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May 23, 2024

Something strange is happening with Earth’s magnetic field tail

Posted by in category: futurism

It’s called the magnetotail, of course.

May 23, 2024

US lawmakers advance bill to make it easier to curb exports of AI models

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

So dl what you can…

WASHINGTON, May 22 (Reuters) — The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to advance a bill that would make it easier for the Biden administration to restrict the export of artificial intelligence systems, citing concerns China could exploit them to bolster its military capabilities.

The bill, sponsored by House Republicans Michael McCaul and John Molenaar and Democrats Raja Krishnamoorthi and Susan Wild, also would give the Commerce Department express authority to bar Americans from working with foreigners to develop AI systems that pose risks to U.S. national security.

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May 23, 2024

Microsoft’s “Copilot+” AI PC requirements are embarrassing for Intel and AMD

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

At a minimum, systems will need 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, to accommodate both the memory requirements and the on-disk storage requirements needed for things like large language models (LLMs; even so-called “small language models” like Microsoft’s Phi-3, still use several billion parameters). Microsoft says that all of the Snapdragon X Plus and Elite-powered PCs being announced today will come with the Copilot+ features pre-installed, and that they’ll begin shipping on June 18th.

But the biggest new requirement, and the blocker for virtually every Windows PC in use today, will be for an integrated neural processing unit, or NPU. Microsoft requires an NPU with performance rated at 40 trillion operations per second (TOPS), a high-level performance figure that Microsoft, Qualcomm, Apple, and others use for NPU performance comparisons. Right now, that requirement can only be met by a single chip in the Windows PC ecosystem, one that isn’t even quite available yet: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite and X Plus, launching in the new Surface and a number of PCs from the likes of Dell, Lenovo, HP, Asus, Acer, and other major PC OEMs in the next couple of months. All of those chips have NPUs capable of 45 TOPS, just a shade more than Microsoft’s minimum requirement.

May 23, 2024

New Windows AI feature records everything you’ve done on your PC

Posted by in categories: encryption, robotics/AI

“Recall uses Copilot+ PC advanced processing capabilities to take images of your active screen every few seconds,” Microsoft says on its website. “The snapshots are encrypted and saved on your PC’s hard drive. You can use Recall to locate the content you have viewed on your PC using search or on a timeline bar that allows you to scroll through your snapshots.”

By performing a Recall action, users can access a snapshot from a specific time period, providing context for the event or moment they are searching for. It also allows users to search through teleconference meetings they’ve participated in and videos watched using an AI-powered feature that transcribes and translates speech.

At first glance, the Recall feature seems like it may set the stage for potential gross violations of user privacy. Despite reassurances from Microsoft, that impression persists for second and third glances as well. For example, someone with access to your Windows account could potentially use Recall to see everything you’ve been doing recently on your PC, which might extend beyond the embarrassing implications of pornography viewing and actually threaten the lives of journalists or perceived enemies of the state.

May 23, 2024

Meta AI chief says large language models will not reach human intelligence

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Yann LeCun argues current AI methods are flawed as he pushes for ‘world modelling’ vision for superintelligence.

May 23, 2024

Quantum entanglement expands to city-sized networks

Posted by in categories: internet, particle physics, quantum physics

The delicate nature of quantum information means it does not travel well. A quantum Internet therefore needs devices known as quantum repeaters to swap entanglement between quantum bits, or qubits, at intermediate points. Several researchers have taken steps towards this goal by distributing entanglement between multiple nodes.

In 2020, for example, Xiao-Hui Bao and colleagues in Jian-Wei Pan’s group at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) entangled two ensembles of rubidium-87 atoms in vapour cells using photons that had passed down 50 km of commercial optical fibre. Creating a functional quantum repeater is more complex, however: “A lot of these works that talk about distribution over 50,100 or 200 kilometres are just talking about sending out entangled photons, not about interfacing with a fully quantum network at the other side,” explains Can Knaut, a PhD student at Harvard University and a member of the US team.

May 22, 2024

The price of computer storage has fallen exponentially since the 1950s

Posted by in category: computing

The price of computer storage since the 1950s.


This chart shows the dramatic fall in the price of computer storage between 1956 and 2023. It relies on the data carefully collected by the computer scientist John C. McCallum.

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May 22, 2024

Streamlined microcomb design provides control with the flip of a switch

Posted by in categories: computing, electronics

Light measurement devices called optical frequency combs have revolutionized metrology, spectroscopy, atomic clocks, and other applications. Yet challenges with developing frequency comb generators at a microchip scale have limited their use in everyday technologies such as handheld electronics.

May 22, 2024

Nuclear physicists make first precision measurements of radium monofluoride

Posted by in category: quantum physics

For the first time, nuclear physicists have made precision measurements of a short-lived radioactive molecule, radium monofluoride (RaF). In their study published in the journal Nature Physics, the researchers combined ion-trapping techniques with specialized laser systems to measure the fine details of the quantum structure of RaF.

May 22, 2024

Researchers show how to use ‘topological tweezers’ to control active fluids

Posted by in category: physics

By Morgan Sherburne, University of Michigan

University of Michigan physicists have devised a way to manipulate active fluids, a type of fluid composed of individual units that can propel themselves independently, by taking advantage of topological defects in the fluids.

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