The Obtain: AI video video games’ analysis potential, and US authorities web site redesigns


That is as we speak’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a every day dose of what’s happening on this planet of expertise.

How AI video video games will help reveal the mysteries of the human thoughts

Video gaming corporations are making use of massive language fashions to generate new recreation characters with detailed backstories—characters that would interact with a participant in any variety of methods. Enter in a couple of persona traits, catchphrases, and different particulars, and you’ll create a personality able to infinite unscripted, never-repeating conversations with you. (You’ll be able to learn our story all about that right here.)

Past simply gaming nonetheless, it’s a improvement that raises a tantalizing prospect: may AI video video games enable neuroscientists and psychologists to probe extra deeply, and unravel enduring mysteries about our brains and habits? Our senior reporter Jessica Hamzelou determined to seek out out. Right here’s what she discovered.

This story is from The Checkup, our weekly e-newsletter all about biotech and well being. Join to obtain it in your inbox each Thursday.

Contained in the US authorities’s brilliantly boring web sites

Earlier than the web, People could have interacted with the federal authorities by entering into grand buildings adorned with spectacular stone columns and gleaming marble flooring. 

In the present day, the neoclassical structure of these bodily areas has been (at the very least partially) changed by the digital structure of web site design—HTML code, tables, kinds, and buttons. 

There are about 26,000 federal web sites within the US. And for a very long time, they have been buggy or poorly designed. That each one began altering in 2014, when President Obama created two new groups to assist enhance authorities tech. Examine what they’ve achieved since.

This story is from the newest problem of MIT Know-how Evaluate, which explores the theme of Play. Subscribe to learn the entire thing, for those who don’t already!

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to seek out you as we speak’s most enjoyable/vital/scary/fascinating tales about expertise.

1 Trump-Biden debate conspiracies are already everywhere in the web
And loads of them are being pushed by Trump himself. (Wired $)
Election misinformation is being repeated by AI instruments like ChatGPT and Copilot too. (NBC)
Spare a thought for pollsters. Their job is just getting tougher and tougher as of late. (Ars Technica)

2 The voices of AI can inform us loads
It’s new expertise, however stereotypes of a compliant, endlessly empathetic feminine assistant are as previous because it will get. (NYT $)

3 An effort is underway to encourage accountable use of AI in music
However after all, it depends on getting sufficient adoption—and that’s a giant ask. (CNET)
Particularly as there’s a large authorized battle underway over getting AI corporations to pay to make use of data for coaching information. (MIT Know-how Evaluate)
Content material-licensing sellers have shaped the primary AI dataset commerce physique. (Reuters $)
Time is the newest writer to strike a licensing cope with OpenAI. (Axios)

4 We’re getting a greater thought of how weight reduction medicine work 
Researchers have zeroed in on two teams of neurons within the mind that appear to control the sensation of fullness. (Nature)

5 Google says Gemini AI is 20% sooner than ChatGPT
And execs say it will probably now cite its sources, which is arguably much more vital.  (Quartz $)
It’s not simply Nvidia: right here’s the AI shares to observe. (WP $)

6 Amazon is investigating AI search startup Perplexity
Over whether or not it violated its guidelines by scraping its web sites. (Wired $)
Perplexity’s CEO brazenly admitted to some fairly dodgy information practices after they have been getting off the bottom. (404 Media)

7 ISS astronauts needed to take shelter after a Russian satellite tv for pc disintegrated
It broke up into over 100 items, elevating hypothesis it might’ve been topic to an anti-satellite missile check. (Gizmodo)
Why the first-ever house junk effective is such a giant deal. (MIT Know-how Evaluate)

8 Quite a lot of Gen Zs describe themselves as content material creators
Passively lurking on-line is simply not the vibe anymore. (WP $)

9 Would you clone your canine? 
It’d set you again $50,000—and in a method, it’s a must to ask what you’re actually getting for that. (New Yorker $)
These scientists are working to increase the life span of pet canine—and their homeowners. (MIT Know-how Evaluate)

10 Why the web’s going wild for Nerds Gummy Clusters
No joke—persons are getting tattoos. (Slate $)

Quote of the day

“Let’s not go overboard on this. Datacentres are, in probably the most excessive case, a 6% addition [in energy demand] however in all probability solely 2% to 2.5%. The query is, will AI speed up a greater than 6% discount? And the reply is: actually.”

—Invoice Gates claims AI can be extra of a assist than a hindrance in attaining local weather objectives, amid rising concern about its power footprint, The Guardian studies.

The large story

Inside NASA’s bid to make spacecraft as small as doable

detail from an image of Mars' surface


October 2023

For the reason that Seventies, we’ve despatched quite a lot of massive issues to Mars. However when NASA efficiently despatched twin Mars Dice One spacecraft, the scale of cereal containers, in November 2018, it was the primary time we’d ever despatched one thing so small.

Simply making it this far heralded a brand new age in house exploration. NASA and the group of planetary science researchers caught a glimpse of a future lengthy sought: a pathway to rather more reasonably priced house exploration utilizing smaller, cheaper spacecraft. Learn the total story.

—David W. Brown

We will nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction to brighten up your day. (Received any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ The Bear in all probability wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the late, nice Bourdain
+ Exhausted? Keep in mind your power is a finite useful resource. Use it correctly.
+ At all times late to every part? This needs to be one of many funniest excuses I’ve heard but.