Technology * Innovation * Publishing Newsletter #284

Kathy Sandler
12 min readFeb 27, 2024

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While I focus on Technology, Innovation, and Publishing, because I have a platform, I also flag items that I think are important, which you might have missed, and try to include a bunch of resources & opportunities. I’d love to hear what you think of this newsletter.

Important Items

New Oklahoma bill could allow state to create database of women who had abortions

https://www.oklahoman.com/story/news/2024/02/15/oklahoma-abortion-law-kevin-west-bill-creates-database-women/72613836007/

Alabama Supreme Court rules IVF embryos are protected under Wrongful Death of a Minor Act

An embryo created through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is a child protected by Alabama’s wrongful death act and the Alabama Constitution, the Alabama Supreme ruled on Friday.

https://1819news.com/news/item/alabama-supreme-court-rules-ivf-embryos-are-protected-under-wrongful-death-of-a-minor-act

Atlantic Ocean circulation nearing ‘devastating’ tipping point, study finds

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2024/feb/09/atlantic-ocean-circulation-nearing-devastating-tipping-point-study-finds?CMP=share_btn_tw

Scientific American: “How Risky Are Repeat COVID Infections? What We Know So Far”

“Every time you get infected [with COVID], it does harm to the body in some way” — Avindra Nath, NIH neurologist who has led research on long COVID & postviral conditions

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-risky-are-repeat-covid-infections-what-we-know-so-far/

Innovation

First passages of rolled-up Herculaneum scroll revealed

HT @benedictevans Researchers used artificial intelligence to decipher the text of 2,000-year-old charred papyrus scripts, unveiling musings on music and capers. https://nature.com/articles/d41586-024-00346-8

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-024-00346-8

How AI Is Helping Us Learn About Birds

Machine learning is powering new insights into how birds migrate — and forecasts about where they’ll go next

https://themarkup.org/hello-world/2024/02/03/how-ai-is-helping-us-learn-about-birds

A four-legged ‘Robodog’ is patrolling the Large Hadron Collider

CERNquadbot is a four-legged robodog that is patrolling the Large Hadron Collider analyzing areas, conducting radiation surveys & looking for hazards.

https://www.popsci.com/technology/robodog-large-hadron-collider/

Tiny, tamper-proof ID tag can authenticate almost anything

A cryptographic tag developed at MIT uses terahertz waves for authentication by recognizing unique pattern of microscopic metal particles mixed in the glue that sticks the tag to item’s surface

https://news.mit.edu/2024/tiny-tamper-proof-id-tag-can-authenticate-almost-anything-0218

Technology

Watermarking the future

Generative AI has made it easier to create deepfakes and spread them around the internet. One of the most common proposed solutions involves the idea of a watermark that would identify AI-generated content, but that’s not a panacea.

https://www.theverge.com/2024/2/13/24067991/watermark-generative-ai-deepfake-copyright

US patent office confirms AI can’t hold patents

But ‘the use of an AI system by a natural person does not preclude a natural person from qualifying as an inventor.’

https://www.theverge.com/2024/2/13/24072241/ai-patent-us-office-guidance

Artificial Intelligence or fair use? Is any real ‘intelligence’ behind AI?

HT @BoSacks

https://www.editorandpublisher.com/stories/artificial-intelligence-or-fair-use-is-any-real-intelligence-behind-ai,247853

Two OpenAI book lawsuits partially dismissed by California court

District court judge Araceli Martínez-Olguín said the cases would be consolidated with a similar suit brought by another group of authors including Michael Chabon, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Andrew Sean Greer. Martínez-Olguín wrote that a claim of vicarious copyright infringement was dismissed on the grounds that the authors had not shown that there was “substantial similarity” between their books and ChatGPT’s output. The authors’ claim that all ChatGPT outputs are “infringing derivative work” is “insufficient,” she added.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2024/feb/14/two-openai-book-lawsuits-partially-dismissed-by-california-court

How AI copyright lawsuits could make the whole industry go extinct

The New York Times’ lawsuit against OpenAI is part of a broader, industry-shaking copyright challenge that could define the future of AI.

https://www.theverge.com/24062159/ai-copyright-fair-use-lawsuits-new-york-times-openai-chatgpt-decoder-podcast

Artificial Intelligence in the News: How AI Retools, Rationalizes, and Reshapes Journalism and the Public Arena

The effects of AI on news industry and our information environment — the public arena — remain poorly understood: Publishers’ use of platforms’ AI for their own services and growing dependence on tech companies for AI could further weaken the news industry

https://www.cjr.org/tow_center_reports/artificial-intelligence-in-the-news.php

Gemini 1.5 is Google’s next-gen AI model

It has an enormous context window of 1M tokens (whereas GPT-4 only has 128K), which means it can handle much larger queries + look at much more info. at once. This is about 10 or 11 hours of video or tens of thousands of lines of code. Google’s testing a 10M token window (this would be the equivalent of the whole Game of Thrones series).

https://www.theverge.com/2024/2/15/24073457/google-gemini-1-5-ai-model-llm

OpenAI making its own search app to compete with Google

HT @neilperkin They’re also testing the ability of ChatGPT to remember things about you to make future chats more helpful — but also, looking at the example, building a kind of profile of users

https://qz.com/openai-chatgpt-search-google-1851261814

OpenAI Unveils A.I. That Instantly Generates Eye-Popping Videos

The start-up is sharing the new technology, called Sora, with a small group of early testers as it tries to understand the potential dangers.

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/15/technology/openai-sora-videos.html

How AI is ‘amplifying creativity’ in the fashion world

Ahead of London fashion week, optimists believe new tools can open up an industry that can be elitist — and costly to enter

https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2024/feb/08/ai-london-fashion-week

ChatGPT is getting ‘memory’ to remember who you are and what you like

As its chatbot gets more powerful, OpenAI is also letting it get more personal. But it says users are still in control.

https://www.theverge.com/2024/2/13/24071106/chatgpt-memory-openai-ai-chatbot-history

OpenAI can’t register ‘GPT’ as a trademark — yet

The term GPT was deemed too general for OpenAI to claim as its own.

https://www.theverge.com/2024/2/16/24075304/trademark-pto-openai-gpt-deny

Reddit Signs AI Content Licensing Deal Ahead of IPO

Reddit signed a $60M contract allowing a company to train its AI models on the social media platform’s content, as it nears a long-awaited IPO of at least $5B valuation.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-02-16/reddit-is-said-to-sign-ai-content-licensing-deal-ahead-of-ipo

Otter is making AI bots part of the group chat

Otter, the automated transcription service, is rolling out a new AI feature that lets groups ask a chatbot questions about what happened in their past meetings like, “What did we decide on yesterday?”

https://www.theverge.com/2024/2/13/24071269/otter-generative-ai-meeting-transcripts-group-chat

Slack AI is here, letting you catch up on lengthy threads and unread message

https://www.theverge.com/2024/2/14/24070590/slack-ai-launch-thread-summaries-search-recap

Open-Source AI Is Good for Us

But current regulatory trends threaten to quash transparency and competition in AI

https://spectrum.ieee.org/open-source-ai-good

Air Canada Has to Honor a Refund Policy Its Chatbot Made Up

The airline tried to argue that it shouldn’t be liable for anything its chatbot says. https://www.wired.com/story/air-canada-chatbot-refund-policy/

TfL’s AI Tube Station experiment is amazing and slightly terrifying

https://takes.jamesomalley.co.uk/p/tfls-ai-tube-station-experiment-is

AI Is Rewiring Coders’ Brains. Yours May Be Next

The CEO of GitHub says half of all code produced by users of the Copilot programming helper is now AI-generated — but that there’s no sign the technology will replace human coders.

https://www.wired.com/story/fast-forward-ai-rewiring-coders-brains-github-copilot/

Microsoft and OpenAI say hackers are using ChatGPT to improve cyberattacks

A number of nation-backed groups are starting to use large language models to help with research, scripting, and phishing emails.

https://www.theverge.com/2024/2/14/24072706/microsoft-openai-cyberattack-tools-ai-chatgpt

Deepfake scammer walks off with $25 million in first-of-its-kind AI heist

Hong Kong firm reportedly tricked by simulation of multiple people in video chat.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2024/02/deepfake-scammer-walks-off-with-25-million-in-first-of-its-kind-ai-heist/

Here Comes the Flood of AI-Generated Clickbait

This week, we look at how domain squatters are using generative AI tools to crank out clickbait, and ask what Google is doing about it.

https://www.wired.com/story/gadget-lab-podcast-632/

Don’t date robots — their privacy policies are terrible

Research from Mozilla found many AI companion apps fail privacy checkups and often don’t stand by what their chatbots ask of users.

https://www.theverge.com/2024/2/15/24074063/ai-chatbot-virtual-girlfriend-apps-mozilla-privacy-report

How much electricity does AI consume?

Training GPT-3 is estimated to use 1,300 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity; about as much power as consumed annually by 130 US homes. By 2027, the AI sector could consume 85–134 terawatt hours per year — about the annual energy demand of the Netherlands.

https://www.theverge.com/24066646/ai-electricity-energy-watts-generative-consumption

How Amazon Taps AI to Achieve Sustainability Goals

HT @BISG Packaging, Returns, Waste Prevention The company has accelerated sustainability efforts by leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning.

https://risnews.com/how-amazon-taps-ai-achieve-sustainability-goals-packaging-returns-waste-prevention

The rise and fall of robots.txt

For decades, robots.txt governed the behavior of web crawlers. But as unscrupulous AI companies seek out more and more data, the basic social contract of the web is falling apart.

https://www.theverge.com/24067997/robots-txt-ai-text-file-web-crawlers-spiders

Apple calls its Vision Pro a ‘spatial computer.’

The Vision Pro’s 3D interface makes you feel as if the digital content, whether a movie or social media feed, is present in their physical world, rather than limited to your phone or tablet screen

https://www.cnbc.com/2024/02/08/apple-calls-its-vision-pro-a-spatial-computer-what-that-means.html

Automating ableism

To prevent an unjust future, disabled people must become key stakeholders in the development of artificial intelligence.

https://www.theverge.com/24066641/disability-ableism-ai-census-qalys

Apple fans are starting to return their Vision Pros

Comfort, headache and eye strain are among the top reasons people say they’re returning their $3,500 Apple Vision Pro headsets.

https://www.theverge.com/2024/2/14/24072792/apple-vision-pro-early-adopters-returns

What Happens When TikTok Is Your Marketing Department

The Pink Stuff, a home cleaning paste, went from total obscurity to viral sensation — and Walmart staple — thanks to one “cleanfluencer” and her legion of fans.

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/11/business/tiktok-cleaning-pink-stuff.html

Publishing & Media

Sexily ever after: how romance bookstores took over America

HT @publishingtrend

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2024/feb/14/romance-bookstores-across-us

Flipboard just brought over 1,000 of its social magazines to Mastodon and the fediverse

HT @michellemanafy Participating publishers include Smithsonian, Bloomberg Green, Frommer’s, The Intercept, Real Simple, Refinery29, Mashable, Medium and others.

https://techcrunch.com/2024/02/13/flipboard-just-brought-over-1000-of-its-social-magazines-to-mastodon-and-the-fediverse/

Condé Nast leaves its Mayfair (UK) home — but there are bigger upheavals behind the scenes

Apple is rumored to have once made an offer to buy Condé Nast. Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates-backed funds are circling.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/conde-nast-dressed-up-for-digital-but-has-it-cut-its-cloth-too-far-xwpjvc08d

Where Time Inc., Former Owner of “Sports Illustrated,” Went Wrong

https://airmail.news/issues/2024-2-10/the-view-from-here

Noggin Preschool Streaming Service Shut Down By Paramount

Noggin, the subscription service for preschoolers, is shutting down, with the majority of its staff let go in Paramount’s latest layoffs.

https://deadline.com/2024/02/noggin-streaming-shut-down-paramount-1235827536/

Libraries are on the front lines of America’s problems

Libraries are enjoying a renaissance in usage. They’re also battling book bans and bearing the brunt of a host of societal issues — from caring for unhoused people and migrants to distributing COVID tests and Narcan for drug overdoses. The result is frazzled staff and budgets spread thin from competing needs. Librarians, while still helping kids with their homework, are helping migrants apply for asylum, and jobless people write resumes. Libraries are offering expungement clinics to help people erase their rap sheets, and “digital navigators” to help boost patrons’ computer skills. Onsite social workers are assisting people with mental illnesses. Libraries are becoming cooling centers and climate resilience hubs. Emily Drabinski, President of the American Library Association, tells Axios: “We have to think of this in the context of diminishing public investment in public institutions.”

https://www.axios.com/2024/02/18/libraries-ebooks-hoopla-libby-book-ban-censorship

Alabama library ordered to stop buying children’s, YA books with adult, LGBTQ themes

They did this without the director and a board member, even though they said the policies were “prepared by the library director and board of trustees.”

https://www.al.com/news/2024/02/alabama-library-ordered-to-stop-buying-childrens-ya-books-with-adult-lgbtq-themes.html

Even Governor DeSantis calls for reform of Florida’s book ban policies, after classics removed

HT @publishingtrend

https://www.wuwf.org/florida-news/2024-02-16/governor-calls-for-reform-of-floridas-book-ban-policies-after-classics-removed

Oregon Bill to Curtail School Book Bans; Anonymous Ad Sows Disinformation

https://bookriot.com/oregon-bill-to-curtail-school-book-bans/

Resources & Opportunities

Muppets in Moscow

RT @WMG_NYC Join us for a captivating conversation with filmmaker Natasha Lance Rogoff & Sesame Street historian Betsy Loredo on Feb 21, 6–7 PM ET. Hear the unexpected challenges behind the creation and production of Muppets in Moscow! Free for WMG members; $15 for non-members. REGISTER.

https://www.womensmediagroup.org/event-5582660

Ask An Agent Anything

MT @WMG_NYC Join us on Feb 27, 6–7:30 PM via Zoom to explore publishing trends with seasoned literary agents in fiction, YA, cookbooks & more. Connect with experts, learn about wish lists, and discover how your skills fit in. Free for WMG members; $15 for non-members.

https://womensmediagroup.org/event-5604398

A league of their own: Lessons from women in sports

MT @NYWICI Join NYWICI for a dynamic half-day event featuring leading communicators, athletes, coaches and experts as they delve into the ongoing quest for equity and equality for women in sports.

https://nywici.org/beverly-wettenstein-speaker-series/

Brooklyn Botanical Garden Performing Artist in Residence 2024 Application

HT @kima_jones

https://www.bbg.org/about/art_in_the_garden_performing_artist_in_residence_2024

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Kathy Sandler

Sr Mgr, Content Applications, Penguin Random House * Innovation * Technology * Publishing * Opinions expressed are my own