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Open letter raises ethical and societal concerns over AI’s progress

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Leaders in academia worldwide have come together to pen an open letter urging artificial intelligence (AI) developers to study consciousness, as AI systems advance at an unprecedented pace, and ethical, legal, and political concerns arise. 

The Association for Mathematical Consciousness Science (AMCS), a community of over 150 international researchers dedicated to mathematical and computational approaches to consciousness, published the letter on Wednesday. 

The letter serves as “a wakeup call for the tech sector, the scientific community, and society at large” to accelerate research in the field of consciousness science. 

The writers cited the recent letter from tech leaders calling for a pause in AI experiments, noting that we are living in an exciting yet uncertain time in the development of AI and brain-related technologies. They warned that AI is progressing at a rate that far exceeds our understanding of their capabilities and their alignment with human values.

The signatories argue that language models such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard are built on the neural networks of animal brains, but in the near future, they will be constructed to mimic aspects of higher-level brain architecture and functioning. The letter stated that AI systems could soon display human-like consciousness and feelings.

As a result, the signatories believe that AI will have capabilities beyond what their developers can currently comprehend, which will change what AI can do, and what society can do to control, align, and use such systems. 

The letter stresssed that as AI develops, it is essential for societal institutions and governing bodies to understand whether and how AI systems can become conscious and the implications thereof.

The open letter specifically explains that science needs to develop mathematical tools to measure and model consciousness, particularly as it relates to AI. 

“Research in consciousness is a key component in helping humanity understand AI and its ramifications. It is vital for managing ethical and societal implications of AI and to ensure AI safety,” the letter concluded. 

The letter called on the tech sector, the scientific community, and society as a whole to accelerate research in consciousness to ensure that AI development delivers positive outcomes for humanity.

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Bitcoin rises beyond $64,000 as new records are set.

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On Monday, Bitcoin reached a two-year high and broke $64,000 as a surge of capital brought it dangerously close to record highs.

It reached its best level since late 2021 at $64,285 early in the Asian day, and it closed the session 2% higher at $63,850. The highest point for bitcoin was $68,999.99, reached in November 2021.

This year, the largest cryptocurrency by market value has increased by 50%, with the majority of the gain occurring in the last few weeks due to a spike in trading volume for U.S.-listed bitcoin funds.

Earlier this year, US authorities legalised spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds.

Their introduction provided access for new major investors and has sparked renewed energy and enthusiasm similar to the surge to all-time highs in 2021.

As investors gain confidence, the flows don’t seem to be stopping, according to Markus Thielen, head of research at Singapore-based cryptocurrency analytics firm 10x Research.

Rival, smaller ether, has benefited from conjecture that exchange-traded funds may soon be the source of inflows for it as well. Although it’s up 50% so far this year, Monday’s price of $3,490 was barely below two-year highs set last week.

Alongside the rally, stock index records have tumbled on the Nikkei (.N225) in Japan, opened a new tab on the S&P 500 (.SPX), opened a new tab on the tech-heavy Nasdaq (.IXIC), opened a new tab on volatility gauges in equities (.VIX), opened a new tab on foreign exchange (.DBCVIX), and opened a new tab on the S&P 500 (.SPX).

“As long as bitcoin continues to be a high-volatility tech proxy and liquidity thermometer, cryptocurrency will do well in a world where the Nasdaq is setting new all-time highs,” said Brent Donnelly, president and trader at Spectra Markets.

“The market is back to how it was in 2021, when everything is rising and people are having a good time.”

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WhatsApp adds a calendar function to make message retrieval simple.

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The “search by date” tool is an inventive innovation that makes it simple for users to access their favourite previous chats.

Users of Android and iPhone may now search for messages or media on a given day by using the app’s calendar interface, which is a new feature of the update. The laborious process of manually reading through chat history is eliminated by this function, which is especially helpful for regular users who have large message archives.

The announcement was also announced by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg on his WhatsApp channel, highlighting the company’s dedication to improving user accessibility and ease.

When users click on the calendar icon and choose a desired date, WhatsApp takes them directly to the messages that were sent and received on that specific day. This makes searching easier, which is especially helpful for those looking for certain details or memories that are hidden in their conversation history.

The addition of the calendar function to WhatsApp’s recent version rollout brings more formatting options for text, including strikethrough, bold, italic, and monospace. Additionally, the platform has given security improvements first priority, guaranteeing a secure environment for its large user base.

Nevertheless, in the middle of these developments, Android users of WhatsApp should be aware of a recent modification pertaining to conversation backups. Google Drive backups of conversations are no longer available for free since they now count against the user’s storage allotment.

To utilise this new feature, users can simply access WhatsApp, select a chat, tap on the name of the person or group, and choose the “Search” option. The calendar interface will then facilitate seamless navigation to messages from the selected date.

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VPNs, X, and Slow Internet Services Are Still Blocked in Pakistan

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Users are reporting poor performance on numerous social media sites due to widespread slowdowns in internet access. Furthermore, X (previously Twitter) has been inaccessible for the past six days, despite the Sindh High Court’s directive to allow access. In the meantime, Pakistan is blocking VPN services.

X Remains Unblockable

On February 17, 2024, the Pakistani government first prohibited access to X when it was discovered that Rawalpindi’s Commissioner had rigged election results. The block is still in effect, even though there has been no official announcement or explanation for it. Despite the Supreme Court’s decision to lift the prohibition, the administration has not yet disclosed any plans for reinstatement. Furthermore, officials are giving media outlets conflicting information about the limitations.

Blocked VPN Services

Virtual private network (VPN) services are being widely blocked nationwide, which exacerbates the problem. Apart from limiting accessibility to X, the government has initiated the banning of prominent VPN providers, impeding users’ capacity to establish connections with any server.

sluggish internet access

There is a noticeable slowdown in internet speeds and a decline in performance across Pakistan. The problem hasn’t been acknowledged by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA), nevertheless. Even though internet service providers (ISPs) insist there aren’t any outages, consumers on social media sites are nonetheless complaining about poor access.

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