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Where Altman Meets Macron: The Quest For AI Alignment, Between Private And Public

The inventor of ChatGPT is in Europe to try to force leaders on the Continent to face hard questions about what artificial intelligence is bringing to our world, whether they like it or not.


PARIS — Six months ago, Sam Altman’s name was only known to a small circle of technophiles. Earlier this week, when he came to France, he was received by President Emmanuel Macron and the Minister of Economy, and he is back in Paris on Friday to make other connections. On his Twitter account, he described his trip as a "World Tour," like a pop star.

Altman is the CEO of OpenAI, the U.S. company that created ChatGPT, the natural language artificial intelligence tool that has literally shaken the world. With 200 million users worldwide in just six months, ChatGPT has broken all sorts of records for the speed of technology adoption.

The world of Tech is prone to trends, and not all of them last. However, to quote Gilles Babinet, co-president of the National Digital Council in France, who has recently published an essay on the history of the internet titled Comment les hippies, Dieu et la science ont inventé Internet ("How the Internet Was Invented by Hippies, God and Science"), we are currently facing an "anthropological break."

In other words, a qualitative leap that will impact all human activities, and even the political organization of our societies — with both positive and negative results.

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The AI Capitalists Don't Realize They're About To Kill Capitalism

The threats posed by advanced AI are serious and varied. It will change capitalism so much that in the end we will be faced with a choice between two systems: a new form of communism or unchecked chaos.


BERLIN — An open letter published by the Future of Life Institute at the end of March called for all labs working on artificial intelligence systems more powerful than GPT-4 to “immediately pause” their work for at least six months. The idea was that humanity should use this time to take stock of the risks posed by these advanced systems.

Thousands of people have already signed the letter, including big names such as Elon Musk, who is an advisor to the Future of Life Institute. The organization's stated aim is to reduce the existential risks to humankind posed by such technologies.

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White House To The World, Artificial Intelligence Is A Political Thing

Amid the summit hosted at the White House, and warning from AI experts, the world can't simply leave the machines to their own devices.


PARIS — It was a White House summit with significance on two very different levels. Vice President Kamala Harris gathered the major U.S. players in Artificial Intelligence, including Open AI, the company that developed the now infamous chatbot ChatGPT.

The meeting was interesting for having highlighted the role of the vice president, who has been given the task of leading policy on future technologies, just a few days after President Joe Biden launched his campaign for a second term, at the age of 80.

Indeed, Harris' role is all the more essential due to the president's advanced age; she automatically takes his place if he is incapacitated. And as the Democratic vice president has so far not “made an impression” over the past two years, she is being put forward on this topic. And what a topic it is...

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Xenotransplantation Breakthroughs, And The Odd Case Of New Zealand's Island Pigs

The species of pig evolved into ultra-resilient, disease-free predators while isolated on Auckland Island that could be a boon for state-of-the-art xenotransplantation, a medical procedure in which cells, tissues, or organs from one species are transferred into another species, which could reduce the need for human organ donors.

Approximately 300 miles south of New Zealand, the Auckland Islands lie in a belt of winds known as the Roaring Forties. In the late 19th century, sailing ships departing Australasia would catch a ride back to Europe by plunging deep into the Southern Ocean to ride the westerlies home.

But these seas were poorly charted, and weather conditions frequently horrendous.

Sometimes, navigators miscalculated the islands’ position and, too late, found their vessels thrown upon the islands’ rocky ramparts. Ships were torn to pieces and survivors cast ashore on one of the most remote and inhospitable places on the planet. These castaways soon found out they were not alone.

The main land mass in the Auckland archipelago, Auckland Island, was — and still is — home to pigs, initially introduced in the first half of the 19th century by European hunters and explorers, as well as a group of Indigenous New Zealanders fleeing conflict.

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Dankwart Guratzsch

The "Ruin Of Art" — How Goethe Predicted Our Current AI Nightmare 220 Years Ago

Goethe was eerily prescient in his predictions about the “unstoppable force” of mechanization. But he didn’t call for a pause in technological advances. More than 200 years ago, he predicted with surprising accuracy how technological and industrial developments would change our world.

BERLIN — What did Johann Wolfgang von Goethe know about computers, algorithms and artificial intelligence? Nothing, of course. But the legendary German writer (1749-1832) possessed the kind of observational gifts that enabled him to foresee where the early days of industrial development would lead – and the changes he predicted are now coming to fruition.

Among Goethe's most currently palpable predictions was the idea of an “art factory,” which would cheaply, quickly and accurately recreate “any painting using entirely mechanical means," by a process that “any child” could be taught to follow. Mass-produced art created by machines – that was the great writer’s nightmarish vision in the early days of the Industrial Revolution.

Goethe wrote his essay in 1797, but never published it. The steam engine was invented in 1765 and the mechanical loom in 1784, just 13 years before Goethe wrote his essay. These inventions accelerated a process that had already begun, as the world of work was undergoing a wave of mechanization. The 48-year-old Goethe predicted that the “unstoppable force” of this revolution would fundamentally change the status of art and artists.

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Charlotte Meyer

We'll Soon Be Able To Resurrect Extinct Species. Should We?

Thanks to advances in science, the reintroduction of extinct animal species is now feasible — even inevitable. But beyond possible benefits for biodiversity, these projects raise numerous environmental and ethical dilemmas.

PARIS — In 2700 BC, history's first known architect, Imhotep, built the pyramid of Djoser, considered to be the oldest in the world. At about the same time, in Siberia, the last mammoths on our planet were dying out.

Thousands of years later, the species continues to arouse curiosity and fascination. Now, new projects aim to bring the prehistoric animal out of the history books and back to life. Australian cultured meat company, Vow, unveiled a giant meatball made from a wooly mammoth in a laboratory. According to them, this protein ball from the past could pave the way for our food of the future.

On the scientific level, our abilities to recreate species that have disappeared less than a million years ago are now established.

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Viola Di Grado

My AI Image Experiment In Dream Analysis

We've always expressed our nightmares through images. So one Italian writer fed her dreams to AI-powered Midjourney platform, producing images of her own consciousness.

TURIN — I have been writing down my nightmares for as long as I can remember: they are the starting point for my writing, and doing so is essential for my relationship to myself.

I am certainly not the only one writing these down: the transcription of dreams is one of the oldest literary genres. The first meticulous dream collection by the Englishwoman Anna Kingsford, a hardened animalist, dates back to the 19th century. I wonder if this is a coincidence. Or are those who pay attention to the subtle language of dreams also lovers of the animal kingdom?

The earliest nightmare ever transcribed, however, dates back as far as the third millennium B.C., and is found in the Sumerian poem The Descent of Inanna into the Underworld. It's the story of a descent into hell that strips the ancient goddess of love and war Inanna of one garment at a time until she is left naked in the presence of her monstrous sister Ereshkigal.

During this journey, which in itself already resembles a dream (the theme of nudity/insecurity has no doubt appear into many people’s dream world at one time or another), there is a nightmare in which the demons of the Underworld pursue Dumuzi — the god of shepherds, and fertility and consort of Inanna — and finally succeed in capturing him.

This is followed by the interpretation of her sister, a true professional dream interpreter: with the icy detachment of a true psychoanalyst, she confirms that the dream hides premonitions of death. Finally, an illustration: a series of seals representing the motifs of the dream.

In short, along with being the first transcribed dream in history, it's also the first transcription through images. It is as if the overwhelming power of the dream requires multiple languages.

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Ramón Oliver

ChatGPT v. Luddites: How AI Has Triggered A New Wave Of Technophobia

Fear of technology is contagious, linked to the rapid evolution of breakthroughs and their impact. So what exactly is technophobia in our AI age... and can it be cured?


MADRID — Several days before Elon Musk unveiled his latest creation, Optimus, the humanoid robot that he intends to bring en masse into homes around the world — the wealthy ones as its price will be around $20,000 — the internet began to fill with critical comments about the entrepreneur’s new idea.

In theory, Optimus will perform simple household tasks such as watering plants, but its early haters were already talking about the prototype as a new Terminator.

“Just because we can, we must?” wondered an article in the U.S. press reflecting on — in their view — Musk’s irresponsible drive to continually challenge the limits of innovation without regard for its potential consequences.

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Financial Afrik

Foreign Cash, Women Founders: How African Tech Is Bouncing Back, Post-COVID

The African tech ecosystem is bouncing back after a slowdown during the pandemic, with local innovation fueled by increasing investment from foreign tech giants.

DAKAR — Despite a tense macroeconomic context, the growth of the African tech ecosystem shows no sign of slowing down.

In 2022, African startups recorded an 8% increase in investor funding compared to the previous year, according to a 2022 report from PartechAfrica Tech Venture Capital. The context remains favorable to the continent, which is attracting many foreign investment funds.

"The current period is one of a flight to quality," says Melvyn Lubega, an investor at French fund Breega, which has recently boosted its investments in Africa.

This resilience has surprised many observers. After the COVID-19 health crisis, the strength of African economies and continued high growth rates surprised some economists, who had expected a catastrophe.

But digital technology is not immune to good news. Despite an international context of investor withdrawal, liquidity scarcity and never-ending inflation, African tech remains in the green and has managed to attract 1,149 unique investors in 2022, an increase of 29% compared to 2021.

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Xavier Pavie

AI Can't Think Like Us, But Is Forcing Us To Reset How We Think

GPT-4 and other artificial intelligence systems can pass complicated exams, but this says more about how we conduct tests. Artificial intelligence shouldn't lead us to despair — instead it should spur us to rethink our learning and education systems.


PARIS — Everyone is panicking about the success of artificial intelligence chatbot GPT-4 in passing the New York Bar exam. However, the real concern should be about the quality of the exam. If, indeed, the challenge is to articulate an answer to a question based on a sum of knowledge to be learned, the machine is superior to the human mind — that's nothing new.

But if the app is asked to solve a legal problem regarding a complex concept — what makes things right or wrong, for instance — the machine remains far behind what a human brain is capable of.

If you ask GPT-4 "What is good?," the machine obviously brings out a number of elements linked to the notion of “good,” according to the way it has been defined in the history of philosophy.

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food / travel
Dario d'Elia

Barolo 4.0? How Artificial Intelligence Is Making The Best Wines Better

The Viberti Barolo winery in the Piedmont region of Italy employs cutting-edge solutions to preserve tradition and craftsmanship regardless of severe climate change.

VERGNE — Barolo and Industry 4.0 seem like an oxymoron of winemaking. Any wine, with which we associate a taste or a memory, can be distinguished by so many attributes, but not the industrial one. It is a mockery, an insult, a diminutio of craftsmanship intelligence.

However, according to Claudio Viberti, third-generation barolista of the family business of the same name in the town of Vergne (in the northwestern region of Piemonte), one should not be suspicious of the term Industry 4.0: “When applied to our field, it is useful to safeguard and enhance the craftsmanship of a product that today, for a variety of reasons, including climate change, we can no longer make as we would like to,” he told us. “The goal of maintaining that taste of tradition forces us to behave differently. We can't do it with the same methods; that would be a mockery.”

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Pierre Haski

China's Dilemma In Race For AI Dominance: Speed v. Control

The remarkable power of ChatGPT on the cutting edge of artificial intelligence took Beijing by surprise. As China rolls out its own version, it remains to be seen how the country will balance the need for control with technological development and innovation


PARIS — It was Vladimir Putin who uttered this alarming sentence one day in 2017: "The country that becomes the leader in the field of artificial intelligence will dominate the world."

One thing is certain, it won't be Russia, because instead of pursuing this path, it has engaged in an old-fashioned war in the Ukrainian trenches: it got lost along the way.

China, on the other hand, understood the message from its long time friend and ally Putin. In 2015, Beijing placed artificial intelligence (AI) in its "China 2025" plan, which set out the technologies in which the country aspired to become a world leader.

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