4 reasons why this AI Godfather thinks we shouldn’t be afraid

Don't you hate it when the godfathers disagree? 

On one side, we have former Google scientist Dr. Geoffrey Hinton warning that we're going too fast and AIs could ruin everything from jobs to truth. On the other side, we find Meta's Yann LeCun.

Both scientists once worked together on Deep Learning advancements that would change the world of AI and triggered the flurry of advancements in AI algorithms and large language models that brought us to this fraught moment.

Hinton delivered his warning earlier this year to The New York Times. Fellow Turing Award-winner LeCun largely countered Hinton and defended AI development in a wide-ranging interview with Wired's Steve Levy.

“People are exploiting the fear about the technology, and we’re running the risk of scaring people away from it,” LeCun told Levy.

LeCun's argument, which in its TLDR form is something making to, “Don't worry, embrace AI,” breaks down into a few key components that may or may not make you think differently.

Open is good

I particularly enjoyed LeCun's open-source argument. He told Levy that if you accept that AI may end up sitting between us and much of our digital experience, it doesn't make sense for a few AI powerhouse companies to control it. “You do not want that AI system to be controlled by a small number of companies on the West Coast of the US,” said LeCun.

Now, this is a guy who works as Meta's Chief AI Scientist. Meta (formerly Facebook) is a big West Coast company (which recently launched its own open-source LLM LLAMA 2). I'm sure the irony is not lost on LeCun but I think he may be targeting OpenAI. The world's leading AI purveyor (maker of ChatGPT and DALL-E, and a major contributor to Microsoft's CoPilot) started as an open and non-profit company. It's now getting a lot of funding from Microsoft (also a big West Coast company) and LeCun claims OpenAI no longer shares its research.

Regulation is probably not the thing

LeCun has been vocal on the subject of AI regulation but maybe not in the way you think. He's basically arguing against it. When Levy asked about all the damage an unregulated and all-powerful AI could do, LeCun insisted that not only are AIs built with guardrails but if these tools are used in industry, they'll have to follow pre-existing and rigid regulations (think the pharmaceutical industry).

“The question that people are debating is whether it makes sense to regulate research and development of AI. And I don't think it does,” LeCun told Wired.

AGI isn't near

There's been a lot of talk in recent months about the potential for Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), which may or may not be much like your own intelligence. Some, including OpenAI's Sam Altman, believe it's on the near horizon. LeCun, though is not one of them.

He argued that we can't even define AGI because human intelligence is not one thing. He has a point there. My intelligence would not be in any way comparable to Einstein's or LeCun's.

You want AI to be smarter than you

There's little question in LeCun's view that AIs will eventually be smarter than humans but he also notes that they will lack the same motivations as us. 

He likens these AI assistants to 'super-smart humans” and added working with them might be like working with super-smart colleagues.

Even with all that intelligence, LeCun insists that these AIs won't have human-like motivations and drives. Global Domination won't be a thing for them simply because they're smarter than us. 

LeCun doesn't discount the idea of programming in a drive (a superseding goal) but sees that as “objective-driven AI” and since part of that objective could be an unbreachable guardrail, the safeguards will be baked in.

Do I feel better? Is less regulation, more open source, and a firmer embrace of AI mediation the path forward to a safer future? Maybe. LeCun certainly thinks so. Wonder if he's spoken to Hinton lately.

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Windows 11 gains back File Explorer features that shouldn’t have disappeared

As Microsoft works on the first major update to Windows 11, codenamed Sun Valley 2, there's already some improvements to the File Explorer for Windows Insider users.

As of Windows 11 Insider build 22557 and above – which allows you to sign up to features in testing that are not ready for a final release, you can have OneDrive, Microsoft's cloud service, integrated to the top right of a window, so you can see which files are synced and are being uploaded.

Alongside this, folder previews are seeing a return, so you can look at what the folder contains without having to double-click it. You can also pin files to an Explorer window, as well as folders as before, making managing your content a lot easier than before.

It's yet another example of Microsoft listening to feedback, such as drag and drop coming back to the taskbar, alongside folders to the start menu. But these features to File Explorer arguably shouldn't have disappeared in the first place, and would have avoided some unneeded irritation to users.

Analysis: Restoring features like a yo-yo isn't a great experience for users

Sometimes the little features make a big difference when you use a PC or Mac every day. Dragging and dropping to the Windows 11 taskbar is another example of a feature being in Windows 10, being absent in the launch of Windows 11, and being brought back in a forthcoming update.

Apple has introduced and removed features for a later date before, but arguably only when there's been public beta programs for major software updates. A bunch of new features to the Files app and iCloud in iOS 13 were held back and weren't seen in a final version 5 months after they debuted.

But Microsoft does this with public releases, and it's getting to the point of wondering – why?

Windows 11 Sun Valley 2 improvements

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Folder previews and the drag and drop function of the taskbar are features that didn't need to be removed in the first place. They're the little features that help the user in their workflows, whether that's for a day job or gaming.

But on the flip side of this upcoming build, seeing OneDrive integration into the File Explorer window, alongside pinned files are new features that are going to be welcomed by plenty of users. Its functions can help highlight the files that are most important to you, and it's encouraging to see Microsoft focus on the smaller features of its existing applications.

However, if a Windows 12 does appear, one of the best efforts the company could do is to simply not remove the useful features that have no justification in doing so. Build on them, redesign them, but removing them in public releases will only irritate users.

Via Windows Latest

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You shouldn’t install the latest Windows 11 update

Microsoft has made the KB5010414 update available to the Insider Program: it's a fairly significant patch for the Windows 11 operating system, though some users have already noted that issues are appearing on their systems after installing it.

These include overheating due to excessive CPU loads, and new printing issues that are unrelated to those that previously plagued both Windows 11 and Windows 10 users, neither of which were reported prior to this update being downloaded. 

Luckily, this update is only available to members of the Windows Insider Program (a beta-testing platform for early adopters), so there's no need to worry about it being automatically downloaded and installed onto your own laptop or PC. Still, if you're an Insider who has yet to download it, we would suggest you avoid doing so for the time being.

A notable expectation is if you're affected by a bug that currently displays inaccurate tooltips when you hover over taskbar items. By most reports, the KB5010414 update resolves this issue, but weighing up the risk is a decision that you can only make yourself.

MSPoweruser reports that Microsoft is already aware of the new problems, but noted that there was no mention it was working on a patch to fix the bugs just yet. It's likely it's being addressed though, given the purpose of the Insider Program is to locate and fix any issues before updates are available to the public, so we anticipate this will be remedied before the full update release.

Analysis: business as usual

Just because we've suggested that you avoid the buggy KB5010414 update for now, doesn't mean you should avoid doing so after the issues are resolved. When the issues are ironed out, this update is going to provide some pretty amazing upgrades to the current Windows 11 build.

Notably, Android apps will be made available, albeit only via the Amazon Appstore for now – this restriction shouldn't be in place long, as other providers like the Epic Games Store are also anticipated to roll out similar services at some point. Window sharing and mute/unmute options for Microsoft Teams calls are also expected to land on the taskbar, as well as a much-needed design update for the Notepad and Media Player apps.

It's very common for early updates to cause a few strange bugs in early access, but that's what the Insider Program is for. It allows keen enthusiasts who are aware of the risks to test upcoming updates for anything that can cause issues, to ensure that fewer problems are created when the full version of that update is released to the general public. If anything, the fact that concerning issues have been found and noted by Microsoft is good news, and proof the system works.

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Windows 11 set to warn users if their PC shouldn’t be running the OS

Windows 11 can currently be installed on PCs which don’t meet the official system requirements, but Microsoft doesn’t recommend this course of action – and has taken fresh action in a preview build to add a further warning against doing so.

To recap, Windows 11 can be run on a system which doesn’t officially support the OS, but Microsoft has previously cautioned about possible ‘damage’ to a system in this scenario, and noted that vital security updates may not be provided to such PCs either – even though said updates are still delivered to these devices.

But now, Microsoft appears to be getting more serious about letting folks know that their PC shouldn’t be running Windows 11 if it’s not up to scratch regarding the OS requirements. Windows Latest spotted that Albacore, a well-known Twitter leaker and reliable source for Microsoft spillage, tweeted about a new reminder which is in testing for Windows 11.

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As you can see, it’s in System Settings, and imparted with the details at the top of the panel. The message lets the user know that the requirements haven’t been met by their PC, with a link to find out more about why this is the case.

Analysis: A hint of stricter enforcement to come?

The appearance of a warning for those actually running Windows 11 on an unsupported machine in this manner – as opposed to during installation – indicates that Microsoft may be tightening loopholes concerning PCs which have been pushed onto the new OS without having the hardware goods to do so officially.

As Microsoft takes more steps like this, it makes us believe that eventually, further moves will be made to ensure PCs that aren’t officially up to spec can’t run the OS fully. The software giant has always said that updates won’t come to these devices, and even though they have been provided up to now – and still are – this is another signal that this will eventually change.

In other words, at some point down the line, security updates will no longer be served to unsupported PCs, which would be a big problem, potentially leaving these systems open to exploit. Or at the very least, more prominent and intrusive warnings may be introduced to ensure that folks running Windows 11 in this way know they shouldn’t be pursuing such a route for the long-term with their device.

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A note-taking app that works like iMessage shouldn’t work, but it does

Every week I’m sent apps that are meant to help or solve a situation for users that haven’t been done before. But I was sent a particular app this week that made me rethink how a note-taking app should work.

Created by Rihab Mehboob, Note Yourself was released this week (January 20) for iOS and macOS devices that use the Apple Silicon chips, where you can note down your thoughts and your plans, but in a chat interface.

You may think, as I did at the start, that this sounds like a combination that simply can’t work. It sounds like having sugar on your Weetabix, or playing Banjo Kazooie on an iPad. But the more I’ve used Note Yourself, the more I’ve been impressed.

You’re brought to a layout that looks as though you’re going to start a conversation with yourself, and you can jot down something that you can set to remind you after a certain amount of time. You can also pin some of these entries to easily go back to, all in a very simple but elegant layout.

I’ve been using the app already for a shopping list at the weekend, and, unashamedly, the daily tasks I need to complete for Fortnite. It wasn’t long before I promoted the icon to my main home screen on my iPhone, and after speaking to some of the TechRadar team alongside some family, I was surprised to find that some do indeed jot down notes by sending messages to themselves over WhatsApp, WeChat, and iMessage. Is this the app they, and so many others, have been waiting for?

And when you consider a messaging layout with notes, could the same logic be applied to a music app? Or a storefront? It’s apps like Note Yourself that feel fresh, 14 years since the App Store first appeared, and it makes me wonder what other apps could be coming in 2022. I reached out to Mehboob to ask what made him design Note Yourself in the first place.

A chat with Note Yourself’s developer

I spoke with Mehboob after last night’s launch to ask why he thought this layout would work better for a notes app. “To keep track of various tasks, I used to message myself through iMessage, and after realizing I could make a dedicated app, with many features, I began making this app,” Mehboob explains. “I personally really like the idea of themed apps, where an app takes the style of another genre – and I think this was a great demonstration of that.”

Note Yourself

(Image credit: Rihab Mehboob)

After trying out many apps in this category over the years, I wanted to know why he thought this stood out, apart from the different layout. “It may not be as serious or feature-filled as some great note-taking apps, but it's a fun attempt at changing things up.” Mehboob continues. “I really like the UI/UX myself, and I love adding interesting features like the new iOS 15 Communication Notifications (to make it seem as if the notes you are receiving are being sent by others) and pinned messages, which to stand out I decided to make it seem as if the note is being sent by you as opposed to being sent to you.”

Note Yourself on iPhone

(Image credit: Rihab Mehboob)

Using the app for reminders – thanks to the message notification feature – I can receive a slight nudge between 1 minute and 24 hours, similar to someone messaging me back. I asked Mehoob what other situations this could be used for.

“In fairness, they could be used in any situation! If you want some motivation, they could be used to act as if others are giving commands or letting you know what tasks are left.”

Already I’m using Message Yourself as an alternative note-taking app for sudden to-do lists, but there’s plenty of opportunity for improvements. I wanted to know what was coming up next for features.

“I’m currently attempting to add Siri Shortcuts, where you could let Siri know of any tasks or notes you might want to jot down but do let me know what you’d like to see.”

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