularity. You may find yourself feeling very popular and attractive. Your fans can’t get enough of you! Financial success could arrive. Special gifts might be exchanged.

The full moon in Sagittarius takes place on June 3, activating the relationship sector of your chart, dear Gemini! A confrontation could take place, but a very important compromise or collaboration can also result. You may end a relationship, or grow closer to someone. It’s a “make it or break it” kind of mood, and themes like fair give-and-take, communication, and flexibility are highlighted. You can learn a lot about someone else’s point of view. You could learn how someone really feels about something. 

Mercury and Uranus meet in Taurus on June 4, which could bring unexpected news. You may learn a surprising secret! Venus enters Leo and opposes Pluto in Aquarius on June 5, which could find you having a deep and intense discussion. In general, Venus in Leo typically brings you good news and finds you and your partners connecting on an intellectual level. Venus in Leo is usually light and glamorous, but we might experience a more sensitive side to Venus in Leo as it opposes Pluto in Aquarius. If you and a partner don’t feel safe being vulnerable with each other, issues concerning your inability to connect could come to a head at this time. 

Pluto reenters Capricorn on June 11, which can find you tying up loose ends, especially concerning money like debts, taxes, inheritances, or resources you share with partners. Power struggles concerning these themes may be addressed! Mercury connects with Pluto before it enters Gemini on this day, too, which can inspire a profound emotional breakthrough. Your ruling planet Mercury entering your zodiac sign can also find you very much in your element. Communication flows easily and things feel like they just “click.” Also on June 11, Venus squares off with Jupiter in Taurus, stirring up plenty of fun! Just be careful not to overindulge. Juicy information could be shared, but be mindful of rumors and exaggerations!

Mercury squares off with Saturn in Pisces on June 15, which might find you setting some boundaries, especially at work or with the public. You may have to issue a rejection at this time, or let people know you won’t be available for things. It can be hard to say no to opportunities, but it’s also important to protect your time and peace of mind! Mercury mingles with Venus and Saturn retrograde begins on June 17, which can find you in a generally easygoing mood as you reorganize yourself at work. You could be rethinking which responsibilities you want to take on. Good news may arrive.

A new moon in your zodiac sign, Gemini, takes place on June 18: A fresh start is beginning in your life. On a mundane level, this could be a wonderful time for a makeover: Go shopping, try out a new hairstyle, explore new trends, and update your look! On a deeper level, this new moon can find you feeling transformed in your relationships: You may be presenting yourself in a new way when introduced to others, or approaching your partnerships with a new attitude. This is also a powerful time to simply reconnect with yourself and your emotions.

The sun squares off with Neptune in Pisces on June 18, which could find you daydreaming the day away! Some fantasy is OK, but find ways to stay grounded. You might feel deflated if the visions you have don’t turn out to be real. Jupiter connects with Saturn on June 19, inspiring a supportive atmosphere: This alignment can bode well for your career, as your creative vision manifests in an impressive and successful way. There’s an atmosphere of opportunity and growth, and supportive, reliable mentors may be available to guide you. If you’ve been stuck in a creative rut, a bit of rest can find you feeling revitalized.

Cancer season starts on June 21: Happy summer solstice! The sun in Cancer lights up the sector of your chart that rules comfort and wealth, so this time of year can find you in exciting negotiations, raising your rates, receiving money or other resources, and generally cultivating a sense of abundance in your life. Your relationship to money can undergo an evolution.

Also on June 21, your ruling planet Mercury connects with Mars in Leo, which might find conversations moving at a quick pace—but they may slow down or get confused as Mercury squares off with Neptune on June 25. You could receive rapid fire information one day, then nonsense or nothing the next. Things will eventually even out, but for now, accomplish what you can and give yourself a break once things slow down.

Unexpected changes in plans could arise as Mars squares off with Uranus on June 26: People might feel impulsive at this time, too! Also on this day, Mercury enters Cancer, kicking up discussions about money. Future plans can be discussed as the sun connects with Saturn on June 28, and you could become comfortable in a leadership position at this time! Recognition for your hard work may arrive.

June 30 finds Mercury mingling with Saturn, which bodes well for discussing commitments and logistics. Neptune also starts its retrograde on this day and people may feel especially sensitive at this time. You might feel sensitive about your career and which direction you want to take things. Or maybe you’re feeling sensitive about how you and your work are perceived. Get an outside perspective and don’t let your imagination run away from you! You can gain interesting insight about fame or glamour at this time, and a brilliant creative breakthrough may also take place!

Good luck this month, Gemini, and see you in July!

Categories: Tech News

Pac-12 football: Welcome to June, a vital month on the recruiting trail

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 08:37

The Hotline is delighted to provide Pac-12 fans with a weekly dive into the recruiting process through the eyes and ears of Brandon Huffman, the Seattle-based national recruiting editor for 247Sports.

The following report was provided to the Hotline on May 31 …

June gloom has been taken over by June boon — the boon to the recruiting calendar.

Sure, December and February will always matter in college football recruiting with the early signing period and National Signing Day, respectively. But there isn’t a more crucial month than June.

With the traditional recruiting camps on college campuses, the rising of so-called mega camps, plus official visits and the sped-up calendar for verbal commitments, June is now the most crucial month in recruiting.

Mind you, it comes fresh off the six-week NCAA Spring Evaluation Period, which runs from the middle of April through the end of May. But with the added element of head coaches now able to watch recruits at the mega camps, which have sprung up everywhere, June is that much more important.

And there’s another reason the month has become so busy: The majority of a team’s incoming freshman class has arrived on campus, so coaches pack June with official visits from recruits.

It’s an odd twist considering the coaches didn’t like the introduction of official visits in the spring when the rule was implemented back in 2018. But with so many players now making their college choice before the fall and the desire for recruits to enroll early, more schools have shifted to hosting official visits in the spring.

That in itself keeps coaches busy. But then add the on-campus recruiting camps that most schools host in June and the mega camps held by a handful of schools — Sacramento State has the crown jewel of mega camps on the West Coast — and, well, it shows why June is so busy.

Sacramento State’s Rising Stars Mega Camp became the pre-eminent recruiting event in the West under the watch of former head coach Troy Taylor and his director of football operations, Garrett Wolfe.

Taylor and Wolfe are now at Stanford, but new Sacramento State head coach Andy Thompson and director of football operations Jeff Goldsmith know the value of the event, not just to the reigning Big Sky champions but to all of college football.

For example, every Pac-12 school sent a representative to the Rising Stars Mega Camp last spring, including six head coaches. Same with the Mountain West programs and a slew of other schools across multiple NCAA divisions.

(Fun fact: The only Pac-12 coaching staff that didn’t send multiple staff members last year was Stanford, which had only head coach David Shaw in attendance — and he was there to watch his son, Carter, participate. No assistants attended. Shaw resigned after the season and was replaced by Taylor.)

The other prominent mega camps that are sure to draw a slew of Pac-12 coaches include the Northwest Showcase at Western Oregon, the Redlands Camps, the PLU Showcase at Pacific Lutheran, the NAU Camps at Northern Arizona, the AveryStrong Showcase at the University of Puget Sound and the Gem State Showcase in Boise.

But don’t forget the traditional recruiting camps hosted by Pac-12 schools — those remain prevalent, although not to the degree they used to be.

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The mega camps provide access to far more players and require far less work for Pac-12 coaches, who are already busy enough.

With schools hosting official visitors on the weekends, running the on-campus camps is that much more difficult.

And even with the recruiting calendar sped up — most of the prospects in the high school class of 2024 have already been offered scholarships — the on-campus and mega camps provide a better opportunity to evaluate recruits in the 2025 and 2026 classes.

For example, the top quarterback prospects at Sacramento State’s mega camp the past two years were rising juniors: Jaden Rashada in 2021 and Austin Mack in 2022.

Of course, there was still a chance for rising seniors to receive offers. Luke Duncan landed his UCLA scholarship after throwing at Sacramento State last year, even after he had thrown at the Bruins’ on-campus event earlier in the month.

But the mega camps now allow coaches to shift their focus to underclassmen, more so than the seniors-to-be. In that regard, they have become crucial.

With the ever-changing calendar, rules and regulations, June, once so quiet, has become a battleground month in recruiting.

June matters. Oh, does it matter.

*** Send suggestions, comments and tips (confidentiality guaranteed) to or call 408-920-5716

*** Follow Huffman on Twitter via @BrandonHuffman and support @AveryStrongDIPG

*** Follow Wilner on Twitter: @WilnerHotline

*** Pac-12 Hotline is not endorsed or sponsored by the Pac-12 Conference, and the views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Conference.

Categories: Local News

Nova Scotia battles its largest wildfire on record

BBC World News - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 08:36
The Canadian fires have had a wide impact, with air quality warnings issued in the US northeast.
Categories: World News

Bay Area mother accused of causing her toddler’s fentanyl overdose

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 08:35

A Santa Rosa woman was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of causing a drug overdose in her one-year-old toddler, the police department said on Wednesday.

At 5:17 a.m. on Tuesday, Santa Rosa Police officers were sent to a residence on Boyd Street for a toddler who was experiencing a medical emergency.

When an officer arrived, he found a one-year-old lying on the ground, unconscious and not breathing, police said. The officer saw an individual attempting CPR on the child and took over the CPR himself, police said. After about 15-20 seconds, the toddler began to breathe on her own. By then, emergency medical services arrived and transported the child to a local hospital.

According to police, based on interviews and evidence obtained during the investigation, detectives believe that the toddler overdosed from exposure to fentanyl. The child is expected to recover.

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The toddler’s mother, a 39-year-old Santa Rosa resident, was arrested on suspicion of felony child abuse with serious injury.
The Santa Rosa Police Department said this is the third fentanyl-related overdose of a child that the department has seen in 12 months.

“Illegal use of fentanyl is dangerous for adults to consume and lethal for children,” said a spokesperson from the department. “Two milligrams are considered a lethal dose of fentanyl for an adult.”

Copyright © 2023 Bay City News, Inc. All rights reserved. Republication, rebroadcast or redistribution without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited. Bay City News is a 24/7 news service covering the greater Bay Area.

Categories: Local News

Allina Health System in Minnesota Cuts Off Patients With Medical Debt

N.Y. Times - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 08:31
Doctors at the Allina Health System, a wealthy nonprofit in the Midwest, aren’t allowed to see poor patients or children with too many unpaid medical bills.
Categories: Local News

Players replace Tears of the Kingdom’s patched-out item-dupe glitches

ARS Technica - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 08:24

A guide for watching "memories" to perfectly time a new item-duplication glitch.

It has been only a week since Nintendo removed a number of popular The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom item-duplication glitches with the release of the game's 1.1.2 update patch. But intrepid players have already found alternate methods for creating infinite items to build and fight to their heart's content.

The most straightforward (if slow) new method for item duplication, as described by Kibbles Gaming, involves fusing an item to a weapon, preparing to throw that weapon, and then watching previously viewed cutscenes via the "memories" section of the Adventure Log. Each memory you view apparently advances the game's logic by a single frame, letting you easily pinpoint the four-frame timing window where you can throw a weapon while also retaining a copy in your inventory. While this method is consistent and simple to perform (even early in the game), it can take quite a while to fill up your inventory this way.

A more efficient item duplication method requires you to purchase Link's House near Tarry Town in the east, then place a shock emitter item near the weapon display. With good timing, you can place a weapon on that display during the same frame that the shock emitter knocks it out of your hands, thus creating two copies of the weapon (and any fused item) instantly.

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Categories: Tech News

Researchers get primate embryos to start organ development in culture dishes

ARS Technica - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 08:15
Image of a sphere of cells with a small cluster of additional cells inside.

Enlarge / Computer-generated image of an early stage in embryonic development, before organ formation starts. (credit: KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY)

Scientists set a new record for growing primate embryos outside the womb, as reported in the May issue of the journal Cell. For the first time, monkey embryos were cultivated in a lab for 25 days post-fertilization, achieving key developmental landmarks never before observed in culture, including the start of organ development. The ability to track these processes in the lab might be an important step toward understanding congenital birth defects and organ development in humans.

Understanding development

The early stages of animal development, often referred to as embryogenesis, encompass the transition from a seemingly unremarkable clump of cells to a complex and compartmentalized organism. At the conclusion of embryogenesis, cells have started the march toward specialization, and organ systems have begun to form. In mammals, this is a process that usually happens in the comfort and privacy of the uterus, making it difficult to observe, even with the advent of advanced imaging. And it’s difficult to experiment with factors that might influence development.

All of this has led developmental biologists to search for ways to get this process to occur in a culture dish, bypassing these limitations. Studying human embryogenesis is restricted due to ethical and legal considerations. While the specific guidelines may vary from country to country, the outcome is a nearly global prohibition on lab-maintained human embryos past 14 days—before the progenitor of the nervous system forms. This detail is of particular medical relevance, as irregularities during nervous system formation can result in a range of conditions affecting the spine, spinal cord, and brain, including spina bifida.

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Categories: Tech News

Belgorod: Russia blames Ukraine for shelling inside border

BBC World News - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 08:12
The defence ministry claims it has also thwarted attempts by Kyiv to "invade" the Belgorod region.
Categories: World News

Nevada’s GOP Gov Signs Dem Abortion Proposal Into Law

TruthOut - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 08:08

Nevada Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo signed into law on Tuesday a bill that provides greater reproductive and privacy rights protections for individuals coming to the state seeking abortion services. With several states across the country enacting abortion bans or severe restrictions, following the Supreme Court last summer overturning the landmark abortion rights case Roe v. Wade...


Categories: World News

Supreme Court revives claims that SuperValu, Safeway overcharged governments for generic drugs

Seattle Times - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 08:08

The Supreme Court has unanimously revived whistleblower lawsuits claiming that supermarket and pharmacy chains SuperValu and Safeway overcharged government health-care programs for prescription drugs by hundreds of millions of dollars.
Categories: Local News

Woman disappears from Sierra swimming hole God’s Bath

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 08:07

A woman went missing on Memorial Day from the Sierra Nevada swimming hole God’s Bath, Tuolumne County sheriff’s officials said.

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She is at least the ninth person known to have drowned or been swept away in a California river since April.

The disappearance was reported at 6:30 p.m. Monday. The 22-year-old woman had walked to the Clavey River with a male companion and had last been seen in the water at or near God’s Bath.

The search continued Tuesday with ground volunteers and a California Highway Patrol helicopter. Because the river is high and cold, it was deemed too dangerous for rescue swimmers and divers.

In the past two years, three Bay Area men died after being swept from the swimming hole in the Stanislaus National Forest: two in May 2021 and one last year.

About a 40-minute drive east of the town of Tuolumne, God’s Bath is on a remote stretch of the Clavey River in a narrow granite canyon. It’s reached by a half-mile walk along the rocky banks, with fixed ropes aiding the descent to the river.

Tuolumne County rescue officials were also called Monday to another swimming hole, Cleo’s Bath, where a 28-year-old man with a broken leg was lifted out by a helicopter crew.

Cleo’s Bath is on the South Fork Stanislaus River about a 1½-mile hike east of Pinecrest Lake.

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Categories: Local News

No One Knows How Many L.G.B.T.Q. Americans Die by Suicide

N.Y. Times - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 08:01
Death investigators in Utah are among a handful of groups trying to learn how many gay and transgender people die by suicide in the United States.
Categories: Local News

Larry Magid: AI makes mistakes but could it destroy us?

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 08:00

Before I get to the potentially deadly serious part of today’s column, I’d like to start on the lighter side. Lighter, that is, unless you happen to be attorney Steven A. Schwartz.

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In representing a man named Roberto Mata who said he was injured aboard an Avianca flight, Schwartz reportedly filed a 10-page legal document, citing previous cases, including Martinez v. Delta Air Lines, Zicherman v. Korean Air Lines and Varghese v. China Southern Airlines.  Just to be sure, the lawyer asked ChatGPT to verify that the cases were real. It said that they were.

Not surprisingly, Avianca’s lawyers, along with the judge, did their own research but couldn’t find references to the cases cited by Schwartz.  As it turned out, Schwartz , a veteran attorney, used ChatGPT for his legal research, which resulted in citations to cases that never existed. Schwartz later told the court that it was the first time he used ChatGPT and “therefore was unaware of the possibility that its content could be false.”

Fortunately, opposing council and the judge found the errors before anything irreversible occurred. I don’t know the ultimate outcome of Mata vs. Avianca, but I trust the verdict will be based on fact rather than fiction.

AI chat makes mistakes

Schwartz learned what I and millions of other users of generative AI already know. These chatbots can be very useful, but they can also make up information that seems to be true but isn’t.  I occasionally use ChatGPT to find information, but I always verify it before quoting it or relying on it. In my experience, almost everything it creates appears to be true, because it reaches logical conclusions based on the information it has access to. But just because it appears to be logical doesn’t mean it’s true.  As someone who has written for several of America’s leading newspapers, it is “logical” that I may have written for the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, as ChatGPT sometimes says. But I haven’t.

I don’t know if OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, has issued an advisory for lawyers, but it has published Educator Considerations for ChatGPT, which in part says that “it may fabricate source names, direct quotations, citations, and other details.”

Existential risk

And now for the more serious news story about generative AI.  You might have heard about the statement organized by the Center for AI Safety and signed by a large cohort of AI scientists and other leading figures in the field, including OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI’s chief scientist and Lila Ibrahim, COO of Google DeepMind.

These experts, many with a vested interest in developing and promulgating generative AI, agree that the risk is real and that governments need to consider ways to regulate and rein in the very industry they are part of.  The statement is only 22 words, but still quite chilling. “Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.”

The Center for AI Safety pulls no punches. In its risk statement, it acknowledges that “AI has many beneficial applications,” yet “it can also be used to perpetuate bias, power autonomous weapons, promote misinformation, and conduct cyberattacks. Even as AI systems are used with human involvement, AI agents are increasingly able to act autonomously to cause harm.”  Looking to the future, these experts warn that “when AI becomes more advanced, it could eventually pose catastrophic or existential risks.”

We live with other existential risks

Bert the Turtle taught children to “duck and cover.” 

As a society, we’ve become used to hearing about existential risks. I was in elementary school during the “duck and cover” drills of the 1950s and 1960s where we practiced ducking under school desks, as if that would actually protect us from a nuclear strike. If you need evidence, search for “Bert the Turtle” to view cartoons the government was using to convince children to “duck and cover.”

COVID panic is behind us, but it was an example of a very real threat contributing to the deaths of nearly 7 million people, according to the World Health Organization. Even if COVID remains under control though vaccinations, masking and drugs like Paxlovid, pandemics remain a serious risk. Although we are no longer ducking under our desks, we are hearing renewed warnings about the use of nuclear weapons.

And the folks from the Center for AI Safety didn’t even mention climate change, which is on the minds of many young people who worry whether Earth will continue to be inhabitable for people and other living things by the time they reach old age.

I worry about all of these things and hate that I’m now being told to add Generative AI to the list of things that might destroy us, but I also have confidence that these problems are all fixable or at least controllable in ways that can avoid catastrophic outcomes.

A note of optimism

We can’t eliminate risks completely, but if we come together on a global basis, we can minimize them or learn to live with them. That requires a combination of efforts including regulation, industry cooperation, technological solutions and buy-in from the general public. It also requires distinguishing between facts and conspiracy theories and focusing on real solutions.

Almost everyone in the AI community agrees with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman that governments have an important role to play in regulation. Speaking before a  U.S. Senate committee hearing last month, Altman said “I think if this technology goes wrong, it can go quite wrong. And we want to be vocal about that. … We want to work with the government to prevent that from happening.”

In some ways, today’s AI is like the early days of the industrial revolution, which changed the nature of work and had an impact on our safety. An article in the Detroit News summarized the state of affairs during the period when automatable was first introduced to American streets, “In the first decade of the 20th century there were no stop signs, warning signs, traffic lights, traffic cops, driver’s education, lane lines, street lighting, brake lights, driver’s licenses or posted speed limits.”

When it comes to generative AI, we need warning signs, traffic lights, traffic cops, driver’s education and many other safeguards.

I’m glad to see leaders of the AI industry and many in government taking the risks seriously. Properly managed, AI can make the world a better and safer place. It can power incredible medical breakthroughs, can help vastly reduce traffic deaths and empower creative people to be even more creative. But like other technologies, including fire, cars, kitchen knives and pharmaceuticals, it can also do harm if it misused.

I’m both an optimist and a realist. The realist in me tells me that AI is here to stay and that there will be downsides to it. The optimist in me draws on decades of dealing with risks and the confidence that things will be OK, as long as we make the right decisions.

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Larry Magid is a tech journalist and internet safety activist.

Categories: Local News

Federal Way man charged with murder had plans to flee the state

Seattle Times - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 08:00

Prosecutors have charged a 25-year-old Federal Way man with second-degree murder, accusing him of killing a man and disposing of his body on a trail near Auburn.
Categories: Local News

Toyota to build electric 3-row SUV in Kentucky, batteries in N. Carolina

ARS Technica - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 07:55
A grey Toyota electric SUV concept, next to some other Toyota EV concepts

Enlarge / We don't know what this new SUV will look like or be called. The last big electric SUV concept the company showed was this bZ Large SUV in 2021. (credit: Toyota)

Toyota's factory in Georgetown, Kentucky, will get a bit of a glow-up. This week, the automaker confirmed that its factory in the Bluegrass State will assemble a new battery-electric vehicle starting in 2025. It will be an as-yet-unnamed three-row SUV, and the batteries for this new BEV will come from (somewhat) nearby North Carolina.

Toyota's Kentucky plant currently builds the powertrains and assembles the RAV4 hybrid, as well as sedans like the Camry and Lexus ES. It employs about 8,000 people to build more than half a million vehicles a year.

"Toyota Kentucky set the standard for Toyota vehicle manufacturing in the US, and now we’re leading the charge with BEVs," said Susan Elkington, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky. "Our incredible team of Kentuckians is excited to take on this new challenge while delivering the same great quality and reliability our customers expect."

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