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⚙️ Report: GenAI’s explosive growth is ‘cooling’

Good morning. I hope you all enjoyed a fun, relaxing Father’s Day this weekend.

Geoffrey Hinton said in a recent interview that he thinks AI will soon be far more intelligent than humans. But as cognitive scientist Dr. Abeba Birhane pointed out, his evidence for this is anything but scientific: “His evidence? He ‘believes’ and he ‘is fairly confident.’”

In today’s newsletter: 

  • 👂 AI for Good: A transformation in hearing aids

  • 💻 Microsoft caves to the pressure, recalls ‘Recall’

  • 🇪🇺 Meta is halting its AI rollout in Europe

  • ❄️ Report: GenAI’s explosive growth is ‘cooling’

AI for Good: A transformation in hearing aids

Photo by Mark Paton (Unsplash).

Nearly 500 million people — around 5% of the world’s population — suffer from disabling hearing loss. The World Health Organization expects 2.5 billion people to suffer some form of hearing loss by 2050. 

Still, studies have found that the bulk of those with hearing loss don’t use hearing aids. One of the reasons behind this reluctance has to do with the impression that the devices just don’t work that well. 

But artificial intelligence is making them better all the time. 

The details: Hearing aids have employed machine learning algorithms for decades. But these algorithms historically have not been powerful enough to tackle the ‘cocktail party’ problem; they weren’t able to isolate a single voice in a loud, crowded room. 

  • Dr. DeLiang Wang has been working on the problem for decades and has published numerous studies in recent years that explore the application of deep learning within hearing aids. 

  • Last year, Google partnered up with a number of organizations to design personalized, AI-powered hearing aids. 

Why it matters: Wang’s work has found that deep learning algorithms, running in real-time, could separate speech from background noises, “significantly” improving intelligibility in hearing-impaired people. 

The tech is beginning to become publicly available, with brands like Phonak and Starkey leveraging deep learning and AI to enhance their hearing aids. 

Microsoft caves to the pressure, recalls ‘Recall’

Microsoft building in Vancouver, BC, Canadá

Photo by Matthew Manuel (Unsplash).

After facing weeks of mounting pressure over its upcoming “Recall” feature — which was set to launch June 18 — Microsoft announced a soft recall of the program. 

Key points: Microsoft said Friday that Recall will now roll out as a preview available first to members of the Windows Insider Program sometime “in the coming weeks.” 

  • The company said it will continue its full-fledged Recall rollout “soon.”

Microsoft is slowing the release of the feature “to ensure the experience meets our high standards for quality and security.”

The background: Microsoft initially announced the feature as a component of its coming line of AI-enabled Copilot+ PCs. The idea of the feature is that it would take constant screenshots of a user’s activity and store them in an AI-searchable database. 

  • Several cybersecurity researchers were able to simulate the program and found enormous security and privacy vulnerabilities with it. 

  • Microsoft’s initial response was to disable the feature’s default opt-in setting. 

“Thank you to all the privacy and security people who stood up on this one, and the home customers who clearly rejected the feature from the outset,” Kevin Beaumont, one of the researchers who highlighted the risks of Recall said. “I know there’s a whole bunch of people inside MS who think their customers are stupid, but the reality is: We aren’t.”

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Meta is halting its AI rollout in Europe

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson (Unsplash).

The current “AI revolution” is really not much more than a data revolution. For years, the purpose that informed data collection was simple: Targeted advertisements. 

More recently, a secondary purpose has surfaced: The training of AI models. For many users — particularly the artists who showcase their work online — this was a step too far

Instagram AI training: Meta said last month that it will use Facebook and Instagram posts to train its AI models. The company said that this is what gives Meta’s AI an “edge” over the competition. 

  • There has been tremendous backlash to this. Cara, a social media app designed to protect artists’ work from AI scraping, grew from 40,000 users to 800,000 in the span of a week as users seek Instagram alternatives. 

  • And in Europe, the privacy group NOYB filed 11 consumer complaints — alongside user backlash — to protest the practice. 

What happened: After initially greenlighting Meta’s training practices, the Irish Data Protection Commission backpedaled Friday, requesting that Meta “delay” training its LLMs on user content. 

  • Meta called the move a “step backward” for European innovation, saying that it needs user content to create a better AI. Because of this setback, it isn’t launching Meta AI in Europe. 

Max Schrems, the chair of NOYB, said that Meta could choose to launch consent-based training. It chooses not to. 

“The Meta press release reads a bit like collective punishment,” he said. “‘If any European insists on his or her rights, the entire continent will not get our shiny new products.’”

💰AI Jobs Board:

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  • Senior Technical Product Manager: Seven AI · United States · Boston, MA · Full-time · (Apply here)

 📊 Funding & New Arrivals:

🌎 The Broad View:

  • OpenAI CEO says the company could become a for-profit corporation akin to rivals Anthropic, xAI (The Information).

  • The Dutchman who gets Nike and Lego into wartime Russia’s stores (Reuters).

  • Microsoft’s star AI chief peers into OpenAI’s code, highlighting an unusual rivalry (Semafor).

  • Apple, Meta set to face EU charges under landmark tech rules (Reuters).

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Report: GenAI’s explosive growth is ‘cooling’ 

Photo by Marvin Meyer (Unsplash).

2023 was a year of anxious enthusiasm for generative AI. ChatGPT was novel and no one wanted to get left behind. But the speed of that adoption in the enterprise has, in the face of a less rosy reality, been exchanged for practicality.

Lucidworks’ second annual Generative AI Global Benchmark study found that only 25% of companies have successfully launched AI initiatives over the past year.

The details: The report — which surveyed more than 2,500 business leaders around the world — found that only 63% plan to increase AI spending over the next year. Last year, that number was 93%. 

  • 36% of businesses plan to keep AI spending flat (last year’s number: 6%). 

  • 46% are concerned about data security; 43% are worried about high implementation costs and 36% are worried about accuracy. 

  • The report additionally found that “slow deployment and low success rates” are common, with 42% of companies “yet to see a significant benefit from generative AI initiatives.

"The initial wave of enthusiasm for generative AI is being met with a more strategic approach,” Lucidworks CEO Mike Sinoway said in a statement. “Businesses are recognizing the potential of this technology, but they're also cautious about the risks and costs.”

My view: We’re moving into a place where the hype around AI is being tempered by the realities of application. 

It is becoming clear that the realities of applying generative AI are far from magical. Systems — whose biggest pitch is cost-savings — are expensive to deploy. They suffer from unreliability and inaccurate output, since hallucinations are part and parcel with the architecture. And they reveal security vulnerabilities that many corporations can’t choose to ignore. 

Taken together, I think this all adds layers of evidence to the assumption that AI is a bubble about to be introduced to a very sharp needle. 

Good or bad, reality is rarely as exciting as the marketers want you to think it’ll be. This report adds credence to the idea that the future of enterprise AI adoption won’t involve some dramatic transformation; it’ll just involve faster, more powerful apps and software (so long as they can guarantee privacy and add real value).

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-Ian Krietzberg, Editor-in-Chief, The Deep View