Unsupervised Learning Newsletter NO. 371
Covid Lab Leak, Military Server Exposed, OAI Foundry
How to Use ChatGPT with Your Voice Using Siri (Video)
This is the first in my Practical AI series where I demonstrate how to accomplish various tasks using AI. This episode shows you the two (2) steps to connecting Siri with ChatGPT. TUTORIAL | VIDEO | SUBSCRIBE TO THE CHANNEL
The US Now Says Covid Was Most Likely a Lab Leak
The US Department of Energy says a lab leak was the most likely cause of the 2020 Covid outbreak. This honestly seemed extremely likely to me the whole time (Occam), but I didn't know the science enough to know the likelihood of the "natural" alternative. I became pretty much convinced last week when Sam Harris had on a couple of experts who talked through the evidence. The biggest pieces for me were 1) the proximity of the lab to the outbreak source, 2) the fact that these types of leaks happen remarkably often, 3) the fact that this lab is perhaps the most famous in the world for doing that kind of GOF research, and 4) the fact that researchers there specifically got approved to work on finding harmless viruses and looking at how they might become dangerous (see the Harris podcast). To be clear, I can steelman the gain of function stuff. Their idea is to figure out how a dangerous evolution might occur and to be ready with vaccines if it happens. It's a noble idea. I just think the research is too dangerous to do right now, given how often such things leak. WSJ COVERAGE | NYTIMES COVERAGE
Exposed Military Server Leaks Data
An Azure cloud server for Department of Defense customers, which houses sensitive but not classified documents, was left unsecured and exposed 3TB of internal military emails. Many of the emails were related to SOCOM, which conducts special military operations. The server was misconfigured to not have a password. A researcher found the issue and alerted Techcrunch, and Techcrunch then told the military. Not the ideal workflow, but maybe he thought it would be taken more seriously coming from a media source. MORE
Valve Lays Trap and Bans 40,000 Cheaters
40,000 Dota 2 players have been perma-banned after they were caught cheating using third-party software. Security engineers figured out a number of data calls that would never be made by legitimate users and then permanently banned every account that made them. Spicy. MORE
Prevent Unintentional Privacy Breaches with Simulated Attacks
How much confidence do you have in your organization’s data anonymization process? Will the anonymized data stand up to linkage attacks or sophisticated social engineering?
Research shows 87% of Americans can be uniquely identified using only their zip code, gender, and date of birth. As new technologies and services continue collecting detailed personal information from consumers, re-identification becomes even more likely.
Using simulated attacks, Privacy Dynamics helps CISOs measure and monitor re-identification risk so they can prevent unintentional privacy disclosure. Privacy Dynamics currently supports Snowflake, Big Query, Redshift, S3, MySQL, and Postgres. Learn more today at privacydynamics.io.
DNA Database Compromised
The DNA database for DNA Diagnostics Center was compromised by attackers, resulting in the loss of over 2 million peoples' personal data. The company said they didn't even notice the data was stolen because it was stored in an old database. My advice: if you use such a service, you should do so assuming that your worst enemies have your DNA. If you're ok with that, you should be fine. MORE
Google Bug Bounty Record
Google’s bug bounty program had a record year in 2022, with the company paying out over $12 million to researchers. MORE
Attackers Exploiting GPT Hype
Attackers are putting up fake tweets, Facebook pages, and websites promising sweet sweet GPT prompts, and they are successfully tricking people into downloading malware. Soon we'll need supply chains for prompt engineering. MORE
🪳CISCO Releases Multiple Advisories MORE
Meta Launches Its ChatGPT Competitor
Meta is doing a limited, researcher release of its new LLM called LLaMA, short for Large Language Model Meta AI. Meta said they can outperform models with far more parameters, specifically saying they could outperform GPT-3 using only 13 billion parameters. The full LLaMA model has 65 billion parameters. The real challenge, however, will be to see whether people take to LLaMA the way they have ChatGPT. Will it be as user-friendly? As powerful? And how will it handle attempts to abuse it? MORE
It looks like OpenAI will soon launch a new platform that lets developers run the latest models on their own dedicated OpenAI hardware. MORE
Prompt Engineer as the Hottest Tech Job
Prompt Engineering is definitely hot right now, but I wonder a couple of things. Who is hiring these types, if anyone. And how long should we expect the job to last? It seems to me like one of the first things AI will improve on is its own ability to make amazing prompts better on the backend, using more natural language from the user. But perhaps that will come more slowly than I'm thinking. I think it's a good skillset to have regardless because as this article points out, it's more about understanding the psychology of the AI, and the better you do the better you steer it. MORE
A Chinese company called Temu did a bunch of Super Bowl ads, and they're massively paying off. Their downloads and active users surged on the big day but have continued to grow afterwards. They even did more traffic than Target in the month of February. So what are they? Online shopping. Basically a competitor to Target. MORE
More Twitter Layoffs
It looks like Twitter has laid off another 10% of employees, which is roughly 200. MORE
Apple Orders All of TSMC's 3NM Stock
Apple has secured TSMC's entire stock of 3 nanometer chips, which it intends to use for iPhone 15s and M3 Macs. 3nm is supposed to be 35% more power efficient than 4nm. Cool, now make us a Mac Pro with that. MORE
Scott Adams finally got himself properly canceled. Books, Dilbert, everything. He went on YouTube and proceeded to rant for a very long time about a poll that said some percentage of Black people didn't think it was ok to be White. The poll was worth discussing, but he took the opportunity to declare that this is why he moved to wherever he lives—so he could get away from Black people. Then he tripled down and told all White people to get as far away as possible from Black people. And now he's on Twitter complaining about being canceled. MORE
Extra Weight Far More Dangerous
A new and very large study has concluded that there is in fact a steep increase in mortality for extra body weight that increases with the amount one has. Importantly, this starts at just the overweight threshold, not just at extreme BMIs. The study says previous data were wrong because they were factoring in time when the patient had lower BMIs. The TLDR is that the data show pretty clearly that being normal weight for long periods of time is one of the best ways to extend life. MORE
Popular New Weight Loss Drug Now Hard to Find
A new drug called Mounjaro has become a complete sensation on social media and by word of mouth. It evidently completely removes one's desire to eat, and people are reporting numbers like 25 pounds lost in 3 months. I have a friend who lost 15 pounds in a week on it. It's a once-a-week injection, and evidently it's not that painful. The problem is that it's super expensive without the right insurance, and hard to come by now that it's so popular. Elon is taking it, it's all over TikTok, and so now anyone who wants to lose weight is pursuing it while the people it was designed to help (diabetics and the morbidly obese) are struggling to find it. MORE
Flu Shot Efficacy
The CDC says this year's flu shot was a particularly good one in that it reduced the chance of hospital admission from the flu by 3/4 in children and by half in adults. The amount of protection that comes in each year's shots is quite variable because researchers have to pick which strains to protect against in the shot. MORE
📊 LGBT in the US
US LGBT identification is holding steady at 7.2%. MORE
IDEAS & ANALYSIS
Most Young Men Are Single, Most Young Women Are Not
We're starting to see more mainstream attention on the issue of unsuccessful young men. Specifically, how many there are. First, 63% of young men are single, but only 34% of young women are. More women own homes than men. And women are becoming very choosy about who they date. Then you add in the percentage of violence and school shootings done by men, and the numbers are extraordinary. I said last year that young, unsuccessful White men would be the primary cause of terrorism in coming decades, and I think it's quite accurate. Separate from the solutions, what troubles me most is that people like Peterson and Galloway get attacked when they advocate for men. As if to do so is inherently anti-women. It's the opposite actually. The healthier the man the better partner he can be to a woman, and the biggest threat to a woman is an unhealthy man. Finally, one of the points Galloway mentions in this video interview is an interesting but disturbing one. He says this is just returning to normal because traditionally the top tier of men have always had most of the access to women. He says the last 60 years have been the exception, caused by WWII, the GI Bill, and strong manufacturing jobs. And now that those are played out, we're regressing to the mean. This reminds me of Piketty's analysis of income inequality, where he says the natural state is highly inequal, but that it gets equalized every once in a while by war, famine, or pandemic. So that's good news I guess. Anyway, I just hope we're going to see this get addressed a lot more directly in coming months and years. PSYCHOLOGY TODAY ANALYSIS
Slack -> Discord
Come join us in UL's new home on Discord! NEW SERVER | SUBSCRIBE TO JOIN
Share the Spotlight
My buddy Leif's latest blog on building a culture where everyone shares their work. It's the follow-up to Leif's other piece we shared previously. MORE
AI Software Essay
I'm working on a major essay about how I think AI will change/destroy existing software. Hopefully releasing this week!
⚒️ Scrapy — A fast, high-level web crawling and scraping framework written in Python. MORE
⚒️ Ciphey — Input encrypted text, get back decrypted text. MORE
⚒️ Faraday — An open-source vulnerability management platform. CODE | WEBSITE
⚒️ CVE-Vulnerability-Information-Downloader — Downloads Information from NIST (CVSS), first.org (EPSS), and CISA (Exploited Vulnerabilities) and combines them into one list. Reports from vulnerability scanners like OpenVAS can be enriched with this information to prioritize remediation. MORE
⚒️ fingerprint.com — Identify anonymous site visitors with 99.5% accuracy to prevent online fraud. MORE
A prosthetic finger to make pictures of criminals' hands look like they were created by AI, and therefor inadmissible. MORE
Can't even tell if this is a meme or not, but if this TikTok filter is real, it's completely insane. MORE
The Meetings Are the Work MORE
The Downfall of Google: What Happened to Google Search VIDEO
RECOMMENDATION OF THE WEEK
Raise Your Prompt Game, and Incorporate AI
It might be a while before AI can perfectly write its own prompts. And even when it can, it'll still need your natural language input (pure English text or voice meanderings) to do the backend prompt building. Spend some time to get good at it. Learn to make AI do what you want it to do. Here are a few tips:
Keep chat.openai.com open in a single-tab window on its own while you work.
Replace Siri with ChatGPT for big wisdom-based questions.
Review your favorite art on the Midjourney Showcase, and take note of the prompts.
Think about why certain prompts work and don't work, and incorporate that into future prompts.
Start thinking of AI as your second brain. Think of it like an ever-present tutor on really difficult topics that Google or even professionals can't easily help with.
Examples: Explain $TOPIC in 50 words or less. Teach me $SUBJECT like I'm new to it and use lots of analogies and metaphor. Compare $A and $B and give me examples of how they're different.
APHORISM OF THE WEEK
"Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say only the cat died nobly."