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Weather forecasting is having an AI moment

Big Tech’s arrival on the weather forecasting scene is not purely based on scientific curiosity, reckons Oliver Fuhrer, the head of the numerical prediction department at MeteoSwiss, the Swiss Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology. 

Our economies are becoming increasingly dependent on weather, especially with the rise of renewable energy, says Fuhrer. Tech companies’ businesses are also linked to weather, he adds, pointing to anything from logistics to the number of search queries for ice cream.  

The field of weather forecasting could gain a lot from the addition of AI. Countries track and record weather data, which means there is plenty of publicly available data out there to use in training AI models. When combined with human expertise, AI could help speed up a painstaking process. What’s next isn’t clear, but the prospects are exciting. “Part of it is also just exploring the space and figuring out what potential services or business models might be,” Fuhrer says. 

Deeper Learning

AI-text detection tools are really easy to fool

Within weeks of ChatGPT’s launch, there were fears that students would be using the chatbot to spin up passable essays in seconds. In response to those fears, startups started making products that promise to spot whether text is written by a human or a machine. Turns out it’s relatively simple to trick these tools and avoid detection. 

Snake-oil alert: I’ve written about how difficult—if not impossible—it is to detect AI-generated text. As my colleague Rhiannon Williams reports, new research found that most of the tools that claim to be able to spot such text perform poorly. Researchers tested 14 detection tools and found that while they were good at spotting human-written text (with 96% accuracy on average), that fell to 74% for AI-generated text, and even lower, to 42%, when that text had been slightly tweaked. Read more. 

Bits and Bytes

AI companies are facing a flood of lawsuits over privacy and copyright
What America lacks in AI regulation, it makes up for in multimillion-dollar lawsuits. In late June, a California law firm launched a class action lawsuit against OpenAI, claiming that the company violated the privacy of millions of people when it scraped data from the internet to train its model. Now, actor and comedian Sarah Silverman is suing OpenAI and Meta for scraping her copyrighted work into their AI models. These cases, along with existing copyright lawsuits by artists, could set an important precedent for how AI is developed in the US. 

OpenAI has introduced a new concept: “superalignment” 
It’s a bird … It’s a plane … It’s superalignment! OpenAI is assembling a team of researchers to work on “superintelligence alignment.” That means they’ll focus on solving the technical challenges that would be involved in controlling AI systems that are smarter than humans. 

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