OpenAI Revolutionizes with Assistants and GPT-4 Turbo Enhancements #1704

OpenAI’s latest offering, the Assistants API, enables developers to integrate sophisticated, agent-like experiences into their apps. This tool allows the creation of specialized “assistants” capable of handling tasks ranging from data analysis to vacation planning, powered by OpenAI’s Code Interpreter. This feature enables the execution of Python code and the generation of visual data representations.

Moreover, the API can access external knowledge bases, enhancing its utility with company-specific information or product details. Meanwhile, OpenAI’s GPT-4 Turbo, a more efficient and cost-effective iteration of GPT-4, has been released. With its advanced context window and the latest knowledge base, GPT-4 Turbo improves the model’s performance in generating responses and analyzing text and images. Additionally, OpenAI introduces a no-code platform for creating customized AI agents, the GPT platform, further extending the accessibility and versatility of its AI offerings. Today was a pretty fantastic day in the AI space that will have a significant fallout for small AI startups.

I am talking about the debut of Grok, an AI assistant from Elon Musk’s company X. Grok aims to pair knowledge with humor and can answer questions while also challenging users with new perspectives. It has access to real-time information via the X platform. Overall, it’s an early beta.

Shifting focus, some unsettling news emerged around data brokers selling personal information on US military personnel to foreign entities for just pennies per record. This major privacy and security concern highlights the need for better regulations around individual data privacy. I urged listeners to contact Congress and demand action on this issue.

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Additional Show summary:

I discuss YouTube’s exploration of generative AI, with new features being tested, such as a comment summarizer and conversational tool. These are part of a premium package that aims to enhance user experience by providing AI-generated responses and recommendations based on YouTube content and web information. The conversational tool, which can answer questions about videos and suggest similar content without interrupting playback, will be initially available to U.S. users on Android devices.

I mentioned the experiment is accessible on an opt-in basis through YouTube’s hub for new experiments and will begin with a limited user base. These advancements, I note, could significantly impact how viewers engage with content on the platform.

Additionally, I touch on Apple’s new product, the Vision Pro, offering a critical perspective on its market timing and potential for success. While some testers have praised the device, there are questions about its viability as a significant revenue source for Apple. I provide details on the purchasing process for the Vision Pro, which includes a fitting and demo at an Apple Store, noting that availability may be limited due to appointment constraints.

The conversation shifts to a mysterious occurrence in the Kentucky sky, something ablaze in the upper atmosphere that caught attention. I express curiosity about the nature of the event, whether it was a satellite or something else, and call on listeners to share any information they might have.

I discuss various issues related to technology and its impact on society. I voice frustration with website designs that prioritize advertisements over content, making it difficult to access articles, and then shift to a more serious topic concerning the use of AI in adoption matchmaking.

I share a report about an AI tool designed to match foster children with potential adoptive parents, highlighting its shortcomings. Despite the high hopes for this AI-driven approach, the implementation saw low success rates, leading to the scrapping of the program in Tennessee. Concerns were raised about the lack of transparency around the algorithm and the handling of sensitive data, with social workers and state officials reporting dissatisfaction.

The conversation transitions to HBO Max’s plans to downgrade their ad-free plan to full HD and introduce a more expensive tier with 4K resolution. This decision, anticipated after a merger, has raised concerns among users who value high-definition content.

I then touch upon the difficulties facing the autonomous vehicle industry, mentioning the challenges of GM’s subsidiary, Cruise. There are fears that Cruise may become a financial burden for GM due to ongoing issues and the high costs associated with operating its Chevy Bolt vehicles. This situation could potentially lead to stricter regulations for driverless cars.

Next, I cover international business news, noting that Telecom Italia is in financial distress and has approved the sale of a significant stake to a U.S. investment group despite opposition from a major stockholder.

The conversation then shifted to the autonomous vehicle industry, highlighting the struggles of GM’s Cruise and international business news about Telecom Italia’s financial troubles. Cybersecurity concerns were also a topic, focusing on the risks associated with public WiFi use in the UK.

I continued by exploring the implications of Microsoft’s new generative AI tool for office software, which carries a hefty price tag, and the ongoing cyber threats faced by educational and tech organizations, particularly in Israel.

The narrative then delved into Tesla’s ambition to create the most affordable electric vehicle to date, potentially revolutionizing the EV market, followed by the American Pilot Union’s recovery from a ransomware attack.

I express my agreement with the caution that British citizens exhibit when using public Wi-Fi and advocate for the use of VPNs to enhance security.

I then discuss Microsoft’s new generative AI copilot tool for office software. It’s become generally available, but it carries a significant price tag, requiring a minimum monthly spend of $9,000 on top of an existing Microsoft 365 enterprise subscription. This cost is notably higher than what is being charged for Google’s comparable AI tool for Workspace.

Regarding cybersecurity, I report on the activities of an advanced Iranian persistent threat group targeting higher education and technology organizations in Israel. The group has launched espionage and destructive attacks, exploiting vulnerable web servers to steal personal identifying information and intellectual property and deploying wipers to cover their tracks. These incidents underline the challenges in cybersecurity, especially when traditional antivirus measures fail to detect such sophisticated threats.

The narrative then turns to Google’s initiative to provide users with information on the safety of Android VPNs available in the app store, indicating if the VPN services have undergone security audits by independent bodies.

I also touch on Tesla’s ambition to create the most affordable electric vehicle, with plans to produce a €25,000 car at the Berlin Gigafactory. This development, while not yet fully disclosed, is part of Tesla’s innovation in manufacturing processes aimed at reducing costs.

I talk about the ongoing challenge of ransomware attacks on organizations and how they continue to be a target for such cyber threats. Discord’s switch to temporary links to prevent malware distribution via its platform is a crucial topic. Threat actors have misused the platform’s content delivery network to host malware, so introducing temporary links with expiration timestamps is seen as a step toward enhancing security.

Next, I discuss YouTube’s testing of a “Play Something” button for users unsure what to watch, noting the platform’s ability to make good content suggestions.

I then address a concerning issue where WhatsApp’s AI image generation feature produced images of gun-wielding children in response to certain search terms like “Palestine” or “Muslim Boy.” This result varied among users, but the issue was verified by The Guardian and was reported and escalated internally by the company’s employees.

On a different note, I talk about a study that suggests young people in the UK prioritize shared religious beliefs over professional goals or looks when considering potential partners.

I also comment on Apple’s decision not to produce a 27-inch iMac with Apple Silicon, focusing instead on the 24-inch model. I advise listeners to purchase a larger monitor separately and pair it with a Mac Mini or Mac Studio, which may be more cost-effective than buying Apple’s studio display.

The conversation shifts to the issue of spatial disorientation among pilots, which has led to numerous deaths and lost aircraft over the years. I describe a new approach that provides feedback on bodily orientation through vibrating devices on the skin, which has proven effective in helping subjects in simulated zero-gravity environments to combat spatial disorientation. This research has implications for improving the safety and orientation of both pilots and astronauts.

I address the sanctions imposed by the United States on a Russian woman accused of being a significant money launderer for Russia’s rich. The Department of Treasury has added her to a list of specially designated nationals and blocked persons due to her involvement in moving vast sums of money.

I then discuss the financial woes of the Samsung family, which has had to sell $2 billion worth of shares to cover the inheritance tax bill in South Korea, the highest in the world. The inheritance tax bill they face is the second-largest in the country’s history, forcing the family to give up more than half of the estate’s value, which includes stocks, real estate, and art.

Next, I mention Google’s decision to shut down the COVID-19 exposure notification system on Android, indicating a shift away from pandemic-era tools.

The conversation then turns to the space industry, where Europe grapples with remaining competitive in space launches. The European Space Agency is encouraging the private sector to develop services for small rockets, aiming to bridge the gap caused by delays and technical setbacks in their rocket programs.

I also touch on a report about AI investment returns, noting that companies see an average of $3.50 return for every dollar invested in AI, with a small percentage realizing returns as high as 8%. However, I question how these returns are measured and whether the gains are reinvested in hiring more employees.

In other news, a cybersecurity breach in Mississippi’s Hines County delayed poll worker training before a statewide vote, underscoring the disruptive impact of cyber threats on essential government functions.

Lastly, I discuss the issue of workers being overwhelmed by too many apps and communication platforms. Despite the prevalence of email for communication, internal company coordination often takes place on platforms like Slack, and many meetings are held via video conferencing. I share my efforts to reduce the number of meetings and streamline communication within my team, emphasizing the importance of keeping meetings productive and to a minimum.

I discuss several exciting developments across the entertainment and tech industries. Hulu subscribers can look forward to new episodes of “Futurama” and a potential reboot of “Prison Break,” which should excite fans of these series.

Turning to tech news, I talk about Apple’s plans to design its batteries for the iPhones slated for release in 2025. This move is in line with Apple’s tradition of tightly controlling the development of its products.

A bizarre event occurred at a Bored Ape NFT event in Hong Kong, where attendees reported experiencing eye pain and symptoms similar to sunburn, likely due to UV lights from the stage. It’s a peculiar and cautionary tale about the unforeseen hazards of such events.

In space news, I mention an upcoming astronomical phenomenon: Saturn’s rings will become invisible from Earth in 2025 due to the planet’s tilt. However, this is a temporary occurrence, as the rings will reappear as Saturn continues its 29-year orbit.

About Todd Cochrane

Todd Cochrane is the Founder of Geek News Central and host of the Geek News Central Podcast. He is a Podcast Hall of Fame Inductee and was one of the very first podcasters in 2004. He wrote the first book on podcasting, and did many of the early Podcast Advertising deals in the podcasting space. He does two other podcasts in addition to Geek News Central. The New Media Show and Podcast Legends.

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