Pongo Points 11/16/23

Congressman bashes SEC | An "AI-powered" pin for $700 | Companies join together for responsible AI | Do we have enough minerals for a low-carbon future?

1. Congressman Emmer Seeks to Reign in the SEC

Why it’s interesting: House Majority Whip Tom Emmer issued an amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act to mitigate regulatory abuses by overreaching agencies with regards to digital assets.

  • The congressman slams SEC Chair Gary Gensler for filing numerous complaints against cooperative companies in the crypto space and ignoring major frauds like SBF/FTX.

What stands out: Emmer believes that the unique characteristics of digital assets merit the development of a new classification framework, in order to better address which regulating agency has jurisdiction.

  • He further states that the SEC shouldn’t attempt to play the role of the Department of Justice, the Treasury, or the Office of Foreign Asset Control, which all have the authority to pursue fraudulent activity, whereas the SEC should focus on issuing compliance guidelines.

What’s next: While the amendment passed in the House, the White House has already signaled that it would veto H.R. 4664, which will continue the regulatory stalemate between crypto and regulators.

2. Ex-Apple Designers Launch the Humane AI Pin

Read it on Humane’s Website here: Announcing AiPin

Why it’s interesting: Humane is a new technology company that aims to seamlessly integrate AI into our everyday lives via “wearable” devices with their launch of the AiPin.

  • AI is the tech-flavor of the year that has captivated investors and enthusiasts alike, with some companies betting on AI wearables as the next big vertical after smartphones.

What stands out: The gadget offer similar features as smartphones, including text messaging and “Siri-like” functionalities, but don’t present a clear case for how they improve upon a existing devices.

  • With marketing and design straight out of Apple’s playbook, Humane is clearly trying to appeal to the tech-enthusiast and higher-budget crowds that enjoy toying with cutting edge tech.

What’s next: Humane’s pin-like device doesn’t appear to be as feature-rich or convenient as a smartphone, but does present an interesting new format to connect with the world.

3. Non-Profit Announces Major Support Its “AI Safety” Charter

Read it on Responsible Innovation Labs website here: Responsible AI Commitments for startups and their investors

Why it’s interesting: In an effort to bolster the White House’s recent Executive Order on responsible AI development, the non-profit “Responsible Innovation Labs” issued a guide of best practices for startups and venture capital firms in the space.

  • The “RAI Protocol” is a list of suggestions to operationalize conscientious artificial intelligence system design, but ultimately amounts to a “how to” for an AI company’s Trust and Safety team.

What stands out: Some major venture capital firms with deep interest in AI, like Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia, haven’t committed to the charter, which might give their portfolio companies an edge thanks to reduced “reporting” requirements.

  • The venture capital firms that have committed to the protocols are effectively adding more layers of bureaucracy for their startup investments, which might prove to be an “ethical positive” at the expense of development speed.

What’s next: Responsible development for AI remains a hotly debated topic: Which comes first, regulation or technological advancement? There are legitimate concerns regarding ethics, national security, and common good - making the multifaceted issue all the more complex.

4. Data Scientist Suggests That Materials Won’t Impede a Low-Carbon Future

Read it on Sustainability by numbers here: The world has enough minerals for low-carbon electricity

Why it’s interesting: As the world seeks to reduce carbon emissions and adopt sustainable electricity systems, few have asked the question of whether or not there are enough physical resources to enable that transition.

  • Hannah Ritchie is a data scientist at the University of Oxford who, in her latest newsletter, profiled a recent study by Seaver Wang regarding future demand for low-carbon electricity base materials.

What stands out: Ritchie suggests that global mineral/element reserves (being actively developed) and resources (discovered but not being mined) are actually sufficient for a low-carbon future that keeps global temperature rise in check.

  • However, for a select few elements, global production would have to increase up to 300% in order to accommodate the massive shift.

What’s next: Ritchie’s concluding comments ring true: The physical requirements for a low-carbon future exist today, but geopolitical and supply chain risks pose the biggest hurdles to achieving that goal.

5. Google’s DeepMind Creates a Weatherman (Weatherbot?) You Can Trust

Why it’s interesting: AI models are great tools for forecasting the future based upon massive amounts of historical data, making it a good match for predicting weather patterns.

  • Some data records go back centuries, like the Central England Temperature series that’s been recorded since 1659, and provide incredible training data for models like GraphCast.

What stands out: Google’s state-of-the-art AI model can generate forecast results in a matter of seconds, while conventional methods can take hours of computation.

  • GraphCast also provided 10-day weather predictions that outperformed current atmospheric modeling methods on 99.7% of the test variables for future weather.

What’s next: Through the use of these new weather predicting AI models, societies might be able to better protect against severe weather disruptions, improve the locations for solar and wind energy sites, and save lives.

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