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Twitter, Heardle, Genealogy, More: Sunday ResearchBuzz, April 16, 2023

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Vox: Is Twitter finally dying?. “Vox spoke with over half a dozen current and former Twitter employees, advertising and marketing experts, and users about the current state of the company. Many of those who worked at Twitter said the platform was only alive because of the technical strength and reputation it’s built over the past 17 years.”

Engadget: Spotify will shut down ‘Heardle’ on May 5th. “Spotify has some disappointing news for Heardle fans: the company is shutting down the song-guessing game, which it bought last summer. ‘Thanks for playing Heardle, but unfortunately we have to say goodbye,’ a message on the Heardle webpage reads. ‘From May 5th, Heardle will no longer be available.'”

Genealogy’s Star: United States Social Security NUMIDENT records added to FamilySearch.org. “The Social Security Administration created these records to track the earnings of US workers and determine benefit entitlements. The publishable index only contains information for deceased individuals and was gathered from all three record types in the collection: applications, deaths, and claims.”

USEFUL STUFF

How-To Geek: How to Run a ChatGPT-like AI on Your Own PC. “You can run a ChatGPT-like AI on your own PC with Alpaca, a chatbot created by Stanford researchers. It supports Windows, macOS, and Linux. You just need at least 8GB of RAM and about 30GB of free storage space.”

AROUND THE INTERNET WORLD

New York Times: The End of Faking It in Silicon Valley. “When start-up valuations were soaring, they were seen as visionary kingmakers. It was easy enough to convince the world, and the investors in their funds — pension funds, college endowments and wealthy individuals — that they were responsible stewards of capital with the unique skills required to predict the future and find the next Steve Jobs to build it. But as more start-up frauds are revealed, these titans of industry are playing a different role in lawsuits, bankruptcy filings and court testimonies: the victim that got duped.”

BBC: The ‘ninjas’ fighting climate change denial on Twitter. “Secretive internet vigilantes have made it their mission to fight climate change denial on Twitter. But, as a vicious information war rages online, do they risk becoming the very trolls they claim to be targeting?”

The Verge: Bluesky is my favorite Twitter clone yet. “Bluesky is really, really fun. Yes, the platform is essentially just Twitter but decentralized. And yes, the Jack Dorsey-backed Bluesky is one of many services emulating how Twitter looks right now. But after spending a few hours in Bluesky since getting my beta invite this week, it’s so far the service where I feel the most joy.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

Asia One: Gone in 2 hours: Retiree loses $70k in life savings after installing fake Google Play app on phone. “He had just gotten his pension totalling $30,000 in January this year. Within the same month, it was all gone, along with $40,000 of his life savings. Within two hours, his DBS bank account was near-emptied by cybercriminals.” This article takes place in Singapore. $30,000 Singapore dollars equals $22,549.61 American dollars at this writing. $40,000 Singapore dollars is just over $30,000 American.

Washington Post: Leaked secret documents detail up to four additional Chinese spy balloons. “U.S. intelligence agencies were aware of up to four additional Chinese spy balloons, and questions lingered about the true capabilities of the one that flew over the continental United States in January and February, according to previously unreported top-secret intelligence documents.”

Reuters: Google must face trial over Sonos patents, California judge says. “Alphabet’s Google received a mixed ruling on Thursday from a San Francisco federal judge in a patent lawsuit brought by Sonos Inc over wireless audio technology, failing to invalidate all of the patents before a trial but narrowing Sonos’ claims.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

University of California Davis: UC Davis Study Finds Tweets Can Amplify, Disrupt, Unite and Divide. “Department of Communication researchers said their findings both in an observational study and simulation speak to the ongoing debate about social media’s contributions to political polarization, misinformation and echo chambers. To conduct their research, they analyzed millions of Twitter posts across the United States, finding that, among other things, people do not always isolate in their own communities, particularly during large world events.”

Ars Technica: Hype grows over “autonomous” AI agents that loop GPT-4 outputs. “Since the launch of OpenAI’s GPT-4 API last month to beta testers, a loose group of developers have been experimenting with making agent-like (‘agentic’) implementations of the AI model that attempt to carry out multistep tasks with as little human intervention as possible. These homebrew scripts can loop, iterate, and spin off new instances of an AI model as needed.” Good morning, Internet…

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