If you’ve found a specific passage of text in a web page that you’d like to show to another person, Google Chrome has a built-in feature that allows you to share a link that goes straight to that text. Here’s how it works:
– In Chrome, highlight the passage text in any web page that you’d like to show to, e.g. to a customer or colleague.
– Select ‘Copy link to highlight.’
– Share the link.
Google has announced that it is embedding its ‘Bard’ chatbot into its apps and services with the launch of ‘Bard Extensions’.
In a similar way to Microsoft’s Copilot, Google’s own ‘Duet’ (for Google Cloud users), and Salesforce’s Einstein Copilot, Google is giving users an embedded chatbot assistant that works across its apps to leverage them and improve productivity.
PaLM 2 LLM
Google’s Bard is its generative AI service which used Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA), and more recently is using Google’s next generation PaLM 2 LLM. When first announced, Bard was seen as Google’s rival to OpenAI’s ChatGPT (probably because ChatGPT beat everyone to market).
Google says that its ‘Bard Extensions’ that will enable the Bard “helpful collaborator” to connect with Google’s apps and services. In a similar way to how OpenAI’s ChatGPT’s extensions enable to access other wider information sources, Extensions gives Bard to access information internally and from back-end systems as well as via Google tools like Google Maps, and Google Flights and hotels (as well as Gmail, Docs, Drive). In short, it’s a way for Google users to access multiple information sources in one place – tying everything together in what should be a fast and convenient way.
Manages Your Email, And More – Example : Planning A Trip
As mentioned in the title of this article, one way you could use Bard is to manage aspects of Gmail, e.g. summarising emails to and from certain contacts. However, the point Google wants to make is that the embedded Bard can integrate, co-ordinate, and pull-in information from multiple sources, saving time and effort and boosting the capabilities and productivity of users.
One example Google gives to illustrate this is by suggesting using Bard to plan a trip by asking Bard to “grab the dates that work for everyone from Gmail, look up real-time flight and hotel information, see Google Maps directions to the airport, and even watch YouTube videos of things to do there — all within one conversation.”
Bard can, of course, do many of the things ChatGTP users are familiar with plus users can also upload images and ask Bard to find information about them.
Google is also keen to make the point to businesses that if you choose to use the Workspace extensions, security and privacy will be maintained because the content from Gmail, Docs and Drive will not be seen by human reviewers, used by Bard to show targeted ads, or used to train the Bard model. For example, fears have been raised that sensitive company information shared with generative AI chatbots could conceivably be revealed as part of an answer to other users is the right prompts were used.
“Google It” Button To Check Reliability
One issue with generative AI chatbots is that they can generate replies to questions that contain often plausible looking but fabricated or simply incorrect information. For example, OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman has been very open about ChatGPT’s deductive (fact-based) reasoning leading it to have ‘hallucination’ problems, whereby it confidently states things as if they were facts that are entirely made up. Relying on false information for decision-making or publishing false information could, of course, be very damaging for businesses.
To address this issue, Google says Bard’s “Google it” button will enable users to “more easily double-check its answers.” For example, clicking on the “G” icon, makes Bard read the response and “evaluate whether there is content across the web to substantiate it.” Where Bard’s statements can be evaluated, users can click the highlighted phrases and view the supporting or contradicting information found by Search.
Share A Bard Chat Link
Google says that the new embedded Bard can also help with “conversations” about topics (e.g. business issues) between users by allowing users to share a Bard chat with each other through a public link. This allows users to continue a conversation and ask Bard additional questions about that topic or use it as a starting point for ideas.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
Along with Duet, the embedding of Bard in Google’s apps and the use of Bard Extensions provides with another way for Google to compete with and challenge its generative AI rivals Microsoft (with Copilot) and OpenAI (with ChatGPT). It’s the synergies and added value of being able to tie together and leverage so many apps, services, and information sources via one fast, convenient, easy to operate (just conversational language) AI assistant / collaborator that’s the advantage an embedded Bard, Copilot and other similar chatbot brings.
Businesses may need to access information from different places (internal and external) and in different Google apps in its suite, and Bard gives them the chance to save time, and generate valuable information and insights, and increase their capabilities (without extra training) way beyond what could be achieved without it. In the generative AI world, Bard’s been quite a long time coming, and for many people it remains to be seen and experienced how it stacks up against other chatbots. For Google, which has spent many years developing a whole ecosystem of apps, Bard offers a way to give users seamless way to harness their power in new and value-adding ways. Although this is another important step for Google, many commentators are already looking towards a time when generative AI will not just be good with text and pictures but will be able to connect and integrate with other business systems like CRMs and become more proactive in their assistance rather than just responding to questions and requests.
In this insight, we look at the introduction of the Electronic Trade Documents Act 2023 (ETDA), what it means and why it’s so significant, plus its implications.
The Electronic Trade Documents Act 2023 (ETDA), which was based on a draft Bill published by the Law Commission in March 2022, came into force in UK law on 20 September. This Act allows the legal recognition of trade documents in electronic form and crucially, allows an electronic document to be used and recognised in the same way as a paper equivalent. The type of trade documents it applies to include a bill of lading (a legal document issued by a carrier, or their agent, to a shipper, acknowledging the receipt of goods for transport), a bill of exchange, a promissory note, a ship’s delivery order, a warehouse receipt, and more.
The aims of the ETDA, which gives the electronic equivalents of paper trade documents the same legal treatment (subject to criteria) is to:
– Help to rectify deficiencies in the treatment of electronic trade documents under English law and modernise the law to reflect and embrace the benefits of new technologies.
– Help the move towards the benefits of paperless trade and to boost the UK’s international trade.
– Help in the longer-term goal to harmonise and digitise global commerce and its underlying legal frameworks, thereby advancing legal globalisation.
– Complement the 2017 UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR). This is the legal framework for the use of electronic transferable records that are functionally equivalent to transferable documents and instruments, e.g. bills of lading or promissory notes.
Why The Reference To Blockchain In The Title (‘Blockchain Bill’)?
The development of technologies like blockchain (i.e. an incorruptible distributed ledger) technology that allows multiple parties to transfer value and record forgery-proof records of steps in supply chains and provenance in a secure and transparent way has made trade based on electronic documents possible and attractive.
What’s The Problem With A Paper-Based Trade Document System?
Moving goods across borders involves a wide range of different actors, e.g. transportation, insurance, finance, and logistics, all of which require (paper) documentation. For example, it’s been estimated that global container shipping generates billions of paper documents per year. A single international shipment, for example, can involve multiple documents, many of which are issued with duplicates, and, considering that two-thirds of the total value of global trade uses container ships, the volume of paper documents is immense.
The need for so much paper, therefore, can slow things down (costs and inefficiencies), creates complication, and has a negative environmental impact.
Based On Old Practices
Also, existing laws relating to trade documents are based on centuries old merchants’ practices. One key example from this is, prior to the new ETDA, the “holder” of a document was significant because an electronic document couldn’t be “possessed” (in England and Wales), hence the reliance on a paper system. Under ETDA, an electronic document can be possessed, thereby updating the law.
How Does It Benefit Trade?
Giving electronic equivalents of paper trade documents the same legal treatment offers multiple benefits for businesses, governments and other stakeholders involved in trade. Some of the notable benefits include:
– Efficiency and Speed. Electronic documents can be generated, sent, received, and processed much faster than their paper counterparts. This can significantly reduce the time taken for trade transactions and the associated administrative procedures.
– Cost Savings. Transitioning to electronic trade documentation can save businesses considerable amounts of money by reducing costs related to printing, storage, and transportation of paper documents. For example, the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) estimates that global savings could be as much as £3bn if half of the container shipping industry adopted electronic bills of lading.
– Environmental Benefits. As mentioned above, the shift from paper to electronic documentation could reduce the environmental impact associated with paper production, printing, and disposal. Also, as highlighted by the World Economic Forum, moving to digital trade documents could reduce global logistics carbon emissions by 10 to 12 per cent.
– Accuracy and transparency. Electronic documentation systems often come with features that reduce manual data entry, thereby decreasing errors. Additionally, digital platforms can provide more transparency in the trade process with easy-to-access logs and history.
– Security and fraud reduction. Advanced digital platforms come with encryption, authentication, and other security measures that can reduce the chances of document tampering and fraud. Blockchain, for example, is ‘incorruptible.’ It’s also easier to track the origin and changes in electronic documents.
– Accessibility and storage. ETDA doesn’t exactly specify any one technology, only the criteria that a trade document must meet to qualify as an “electronic trade document” (see the act for the exact criteria). That said, electronic documents can generally be easily stored, retrieved, and accessed from anywhere with the appropriate security clearances, making it easier for businesses to manage and maintain records.
– Interoperability. Digital documents can be more easily integrated with other IT systems, such as customs and regulatory databases, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, or financial platforms, providing more seamless trade operations.
– Flexibility and adaptability. Electronic systems can be more easily updated or modified to reflect changes in regulations, business practices, or market conditions.
– Harmonisation of standards. The adoption of electronic documents can pave the way for international standards/global standards, simplifying cross-border trade and making processes more predictable and harmonised across countries.
– Enhanced market access. For smaller enterprises that might not have the resources to deal with cumbersome paper-based processes, the digitisation of trade documentation could make it much easier to access global markets.
– Dispute resolution. Having a digital (secure) record with a clear audit trail, could make it easier to resolve disputes when discrepancies occur.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
The technologies exist now to enable reliable, secure, and workable systems that use digital rather than paper documents and this UK Act, in combination with other similar legal changes in other countries could help modernise and standardise global trade. Accepting digital documents as legal equivalents to their paper counterparts will bring a range of benefits to global trade including cost and time savings, greater efficiency, reduced complication (and making it easier for more businesses to get involved in international trade), environmental benefits, the advancement of standardisation of trade globally, and many more.
For the UK, not only does the Act update existing laws but could bring a significant trade boost. For example, the government estimates it could bring benefits to UK businesses (over the next 10 years) of £1.1 billion. It’s easy to see, therefore, why the introduction of EDTA is being seen by some as one of the most significant trade laws passed in over 140 years.
Elon Musk’s neurotechnology company Neuralink has announced that it’s looking for recruits for its first in-human clinical trial of a brain implant.
Neuralink says that it has received approval from the independent institutional review board and for its first hospital site to begin recruitment in its first-in-human clinical trial of a brain implant that could help people with paralysis to control external devices with their thoughts.
Neuralink is a neurotechnology company co-founded by Elon Musk in 2016. The company’s aim has been to develop high-bandwidth brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) with the goal of merging the human brain with artificial intelligence (AI) and thereby advance human capabilities.
The idea is that the BMI, with its tiny, flexible electrode threads (thinner than human hairs) can be implanted into the brain to establish a high-resolution interface with neural circuits to record and stimulate electrical activity.
The main objective of Neuralink is to create a safe and effective means of connecting the human brain to computers or other external devices, for example to enable people who can’t use their hands to use their mobile phone or other devices simply by thinking about it.
The PRIME Study
The first in-human trial has been dubbed the PRIME Study (short for Precise Robotically Implanted Brain-Computer Interface) which Neuralink describes as “a groundbreaking investigational medical device trial for our fully implantable, wireless brain-computer interface (BCI)”.
The six-year PRIME study will be used to assess and evaluate the safety and functionality of the company’s N1 implant, R1 surgical robot, and BCI. Neuralink says the goal of this first study will be: “to grant people the ability to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts alone.”
What Will Happen?
Neuralink says the study, which will be conducted under the investigational device exemption (IDE) awarded by the FDA in May 2023, will involve:
– The R1 Robot surgically placing the N1 Implant’s ultra-fine threads in a region of the brain that controls movement intention.
– The N1 Implant (which is “cosmetically invisible”) being used to record and transmit brain signals wirelessly to an app that will decode movement intention.
Neuralink’s website says that, since the main (initial) purpose of the implant is to help those with paralysis to control external devices with their thoughts, it is looking for recruits for the study who have, “quadriplegia due to cervical spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)”
That said, the website also provides a link for those who want to join a “Patient Registry” for current and “future Neuralink clinical trials.”
Some may remember that Neuralink’s implanting of devices into pigs (3 years ago) and demonstration by Musk involving three of them attracted a backlash and great deal of criticism on ethical grounds. Some commentators at the time also noted the potential dystopian possibilities of implants that could potentially be used for control, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) reacted very angrily to Mr Musk’s use of pigs. PETA president Ingrid Newkirk issued a statement at the time saying, “PETA challenges Elon Musk to behave like a pioneer and implant the Neuralink chip in his own brain.”
In 2022, it was reported that the company was under federal investigation for potential animal-welfare violations, and that there were internal staff complaints that Neuralink’s animal testing was being rushed and may have caused needless suffering and deaths.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
Finding a way to help people with paralysis to operate devices using just their thoughts is a promising and potentially ground-breaking innovation that could deliver huge benefits. It’s also good that volunteers are being invited, thereby potentially giving many people a chance.
This is still a trial however, with a device is in its early stages, even though it has shown some promising signs in tests on pigs (which in itself created an ethical backlash) and so over the next six-months it will still only help a small number of people. That said, it needs to be tested and it’s likely that there will be many volunteers.
If successful and production and implanting program moves forward, the device could (presumably )help with other (medical) conditions and its usage could open up many other opportunities and whole new areas of development for companies and developers hoping to use the interface to link with a variety of products and services in a unique way. However, with it being a brain implant from a company run by a controversial tech figure rather than someone with a medical background, it will inevitably attract criticism around the first steps being taken into a dystopian future. Doubtless too, there will be conspiracy theories and opposition.
Hopefully, the proper regulation and oversight will be in place for Neuralink’s testing (both animals and human) to ensure safety and ethics going forward, and it would be a great achievement if, in six months or so, someone with paralysis can have at least part of their life transformed in a positive way by the implant, and even greater if this could be scaled up to benefit many more people.
It’s been reported that a trade group for U.S. authors (including John Grisham) has sued OpenAI, accusing it of unlawfully training its chatbot ChatGPT on their work.
The Authors Guild trade group has filed the lawsuit (in Manhattan federal court) on behalf of a number of prominent authors including John Grisham, Jonathan Franzen, George Saunders, Jodi Picoult, “Game of Thrones” novelist George R.R. Martin, “The Lincoln Lawyer” writer Michael Connelly and lawyer-novelists David Baldacci and Scott Turow.
The Guild’s lawsuit alleges that the datasets that have been used to train OpenAI’s large language model (LLM) to respond to human prompts include text from the authors’ books, which may have been taken from illegal online “pirate” book repositories.
As proof, the Guild alleges that ChatGPT can generate accurate summaries of the authors’ books when prompted (including details not available in reviews anywhere else online), which indicates that that their text must be included in its database.
Also, the Authors Guild has expressed concerns that ChatGPT could be used to replace authors and instead could simply “generate low-quality eBooks, impersonating authors and displacing human-authored books.”
The Authors Guild said it organised the lawsuit after witnessing first-hand, “the harm and existential threat to the author profession wrought by the unlicensed use of books to create large language models that generate texts.”
The Guild cites its latest author income survey as an example of how the income of authors could be adversely affected by LLMs. For example, in 2022 authors (according to the survey) earned just over $20,000, including book and other author-related activities, and although 10 percent of authors earn far above the median, half earn even less.
The Authors Guild says, “Generative AI threatens to decimate the author profession.”
To illustrate the main point of the Guild’s allegations, Scott Sholder, a partner with Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard and co-counsel for Plaintiffs and the Proposed Class, is reported on their website as saying : “Plaintiffs don’t object to the development of generative AI, but Defendants had no right to develop their AI technologies with unpermitted use of the authors’ copyrighted works. Defendants could have ‘trained’ their large language models on works in the public domain or paid a reasonable licensing fee to use copyrighted works.”
Open Letter With 10,000 Signatures
The lawsuit may have been the inevitable next step considering that back in July, the Authors Guild submitted a 10,000 signature open letter to the CEOs of prominent AI companies (OpenAI, Alphabet, Meta, Stability AI, IBM, and Microsoft) complaining about the building of lucrative generative AI technologies using copyrighted works and asking AI developers get consent from, credit, and fairly compensate authors.
What Does Open AI Say?
As expected in a case where so much may be at stake, no direct comment has been made public by OpenAI (so far) although one source (Forbes) reported online that an OpenAI spokesperson has told it was involved in “productive conversation” many creators around (including the Authors Guild) to discuss their AI concerns.
Where previous (copyright) lawsuits have been filed against it, in its defence OpenAI is reported to have pointed the idea of fair use that could be applied to LLMs.
Other generative AI providers are also facing similar lawsuits, e.g. Meta Platforms and Stability AI.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
Ever since ChatGPT’s disruptive introduction last November with its amazing generative abilities (e.g. with text and code, plus the abilities of image generators), creators (artists, authors, coders etc) have felt AI’s negative effects, expressed their fears about it, and felt the need to protest. For example, the Hollywood actors and writers strikes, complaints from artists that AI image generators have copied their styles, and now the Authors Guild are all part of a growing opposition who feel threatened and exploited.
We are still in the very early stages of generative AI where it appears to many that the technology may be running way ahead of regulation, and where AI providers may appear to be able to bypass areas of consent, copyright, and crediting, and in doing so, use the work of others to generate profits for themselves. This has led to authors, writers, actors, and other creatives fearing a reduction or loss of income and fearing that their skills and professions could be devalued, and that they can and will be replaced by AI. Also, they fear that generative AI could be preferred by studios and other content providers to reduce costs and complication, leading to the inevitable, multiple legal fights that we’re seeing now to clarify boundaries and protect themselves and their livelihoods. In the case of the very powerful Authors Guild, OpenAI will need to bring its ‘A’ game to the dispute as the Authors Guild points out it’s “here to fight” and has “a formidable legal team” with “expertise in copyright law.”
This is not the only lawsuit against an AI provider and there are likely to be many more and many similar protests until legal outcomes provide more clarity of the boundaries in the altered environment created by generative AI.
With many of the world’s coral reefs being damaged by heat and acidification, one startup has developed a system to restore reefs at scale with the help of trained AI robots..
Coral Reefs Struggling
The world’s coral reefs only cover 0.2 per cent of the seafloor, but they provide a vital habitat to more than a quarter of marine species. Coral reefs, however, are currently in decline due to climate change (leading to ocean warming and acidification), overfishing, pollution, coastal development, and disease. All these factors have led to coral bleaching events (a sign of stressed corals) and have hindered coral growth and reproduction, thereby disrupting the balance of reef ecosystems.
The grim warning from scientists is that even just a 1.5C increase in water temperature could result in anywhere between 70 per cent and 90 per cent of the world’s reefs being lost (Global Coral Reel Monitoring Network), which could have dramatic effects on the ocean ecosystem.
Coral Maker is a startup, founded by Dr Taryn Foster, that seeks to tackle the problems being faced by coral. To do this, the company uses a combination of innovative technology and science to help scale up the restoration rate and success of coral reefs through transplanting tiny, cultivated corals into damaged reefs.
Coral Maker mass produces premade stone coral skeletons which, when deployed as part of its system, helps to significantly reduce the number of years of coral calcification (skeletal growth) required to reach adult size. The skeletons consist of coral fragments grafted into small plugs and inserted into a moulded base.
The system, which can be deployed close to the reefs where it’s needed enables the low cost and fast production of 10,000 premade coral skeletons per day, each with the capacity to hold 6-8 coral fragments. The system’s carbon footprint is reduced by using recycled stone waste from the construction industry and the fact that the skeletons can be produced close to where they’re needed reduces transportation emissions.
Since the idea is to rejuvenate reefs at scale using thousands of coral skeletons per day, each positioned in the same way, the repetitive nature of the manufacturing of these base skeletons is work is suited to robots. Coral Maker’s system, therefore, automates its coral propagation by using robotics and AI (supplied by San Francisco based engineering software firm Autodesk).
These automated robots, designed for onsite deployment at the restoration site, and designed to collaborative with people (freeing up humans to do more complex work) have been dubbed ‘cobots’ (because of the collaboration). The pre-trained cobots are essentially AI powered robotic arms that can graft or glue coral fragments to the seed plugs and place them in the bases.
Use Vision Systems and AI To Decide How Best To Handle Coral
The cobots have their own vision systems which, combined with AI, enables them to decide how best to grab the bases. This vision technology is needed because each piece of coral, even within the same species is slightly different and living coral fragments are very delicate.
Next Step – Put The Robots On Boats
The next step for the company (estimated to take 12-18 months) is to find a way to successfully enable the robot arm ‘cobot’ to be deployed on a boat right next to where it is needed on the reef without any of its vulnerable components being damaged by salt water, and in a way that keeps it stable enough to carry out its delicate work.
What Does This Mean For Your Organisation?
The earth’s coral provides a vital habitat to more than a quarter of marine species. Losing our coral would mean a loss of many species and biodiversity, and the complete disruption of marine food webs and ecosystems. There would also be other impacts, e.g. economic (a decline in fisheries and tourism), and a loss of the potential to find new pharmaceuticals. Reefs also act as a coastline buffer and with so many large storms associated with climate change, having no living reefs could actually result in more coastal flooding. It’s clear, therefore, that something has to be done very soon to restore reefs damaged by heat (warmer water temperatures) and acidification. Coral Maker’s system, combining as it does technology and science, gives many benefits, e.g. large areas can be covered quickly as time is saved by using pre-formed skeletons, it uses recycled materials, plus it can shipped and operated anywhere. This makes it a credible way to start trying to reverse some of the damage done to reefs, thereby safeguarding the vital habitats and ecosystems that support so much marine life.
This is a great example of how technologies like AI and robotics can make an important and positive difference in a way that benefits all of us. The hope is that if the cost of the system can be kept low enough, and there is enough investment (money and human capital), and the ‘cobots’ can be made to work effectively on boats (which could take more than a year), the system, and other ideas can be put to work in multiple locations as quickly as possible.