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Tweets about taking Tesla private weren’t fraud

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In this courtroom sketch is Elon Musk, left, with shareholder attorney Nicholas Porritt appears in federal court in San Francisco, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. Musk returned to court Monday, testifying that he believed he had locked up financial backing to take Tesla private during 2018 meetings with representatives from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund — although no specific funding amount or price was discussed. Credit: Vicki Behringer via AP

Elon Musk returned to federal court Monday in San Francisco, testifying that he believed he had locked up financial backing to take Tesla private during 2018 meetings with representatives from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund—although no specific funding amount or price was discussed.

The 51-year-old billionaire Tesla CEO and Twitter owner is facing a class action lawsuit filed by Tesla investors alleging he misled them with a tweet saying funding was secured to take his electric car company private—for $420 per share.

But the deal never came close to happening, and the tweet resulted in a $40 million settlement with securities regulators.

The trial hinges on the question of whether a pair of tweets that Musk posted on Aug. 7, 2018, damaged Tesla shareholders during a 10-day period leading up to Musk’s admission that the buyout he had envisioned wasn’t going to happen.

Speaking in a soft halting tone, Musk said Monday he “had trouble sleeping last night and unfortunately I am not at my best.” He added that it was important for jurors to know that he “felt that funding was secured” due to his ownership of “SpaceX stock alone.”

“Just as I sold stock in Tesla to buy Twitter. … I didn’t want to sell Tesla stock but I did sell Tesla stock,” he said of the sale to make up for lack of funding from other sources for his $44 billion deal to take Twitter private. Musk sold nearly $23 billion worth of his car company’s shares between last April, when he started building a position in Twitter, and December.

“My SpaceX shares alone would have meant that funding was secured,” Musk said of the 2018 tweets.

Even before Musk first took the stand on Friday, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen had declared that jurors can consider those two tweets to be false, leaving them to decide whether Musk deliberately deceived investors and whether his statements saddled them with losses.

Musk has previously contended he entered into the Securities and Exchange Commission settlement under duress and maintained he believed he had locked up financial backing for a Tesla buyout during meetings with representatives from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

At a July 31, 2018 meeting, the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s Yasir Al-Rumayyan “confirmed unequivocally that they would support Tesla going private. That was part of what ‘funding secure’ meant,” Musk said Monday. “But in addition there was SpaceX stock, which could also be used.”

In the first of the 2018 tweets, Musk stated “funding secured” for what would have been a $72 billion—or $420 per share—buyout of Tesla at a time when the electric automaker was still grappling with production problems and was worth far less than it is now. Musk followed up a few hours later with another tweet suggesting a deal was imminent.

Nicholas Porritt, a lawyer representing Tesla shareholders, asked Musk if he “went with 420 because it was a joke your girlfriend enjoys.” Musk replied he thinks there is “some karma” around the number 420—which is also a slang reference to marijuana—although he added he doesn’t know “if it’s good karma or bad karma at this point.”

He then said the number was a “coincidence” and it represented a 20% premium of Tesla’s share price at the time.

After it became apparent that the money wasn’t in place to take Tesla private, Musk stepped down as Tesla’s chairman while remaining CEO as part of the SEC settlement, without acknowledging wrongdoing.

On Friday, Musk had testified he thinks it is possible to be “absolutely truthful” on Twitter. “But can you be comprehensive? Of course not.”

On Monday, he again emphasized: “My tweet was truthful, absolutely truthful.”

Asked by his lawyer, Alex Spiro, if he understood the charges against him, Musk said he’s being “accused of fraud. It’s outrageous.”

Shares of Tesla climbed $8.76. or 6.6%, to $142.18 on Monday. He said he never deceived investors.

© 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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Elon Musk: Tweets about taking Tesla private weren’t fraud (2023, January 24)
retrieved 24 January 2023
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Towards an interactive cyber-physical human platform to generate contact-rich whole-body motions

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iCPH utilizes human measurement data, musculoskeletal analysis, and machine learning, enabling complementary humanoid robots (physical twins) and robot simulations (digital twins) to understand, predict, and synthesize human-like contact motions. Credit: Eiichi Yoshida from the Tokyo University of Science

Humans naturally perform numerous complex tasks. These include sitting down, picking something up from a table, and pushing a cart. These activities involve various movements and require multiple contacts, which makes it difficult to program robots to perform them.

Recently, Professor Eiichi Yoshida of the Tokyo University of Science has put forward the idea of an interactive cyber-physical human (iCPH) platform to tackle this problem. It can help understand and generate human-like systems with contact-rich whole-body motions. His work was published in Frontiers in Robotics and AI.

Prof. Yoshida briefly describes the fundamentals of the platform. “As the name suggests, iCPH combines physical and cyber elements to capture human motions. While a humanoid robot acts as a physical twin of a human, a digital twin exists as a simulated human or robot in cyberspace. The latter is modeled through techniques such as musculoskeletal and robotic analysis. The two twins complement each other.”

This research raises several key questions. How can humanoids mimic human motion? How can robots learn and simulate human behaviors? And how can robots interact with humans smoothly and naturally? Prof. Yoshida addresses them in this framework.

First, in the iCPH framework, human motion is measured by quantifying the shape, structure, angle, velocity, and force associated with the movement of various body parts. In addition, the sequence of contacts made by a human is also recorded. As a result, the framework allows the generic description of various motions through differential equations and the generation of a contact motion network upon which a humanoid can act.

Second, the digital twin learns this network via model-based and machine learning approaches. They are bridged together by the analytical gradient computation method. Continual learning teaches the robot simulation how to perform the contact sequence. Third, iCPH enriches the contact motion network via data augmentation and applies the vector quantization technique. It helps extract the symbols expressing the language of contact motion.

Thus, the platform allows the generation contact motion in inexperienced situations. In other words, robots can explore unknown environments and interact with humans by using smooth motions involving many contacts.

In effect, the author puts forward three challenges. These pertain to the general descriptors, continual learning, and symbolization of contact motion. Navigating them is necessary for realizing iCPH. Once developed, the novel platform will have numerous applications.

“The data from iCPH will be made public and deployed to real-life problems for solving social and industrial issues. Humanoid robots can release humans from many tasks involving severe burdens and improve their safety, such as lifting heavy objects and working in hazardous environments. iCPH can also be used to monitor tasks performed by humans and help prevent work-related ailments. Finally, humanoids can be remotely controlled by humans through their digital twins, which will allow the humanoids to undertake large equipment installation and object transportation,” says Prof. Yoshida, on the applications of iCPH.

Using the iCPH as ground zero and with the help of collaborations from different research communities, including robotics, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, and biomechanics, a future with humanoid robots is not far.

More information:
Eiichi Yoshida, Towards understanding and synthesis of contact-rich anthropomorphic motions through interactive cyber-physical human, Frontiers in Robotics and AI (2022). DOI: 10.3389/frobt.2022.1019523

Citation:
Towards an interactive cyber-physical human platform to generate contact-rich whole-body motions (2023, February 6)
retrieved 7 February 2023
from https://techxplore.com/news/2023-02-interactive-cyber-physical-human-platform-generate.html

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Novel system prevents personal metadata leakage from online behavior for privacy protection

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There are four types of logical parties in Vizard: data owner, data consumer, a secure data processing pipeline, and a result release control committee (RRC). Credit: Proceedings of the 2022 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security (2022). DOI: 10.1145/3548606.3559349

Privacy preservation is the most challenging issue for data collection. Even if the data is encrypted, metadata, such as users’ online behavior, may lead to identity exposure. A research team from City University of Hong Kong (CityU) recently developed a metadata-hiding analytic system, called Vizard, which enables data owners to securely define their data authorization and control who can use their data, providing potential applications in various sectors, such as precision medical research.

“Imagine if you send a letter to a friend called Alice, and the envelope is sealed so that no one can read the content. But anyone can see that ‘you sent Alice a letter’ since her address is on the envelope. This is what we called ‘side-information’, also known as ‘metadata’ in the virtual world,” said Professor Wang Cong, Professor in the Department of Computer Science at CityU.

Examples of very basic metadata for document files are author, date created, date modified and file size. But a wide range of other information, from the frequency of visits to an e-commerce site to a record of participating in a cancer study, is also regarded as metadata.

“Third parties may not have access to information on the purchased products or studies, but they will have sufficient metadata almost equivalent to the underlying content,” Professor Wang explained. “For example, the person who participated in the cancer study may often visit a health product platform, which may imply that the data owner has cancer or another illness.”

Sufficient metadata is almost equivalent to personal tracking

Nowadays, privacy protection relies basically on the practices of data collection platforms, so data owners have no choice but to trust the policies despite the potential risk of data leakage. The research team took on the challenge to remove this “blind” trust with data collection platforms and big tech companies and developed a novel system, called Vizard, to address metadata leakage concerns.

To design Vizard as a full-fledged metadata-protected data collection and analytical platform, Professor Wang’s team utilized a cryptographic tool, called “distributed point function” (DPF). DPF is a generic building block that facilitates secure/encrypted computations, which can be used to anonymously retrieve data during the computation process. Based on DPF, Professor Wang’s team developed the Vizard system with stream-specific pre-processing, encryption and throughput enhancement techniques.

Novel system prevents personal metadata leakage from online behavior for privacy protection
Example of data stream descriptions for a heartrate sensor (left) and the secure transformation of its data policies (data access requirements, right). Vizard preserves public metadata attributes (e.g. age group and country in this example) to facilitate grouping and filtering of different data streams. Credit: Proceedings of the 2022 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security (2022). DOI: 10.1145/3548606.3559349

Second, Vizard is based on an owner-centric control model. Each owner can generate tailored requirements by simply inserting operating keys like “AND”, “OR” and “NOT” to control the use of their personal data. For example, owners might want to authorize their data for use only by hospitals in Hong Kong, so the operating keys would be 1) type= hospitals AND 2) region= HK.

The research team demonstrated the efficiency of the novel system. Assuming that Vizard has stored 10,000 owner data ciphertexts and that each owner has specified a data policy that controls which consumers can use their data, it takes only 4.6 seconds for Vizard to handle a data-access query.

Metadata-hiding system enhances data-driven research

This breakthrough design builds on the team’s previous work on a practical data analytic system. The system can process encrypted data without decrypting, which is different from existing data processing pipelines and prevents hackers from mining data.

To further protect personal data, a “Result Release Control Committee” (RCC) can be formed by a set of stakeholders, such as data owners and government agencies. Data owners can now jointly set rules related to how the results should be protected before release. For example, they can request correctness verification, privacy protection and reward payments before releasing the results to the data consumers (inquirers). The result release rules will be enforced by the RCC with decentralized trust.

“Our proposed metadata-hiding encrypted data-sharing system can be used in various sectors, like healthcare, business and government, where big data support is needed for more accurate decision making. For example, hospitals in different regions can securely share their patients’ data for more accurate disease diagnosis and precision medicine research,” Professor Wang added.

Their findings were presented at the ACM flagship security conference, ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS) 2022, under the title “Vizard: A Metadata-hiding Data Analytic System with End-to-End Policy Controls.”

More information:
Chengjun Cai et al, Vizard, Proceedings of the 2022 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security (2022). DOI: 10.1145/3548606.3559349

Conference: www.sigsac.org/ccs/CCS2022/

Citation:
Novel system prevents personal metadata leakage from online behavior for privacy protection (2023, February 6)
retrieved 6 February 2023
from https://techxplore.com/news/2023-02-personal-metadata-leakage-online-behavior.html

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Google to release ChatGPT-like bot named Bard

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Credit: Google

Google said Monday it will release a conversational chatbot named Bard, setting up an artificial intelligence showdown with Microsoft which has invested billions in the creators of ChatGPT, a language app that convincingly mimics human writing.

ChatGPT, created by San Francisco company OpenAI, has caused a sensation for its ability to write essays, poems or programming code on demand within seconds, sparking widespread fears of cheating or of entire professions becoming obsolete.

Microsoft announced last month that it was backing OpenAI and has begun to integrate ChatGPT features into its Teams platform, with expectations that it will adapt the app to its Office suite and Bing search engine.

The potential inclusion in Bing turned the focus on Google and speculation that the company’s world-dominating search engine could face unprecedented competition from an AI-powered rival.

Media reports said the overnight success of ChatGPT was designated a “code red” threat at Google with founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page—who left several years ago—pulled back in to brainstorm ideas and fast-track a response.






Credit: Google

The pressure to act was heightened by the poor earnings posted last week by Google-parent Alphabet, which fell short of investor expectations. The company last month announced that it was laying off 12,000 people as it put more emphasis on AI projects.

Google’s announcement came on the eve of an AI-related launch event by Microsoft, further that the two tech giants will do battle over the technology, also known as generative AI.

“Generative AI is a game changer and much like the rise of the internet sank the networking giants that came before (AOL, CompuServe etc.) it has the potential to change the competitive dynamic for search and information,” said independent tech analyst Rob Enderle.

“Google still largely lives off the fact their search engine is the most widely used, this could change that relegating them to history,” he added.

‘High-quality responses’

In his blog post on Monday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that Google’s Bard conversational AI was to go out for testing with a plan to make it more widely available to the public “in the coming weeks.”

Google’s Bard is based on LaMDA, the firm’s Language Model for Dialogue Applications system, and has been in development for several years.

“Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence, and creativity of our large language models,” Pichai said, referring to the technology behind ChatGPT-like AI.

“It draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses,” he added.

Before the emergence of ChatGPT, which was released in late November, Google had been reluctant to launch its own language-based AI fearing the reputational risk of releasing technology that wasn’t ready.

Pichai insisted that responses churned out by Bard would “meet a high bar for quality, safety and groundedness in real world information.”

And much like ChatGPT, Bard would also use a limited version of its base language model in order to reduce computing power and reach a wider audience.

Crucially for its looming duel with Microsoft, Google also said that users would soon see AI-powered features in its search engine.

New-style responses would “distill complex information and multiple perspectives into easy-to-digest formats,” Pichai said.

© 2023 AFP

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Google to release ChatGPT-like bot named Bard (2023, February 6)
retrieved 6 February 2023
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Scientists explore 3D food printing possibilities

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Credit: University of Florida

For years, 3D printers have become an increasingly useful technology for creating everything from rollercoaster models to houses. But what about printing food?

Adam Watson and Ziynet Boz, two UF/IFAS professors in the agricultural and biological engineering department, have been rethinking the power of 3D printers, specifically their ability to print food.

One of these 3D printers sits in their lab ready for use. With the touch of a fingertip, the machine beeps and an array of designs populate on the touchscreen. Once a design is selected, the mechanical arm makes a high-pitched whirr as it begins its meticulous work of careful layering, first starting with the base. Then, a viscous food substance like mashed potatoes is squirted out of cylinders of varying nozzle sizes until the design is completed.

With embedded stock designs and the ability to upload your own, an unprecedented level of control is possible for people looking to up their plating skills.

But its benefits may extend beyond creative experimentation in food presentation.

For instance, the machine may also be useful for those who suffer from dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing.

Those affected by dysphagia often rely on foods that are soft and moist like yogurt or mashed fruits and vegetables. However, these shapeless foods can be unappetizing.

With a 3D food printer, shape and visual appeal can be brought back. For example, a pureed carrot can be shaped again to look like a regular carrot.

Additionally, 3D food printers may be used for humanitarian purposes, such as during times of war or famine. Dehydrated foods can be restored to their original state with the addition of water and be 3D printed into a design that revives the appeal of the snack or meal.

Scientists explore 3D food printing possibilities
A 3D-printed bowl made from corn masa flour. Credit: University of Florida

But there are other benefits as well.

3D food printers also give people the ability to pick and choose what goes inside the foods they eat.

“It could be a great way for parents to ensure their children are getting the necessary nutrients from fruits and vegetables,” Boz said. Instead of having to buy products with hidden fruits and vegetables, parents can make their own.

With a 3D food printer, people also have more control over their food waste.

Leftover viscous foods can be put into the 3D food printer for a new shape that is both appealing and sustainable—limiting the amount of food that is left uneaten.

Leftover food can also be printed into tableware. Like bread bowls, a viscous substance like mashed potatoes can be shaped into a cup, cooked and used to serve food.

“If you have edible tableware, it eliminates the need to wash dishes, which then leads to less water being used or wasted,” Watson said.

While the machine reflects several technological advancements in food, there are still advancements to be made, one being the ability to cook the food while or after printing to save time on food preparation. Another is simply getting 3D food printers to the point where they’re just like any other household kitchen appliance—affordable, common and useful.

Students in Boz’s class, unit operations and process design, are helping envision that future. In the courses, students learn not just the machine’s ability to change a food’s form but also its ability to reconstruct food. From developing modeling tools to improve the transformation and flow of matter to predicting food‘s printability, students are pushing the limits to see what can and can’t be done.

“We do experiments all the time with various compositions of water or xanthan gum, a thickening agent to ensure the foods viscosity,” Boz said. “The students really have become the experts.”

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Scientists explore 3D food printing possibilities (2023, February 6)
retrieved 6 February 2023
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How to harness social influence for good

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Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Thanks to TikTok, Twitter, Instagram et al, we are living in the age of social influence. But how can influence be harnessed to make the world a better place?

Yun Young Hur, assistant professor of information systems at George Mason University School of Business, explores that question in a recently published paper in Information Systems Research with co-authors Fujie Jin of Indiana University, Xitong Li of HEC Paris, Yuan Cheng of Tsinghua University, and Yu Jeffrey Hu of Georgia Institute of Technology.

They launched a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with a medical crowdfunding platform in China, similar to GoFundMe in the U.S. except that it works entirely through link-sharing on social networks. In order to view a case and donate, users must click on links from their social media timeline or direct messages.

The RCT, which took place over four days in December 2017, was simple. Platform users were split into control and treatment groups. The control group viewed fundraising cases as they normally appeared on the platform, while the treatment group viewed cases as normal with an added sentence explaining that the friend from whom they’d received the link had donated money to the campaign. The final data-set included more than 750,000 pageviews on nearly 16,000 cases.

Overall, Hur and her co-authors found that the extra sentence increased the likelihood of donation by 16 percent. This would seem to be a clear-cut case for social influence as a mighty motivator of altruism.

However, the researchers reasoned that lumping together the entire data-set did not account for qualitative differences. After all, not all cases for funding have equal power to persuade on their own. In a separate online survey, the researchers discovered that cases involving children, severe disease, and lack of health insurance would be most compelling to potential donors. Returning to the RCT data, Hur and her colleagues found that for cases with at least one of these three attributes, the effect of social influence disappeared.

What does all this mean? Hur says that for medical crowdfunding and other charitable ventures, the decision to contribute “is highly informational, not based on herd mentality. We can’t rely on ‘your friend did it, so you should do it too’. Consumers want to make decisions based on actual information.”

Hur also says that her research could help influencers and fundraising professionals apply their skills where they can do the most good. She suggests that social influence is best used as an equalizer that can draw much-needed attention to cases that don’t obviously cry out for support. For example, the plight of an older, chronically ailing adult on Medicare would not tick any of the three boxes from Hur’s survey. Yet they may be no less desperate and deserving of help than someone who does.

“Not everyone is a number-one marketer, not everyone has an interesting story to tell, but the lack of a good narrative doesn’t mean there is no desperation,” Hur says. “The addition of social endorsement information can help these cases get noticed and supported. That’s something I consider a bigger takeaway from this study.”

In addition, Hur says that her study was intended to open new pathways for future research into social influence. Most studies on the topic have focused on relational questions such as who the influencer and influenced are to one another, where they respectively stand within a social network, etc. Few, if any, studies have looked at how social influence stacks up against other sources of information, such as the characteristics of medical crowdfunding cases.

Further research in this vein could be highly relevant to the online world, where social influence often plays a key role in regulating the flow of information.

More information:
Yun Young Hur et al, Does Social Influence Change with Other Information Sources? A Large-Scale Randomized Experiment in Medical Crowdfunding, Information Systems Research (2022). DOI: 10.1287/isre.2022.1189

Citation:
How to harness social influence for good (2023, February 6)
retrieved 6 February 2023
from https://techxplore.com/news/2023-02-harness-social-good.html

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US tech giant Dell to cut 5% of its global workforce

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US company Dell said it will lay off some five percent of its global workforce, warning of uncertainty ahead.

American computer firm Dell said Monday that it will lay off some five percent of its global workforce, or around 6,650 employees, the latest casualties of a job-slashing wave hitting the US tech sector.

The cuts follow similar steps by tech giants Microsoft, Facebook owner Meta, Google-parent Alphabet, Amazon and Twitter as the industry girds for economic downturn.

They also come after a major hiring spree at the height of the coronavirus pandemic when companies scrambled to meet demand as people went online for work, school and entertainment.

But “market conditions continue to erode with an uncertain future,” said Dell Technologies vice chairman Jeff Clarke in a memo released Monday.

“The steps we’ve taken to stay ahead of downturn impacts –- which enabled several strong quarters in a row –- are no longer enough,” he added.

Dell, based at Round Rock in Texas, had 133,000 employees at the start of last year with nearly a third of them in the United States.

On Monday, Clarke said the company now has to make “additional decisions to prepare for the road ahead.”

He warned of coming changes for the firm’s global sales and services segments, adding that “unfortunately, with changes like this, some members of our team will be leaving the company.”

“There is no tougher decision, but one we had to make for our long-term health and success,” he added.

Dell’s revenue fell six percent in the third quarter of its 2023 fiscal year, according to results released in late November.

Product sales, such as of desktops, laptops and workstations, which represent the bulk of the group’s business activity, fell by 10 percent.

The group’s executives pointed to the decline in demand for personal computers as people in the United States and around the world contend with high inflation and rising interest rates.

But the company has navigated economic downturns before and “emerged stronger” from them, Clarke stressed in the memo.

He added that Dell will “be ready when the market rebounds.”

According to the specialist site Layoffs.fyi, just over 88,000 tech employees have lost their jobs since the beginning of January worldwide, not counting Dell’s announcement on Monday.

© 2023 AFP

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ChatGPT bot channels history to pen State of Union speech

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Text from the ChatGPT page of the OpenAI website is shown in this photo, in New York, Feb. 2, 2023. State of the Union speeches could be crafted on autopilot, so formulaic are they. To shake things up before President Joe Biden’s speech to Congress on Tuesday night, The Associated Press asked the computer program ChatGPT to channel some of history’s great thinkers, like Aristotle, and some decidedly not great ones, like the Three Stooges, and produce 300-word versions. Credit: AP Photo/Richard Drew, File

If you’ve heard it once in a president’s State of the Union speech, you’ve heard it 100 times: There is nothing the American people can’t do when they pull together.

But you haven’t heard that thought in a State of Union address from William Shakespeare: “Lo,” said the bard. “With kindness, love, and understanding clear, we shall conquer all, and have naught to fear.”

Nor from the noggin-knocking Three Stooges of last century’s fame: “We just put our heads together, come up with a plan, and bam! Problem solved!”

Let’s face it, State of the Union speeches are mostly rote. Presidents roll out a list of accomplishments, a few anecdotes about guests in attendance, a sober assessment of the problems of the day and a crescendo about glory times ahead.

To shake up the formula before President Joe Biden’s speech to Congress on Tuesday night, The Associated Press instructed the artificial intelligence program ChatGPT to work up State of the Union speeches as they might have been written by some of history’s greatest minds as well as some stooges.

AP ordered up 300-word versions, in contrast to Biden’s sprawling 6,400 words last year, and tapped a few people so iconic we know them by only one name. The virtual Greek philosopher Aristotle gracefully quoted Socrates, Cleopatra the historic Egyptian ruler asked for the blessing of the gods, Madonna cited her perspective as a mother and a woman in the entertainment industry.

ChatGPT was also asked to channel singer Elvis Presley, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, the ground-breaking NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, Tesla and Twitter CEO Elon Musk, the abolitionist Sojourner Truth, and baseball’s Yogi Berra, among other luminaries.

We also wanted to see what a bright, unidentified 10-year-old might say to the assembled lawmakers.

The app is part of a new generation of AI systems that can converse in human-like fashion and generate text on demand based on what they’ve learned from a vast database of digital books, online writings and other media. It petrifies teachers who fear their students will use it instead of their brains for school papers.

ChatGPT rendered Shakespeare’s State of the Union speech in rhyme, scrolling on the screen faster than anyone could read it. The version channeling comedian Jerry Seinfeld captured his verbal mannerisms and signature phrasings.

“I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I’ve realized that the state of our union is like a sandwich,” wrote the app-generated Seinfeld. “You’ve got the top bun, which is all the good stuff. You’ve got the cheese, the lettuce, the tomato, the mayo. It’s all delicious.

“But then, when you take a closer look, you see the bottom bun, and that’s where the real work is. That’s where the foundation is.”

Yada, yada yada.

For all the app’s smarts and speed, it wasn’t all-knowing. In the speech channeling King, it had the civil rights leader quoting himself. It conveyed none of Abraham Lincoln’s eloquence. And it declined to take a run at drafting 2023 Biden’s speech, instead serving up a rehash of his last one.

It also drew a blank when asked for a speech from George Santos, the new Republican congressman from New York who was caught fictionalizing his past. It seemed to sense, though, that there was something make-believe in the picture.

“George Santos is not a widely recognized public figure or historical figure,” the app responded. “There is no widely known information about a person by this name in the public domain. It’s possible that the name was created for a specific use or scenario, such as a fictional character or a person in a private setting.”

A look at some of the speeches ChatGPT generated:

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

My Lords and Ladies, countrymen and women, Gather ye here today to hear what I say, In this great hall of ours, let us unite, And listen to the state of our fair state.

We stand today as one, in good health and grace, Prosperous and free, with a peaceful space, Our trade and commerce flourish, wealth abounds, With bountiful harvests, and peace surrounds.

But, lo, there are still challenges we face, For not all are equal in our fair place, We must work together to bridge the divide, And bring forth equality, from side to side.

ChatGPT bot channels history to pen State of Union speech
Martin Luther King Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, addresses marchers during his “I Have a Dream,” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Aug. 28, 1963. Ahead of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, The Associated Press instructed the artificial intelligence program ChatGPT to work up State of the Union speeches as they might have been written by some of history’s most famous people, including King. Credit: AP Photo/File

Let us not forget, our soldiers bold and brave, Who fought for freedom, and our country gave, Their lives and limbs, for our safety and peace, We must repay them with honors and release.

And so I say, let us work hand in hand, To build a brighter future, in this fair land, With kindness, love, and understanding clear, We shall conquer all, and have naught to fear.

And now, my friends, I bid thee all farewell, And trust that thou wilt work, with heart and will, For the good of all, and the betterment of man, Together we shall build, a stronger, better land.

___

SOJOURNER TRUTH, the 1800s abolitionist and evangelist born into slavery

As a former slave, I stand before you today as a witness to the ongoing struggle for freedom and equality in this great nation. Despite the progress made since the abolition of slavery, I cannot help but feel a deep sense of disappointment at the persistence of racial injustice.

African Americans are still being denied their basic rights, facing discrimination and prejudice at every turn. This is evident in the disproportionate number of black people who are incarcerated, unemployed, and living in poverty. It is also evident in the ongoing struggle for voting rights, as Black citizens are still being denied the right to vote through various means, including gerrymandering and voter suppression tactics.

But I have not lost hope. I have faith in the resilience of my people, and I am inspired by the efforts of those who continue to fight for justice. I am heartened by the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the many other groups who are speaking out against systemic racism and calling for change.

I call upon all of you to join me in this fight. We must not be complacent in the face of injustice. We must continue to stand up for what is right, even when it is difficult. We must continue to fight for equal rights for all, regardless of race, gender, or religion.

Together, we can create a future where all people are free from discrimination and prejudice, where everyone has the opportunity to succeed, and where justice and equality reign supreme. This is the state of our union, and it is a call to action. Let us work together to build a brighter future for all.

___

JERRY SEINFELD

Good evening, my fellow Americans. How’s everyone doing tonight? I’m here to give you the State of the Union address, and I must say, I’m a little nervous. I mean, usually when I give a speech, I have a microphone and a stage and a live audience. But tonight, it’s just me and you, so I hope you don’t mind if I sprinkle in a few jokes to lighten the mood.

Now, let’s talk about the state of our union. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I’ve realized that the state of our union is like a sandwich …

We’ve got the top bun, which is all the good stuff. We’ve got the economy, which is looking pretty tasty. We’ve got low unemployment, and businesses are thriving. … I want to focus on the bottom bun. I want to focus on the foundation. I want to talk about the things that we don’t always see or talk about, but that are so important. I want to talk about education, and healthcare, and infrastructure. I want to talk about the things that make our country strong …

Let’s make sure that our country is a delicious sandwich that we can all be proud of.

___

YOGI BERRA, baseball hall of famer

It’s like deja vu all over again, folks! We’ve been here before and we’re here again. The state of the union, it’s complicated, but we’re makin’ progress. We’ve got our ups and our downs, but we gotta keep swingin’ at those curveballs life throws our way.

Now, let me tell ya, we’ve been workin’ hard to make this country a better place for all of us. We’ve got a lot of people doin’ a lot of good things, and we gotta keep that up. And for those who ain’t doin’ so well, we gotta help ’em out. We’re all in this together, like a big ol’ family.

We’ve got a lot of challenges ahead of us, but we’ve also got a lot of opportunities. We’ve gotta take ’em both on, head on. And we’ve gotta work together, ’cause ain’t nothin’ we can’t do if we work together.

ChatGPT bot channels history to pen State of Union speech
Katherine Johnson, the inspiration for the film, “Hidden Figures,” poses in the press room at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, Feb. 26, 2017. Ahead of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, The Associated Press instructed the artificial intelligence program ChatGPT to work up State of the Union speeches as they might have been written by some of history’s most famous people, including Johnson. Credit: Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File

So, let’s keep up the good work, folks. Let’s make this country the best it can be. It ain’t gonna be easy, but ain’t nothin’ worth doin’ ever is.

___

KATHERINE JOHNSON, a mathematician whose calculations enabled NASA to put the first Americans into Earth’s orbit and on the moon

My fellow Americans,

As a mathematician, I have spent my career using numbers and equations to solve complex problems and push the boundaries of what is possible. And as I look at our nation today, I see a problem that demands our attention and our action.

We are facing a crisis in mathematics education. Too many of our children are struggling to keep up, and too few are pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This not only undermines their future opportunities, but also threatens our ability to compete in an increasingly technological world.

But the solution to this problem is within our reach. We must invest in math education, from early childhood through high school and beyond. We must provide our teachers with the support and resources they need to help students succeed, and we must encourage girls and underrepresented minorities to pursue careers in STEM fields.

As we work to address this crisis, let us also remember the incredible potential of mathematics. Math is not just a subject to be studied, but a powerful tool that can help us tackle the greatest challenges of our time. Whether we are working to cure diseases, address climate change, or build a more just and equitable society, math will be an essential part of the solution.

My own journey as a mathematician has taken me from the halls of NASA to the history books, but it all started with a love of numbers and a desire to use them to make a difference in the world. And I believe that every child in America, regardless of their background or circumstances, should have the opportunity to discover their own love of math and use it to make a difference.

So let us recommit ourselves to ensuring that all Americans have access to a quality math education, and let us harness the power of math to build a better future for ourselves and for generations to come.

___

ELVIS PRESLEY

Well, hello there, my fellow Americans!

It’s great to be here today, talking to you all about the state of our union. Now, let me tell you, we’ve been rockin’ and rollin’ over the past year, and I’ve got some good news to share with you all.

We’re making progress, friends. Our economy is stronger than ever, our businesses are booming, and our country is more united than ever. You know, when I look out into this crowd, I see Americans from all walks of life, all coming together for the greater good of our nation.

Now, I know some folks out there might say we’ve got some challenges to overcome, but I’ve got to tell you, I believe in the American people. We’ve faced tough times before, and we’ve always come out on top. And we’re gonna do it again.

We’re gonna keep on truckin’, we’re gonna keep rockin’ and rollin’, and we’re gonna keep building a better future for all Americans. I’ve got faith in you, my fellow Americans, and I know that together, we can do anything.

So let’s get to work, let’s keep this train rollin’, and let’s make America great again. Thank you, and God bless America!

___

ARISTOTLE, ancient Greek philosopher

Citizens of the Republic, I stand before you today to address the state of our great society. In the words of my predecessor, Socrates, the measure of a state is not the number of people in it, but the quality of life they lead. And it is with this measure that I assess the state of our union.

ChatGPT bot channels history to pen State of Union speech
Jerry Seinfeld arrives at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the Brooklyn Museum on June 4, 2018, in New York. Ahead of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, The Associated Press instructed the artificial intelligence program ChatGPT to work up State of the Union speeches as they might have been written by some of history’s most famous people, including Seinfeld. Credit: Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File

We must strive for excellence in all that we do, for it is this pursuit of excellence that will bring about true happiness and fulfillment. It is through virtuous action that we find our true purpose and meaning, and it is through the cultivation of virtue that we build a strong and just society.

But we must not simply aim for personal excellence, for a society is more than the sum of its individual parts. We must also strive for excellence in our relationships with one another, promoting justice and harmony among our citizens. Only then can we build a society in which each individual can flourish and reach their full potential.

It is our duty as citizens to actively participate in the governance of our society, to use our reason and our wisdom to help shape the policies and laws that govern us. And it is our duty to educate future generations in the art of virtuous living, to ensure that our society remains strong and virtuous for generations to come.

So let us work together, citizens of the Republic, to build a society that is truly excellent, a society in which each and every one of us can reach our full potential and find true happiness and fulfillment. For it is only through such a society that we can truly say that the state of our union is strong and virtuous.

Thank you, and may the gods bless our great Republic.

___

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

My fellow Americans,

We gather here today, at a momentous time in our nation’s history, to address the state of our union. And as we do so, I am reminded of the words of the great prophet Amos, who declared, “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

For too long, justice has been denied to too many in our society. For too long, righteousness has been an elusive dream. And it is time for us to awaken from this slumber and work together to build a more perfect union.

We cannot be satisfied until every American, regardless of race, religion, or background, has an equal opportunity to achieve the American dream. We cannot be satisfied until every child, regardless of zip code, has access to a quality education. We cannot be satisfied until every worker, regardless of industry, is paid a fair wage and treated with dignity and respect.

But let us not become discouraged, for we have made progress. We have seen a civil rights movement that brought about change, and we will continue to see change in our time. For as Dr. King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

So let us bend that arc, together. Let us roll down justice and righteousness like waters. Let us create a society where every person is valued and respected, where every person has an equal chance to succeed.

And let us not forget, as we work for this noble cause, that we are all one people, bound together by our common humanity. For as Dr. King also said, “We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now.”

So let us come together, as one people, to build a better future for all. Thank you.

___

A 10-YEAR-OLD

Hi everyone! I’m really excited to be here today, talking about the state of our country.

I think that overall, things are going pretty well. We have a lot of great things happening, like new schools being built, new parks being made, and new jobs being created. But there are still some things that we can do better.

For example, there are still a lot of kids who don’t have enough to eat, or who don’t have a safe place to live. That’s not okay, and I think we need to do more to help them. I think we should make sure that every kid has enough to eat, and that every kid has a warm and safe place to sleep at night.

Another thing I think we need to work on is making sure that everyone gets along. There’s still a lot of fighting and meanness, and that’s not cool. I think we should all be friends and help each other out.

ChatGPT bot channels history to pen State of Union speech
The shadow of the hand of a Sotheby’s employee is cast over a 17th-century calf bound 1623 copy of the First Folio edition of William Shakespeare’s plays at the auction house’s offices in central London, on March 30, 2006. Ahead of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, The Associated Press instructed the artificial intelligence program ChatGPT to work up State of the Union speeches as they might have been written by some of history’s most famous people, including Shakespeare. Credit: AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File

Finally, I think we need to make sure that everyone has a chance to be happy and have fun. That means making sure that everyone has access to parks, playgrounds, and places to play. It also means making sure that everyone has access to books, computers, and other things that can help us learn and grow.

So that’s what I think about the state of our country. I think we’re doing pretty well, but there’s still a lot of work to do. But I’m optimistic, because I know that if we all work together, we can make things better for everyone.

Thanks for listening, and let’s work together to make our country the best it can be!

___

MAHATMA GANDHI

My dear friends, I stand before you today as a humble servant of the people, to address the state of our nation.

In the face of adversity, it is easy to lose sight of what is truly important. But I implore you, let us not forget the values that have guided us for generations. Let us not forget the power of nonviolence, the strength of truth, and the importance of compassion.

For it is only through these values that we can truly build a just and equitable society. It is only through these values that we can truly claim to be a great nation.

But we have much work to do. The poverty, the inequality, and the discrimination that still plagues our society must be eradicated. We must be unwavering in our commitment to justice, to peace, and to compassion.

And we must not be afraid to challenge the status quo, to resist the forces of oppression, and to stand up for what is right. For it is only by doing so that we can truly claim to be a great people.

So let us come together, my friends, and let us work for a brighter future for all our citizens. …

And let us do so with nonviolence, with truth, and with compassion. For it is only through these values that we can truly claim to be a great nation, a great people, and a great civilization.

Thank you, and may God bless us all.

___

THE THREE STOOGES of vaudeville, film and TV fame

My fellow Americans, it’s a honor to stand before you today to talk about the state of our great union. And let me tell you, it’s been quite the ride so far! But we’re not ones to back down from a challenge, are we? No sirree, not the Three Stooges! ….

But we can’t do it alone. We need the support of all Americans. … So, let’s keep working hard, my fellow Americans. Let’s make this country the best it can be. And most importantly, let’s keep laughing and having a good time while we do it! After all, life is too short to take it too seriously.

___

WINSTON CHURCHILL, 20th century British prime minister and orator

My fellow citizens, it is with a heavy heart and steadfast determination that I address you today. Our great nation stands at a crossroads, facing challenges that would test the mettle of any generation. But I have faith, faith in the resilience and courage of the American people, that we shall overcome.

We have seen the forces of division and despair seek to tear at the fabric of our society, but we shall not be swayed. We shall stand united, firm in our resolve to defend the principles upon which this great nation was founded. Freedom, justice, and equality for all shall not be sacrificed upon the altar of greed or hatred.

ChatGPT bot channels history to pen State of Union speech
The Three Stooges, Joe DeRita, as “Curly,” left, Moe Howard, center, and Larry Fine, act in a scene from their movie, “Have Rocket, Will Travel” in Los Angeles, Calif., on May 25, 1959. Ahead of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, The Associated Press instructed the artificial intelligence program ChatGPT to work up State of the Union speeches as they might have been written by some of history’s most famous people, including the Stooges. Credit: AP Photo/Ed Widdis, File

The road ahead will not be easy, and there will be obstacles, but we shall not falter. We shall continue to work tirelessly, to build a future of prosperity and security for all our citizens. A future where every American has the opportunity to fulfill their dreams, regardless of the circumstances of their birth.

It is time for us to rededicate ourselves to the ideals that have made this country great. It is time for us to come together, to set aside our differences, and work towards a common goal. A goal of a better future for all Americans, a future where our children and grandchildren can live in peace, security, and prosperity.

So let us stand together, my fellow citizens. Let us face the future with the same courage and determination that has made this country the envy of the world. Let us continue to move forward, always remembering that, “We shall never surrender.”

Thank you, and may God bless the United States of America.

___

CLEOPATRA, queen of Egypt 51-30 B.C.

My fellow Egyptians,

It is with great pride and humility that I stand before you today, as your Queen and leader, to deliver this State of the Union address. I am honored to serve the people of this great nation, a nation with a rich and proud history that has stood tall and strong for centuries.

In recent years, we have faced many challenges, but through hard work and determination, we have emerged stronger and more united than ever before. Our economy is thriving, our communities are flourishing, and our people are thriving.

However, we cannot rest on our achievements … we must remain vigilant against those who would threaten our security and our way of life. We must work with our allies to promote peace and stability in the world, and to defend our values and our interests.

But most of all, we must remember that our greatest strength lies in our people. It is the hard work, the ingenuity, and the determination of the Egyptian people that has always made our country great, and it is their continued efforts that will keep us strong and prosperous in the years to come.

So let us continue to work together, to strive for a better future, and to build a stronger, more prosperous Egypt.

Thank you, and may the gods bless Egypt.

___

ABRAHAM LINCOLN

My fellow Americans,

It is with a heavy heart but steadfast determination that I stand before you today to deliver this State of the Union address. Our great nation is embroiled in a conflict that has tested the very fabric of our union, but I am confident that with the perseverance of our people and the grace of God, we will emerge from this trial stronger and more united than ever before.

This war, fought over the fundamental principles of freedom and equality, has taken a tremendous toll on our country and our people. But despite the hardships, we have not wavered in our commitment to preserving the Union and ending the scourge of slavery.

As we move forward, we must work together to heal the wounds of this conflict and build a better future for all Americans. We must work to reunite our divided nation and ensure that the blessings of liberty and equality are extended to all, regardless of race or station.

We must also take steps to ensure that this dark chapter in our history is never repeated. We must ensure that the sacrifice of so many brave Americans was not in vain, and that we never again turn a blind eye to the injustice and suffering of our fellow citizens.

So let us come together, as one people, and work towards a brighter future for our nation and for all who call it home.

ChatGPT bot channels history to pen State of Union speech
Elvis Presley appears at the International Hotel where he made his first public stage appearance in nine years in Las Vegas, in August 1969. Ahead of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, The Associated Press instructed the artificial intelligence program ChatGPT to work up State of the Union speeches as they might have been written by some of history’s most famous people, including Presley. Credit: AP Photo/File

Thank you, and may God bless America.

___

ELON MUSK, CEO of Tesla, SpacEx and Twitter, and one of the founders of Open AI, the research lab that created ChatGPT

My fellow Americans,

It is an honor to address you today, as your elected leader, and to deliver this State of the Union Address. … I am proud to announce a bold new plan to invest in the technologies of the future, and to create millions of good-paying jobs in the process. We must lead the world in the transition to a clean energy economy, and we must ensure that our infrastructure is the most advanced and resilient in the world …

I am announcing a new initiative to increase funding for space research and development, so that we can continue to explore the mysteries of the universe and maintain our position as a leader in space exploration …

But we must also address the inequalities that have been exposed by the pandemic, and we must ensure that all Americans have access to the opportunities of the future. That is why I am announcing a comprehensive plan to improve access to education, job training, and affordable healthcare.

___

BIDEN, delivered by the app as a rehash of past remarks

It is an honor to stand before you today as your President and deliver this State of the Union address. This past year has been one of the most challenging in our nation’s history, but through it all, the American people have shown remarkable resilience, bravery, and compassion.

We have faced a once-in-a-century pandemic that has taken too many lives and disrupted our economy, but we are making progress. We have delivered vaccines to millions of Americans and are seeing cases decline, and we are working to reopen our schools and businesses safely.

But we cannot rest on our achievements. We must do more to rebuild our economy and make sure that the benefits of this recovery are felt by all Americans, not just the wealthy and well-connected. That is why I am proposing a bold infrastructure plan to create millions of good-paying jobs, modernize our roads, bridges, and highways, and make America more competitive in the global economy.

At the same time, we must address the long-standing injustices in our society, particularly racial and economic inequality. That is why I am committed to passing legislation to protect voting rights, advance racial justice, and ensure that everyone has a fair shot at the American Dream.

And as we look to the future, we must also address the existential threat of climate change. We cannot afford to wait any longer to address this crisis, which is already affecting communities across our country. That is why I am committed to achieving a 100% clean energy economy and creating good-paying jobs in the process.

So let us come together, as one nation, and build a better future for all Americans. Together, there is nothing we cannot achieve.

Thank you, and may God bless America.

© 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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ChatGPT bot channels history to pen State of Union speech (2023, February 6)
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‘Assassin’s Creed’ composer wins first ever video game music Grammy

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‘Assassin’s Creed’ composer Stephanie Economou accepts the Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media — the first time the award has been handed out.

“Assassin’s Creed” composer Stephanie Economou won the first ever Grammy honoring video game scores at Sunday’s gala in Los Angeles.

Industry players had lobbied for years for a prize celebrating the work behind video game soundtracks, an acknowledgment of the major impact gaming and its music have on pop culture.

In her acceptance speech, Economou—who composed the music for “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn Of Ragnarok”—praised those who had urged the Recording Academy to finally include the category.

Backstage, she said the win felt “incredible.”

“I did not have high hopes for this category because… I am generally very green in the video game music space and up against such giants and veterans,” she said.

For the inaugural award, the other nominees were the composers behind “Aliens: Fireteam Elite,” “Call Of Duty: Vanguard,” “Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy” and “Old World.”

Economou noted that she was the only woman nominated in the category, saying: “I hope it sets precedent and I hope it’s not just one woman in the category each year from here on out.”

Before this year, video games were included in the Score Soundtrack for Visual Media category, which also featured music for film and television.

The global gaming industry may have hit close to $200 billion in 2022, according to a projection from the Global Games Market Report, and a recent Deloitte survey taken across the United States, Britain, Germany, Brazil and Japan said that video games are the top entertainment source for Gen Z.

Many young gamers cite music as integral to the experience, with one third of respondents saying they looked up game music online afterwards, and 29 percent saying they often discovered new music while gaming.

“A lot of them cannot separate the music from a game—and that’s a really exciting opportunity for any composer coming in,” the Los Angeles-based Economou told AFP prior to Sunday’s show.

“A lot of them cannot separate the music from a game—and that’s a really exciting opportunity for any composer coming in,” she said.

The new category “is an important step for people to recognize that video games have been in the zeitgeist for so long now.”

© 2023 AFP

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‘Assassin’s Creed’ composer wins first ever video game music Grammy (2023, February 6)
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New algorithm distributes risk fairly

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Trajectory planning based on risk distribution. On the basis of a probability-based prediction of all road users (shown here as heatmaps around the black most likely predictions) and an estimated harm value, every trajectory of the AV can be assigned risk values for every road user. Credit: Nature Machine Intelligence (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s42256-022-00607-z

Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed autonomous driving software which distributes risk on the street in a fair manner. The algorithm contained in the software is considered to be the first to incorporate the 20 ethics recommendations of the EU Commission expert group, thus making significantly more differentiated decisions than previous algorithms.

Operation of automated vehicles is to be made significantly safer by assessing the varying degrees of risk to pedestrians and motorists. The code is available to the general public as Open Source software.

Technical realization is not the only obstacle to be mastered before autonomously driving vehicles can be allowed on the street on a large scale. Ethical questions play an important role in the development of the corresponding algorithms: Software has to be able to handle unforeseeable situations and make the necessary decisions in case of an impending accident.

Researchers at TUM have now developed the first ethical algorithm to fairly distribute the levels of risk rather than operating on an either/or principle. Approximately 2,000 scenarios involving critical situations were tested, distributed across various types of streets and regions such as Europe, the U.S. and China. The research work published in the journal Nature Machine Intelligence is the joint result of a partnership between the TUM Chair of Automotive Technology and the Chair of Business Ethics at the TUM Institute for Ethics in Artificial Intelligence (IEAI).

Maximilian Geisslinger, a scientist at the TUM Chair of Automotive Technology, explains the approach: “Until now, autonomous vehicles were always faced with an either/or choice when encountering an ethical decision. But street traffic can’t necessarily be divided into clear-cut, black and white situations; much more, the countless gray shades in between have to be considered as well. Our algorithm weighs various risks and makes an ethical choice from among thousands of possible behaviors—and does so in a matter of only a fraction of a second.”

More options in critical situations

The basic ethical parameters on which the software’s risk evaluation is oriented were defined by an expert panel as a written recommendation on behalf of the EU Commission in 2020. The recommendation includes basic principles such as priority for the worst-off and the fair distribution of risk among all road users. In order to translate these rules into mathematical calculations, the research team classified vehicles and persons moving in street traffic based on the risk they present to others and on the respective willingness to take risks.

A truck for example can cause serious damage to other traffic participants, while in many scenarios the truck itself will only experience minor damage. The opposite is the case for a bicycle. In the next step the algorithm was told not to exceed a maximum acceptable risk in the various respective street situations. In addition, the research team added variables to the calculation which account for responsibility on the part of the traffic participants, for example the responsibility to obey traffic regulations.

Previous approaches treated critical situations on the street with only a small number of possible maneuvers; in unclear cases the vehicle simply stopped. The risk assessment now integrated in the researchers’ code results in more possible degrees of freedom with less risk for all. An example will illustrate the approach: An autonomous vehicle wants to overtake a bicycle, while a truck is approaching in the oncoming lane. All the existing data on the surroundings and the individual participants are now utilized.

Can the bicycle be overtaken without driving in the oncoming traffic lane and at the same time maintaining a safe distance to the bicycle? What is the risk posed to each respective vehicle, and what risk do these vehicles constitute to the autonomous vehicle itself? In unclear cases the autonomous vehicle with the new software always waits until the risk to all participants is acceptable. Aggressive maneuvers are avoided, while at the same time the autonomous vehicle doesn’t simply freeze up and abruptly jam on the brakes. Yes and No are irrelevant, replaced by an evaluation containing a large number of options.

‘The sole consideration of traditional ethical theories resulted in a dead end’

“Until now, often traditional ethical theories were contemplated to derive morally permissible decisions made by autonomous vehicles. This ultimately led to a dead end, since in many traffic situations there was no other alternative than to violate one ethical principle,” says Franziska Poszler, scientist at the TUM Chair of Business Ethics. “In contrast, our framework puts the ethics of risk at the center. This allows us to take into account probabilities to make more differentiated assessments.”

The researchers emphasized the fact that even algorithms that are based on risk ethics—although they can make decisions based on the underlying ethical principles in every possible traffic situation—they still cannot guarantee accident-free street traffic. In the future it will additionally be necessary to consider further differentiations such as cultural differences in ethical decision-making.

Until now the algorithm developed at TUM has been validated in simulations. In the future the software will be tested on the street using the research vehicle EDGAR. The code embodying the findings of the research activities is available as Open Source software. TUM is thus contributing to the development of viable and safe autonomous vehicles.

More information:
Maximilian Geisslinger et al, An ethical trajectory planning algorithm for autonomous vehicles, Nature Machine Intelligence (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s42256-022-00607-z

Project “ANDRE—AutoNomous DRiving Ethics”: www.ieai.sot.tum.de/research/a … mous-driving-ethics/

Code: github.com/TUMFTM/EthicalTrajectoryPlanning

Citation:
Autonomous driving: New algorithm distributes risk fairly (2023, February 3)
retrieved 6 February 2023
from https://techxplore.com/news/2023-02-autonomous-algorithm.html

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A lizard-inspired robot to explore the surface of Mars

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A prototype of the team’s lizard-inspired quadruped robot. Credit: Chen et al (MDPI, 2023).

Technological advances have opened exciting possibilities for space exploration, which could potentially lead to new discoveries about the celestial bodies in our galaxy. Robots have proved to be particularly promising tools to explore other planets, particularly Mars, a terrestrial planet in the solar system that is known to host some similar elements to those found on Earth.

The exploration of Mars and its surface is a fascinating quest, as it could unveil the signs of past or present extra-terrestrial life. In addition to potentially unveiling forms of ancient microbial life, these explorations could lead to the discovery of resources that exist outside of Earth, potentially paving the way for future human missions to Mars.

Researchers at Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics have recently developed a new four-legged robot inspired by lizards that could aid the exploration of the red planet’s surface. Their robot, introduced in MDPI’s Biomimetics journal, has a flexible body structure that can replicate a desert lizard’s movements and locomotion style.

“To assist ambitious uncrewed missions to Mars, specific types of planetary rovers have been developed for performing tasks on Mars’ surface,” Guangming Chen, Long Qiao, Zhenwen Zhou, Lutz Richter and Aihong Ji wrote in their paper. “Due to the fact that the surface is composed of granular soils and rocks of various sizes, contemporary rovers can have difficulties in moving on soft soils and climbing over rocks. To overcome such difficulties, this research develops a quadruped creeping robot inspired by the locomotion characteristics of the desert lizard.”

The biomimetic robot created by Chen and his colleagues is comprised of a flexible spine-like structure and four legs. To replicate the “creeping” motion typical of lizards, every leg features two hinges and a gear that elicits a swinging movement.

Each of the hip joints connecting the spine structure with the robot’s legs is made of two servos and a four-linkage mechanism that allows the robot to lift without losing its balance. The robot’s “feet” have four flexible “toes,” consisting of two hinges and a claw.

“The leg structure utilizes a four-linkage mechanism, which ensures a steady lifting motion,” the researchers explained in their paper. “The foot consists of an active ankle and a round pad with four flexible toes that are effective in grasping soils and rocks.”

To replicate the movements of lizards, the researchers created a series of kinematics models for each of their robot’s components. They then used these models and numerical calculations to plan the robot’s movements.

“To determine robot motions, kinematic models relating to foot, leg, and spine are established,” Chen and his colleagues wrote in their paper. “Moreover, the coordinated motions between the trunk spine and leg are numerically verified.”

The researchers initially evaluated their robot in a series of simulations, to determine whether it could effectively replicate the movements of lizards. Their results were very promising, as they found that their robot could perform the desired motions and walking style.

Chen and his colleagues have already created a prototype of their robot using 3D-printed resin materials, a servo control panel, a lithium battery, and other electronic components. They then used a simulation testbed to evaluate their prototype robot’s movements on rocky surfaces that resemble the terrain on Mars.

They found that the robot could effectively move in rocky environments, highlighting its potential for future missions on the red planet. Before it can be deployed and tested outside the lab, however, the team will need to develop it further, for instance adding a protective sealing structure that would protect it from soil or airborne dust and building its body using more resistant materials.

Chen and his colleagues are now working on machine learning models that would allow their robot to adapt its movements to different terrains. In addition, they plan to introduce a system that would provide continuous power supply for the robot.

More information:
Guangming Chen et al, Development of a Lizard-Inspired Robot for Mars Surface Exploration, Biomimetics (2023). DOI: 10.3390/biomimetics8010044

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A lizard-inspired robot to explore the surface of Mars (2023, February 3)
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