Web Finds – February 1, 2023
A curated list of interesting links with an emphasis on news, technology, and more by ldstephens
OpenAI launches ChatGPT Plus, starting at $20 per month
“Aiming to monetize what’s become a viral phenomenon, OpenAI today launched a new pilot subscription plan for ChatGPT, its text-generating AI that can write convincingly human-like essays, poems, emails, lyrics and more. Called ChatGPT Plus and starting at $20 per month, ChatGPT Pro delivers a number of benefits over the base-level ChatGPT, OpenAI says, including general access to ChatGPT even during peak times, faster response times and priority access to new features and improvements. The free ChatGPT tier is here to stay — it’s not going away. As for ChatGPT Plus, it’s only available to customers in the U.S. at the moment. OpenAI says it’ll begin the process of inviting people from its waitlist in the coming months and look to expand Plus to additional countries and regions “soon.””
+ OpenAI releases tool to detect AI-generated text, including from ChatGPT
“OpenAI’s classifier — aptly called OpenAI AI Text Classifier — is intriguing architecturally. It, like ChatGPT, is an AI language model trained on many, many examples of publicly available text from the web. But unlike ChatGPT, it’s fine-tuned to predict how likely it is that a piece of text was generated by AI — not just from ChatGPT, but any text-generating AI model.”
+ Google is asking employees to test potential ChatGPT competitors, including a chatbot called 'Apprentice Bard'
“One of the test products is a chatbot called Apprentice Bard, which uses Google’s conversation technology LaMDA, or Language Model for Dialogue Applications. “As a result of ChatGPT, the LaMDA team has been asked to prioritize working on a response to ChatGPT,” read one internal memo viewed by CNBC. “In the short term, it takes precedence over other projects,” the email continued, warning that some employees stop attending certain unrelated meetings. Apprentice Bard looks similar to ChatGPT: Employees can enter a question in a dialog box and get a text answer, then give feedback on the response. Based on several responses viewed by CNBC, Apprentice Bard's answers can include recent events, a feature ChatGPT doesn't have yet.”
White House goes after app store ‘gatekeepers’ Apple and Google
“The announcement came through a long-awaited Commerce Department report published Wednesday accusing Apple and Google of running online app markets that harm developers and consumers. Officials specifically called out how the companies restrict app downloads to their proprietary stores” The accusation that Apple's App Store harms consumers is total fucking bullshit so don't be fooled. The App Store is designed to protect users by keeping malware, cybercriminals, and scammers out of the App Store.
Peloton CEO Sees ‘Turning Point’ As Losses Narrow
“One year into the position, Peloton CEO Barry McCarthy said Peloton’s second-quarter earnings results are a possible “turning point” for the business, as subscription revenue exceeded hardware-related revenue. “We were on the brink of extinction, and that’s no longer the case,” McCarthy said. “We’ve put to bed questions about the viability of the business.”” My wife loves her Peloton. This will make her so happy.
GoodRx made money selling your health data. The FTC is making it pay.
“If you’re one of the tens of millions of people who used GoodRx to find bargains on your medications, the drug discount and price-shopping website and app might have done a little more than you bargained for: It sent your sensitive health data to data brokers as well as tech companies like Meta and Google to use for advertising, according to the FTC. The FTC announced on Wednesday that GoodRx has agreed to pay a $1.5 million fine and take various steps to ensure that it no longer shares health data for advertising purposes, that it obtains user consent to share health data for other reasons, and that it makes an effort to get the third parties with whom it previously shared data to delete that data.” Time to switch to CostPlus Drug Company? According to Mark Cuban CostPlus does not collect user data. Cuban said the online pharmacy does not collect data on its users—a likely concern for patients who are or could become pregnant in post-Roe America. (Mifepristone and misoprostol, the two drugs that can end a pregnancy, are not available for purchase at Cost Plus Drugs as of Nov. 21.) “Nothing,” he said in regards to data on prescriptions. “Nope. The only data I have is what they buy and the state they buy from.”
Stay Tuned with Preet – Politics, Punditry, and Restaurants
“Longtime New York Times columnist Frank Bruni joins Preet to discuss a few of his favorite topics: food, politics, language, and culture. Bruni also talks about several of the recent changes in his life, including an unusual medical ailment that inspired him to write a book, and his recent appointment as a professor of journalism and public policy at Duke University.”
Exclusive: Peacock Drops Free Tier for New Sign-Ups, Will Only Offer Paid Plans to New Customers
“Peacock will no longer offer their free tier for new subscribers, The Streamable has confirmed. Instead, new users who attempt to sign up for NBCUniversal’s streaming service will now only be given the option to subscribe to its two premium tiers — Peacock Premium and Peacock Premium Plus. Existing users will continue to have access to the free tier of Peacock, where a substantial library of film and TV will still remain.”
Tesla records $204M loss from bitcoin in 2022
“Tesla recorded a $204 million impairment loss in 2022 on its bitcoin holdings, according to regulatory filings. The loss was offset by $64 million in profits from bitcoin trading, leaving the automaker with a net loss of $140 million. Tesla had invested $1.5 billion in bitcoin during the first quarter of 2021, stating that it believed in the longevity of the cryptocurrency. At the time, the company said bitcoin was a great place to store cash and still access it immediately, all the while providing a better return on investment than more traditional central banks. In fact, after its initial purchase, Tesla promptly trimmed its position by 10%, making the automaker a quick $101 million.” I bet Tesla investors are unhappy with Musks bitcoin investment.
The Navy’s Dolphins Have a Few Things to Tell Us About Aging
“White caps were breaking in the bay and the rain was blowing sideways, but at Naval Base Point Loma, an elderly bottlenose dolphin named Blue was absolutely not acting her age. In a bay full of dolphins, she was impossible to miss, leaping from the water and whistling as a team of veterinarians approached along the floating docks. “She’s always really happy to see us,” said Dr. Barb Linnehan, the director of animal health and welfare at the National Marine Mammal Foundation, a nonprofit research organization. “She acts like she’s a 20-year-old dolphin.” But at 57, Blue is positively geriatric, one of the oldest dolphins in the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program. So the doctors had come to check on her heart.”
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