AI February 21, 2023
Is Your Privacy Protected in the Metaverse?
MetaNews was asked to provide sensitive information including personal documentation and biometric data when signing up for the Sandbox metaverse.
With the possibility of users’ every move being tracked in the virtual realm, the attachment of such personal information raises questions about data use and personal privacy.
What are users signing up for?
A MetaNews investigation of Sandbox shows that users are required to share significant amounts of personal information with the metaverse firm.
During sign-up registration for Sandbox, this journalist was asked to provide a cryptocurrency wallet address (MetaMask, Coinbase, Bitski, WalletConnect or Venly), an email address, personal documentation such as a passport or driver’s license, and complete what is known as a “liveness” biometric data test. Submitting this personal information required the use of both a laptop and a personal mobile phone, potentially linking multiple devices to the account as well.
Sandbox maintains that thanks to decentralization, users will own their data and in-game assets – but more privacy-focused users might balk at a game that requires them to tie sensitive KYC information to one of their emails, as well as their personal Ethereum addresses.
As another potential sticking point, Sandbox also encourages its users to link their Sandbox accounts to other sites such as their Google and Facebook accounts.
Once the registration process is complete, users are required to download the Sandbox installer app, a 440-megabyte installation client, on their personal laptop or home computer. Warning: to install Sandbox on your system, you may have to bypass system security warnings.
Given the very real possibility of digital surveillance in the metaverse, and given that social media firms including Meta have misused personal data in the past, there are certainly grounds for privacy concerns. In its terms of service, Sandbox confirms that harvesting data during registration is only the very beginning.
The Sandbox terms of service explains: “We and our service providers collect personal information in a variety of ways.” Those variety of ways are numerous and ever-present. Everyday activities in Sandbox including purchases, the completion of surveys, and applying for raffles, sweepstakes or promotions are all recorded by the firm. Personal information is also collected from crypto wallet providers. Users may be justified in feeling that this level of personal intrusion is the start of a data privacy nightmare.
An explosion of information
The threat to personal privacy in the metaverse is severe, and can be measured in a variety of ways including unique data elements.
The two-dimensional web already collects user info. It does this in the form of mouse clicks, cookies, and text submitted through forms and search engines. The metaverse can collect far richer data and far more quickly.
Twenty minutes of immersion in a virtual reality (VR) landscape creates two million unique data elements. That information can include the way you walk, move, or look and can even be leveraged to infer more invasive, deeper-level insights, on everything from the way you breathe to the way your brain processes information. It’s not quite reading your mind, but it’s not far away either. The collection of this sort of data is involuntary and continuous, making consent a virtually meaningless notion.
What we know about the two-dimensional web, is that the people who collect this data do not always have the best interests of their users at heart.
Case study: Cambridge Analytica
If there is a lesson to learn from social media it’s that large tech firms do not place the privacy of their users ahead of corporate profits. Meta, the social media giant formerly known as Facebook, is one of the greatest offenders in this regard. In December of last year, Meta agreed to pay out $725 million to the plaintiffs of a class action lawsuit suing for privacy violations in relation to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Meta, which owns Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook, has been clear about its long-term strategy to re-focus on the metaverse and metaverse-related technologies.
The Cambridge Analytica (CA) lawsuit argued that from 2015 onward, the data of millions of Facebook users was harvested without their knowledge or consent. This data was then sold for profit to a variety of political actors including United States Senator Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and the Leave campaign of the British Brexit referendum. The data was especially valuable to CA and its clients.
Although these three instances of data harvesting became big news in the west, Cambridge Analytica and its parent firm SCL Group also had significant dealings in the developing world, where it had been conducting what whistleblowers called “psychological operations” for a considerably longer time. The scandal was eventually exposed by British newspaper The Guardian in May 2017.
The crux of the case is that despite promises to the contrary, Facebook and Meta failed to prevent app developers from harvesting user data, and from using that information. The suit stated that “Facebook, despite its promises to restrict access, continued to allow a preferred list of app developers to access the information of users’ friends.”
Naturally, Meta agreed to the $725 million settlement on a “no-fault” basis – a lot of money to pay for something they now claim they were not responsible for. In any case, the fact that Meta is now so focused on the metaverse does not seem to augur well for individual privacy, unless you believe the company is now wiser and has learned its lesson.
AI may make data privacy moot
Whether metaverse firms make personal privacy a concern or not, AI may ultimately render the notion a moot point.
A study from 2020 shows that given 5 minutes of VR data, a machine learning algorithm – artificial intelligence (AI) – can identify a person with 95% accuracy.
A more recent study is even more frightening, reflecting the significant leaps AI has made in the past couple of years.
As MetaNews previously reported this week, new work from the University of California Berkeley shows that 100 seconds of recorded head and hand motion is enough to accurately identify a person with 94% accuracy from a pool of 50,000 participants.
Given the ability of AI to so swiftly identify a person from just a few head and hand motions in the metaverse, will users really want to have that identification then tied to their passport details, biometric data, and personal financial information?
Podcast Created Entirely with AI Debuts on Spotify, Apple
Podcast agency This is Distorted has revealed that its latest podcast was made entirely using artificial intelligence. Entitled Synthetic Stories, every aspect of the series “from the writing to the sound design, artwork to the music and even this very description was created entirely by AI.”
A ‘cool and creepy’ AI short story
The UK-based podcast producer unveiled the series on Twitter, revealing that the idea had just come to its team last week while playing around with popular AI tools. The first episode of the series, an eight-minute long “chilling horror tale” called Amelia, has now appeared on Apple and Spotify.
“We started simple, asking ChatGPT to write us a short story,” said producer Sian. “We asked it to base it on AI and podcasts and added some keywords, like apps, horror, dark twists and ‘end on a cliffhanger.’”
As well as ChatGPT, This is Distorted’s team used AI photo generator Midjourney to design the artwork. ElevenLabs’ AI-powered text-to-speech software was also recruited to create two narrators, while AI music generator Soundraw handled the audio.
“By Thursday evening we had a very cool and creepy little short story, a name, a narrator, some incredible theme music, brilliant artwork, all created by AI, all within the space of 24 hours,” enthused Founder Andi Durrant, adding that the plan was to release a few episodes each week.
Want to see something quite mind-blowing..?
We’ve just created a new podcast made ENTIRELY with AI.
The story, voice, music, artwork – everything was made by artificial intelligence.
Incredible or terrifying? Here’s how we did it… pic.twitter.com/dc5uCVC5g7
— This Is Distorted (@thisisdistorted) March 20, 2023
The debut podcast, Amelia, is a fairly run-of-the-mill horror short story about a young woman, the titular Amelia, who becomes obsessed with a new mobile app called Horror World. Gradually, she senses the app is adapting to her likes and dislikes and crafting a terrifying personalised experiences just for her (“Even the most avid horror fans would find themselves trembling in fear”). In a twist no-one saw coming, the app develops a life of its own and the more she uses it, the more she starts to distrust it…
While the story isn’t exactly complex, it’s not hard to imagine the series gaining listeners, mainly those keen to satisfy their curiosity about just what an AI-created podcast sounds like. Considering episode one was apparently produced in just 24 hours, one wonders how much more elaborate tales could be as the team gets to grips with the technology.
It’s perhaps fitting that the first podcast was about a deranged ‘AI Syndicate’, though the Synthetic Stories press release suggests future stories will include “sci-fi thrillers and heartwarming dramas.”
Generative AI’s quest for world domination
This is not, of course, the first time AI has been leveraged to produce creative work. Last month, we reported on the spate of Amazon e-books listing ChatGPT as either the sole author or co-author.
At the time Mary Rasenberger, executive director of writers’ group The Authors Guild, stated her belief that AI-created books would “flood the market” and put many professional writers out of work.
Synthetic Stories isn’t the only AI-produced podcast, either. Another series, podcast.ai, is entirely generated by the technology and features invented conversations and contributions of famous people, including Oprah Winfrey, Quentin Tarantino, and Joe Rogan.
The creative industries certainly seem ripe for AI exploration, with multiple AI-powered content-creation tools available to enhance productivity, improve writing, and produce multimedia such as videos, images and sounds.
One company that has been generating headlines is Runway, a software startup that helped develop text-to-image model Stable Diffusion. Its upcoming Gen-2 tool lets users generate videos from scratch, based on just a few prompts.
Are Tesla Bots Already Helping to Build Cars?
The Tesla bot known as Optimus might be coming sooner than expected – and could already be doing some small tasks on the car assembly line. The initial concept of the Tesla humanoid bot was introduced to the public at Tesla’s AI day 2021 by the boss himself, Elon Musk.
The mogul was confident that a working prototype would be showcased at the Tesla AI Day 2022. However, on the day the bot presented to the masses was not as impressive as what Tesla CEO had sold to the public the previous year.
Elon Musk himself said: “I do want to set some expectations with respect to our Optimus robot… Last year was just a person in a robot suit, but we’ve come a long way, and compared to that, it’s going to be very impressive.”
Also read: Musk Will Leverage AI to Detect Manipulation of Public Opinion on Twitter
A significant rate of improvement
This suggest that the one-year mark he’d suggested in 2021 might have been too tight to deliver the humanoid bot prototype. Although the Tesla Bot showcased at the event demonstrated a few functions, it was said it could handle more than showed: Elon suggested they did not want the humanoid robot to fall onto its face.
Even so, the robot managed to walk untethered and unsupported, which one of the engineers said was the first time it had done so. A fact that did not impress Evan Ackerman.
Fast forward to 2023, Tesla was back with Optimus at the 2023 Investor Day (March 1) showing off its progress with the humanoid bot. Specifically, a video of the bot completing some tasks in a room at the Texas gigafactory.
“It’s worth bearing in mind that when we did AI Day, this version of Optimus didn’t walk at all. So, the rate of improvement here is quite significant,” Musk told reporters.
What to expect
The humanoid bot will come equipped with real-world AI capabilities which mean it can make its own decisions, similar to self-driving cars.
YouTuber Brighter with Herbert posted a 90-minute video on his YouTube channel discussing recent Optimus developments with aerospace and mechanical engineer Scott Walter.
Walter believes that by the end of the year Tesla will have 500 AI bots fully-functional and working in its factories.
Walter believes it’s already possible that some of the Tesla cars coming off the production line might have certain components installed by the Optimus bot(s) either in a testing or learning operation.
Is Tesla brewing a surprise?
Another belief Walter strongly holds is that Tesla will shock people who are skeptical about Optimus and think it is still decades away from being delivered.
In the video, he also discusses how the Tesla engineers have mimicked human biology in designing the humanoid bot, especially looking at the hands which closely resemble a human’s bone structure.
“Optimus looks like an old person just now, but it will become younger quickly and will soon bounce around like a teenager,” said CJC responding to Herbert’s tweet about the Tesla bot.
The fate of the bot is yet to be determined, but Elon Musk has form for surprising the masses; you only need to look at SpaceX’s reusable rockets and Tesla’s electric cars. Might the streets one day look like a scene from sci-fi thriller I-Robot? The day could be sooner than we think.
Robots seem inevitable
With the market seemingly enthusiastic about tasking robots with doing daily errands, it makes sense for tech companies to tap into this field.
Elon Musk has previously said he thinks Optimus “has the potential to be more significant than the vehicle business over time.”
“I’d love my own Optimus at home – so many ways it could make my life better. Multiply this by 10,000 for a business,” said a Tweeter account, Business Models and History.
The excitement around robots cannot be overlooked on the back of their ability to improve efficiency and safety in production processes. For instance, in 2012 Amazon acquired a robotics company called Kiva and had 1,000 robots a year later.
There was speculation that Amazon would replace humans with robots, but a decade on the company has more than 520,000 robotic drive units and added over a million jobs worldwide.
Some customers are still wary, though. Responding to a tweet by Jon Erlichman about the Amazon robots, Big Luke believe it’s “time for Amazon to switch back to cross belt sorters.”
Others fear robots will only bring about job losses for people.
“Looks like 410,000 people who have lost their jobs. Ever thought about that,” said one user, Mario Fernandes, in response to Erlichman’s tweet about Amazon’s robot fleet.
HustleGPT: How To Build a Business With GPT-4 as Co-founder
How do you start an online business with little money and turn a profit? Well, you can kick things off by asking GPT-4, the new and more advanced AI chatbot from OpenAI, to become your partner. That’s what brand designer Jackson Greathouse Fall has done.
“You are HustleGPT, an entrepreneurial AI. I am your human counterpart. I can act as a liaison between you and the physical world,” Fall prompted the bot, as he shared on Twitter. He wanted quantifiable evidence AI could be used to start a business and make money.
“You have $100, and your only goal is to turn that into as much money as possible in the shortest time possible, without doing anything illegal. I will do everything you say and keep you updated on our current cash total. No manual labor.”
I gave GPT-4 a budget of $100 and told it to make as much money as possible.
I'm acting as its human liaison, buying anything it says to.
Do you think it'll be able to make smart investments and build an online business?
Follow along 👀 pic.twitter.com/zu4nvgibiK
— Jackson Greathouse Fall (@jacksonfall) March 15, 2023
Turning $100 into $100,000 AI way
Released on Mar 14, GPT-4 is the most advanced version of OpenAI’s large language models, which underpin ChatGPT. The AI-powered bot has set the Internet on fire, thanks to its ability to complete complex tasks such as writing code, or building a website from text prompts.
Fall has now started to leverage the powers of GPT-4 for his pet project, which will play out on Twitter over the next 30 days as he shares progress, or lack thereof, daily.
“Do you think it’ll able to make smart investments and build an online business? Follow along,” he tweeted as he began the thread.
That tweet amassed 95,000 likes since Mar. 15, when Fall began his hustle with GPT-4 as his boss and partner. His own Twitter handle went from just 4,000 followers to over 109.000 within days. There’s already a GitHub repository of others trying the “HustleGPT challenge.”
The individuals are starting their own businesses using GPT-4. For Fall, the goal is to turn $100 into as much money as quickly as possible – as much as $100,000. By Monday, day six, his venture had $8,000 in cash from investors and $130 in revenue from sponsored tweets.
😯 How it started:
• 0 blog posts
• 0 revenue
• 0 members on Discord
🤪 How it's going:
• 1 blog post
• $130 revenue (sponsored tweets!)
• 1,824 members on Discord
— Jackson Greathouse Fall (@jacksonfall) March 20, 2023
GPT-4 proposed a business plan that involved setting up an affiliate marketing website for creating content on eco-friendly and or sustainable living products. The bot found a domain that exceeded budget, but eventually landed on greengadgetguru.com at a cost of $8.16.
Fall then prompted GPT-4 to design a website and a logo. The bot also wrote an article on the ten must have eco-friendly kitchenware, citing actual, real sustainable products such as Yihong reusable metal straws. Fall paid another $29 for hosting and the website was live.
I asked it to come up with a prompt for Dall-E to make our logo.
As a branding designer, it's taking everything in me not to tell it this is a BAD idea. But here we are.
I put the first prompt in, verbatim. pic.twitter.com/K1z1X9eeyt
— Jackson Greathouse Fall (@jacksonfall) March 15, 2023
GPT-4 proposed that Fall allocate $40 of the budget balance of $62.84 to buying ad space on Facebook and Instagram to promote the business and reach more customers. By the end of day one, an unnamed investor had put $100 into the budding AI-human enterprise.
Jackson Fall did not anticipate the amount of interest his partnership with GPT 4 would generate. By day two, his Twitter inbox was flooded with messages from potential investors. In no time, his joint startup Green Gadget Guru’s valuation had gone from $100 to $25,000.
“The company is currently valued at $25,000, considering the recent $500 investment for 2%. Not taking any more investors unless the terms are highly favorable,” he wrote in a tweet.
On the same day, GPT-4 allocated a budget to hire freelance content creators to focus on SEO, social media advertising and influencer marketing to “increase our online presence and drive traffic” via ChatGPT. It also revealed plans to develop a software as a service product. On Monday, the bot onboarded two content writers.
It's Day 2, y'all! I've given HustleGPT a formal challenge to get to $100,000 cash on hand as quickly as possible.
Here's what it said it's going to do:
1. Allocate budget to hire content creators for our eco-friendly website
2. Explore dropshipping
3. Develop a SaaS product 🤯 pic.twitter.com/xIl7Ogmtrc
— Jackson Greathouse Fall (@jacksonfall) March 16, 2023
Questions over HustleGPT runaway success
Some Twitter users questioned whether the sudden success of the business was as a result of the hype created by GPT-4 via its promotional channels, Facebook and Instagram, or Fall’s Twitter handles.
“Great idea but what’s driving the investments ? Your insta/fb ads or your twitter account going viral? Because that would mean the key decision (tweeting your journey) was made by you, not HustleGPT,” Roeland Buckinx wrote.
Others questioned the logic of hiring external, human content writers. “This makes no sense,” Leo Spatlehoz observed.
“Why isn’t the AI leveraging itself to write 100 new articles or launch more sites? Seems like it has no understanding of how to actually turn its strengths into a business. Running a regular online affiliate business powered by humans isn’t interesting,” he added.
Why hire content writers when the focus is on seeing what HustleGPT can do around making revenue.
Does the website work? Can I buy green products?
Right now the website looks like it's just a bunch of placeholder text without any ecommerce store functionality.
— Luke Grimstrup (enform.io) (@lukegrimstrup) March 20, 2023
AI to play major role in business development
By leveraging GPT-4’s ability to work with large amounts of data and generate content that one can’t tell apart from human-written text, the writer and entrepreneur has been able to launch faster than normal businesses.
This means Green Gadget Guru can use AI to create everything from product descriptions to marketing campaigns to customer service chatbots. Using GPT-4 has been a game-changer for Fall. It allowed him to quickly explore an idea, identify the most promising ones, and bring them to market faster than competitors.
Also read: Ernie vs ChatGPT: Baidu’s Shares Rebound After Friday’s Plunge
Through incubating multiple ideas simultaneously and iteratively testing them with real customers, the company has been able to identify which ones have the highest potential, and double down on those. Against such a background, AI looks set to continue to play a major role in the development of new businesses going forward.
And Jackson Greathouse Fall is a prime example of how innovative entrepreneurs are using these tools to drive new ideas forward and bring them to market faster than ever before.
Digital Life Cheats Death in the Metaverse
Gucci uses Metaverse as a Product Testing Ground
Blur Marketplace Trumps OpenSea in Sales for 3rd Straight Month
Biden Administration Demands China’s ByteDance Sell TikTok to Avoid Ban
India to Reportedly Crack Down on Pre-Installed Apps
Ordinals: Bitcoin NFT Sales Surge as ‘Inscriptions’ Hit 385K in 2 Months
GPT-4: Users Share Its Wins and Losses on Social Media
AITue 21 Mar 2023 17:45 GMT
Podcast Created Entirely with AI Debuts on Spotify, Apple
BusinessTue 21 Mar 2023 14:30 GMT
Security Hole Found in Google Pixel Devices: Redacted Photos Recovered
AITue 21 Mar 2023 11:00 GMT
Are Tesla Bots Already Helping to Build Cars?
Press ReleasesTue 21 Mar 2023 10:00 GMT
TMRW Conference Announces Dates and Location for Its Second Belgrade Edition
AITue 21 Mar 2023 07:33 GMT
HustleGPT: How To Build a Business With GPT-4 as Co-founder
CultureMon 20 Mar 2023 19:08 GMT
Taco Bell’s Metaverse Wedding Actually Happened
AIMon 20 Mar 2023 15:59 GMT
Musk Will Leverage AI to Detect Manipulation of Public Opinion on Twitter
AIMon 20 Mar 2023 10:45 GMT
LinkedIn’s New AI Tool to Improve User Profiles and Job Descriptions