GM, BFF: Robot frens—and how to train them

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No other Web3 topic taps into existential fear quite like artificial intelligence (AI) and robots. 

The mere mention of  ChatGPT, the AI chatbot released by Open AI in November 2022, sparks controversy among even the most fervent AI believers. And simultaneously, artists have been busy debating the merits of the deep learning image generator DALL-E and selfie avatar creator Lensa across Twitter and Reddit — with no clear verdict in sight.

While researchers, scholars and consumers alike can find agreement that narrow AI — that is, artificial intelligence designed to handle mundane tasks — can take pesky labor off  human hands, there’s still much discord surrounding the ethics of training robots to think like people.

Fears surrounding more advanced forms of AI lead some to speculate that robots could soon mimic or even replace human intelligence. (Let’s not forget the Google employee who argued that the LaMDA language model was sentient, prompting him to demand legal representation for the robot’s soul.) Furthermore, AI is only as “smart” as the data feeding it, and given tech companies are under no obligation to input neutral, objective information, AI outputs are often erroneous and biased. 

Yes — AI has many applications, including optimizing content for search engine results, debugging code and language translation. However, as BFF contributor Amanda Hyslop points out in this week’s Discover article, AI must be trained with serious ethical considerations in mind for it to be the prosocial boon to humanity that many purport. According to a paper by University of Washington researchers, the following ethical considerations must be in place when training language models:

[Editor's note: CORRECTION: The original newsletter claimed Amanda Hyslop interviewed University of Washington professor Emily M. Bender directly, when in fact she summarized learnings from Bender's published research (linked above), which had multiple authors. ]

Read More On BFF Discover

Catch Up Quick

Former Celsius CEO sued for defrauding investors. New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Alex Mashinsky, former CEO of the bankrupt crypto lender Celsius, for lying about the condition of the company to attract customers.

3AC founders are subpoenaed via Twitter. Three Arrows Capital founders Zhu Su and Kyle Davies were ordered to provide liquidators seed phrases and private keys to access the now-defunct hedge fund’s crypto and fiat assets.

No more Wyre. The crypto on-ramp provider Wyre is terminating services and closing shop, just months after a scrapped $1.5 billion acquisition by Bolt Financial. 

Coinbase settles with New York regulators for $100 million. The publicly traded U.S. crypto exchange has agreed to pay a $50 million fine for going too easy on customer background checks, and it will invest $50 million in improving anti-money-laundering measures. 

Magic Eden hacked—will refund duped NFT buyers. The popular NFT marketplace suffered an exploit resulting in the sale of 25 phony NFTs across four collections, including ABC and y00ts. 

U.S. DoJ seizes FTX-linked Robinhood shares. The bankrupt crypto exchange asked federal courts to determine ownership of $450 million in Robinhood shares, currently disputed between BlockFi, Bankman-Fried, and FTX creditor Yonathan Ben Shimon.

LG TVs meet the metaverse. The electronic company is partnering with metaverse platform Oorbit and Blade Wallet to bring immersive, interoperable worlds to your TV screen. 

SBF pleads not guilty. The disgraced former FTX CEO said he’s not guilty to all eight counts of U.S. criminal charges on Tuesday.

Audi is bullish on the “motorverse.” Holoride, a startup spun out from Audi, debuted this week at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) an AI-powered VR headset that can be worn as a passenger in the car. 

Mastercard and Polygon announce Web3 music accelerator. The financial services company will use the Polygon blockchain to launch the Mastercard Artist Accelerator, a program designed to help musical artists build their brands through NFTs and Web3 communities.

SuperRare cuts staff. The leading NFT platform admitted to over-hiring and reduced staff by 30%.

We ♥️ Our Community  

Let's hear it for BFF community member Shagun Karki Chetri! A former tech journalist, Shagun just launched makeraves, a Southeast Asia-based PR agency. Read the press release and connect with Shagun on Twitter.

From Our Founding BFFs 

M13 Partner Anna Barber spoke to Business Insider about venture debt and the pressure of inflated valuations. 

Advisor and investor Mindy Grossman joined the board of Herself Health, a Minneapolis-based healthcare technology company which raised $7 million in seed funding.

Journey Founder and Chief Metaverse Officer Cathy Hackl wrote about CES 2023 for Forbes.

BFF Events

 Thanks for reading! We’d love to hear from you. Feel free to let us know what you think of this newsletter and what you’d like to see from it in the future by replying directly. 

🚨 This newsletter and all the information in it does not constitute financial advice. If you don’t want to invest money or time in Web3, you don’t have to. As always: Do your own research.

Megan DeMatteo is BFF’s Guest Editor

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