#59 December 2023 | Monthly Digital Breadcrumbs

A bunch of things (which I added to my Tumblr) for your eyes and ears plus brain to spend time on (as no longer on Twitter).


Before I leave, I ask Loeb what is to be gained from looking for aliens, and his reply is surprisingly humble. “We know from our private life that if we find a partner, it gives new meaning to our existence,” he says. “So finding a partner somewhere in the form of another civilisation that can teach us things that we can imitate, that we can aspire to, will give us a meaning to our cosmic existence. The universe will not be pointless any more.

The alien hunter: has Harvard’s Avi Loeb found proof of extraterrestrial life? | Space | The Guardian

The publication is suing both companies for copyright infringement and asks them to be held liable for “billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages” for allegedly copying its works. It’s also asking the court to prevent OpenAI and Microsoft from training their AI models using its content, as well as remove the Times’ work from the companies’ datasets.

The New York Times sues OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement – The Verge

Facial recognition searches match the biometric measurements of an identified photograph, such as that contained on driving licences, to those of an image picked up elsewhere. The intention to allow the police or the National Crime Agency (NCA) to exploit the UK’s driving licence records is not explicitly referenced in the bill or in its explanatory notes, raising criticism from leading academics that the government is “sneaking it under the radar”.

Police to be able to run face recognition searches on 50m driving licence holders | Facial recognition | The Guardian

There was confusion in the plenary hall shortly after the agreement was passed as many parties had assumed there would be a debate over the text. The Alliance of Small Island States, representing 39 countries, said it had not been in the room when the deal was adopted as it was still coordinating its response. Its lead negotiator, Anne Rasmussen, from Samoa, did not formally object to the agreement and believed the deal had good elements, but said the “the process has failed us” and the text included a “litany of loopholes”. “We have made an incremental advancement over business as usual when what we really needed is an exponential step change in our actions and support,” she said. Her speech was met with a standing ovation.

Cop28 landmark deal agreed to ‘transition away’ from fossil fuels | Cop28 | The Guardian

Generating images was by far the most energy- and carbon-intensive AI-based task. Generating 1,000 images with a powerful AI model, such as Stable Diffusion XL, is responsible for roughly as much carbon dioxide as driving the equivalent of 4.1 miles in an average gasoline-powered car. In contrast, the least carbon-intensive text generation model they examined was responsible for as much CO2 as driving 0.0006 miles in a similar vehicle. Stability AI, the company behind Stable Diffusion XL, did not respond to a request for comment.

Making an image with generative AI uses as much energy as charging your phone

On Friday, the California-based company said in a regulatory filing that the personal data of 0.1% of customers – or about 14,000 individuals – had been accessed by “threat actors”. But the filing warned that hackers were also able to access “a significant number of files containing profile information about other users’ ancestry”. The company confirmed to TechCrunch on Saturday that because of an opt-in feature that allows DNA-related relatives to contact each other, the true number of people exposed was 6.9 million – or just less than half of 23andMe’s 14 million reported customers. Another group of about 1.4 million people who opted in to 23andMe’s DNA relatives feature also “had their family tree profile information accessed”, the company also acknowledged. That information includes names, relationship labels, birth year, self-reported location and other data.

Genetic testing firm 23andMe admits hackers accessed DNA data of 7m users | Hacking | The Guardian

If you do not want your website’s content used for this training, you can ask the bots deployed by Google and Open AI to skip over your site. Keep in mind that this only applies to future scraping. If Google or OpenAI already have data from your site, they will not remove it.

No Robots(.txt): How to Ask ChatGPT and Google Bard to Not Use Your Website for Training | Electronic Frontier Foundation

And finally, 66 Good News Stories You Didn’t Hear About in 2023, which we all need!



If you need to create a maze for free then check mazegenerator.net out.

This paper exploring and showing how to Animate Anyone from AI visual training sets.

Pick best time to schedule conference calls, webinars, online meetings and phone calls with worldtimebuddy.com.

A colossal amount of tutorials for those looking to create small bit artistic expressions via Pixel Art Tutorials – Saint11.

On useminimal.com there’s a collection of beautiful, minimalist printable calendars, habit trackers and planners (available in 31 languages).

All monthly digital breadcrumbs posts.


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