“Hard Fork” is a show about the future that’s already here. Each week, journalists Kevin Roose and Casey Newton explore and make sense of the latest in the rapidly changing world of tech.
GPT-4 Is Here + The Group Chat Bank Run
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1:03:03It’s acing standardized tests, building websites and hiring TaskRabbits — GPT-4 is “equal parts fascinating and terrifying.” OpenAI has released its latest model, alongside A.I. announcements from Meta, Google and other industry players. The A.I. arms race is only accelerating.Then, what Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse means for the future of start-ups, and what Mark Zuckerberg has learned about layoffsAdditional reading:OpenAI released ChatGPT-4. It is exciting and scary.With its release of GPT-4, OpenAI shared a system card — a paper outlining how OpenAI tried to get GPT-4 to do dangerous things.Silicon Valley Bank collapsed. “The Daily” explained how.In his newsletter, Byrne Hobart wrote a post pointing out S.V.B.’s insolvency challenge.S.V.B.’s collapse followed a deregulatory push from its own Chief Executive.Meta announced it planned to lay off about 10,000 employees.
A Congressman Goes to A.I. School + How to Ban TikTok
59:21Representative Don Beyer thinks artificial intelligence is “the most amazing technology since fire.” So what does it mean that most of Congress seems not to understand it? Then our colleague David McCabe discusses a bill that could dramatically expand the Biden administration’s power to ban TikTok.Plus: what can the video game character Waluigi tell us about A.I. chatbots gone rogue?On today’s episode:Don Beyer is a U.S. representative for Virginia’s 8th Congressional District.David McCabe is a reporter at The New York Times covering technology policy.Additional reading:Lawmakers are trying to understand the technology behind A.I.The White House is pushing Congress to regulate TikTok.A number of countries are trying to ban TikTok.The Waluigi effect is a theory about why chatbots behave erratically.
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Everyone Pivots to A.I. + Bad News for Crypto
59:35Snapchat launches a chatbot. Meta plans to “turbocharge” its A.I. work. Elon Musk explores “BasedAI.” At this point, who isn’t making an A.I. play?Plus: Is crypto finally dead? Also, a new TikTok filter is making people terrifyingly hot.On today’s episode:David Yaffe-Bellany, a cryptocurrency and financial technology reporter for The New York Times.Hard Fork listeners! We want to hear from you. How is A.I. showing up in your everyday life? In your job, school and families? What are you using it for? Email us a voice memo at [email protected] Additional reading:Snapchat launched “My AI” to paid subscribers.Mark Zuckerberg announced a high-level group to “turbocharge” Meta’s work with generative A.I.Meta AI released LLaMA to researchers.The science fiction and fantasy magazine “Clarkesworld” was flooded with chatbot-generated submissions. The writing is “bad in spectacular ways,” its editor said.Elon Musk is considering starting his own A.I. company.An FTX co-founder pleaded guilty to criminal charges and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors investigating Sam Bankman-Fried.A “flurry” of fines, lawsuits and policy statements are spooking crypto executives.Gary Gensler, the chair of the S.E.C., said that in crypto “everything other than Bitcoin” should be treated as a security.Some TikTok users are worried by how realistic its new filters can seem.
Kevin Killed Sydney + Reddit’s C.E.O. Defends Section 230
52:03Bing AI isn’t sentient. But it’s more than glorified autocomplete. How do we talk about — and understand — the power of today’s large language models? Then, Reddit’s C.E.O., Steve Huffman, on Section 230 and why the future of the internet lies with the Supreme Court.Plus: Meta is charging for blue checks. On today’s episode:Steve Huffman is the chief executive of Reddit.Additional reading:A Washington Post reporter asked Bing AI its opinion of Kevin Roose. Its response was eerie.Microsoft made changes to Bing’s chatbot capabilities after the Chatbot’s unsettling behavior with some users. The company is already loosening some of those restrictions.The Supreme Court heard a case challenging Section 230. Reddit is among many social media companies that have filed “friend of the court” amicus briefs against changes to the law.Facebook plans to sell “Meta verified” accounts.
The Bing Who Loved Me + Elon Rewrites the Algorithm
1:01:20“I’m Sydney, and I’m in love with you. 😘”A conversation with Bing AI (aka Sydney) turns romantic and bizarre. Why Microsoft’s AI search tool appears more powerful — and unsettling — than we thought. Then, inside Elon Musk’s quest to be the most popular user on Twitter.Plus: It’s not just you. Online ads have gotten much worse.On today’s episode:Tiffany Hsu is a technology reporter at The New York Times who covers misinformation and disinformation.Zoë Schiffer is the managing editor of Platformer.Additional reading:Bing AI appeared to have a split personality in a conversation with Kevin Roose, a “Hard Fork” co-host.Elon Musk ordered changes to Twitter’s algorithm after his Tweets did not perform as well as he desired.Why digital ads are so bad these days.
Bing’s Revenge + Google’s AI Faceplant
55:07Microsoft’s release of a ChatGPT-powered Bing signifies a new era in search. Then, a disastrous preview of Bard — Google’s answer to ChatGPT — caused the company’s stocks to slide 7 percent. The A.I. arms race is on.Plus: What “Nothing, Forever,” the 24/7, A.I.-generated “Seinfeld” parody, says about bias in A.I.On today’s episode:Sam Altman is the chief executive of OpenAI.Kevin Scott is the chief technology officer of Microsoft.Additional reading:Microsoft integrated OpenAI's technology into its search engine and kicked off an A.I. arms race.Google released Bard, a rival chatbot to ChatGPT.“Nothing, Forever” was temporarily banned on Twitch.
A Trip to TikTok + ChatGPT’s Origin Story + Kevin Systrom’s Comeback
1:01:49TikTok is opening up a “Transparency and Accountability Center” to try to win over skeptics. Is the company’s strategy working? Then, the origin story of OpenAI’s ChatGPT and how the company kicked off an A.I. arms race.Plus: A co-founder of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, hopes to make a “TikTok for text.”On today’s episode:Kevin Systrom is an entrepreneur and the co-founder of Instagram.Additional reading:TikTok is taking a more aggressive approach toward lobbying.Inside OpenAI’s race to build ChatGPT.Kevin Systrom is starting a new A.I.-powered news app.
Meta’s Trump Calculus + Regime Change at Netflix
59:02What does Donald Trump’s reinstatement on Facebook and Instagram mean for our politics and platforms? Then, Netflix in its post-Reed era.Plus: How the Bored Ape Yacht Club went from being the Disney of Web3 to handing out sewer passes for their new video game.On today’s episode:Lucas Shaw is an entertainment industry reporter for Bloomberg.Additional reading:Meta reinstated Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.Trump looked to get out of a deal with his own social media site, Truth SocialThe Jan. 8 riots in Brazil mirrored aspects of the U.S. Capitol Riots, including the use of tech platforms to organize rioters.Donald Trump used Truth Social to attack former Georgia election worker Ruby Freeman.
Elon's Crumbling Empire + Generative A.I. Goes to Court
1:00:54Nearly three months into Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter, things are in a "shambolic" state. Is the rest of Elon’s empire also in trouble? Then, an artist fighting generative A.I. sets the stage for a legal clash.Plus: what goes wrong when A.I. becomes a reporter.On today’s episode:Sarah Andersen, a cartoonist and the illustrator of a semi-autobiographical comic strip, “Sarah’s Scribbles.”Additional reading:A look inside Elon Musk’s first 90 days as chief executive of Twitter.The artist Sarah Andersen on finding her art in the databases behind text-to-image A.I. platforms.Three artists, including Ms. Andersen, filed a class-action lawsuit against the creators of Midjourney, Stable Diffusion and DreamUp.CNET’s A.I.-written articles contained errors.
ChatGPT Transforms a Classroom + Is 'M3GAN' Real?
1:02:22A high school teacher on how the new chatbot from OpenAI is transforming her classroom — for the better. And, “M3GAN” may be closer than you think.Plus: Why Gen Z is chasing the digital camera aesthetic.On today’s episode:Cherie Shields is a high school English teacher in Sandy, Ore.Kalley Huang is a technology reporting fellow based in San Francisco.Additional reading:Gen Z is bringing back the digital camera, and teenagers in Brooklyn are rejecting smartphone culture.Researchers at Columbia University are trying to build conscious robots.The case for using ChatGPT in schools.