January 22, 2023 BY Jacey Edwards in Newsletter
Can AI help the Cowboys win?: NL #126
AI Everywhere, All At Once
It’s no secret that AI has captured the public’s imagination, especially in recent months. AI’s potential to upend life and work as we know it is something we’re all noodling on with a mix of curiosity and terror. Teriosity?
Take the release of OpenAI’s latest language model, ChatGPT. The bot’s core function is to mimic human conversation, but it can also write computer programs, compose music, pen poetry, and apparently even take your midterm for you. (If college-John only knew what was coming.) Some brave folks are even putting it to the test on Tinder to win over matches, using the bot to compose messages based on the person’s interests. How’s that for a wingman?
What’s interesting to me is the rapid evolution of AI’s role as a collaborator in the creative process. One agency is making waves by experimenting with honest-to-goodness AI interns. The bots, Aiko and Aiden, will step into design and copyediting roles overseen by human supervisors and incorporated into the daily rhythm of creative projects. The duo will edit photos, draft concepts and sketches, design icons, do voice and tone analysis, and write first drafts of internal content. Ahem, Tegan will now be accepting applications.
But as with any developing tech, AI brings up its fair share of ethical questions surrounding intellectual property. Getty Images, for instance, is suing Stability AI for “unlawfully copied and processed millions of images protected by copyright and the associated metadata owned or represented by Getty Images.” Not exactly a good look.
Regardless of the growing pains, I’ll be looking on hopefully to the future of AI. Maybe someday we can use it to finagle a Cowboys playoff win? Can that day be today? Asking for a friend.
TikTok bans sweep Texas universities
In another chapter of the saga of TikTok vs. national cybersecurity concerns, the University of Texas at Austin announced that they would block access to popular video-sharing app on all its campus WiFi networks.
The move comes on the heels of Governor Greg Abbott’s recent directive that no government issued device in his state would permit the use of the app, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. The University of Texas at Dallas and the Texas A&M soon followed the same course of action.
Universities are the latest in a long line of other entities banning the app. In the past several months, more than half of states have mandated the app’s exclusion on all government devices and just a few weeks ago, President Biden signed legislation to block TikTok on all federal devices.
Will the bans actually translate to a downturn in TikTok activity? Probably not. Gen Z accounts for 60% of TikTok users in the U.S. And college students affected by the mandates are already skirting them by using their own data plans or personal WiFi networks.
But other university groups aren’t exactly psyched. Sororities, mascots, communications teams, recruitment offices, researchers and others worry that losing access to the platform will keep them from accessing their main audiences or effectively combating misinformation.
Meanwhile, I’m thanking my lucky stars that the Tegan offices are safe (for now).
Amazon to launch “Buy with Prime”
On January 31, Amazon will expand its reach to third-party merchants. The new “Buy with Prime” service will allow sellers to extend Prime benefits like free shipping and returns to their customers.
Amazon claims that their preliminary testing of the feature upped shopper conversion by an average of 25%. Not bad at all. Plus, merchants will be able to feature reviews from Amazon on their own online stores, which could be the best incentive of all. Afterall, 95% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase and a whopping 58% will actually pay more for products with good reviews.
Is anyone really surprised though? This move is a match made in heaven for online sellers and customers alike. I know I’m not the only one that is already “primed” to expect Amazon’s fast and convenient delivery system to apply to all online purchases. Is there a better feeling than knowing that if you order in the next 7 hours, the dog food you forgot at the store will be on your front porch by morning? I contend there is not.
Smooth move, Amazon.
Best of the Week
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What to Watch
Here’s the Tegan staff’s latest recs for totally bingeable shows: 1923, Abbott Elementary, Mythic Quest, Kaleidoscope, His Dark Materials, Station Eleven, and The Mindy Project.
Madonna’s surprise announcement of her upcoming tour has us revisiting this lineup of powerhouse hits from over the decades.
More News from the Week.
- Office snafu. An accountant was ordered to pay ~$2.7k to her former employer after logging 50+ hours she didn’t work. The real question is, was said accountant Kevin Malone?
- Tesla is slashing prices left and right, reducing the cost of its most popular models by as much as 20%.
- Taylor Swift sold 1.7m vinyl albums, ~4% of the 43.5m vinyl albums sold in the US in 2022. It’s me. Hi. I’m the problem, it’s me.
- TikTok is bringing back . . . tinned fish? Sales of canned seafood shot up by 10% (to $2.7 billion) in the US in 2022 thanks to the viral trend.