Good Saturday morning! Welcome to this Weekend's Briefing. This week we share some interesting data points about Italy, Tom Hanks warns us of deepfakes, Google is indexing people's conversations, mowing your lawn pollutes the world, and Google continues to dominate the online search world.
Interesting data points
- The median age in Italy is 46.5 years; for males, the median age is 45.4 years, and for females, it's 47.5 years
- Italy's population is shrinking by -0.2% with only 7 births per 1,000
- Pink Floyd recorded their album "Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii" in 1972 at the Pompeii Amphitheater
- The Vatican Apostolic Library contains 75,000 codices, 1.1 million printed books, and 8,500 incunabula texts
- Personal data point: The best carbonara pasta I had was in Rome, and the best Margherita pizza I had was in Napoli
Tom Hanks warns of deep fakes
We're going to have serious trust issues over what is real and what is not in the future with Generative AI. Bad actors (pun not intended) will use this technology for malicious intent. In this particular case, someone created a deepfake of Tom Hanks promoting some dental plan.
On Saturday, the Oscar-winning actor took to Instagram to warn fans of an AI-generated video of the actor promoting a dental program. In the post, the actor said “BEWARE!! There’s a video out there promoting some dental plan with an AI version of me. I have nothing to do with it.”
There are some amazing positive use case for Generative AI but I'm worried that those use cases will pale in comparison to all the bad things you can do with it.
Google indexing user conversations from Bard
No matter how much I hate the term "data is the new oil," it's partially true. Without data, none of these LLM systems can function correctly, or at least better. Google has been caught indexing user conversations with Google's Bard.
SEO consultant Gagan Ghotra observed that Google Search had begun to index shared Bard conversational links into its search results pages, potentially exposing information users meant to be kept contained or confidential.
This means that if a person used Bard to ask it a question then shared the link with a designated third-party, say, their spouse, friend or business partner, the conversation accessible at that link could in turn be scraped by Google’s crawler and show up publicly, to the entire world, in its Search Result.
Remember, your data is precious and if you can "hack it" it's always best to build and deploy your own LLM systems on premise instead of using tech giant's easy to use interface that pulls your data to their servers.
Americans burn 800 million gallons of gas mowing their lawns every year
I admit, I have a love-hate relationship with my lawn. I like how it looks all neat and nice after a fresh cut but I hate cutting it. Luckily I have a teenage boy that I send out to do it now, but he hates doing it too.
To put it in more basic terms, one hour of mowing your lawn with a gas-powered mower produces the same amount of air pollution as driving a Toyota Camry 1,100 miles from Los Angeles to Denver, according to CleanTechnica. High levels of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and nitrogen oxides enter the atmosphere with the use of gas mowers.
The EPA also says that Americans spill 17 million gallons of gas every year while refueling their equipment — more than was famously spilled by the Exxon Valdez in the Gulf of Alaska.
I always knew that gas mowers are bad for the environment but I never quantified it in my mind. These datapoints blow me away and lead me to consider turning parts of my lawn into a native plant garden.
Google's search dominance
This week's infographic comes from the visualcapitalist.com. Google dominates everything related to search. It's downright scary in my opinion.
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