Our love-hate for AI is strong.
#Web3Weekly: Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023
This post is adapted from the latest edition of my newsletter #Web3Weekly. If you would like to receive it in your inbox every Sunday, subscribe here.
It is unclear which is growing faster, consumers’ use of artificial intelligence apps or the number of articles about AI’s potential pitfalls.
OpenAI’s popular ChatGPT bot just hit 100 million monthly active users two months after its launch, making it the fastest app ever to reach that milestone.
At the same time, there’s a growing number of fretful articles about AI, like this one from the MIT Technology Review whose headline nearly says it all:
“Could ChatGPT do my job?”
Wired has also reported on artists’ complaints about visual AI tools like Midourney and DALL-E not giving proper credit to creators. And OpenAI itself has even released a tool to help educators detect ChatGPT-assisted cheating on writing assignments.
Speaking optimistically, perhaps this all signals that we’ve learned to ask tough questions about new technologies early on to avoid unintended consequences. We didn’t do that with algorithmic advertising or social media, and look how those things turned out.
On the other hand, it could be AI is just an exception. Maybe we have been conditioned to worry about it in particular through decades of sci-fi movies about murderous AIs.
There’s even one such movie in theaters now that’s been a runaway hit, about a children’s toy named M3GAN run amok.
A sequel is already in the works.
The week’s other notable headlines:
- Crypto markets roared in January. Bitcoin gained almost 40%, its biggest monthly increase since October 2021. Ether rose 33%, helped by growing network activity and shrinking supply. Investors’ appetite for risky assets like crypto and stocks grew in January thanks to improved U.S. economic data and a smaller interest-rate hike by the Federal Reserve than at the bank’s late-2022 policy meetings.
- Meta reported an annual loss of nearly $14 billion in its metaverse division in 2022 and forecast losses of about $10 billion a year for the foreseeable future. Yikes.
- Amazon Web Services is expanding its web3 team. Hmmm…
- MetaMask rolled out updated privacy features for all users.
- More crypto layoffs: Filecoin developer Protocol Labs and the research firm Chainalysis are among the latest companies announcing job cuts. Industrywide, nearly 8,000 crypto employees lost their jobs in January despite the token market’s rally, according to Bitcoinist.
- Strike is expanding Lightning Network access in the Philippines to enable fast, cheap remittances denominated in bitcoin. The Phillipines is one of the world’s largest markets for such transfers from friends and family overseas, with more than $12 billion in annual activity, according to CoinDesk.
- Binance has partnered with Mastercard to launch a prepaid rewards card in Brazil.
- Coinbase paused new offerings from artists on its marketplace for non-fungible tokens, which has struggled to attract trading activity. Coinbase says it is not shutting down the project, however.
- Kin Foundation is launching a new Solana on-ramp for developers. But on a less promising note for the ecosystem, the Solana-based decentralized finance protocol Everlend shut down.
- The New York Times offered handy tips on “how to concentrate like it’s 1990.” You know, before we were all beseiged with smartphones, notifications, and dopamine-inducing social algorithms.
- Dogecoin has a new rival among meme tokens. Its name is… wait for it… Catecoin. Because of course.
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Note: This content is for journalistic purposes only, not as investment advice. Always DYOR and consult appropriate financial professionals before making investment decisions.
Best wishes for a healthy and productive week ahead.