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👁️🪙 ChatGPT’s founder wants to scan your eyeballs. How 5G transformed Colorado Springs into a “smart city”. Say goodbye to aliens and hello to “non-human biologics”.
Happy August, Bizarro readers.
I hope this finds you well. July was quite the month, wasn’t it? Between self-healing metal and U.S. congressional hearings on aliens, there was no shortage of bizarro stories to gather for this month’s newsletter. We’ve also added a word of the month category to our content lineup, so don’t miss that. The idea is to look at the world through a lens that you might not otherwise consider. With that said...
Here are this edition’s top stories:
👁️🪙 ChatGPT’s founder wants to scan your eyeballs.
📡📶 How 5G transformed Colorado Springs into a “smart city”.
🛸👽 Say goodbye to aliens and hello to “non-human biologics”.
Let's dive into it!
📰 From the Newsroom
Worldcoin, a digital ID platform co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, has officially launched after three years of development. The platform aims to provide users with a verified digital identity, a cryptocurrency token called Worldcoin (WLD), and a crypto wallet app.
The project’s core feature, the World ID, is a digital passport that allows users to "verify their humanness" online by using an iris-scanning device called the Orb to generate a unique identification code called an IrisCode.
The World ID is stored in the World App, which functions as a crypto wallet and facilitates access to decentralized finance applications. Users who sign up for Worldcoin receive 25 WLD cryptocurrency tokens, which can be traded on various crypto exchanges.
Besides your World ID, the World App can hold Bitcoin, Ethereum and USDC, and the company says more cryptos will be supported in the future.
Despite its clever marketing and lofty goals, Worldcoin has faced criticism and concerns regarding its data collection practices. Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has sounded the alarm about potential information harvesting through iris scans, and an MIT Technology Review article accused the company of using deceptive marketing practices and not obtaining proper consent for data collection. Do you think Worldcoin is going to succeed or flop? 🤔Will you sign up?
In 2018, the city of Colorado Springs, under the leadership of Mayor John Suthers, embarked on a plan to transform itself into a smart city. The objective was to leverage technology and data-driven solutions to enhance livability, sustainability, and efficiency by integrating various public services like transportation, energy, and waste management. Five years later, the city has made significant strides towards this goal, with 5G technology playing a crucial role in driving innovative changes.
5G integration in Colorado Springs has led to smart streetlights that not only report outages instantly but also act as data collection points for weather and air-quality data.
Furthermore, trash cans equipped with 5G connectivity have revolutionized waste management by optimizing collection routes based on real-time monitoring of waste levels and internal temperature.
The city has exciting plans for the future, such as integrating 5G in autonomous vehicles to build more efficient transportation systems, improve traffic management, and enhance safety through AI-driven route optimization and collision avoidance.
Colorado Springs' journey towards becoming a smart city showcases the potential of 5G technology to transform urban environments. By integrating 5G into streetlights, trash cans, and kiosks, the city has improved various public services, leading to greater efficiency and cost savings. What do you think? 🤔 Would you like to see the city you live in adopt a similar approach?
In a highly anticipated hearing on UFOs, three U.S. military veterans testified before the U.S. Congress, with a former Air Force intelligence officer revealing startling claims about the U.S. government's involvement with recovered UFOs. The hearing aimed to shift the focus from sensationalism to improving the reporting process for unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs) and ensuring proper oversight of government programs investigating these encounters.
One of the military personnel interviewed disclosed a covert "multi-decade" program focused on reverse engineering alien craft recovered by the U.S. government. Additionally, he asserted the recovery of non-human "biologics" from UFO crash sites, implying the presence of extraterrestrial life.
Two other military veterans, a former Navy fighter pilot and a retired Navy commander, provided detailed accounts of their UAP encounters. The incidents involved encounters with advanced flying objects that exhibited capabilities beyond our current understanding of technology.
The hearing emphasized the need for a "safe and transparent” centralized reporting system to encourage aviators and civilians to report UAP sightings without fear of stigma. The goal is to address potential national security threats and ensure flight safety while fostering a more open public discourse on the subject.
The congressional hearing on UFOs shed light on intriguing and, at times, unsettling claims surrounding recovered UFOs and encounters with unidentified aerial phenomena. While the focus shifted from alien fantasies to practical matters such as reporting processes and safety concerns, the testimony of credible witnesses and their experiences added weight to the ongoing discussion. However, some people online also questioned the timing of these hearings and why the U.S. government chose to have them at this particular moment.
Same ol’ compliance. Just 80% faster. By automating manual tasks like evidence collection and control monitoring, Drata eliminates the need for spreadsheets and screenshots to manage compliance—saving you time and headaches.
That’s why 3,000+ companies use Drata to automate compliance for 16+ frameworks, including SOC 2, ISO 27001, GDPR, and HIPAA. And now, Bizarro readers get 10% off and waived implementation fees.
⛓️ Ten Must See Links of the Month
Sanctuary AI has unveiled Phoenix, a humanoid robot that weighs 155 pounds (~70kg), can lift payloads up to 55 pounds (~25kg), and is powered by Carbon, an AI control system designed to give it human-like intelligence.
Scientists were stunned when a cracked piece of metal, specifically platinum, was observed to heal itself and fuse back together without any human intervention, challenging the expectation that cracks in metals only get bigger.
Amazon plans to introduce pay-by-palm technology, called Amazon One, to all of its Whole Foods stores in the U.S. by the end of the year. Users will be able to enter and pay for items by placing their palm over a scanning device.
Researchers have developed a micro-endovascular (MEV) probe, which is a tiny, ultra-flexible electronic neural implant that can record single-neuron activity deep within the brain without invasive surgery.
Lawyers are using deepfakes as a defense in court, exploiting juror bias and skepticism about what is real, which is a new challenge to the legal system's adversarial process and truth-seeking function.
Film studios are proposing to replace human background actors with AI-generated digital projections, which would force actors to give up their physical likeness to be used in any project studios want with no consent or compensation.
The Spyhide stalkerware app is stealthily collecting private phone data from tens of thousands of Android devices around the world. Learn more about it, including how to check your phone and remove it if you’ve been infected.
📽️🎞️ How do you become a slow-ager? Morgan Levine, who leads a team at the life science company Altos Labs, explains the concept of epigenetics — the factors that influence gene activity without changing the DNA sequence.
WordPress Playground is a project by the WordPress team that provides a virtual environment for testing plugins and themes without the need for installation or hosting setup. Learn more about WordPress Playground, including four use cases you can experiment with.
Being a victim of content scraping - the act of stealing content from a website - is frustrating. Check out these five strategies to prevent content scraping on a WordPress site.
🎤 It’s How They Said It
"All we had to deal with was making plans for ta’aruz [attacks] against the enemy and for retreating...but now we sit in one place, behind a desk and a computer 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Life’s become so wearisome; you do the same things every day.”
– Huzaifa, a former sniper for the Taliban, reflecting on his transition from fighter to office worker after the U.S. gave up its occupation of Afghanistan
🧮 The Numbers Game
43% talking to 57% listening is the ideal talk-to-listen ratio for successful B2B sales calls, based on an analysis of 25,537 B2B sales conversations. This ratio results in the highest positive outcomes for moving deals forward and closing sales. So, if you work in sales, don’t forget to listen.
About $1,000,000 USD is how much it cost to develop Mindar, a humanoid robot designed as a Buddhist preacher. It features a human-like silicon face with moving lips and blinking eyes and delivers Buddhist sermons at the Kodai-Ji temple in Kyoto, Japan. Unfortunately, despite the large investment, participants attending Mindar’s sermons have given smaller donations than those who’ve attended sermons by a human priest.
63 minutes is the average amount of time that Americans aged between 15 and 64 spend eating and drinking on any given day. It is the least amount of time out of all 38 OECD countries surveyed. On the other end of the spectrum is France, who’s citizens spend an average of 133 minutes per day on eating and drinking. The other 36 OECD countries are in between somewhere.
⚒️ Tools and Resources
Runway Gen-2: This cutting-edge AI system will elevate your video production to new heights. It has eight different modes that let you do everything from text-to-video renders, to isolating subjects in your video and modifying them with simple text prompts. For example, you could have a golden retriever walking around in your original video, and with a prompt you can turn that retriever into a dalmatian. Check out this Twitter thread and this concept film trailer to see some of the impressive creations made so far with it.
Claude 2: You’ve likely already heard about it, but in case you haven’t, here it is. This new large language model has been hyped as a rival to ChatGPT and Bard. It has demonstrated remarkable speed and accuracy in generating complex and creative prompts, and has shown the ability to understand sentence context and have a back-and-forth discussion. Check it out for yourself.
🖼️ Image of The Month
The previous owner of the @x Twitter handle, before Elon Musk took it over to represent the new re-branded Twitter.
💬 Word of The Month
"Meraki" (μεράκι) is a Greek word that doesn't have a direct equivalent in English. It is often used to describe a unique way of doing something with soul, creativity, or love. It is a concept that represents putting a piece of yourself, your passion, and your essence into your actions or creations.
It can be used to describe various forms of art, craftsmanship, cooking, or any activity that requires dedication and a personal touch. What activity in your life do you do with “meraki”?
📊 Results of Last Month’s Polls
Last month’s poll was fairly close. At the moment it does seem like LLMs will hit a wall but of course many things seemed unlikely until they happened. One could argue that LLMs themselves seemed unlikely only five years ago and yet here we are. I’ll be honest and say that I don’t see how they will come up with a way around it, given that the models are built on finite human generated data. Some people speculate that synthetic data will provide a solution, but only time will tell.
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Until next month,