San Francisco News

AI isn’t close to becoming sentient – the real danger lies in how easily we’re prone to anthropomorphize it

Nir Eisikovits, UMass Boston ChatGPT and similar large language models can produce compelling, humanlike answers to an endless array of questions – from queries about the best Italian restaurant in town to explaining competing theories about the nature of evil. The technology’s uncanny writing ability has surfaced some old questions – until recently relegated to the realm of science fiction – about the possibility of machines becoming conscious, self-aware or sentient. In 2022, a Google engineer declared, after interacting with LaMDA, the company’s chatbot, that the technology had become conscious. Users of Bing’s new chatbot, nicknamed Sydney, reported that it

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How to use free satellite data to monitor natural disasters and environmental changes

Qiusheng Wu, University of Tennessee If you want to track changes in the Amazon rainforest, see the full expanse of a hurricane or figure out where people need help after a disaster, it’s much easier to do with the view from a satellite orbiting a few hundred miles above Earth. Traditionally, access to satellite data has been limited to researchers and professionals with expertise in remote sensing and image processing. However, the increasing availability of open-access data from government satellites such as Landsat and Sentinel, and free cloud-computing resources such as Amazon Web Services, Google Earth Engine and Microsoft Planetary

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Radio interference from satellites is threatening astronomy – a proposed zone for testing new technologies could head off the problem

Christopher Gordon De Pree, National Radio Astronomy Observatory; Christopher R. Anderson, United States Naval Academy, and Mariya Zheleva, University at Albany, State University of New York Visible light is just one part of the electromagnetic spectrum that astronomers use to study the universe. The James Webb Space Telescope was built to see infrared light, other space telescopes capture X-ray images, and observatories like the Green Bank Telescope, the Very Large Array, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array and dozens of other observatories around the world work at radio wavelengths. Radio telescopes are facing a problem. All satellites, whatever their function, use

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ChatGPT could be an effective and affordable tutor

Anne Trumbore, University of Virginia Imagine a private tutor that never gets tired, has access to massive amounts of data and is free for everyone. In 1966, Stanford philosophy professor Patrick Suppes did just that when he made this prediction: One day, computer technology would evolve so that “millions of schoolchildren” would have access to a personal tutor. He said the conditions would be just like the young prince Alexander the Great being tutored by Aristotle. Now, ChatGPT, a new artificial intelligence-powered chatbot with advanced conversational abilities, may have the capability to become such a tutor. ChatGPT has collected huge

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