Also, OpenAI's talks with news media and retailers go gangbusters for generative AI

Deborah Yao, Editor

January 18, 2024

4 Min Read

Here are this week's most popular stories:

1. Can AI Be Conscious?

The idea that AI might be conscious has long been the stuff of science fiction, but some researchers are starting to take the notion seriously.

A math association recently called on the United Nations to explore the concept of AI consciousness. And famed AI scientist Yoshua Bengio has co-written a paper on conscious AI. The excitement over the fast-developing field of generative AI has raised hopes that humans might make machines that can truly think for themselves despite a struggle to define the nature of consciousness.

Last year, OpenAI’s Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever suggested that sophisticated AI networks might possess a degree of consciousness. This proposal followed an incident a year earlier where a Google engineer was fired after claiming that LaMDA, an early version of the chatbot Bard, exhibited sentience.

“In the near future, it is inevitable that such systems will be constructed to reproduce aspects of higher-level brain architecture and functioning,” the math group wrote in its letter to the U.N. “Indeed, it is no longer in the realm of science fiction to imagine AI systems having feelings and even human-level consciousness. Contemporary AI systems already display human traits recognized in Psychology, including evidence of Theory of Mind.”

Read more

2. OpenAI in Talks with CNN, Fox to License Content

OpenAI is in talks with media outlets to license copyrighted content, with deals in the works with CNN, Fox and Time.

Bloomberg reports that licensing discussions are ongoing, shortly after the ChatGPT maker said it would be “impossible” to create AI models without access to copyrighted content.

OpenAI seeks to feature CNN news snippets in its products, similar to its deal with Axel Springer for brands like Politico and Business Insider. The company is holding similar discussions with Fox, with OpenAI also seeking video and image content from both publishers.

The likes of News Corp., Gannett and IAC have held conversations with OpenAI about potential licensing of content, according to The New York Times. Guardian News & Media, the parent company of The Guardian, said it too has had discussions with OpenAI that “may now transition into commercial discussions about the use of our journalism to build and power their products.”

Read more

3. Retail Is Becoming a Battleground for Generative AI

Expect generative AI to be a major highlight at this week’s National Retail Federation (NRF) 2024 conference. There will be plenty of cutting-edge tools for virtual assistants, retail operations and analytics.

According to a Google Cloud survey, about 81% of retail decision makers have expressed urgency to adopt generative AI and 72% said they would implement this technology in 2024.  About 78% of the respondents noted that this technology will impact their industry this year and 95% believed that it would have an impact on customer experience.

“Retail is an incredible category for generative AI as it has some of the richest consumer data available, as well as a standard interface of ‘search’ that works incredibly well with the conversational nature of GPT-like interfaces,” said Himanshu Jain, who is the general manager and vice president of product at CommerceIQ.

Ahead of the NRF conference, Google and Microsoft have already announced rollouts of their new generative AI offerings. It is another sign of how the competition for this critical technology is heating up.

Read more

4. WEF: AI-fueled Misinformation is Chief Global Risk

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has identified misinformation and disinformation as the top short-term risks to Earth and blamed AI for causing an “explosion” of falsified information.

According to the Global Risks Report, published ahead of the Davos 2024 event, AI models are already enabling the spread of misinformation via voice cloning to counterfeit websites and it is set to get worse.

AI-generated, or as the WEF report calls it, ‘synthetic’ content will “manipulate individuals, damage economies and fracture societies in numerous ways over the next two years.”

The report claims that misinformation created by bad actors using AI could escalate conflicts or lead to stock market manipulation, among other examples.

WEF wants faster action to prevent the spread of misinformation, warning that some governments could delay action as they debate the trade-off between preventing misinformation and protecting free speech.

Read more

5. AI Startup Roundup: Twitter's Former CEO is Building an AI Startup

Parag Agrawal, the last CEO of X (Twitter) before the Elon Musk buyout, is building an AI startup.

According to The Information, Agrawal’s startup is under wraps but has still managed to raise around $30 million in funding. Among the investors were Index Ventures, First Round Capital and Khosla Ventures. The latter was an early investor in OpenAI.

Agrawal is reportedly working on software for developers building and tweaking large language models.

He had been at Twitter for 11 years, starting as a software engineer and then becoming CTO before taking the reins of the company in 2021. Elon Musk then bought Twitter in October 2022 for $44 billion, firing Agrawal and other senior executives.

Read more

Read more about:

ChatGPT / Generative AI

About the Author(s)

Deborah Yao


Deborah Yao runs the day-to-day operations of AI Business. She is a Stanford grad who has worked at Amazon, Wharton School and Associated Press.

Keep up with the ever-evolving AI landscape
Unlock exclusive AI content by subscribing to our newsletter!!

You May Also Like