News·4 min read

Daily Skimm: Artificial Intelligence, Kentucky, and Pope Francis

AI sign displayed on a phone screen, a silhouette of a paper in shape of a human face and a binary code displayed on a screen are seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on January 15, 2023.
March 30, 2023

Racing Against AI

The Story

Tech leaders are warning there could be disaster, if AI isn't reeled back in.

Say what now?

Yesterday, an open letter called on artificial intelligence labs to hit pause on advanced AI projects for six months. More than 1,000 researchers, tech experts, and others signed the letter — including Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. They warned companies are creating AI tech so fast and aren't thinking about the potential consequences. Now, tech leaders are saying that anything smarter than GPT-4 (aka ChatGPT’s newest sibling) may “pose profound risks to society and humanity.”

I'm getting “Black Mirror” flashbacks...

It's not the first time experts have raised alarms. While chatbots like ChatGPT have helped people write everything from essays to computer code, they've also been linked to disinformation, phishing, and other types of cybercrime. Companies like GoogleMicrosoft, and Snapchat have been rushing to create chatbots that flex their own AI algorithms. It's got many worried advanced AI could lead to a faster spread of disinformation and that bots could coax people's behavior. 

Can it be stopped?

Maybe ChatGPT can answer that question. Tech leaders are calling on the government and AI developers to work together to pass regulations. But if no one hits pause on advanced AI research, the letter asks lawmakers to enact a “moratorium” to stop the “out-of-control race.” One expert says the open letter shouldn't focus on “hypothetical and long-term risks.” But that officials should monitor how AI could put people out of work. Still, tech leaders maintain that, with the right regulations, “humanity can enjoy a flourishing future with AI.”


AI has long felt like uncharted territory. Now, tech leaders are calling for protections. All's fun and games until we're dealing with a real-life “I, Robot.”

What has people talking…

Russia. Today, Russian authorities said they’ve arrested an American journalist on espionage charges. Officials say the Wall Street Journal’s Evan Gershkovich was collecting info “on the instructions of the United States…about one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.” His most recent article this week was about the state of Russia’s economy. Gershkovich is the first journalist with a US outlet to be arrested on espionage charges in Russia since the Cold War. If convicted, Gershkovich could face up to 20 years in prison on espionage charges.

Which state has people talking…

Kentucky. Yesterday, state GOP lawmakers overturned Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) veto and moved forward with a law that bans gender-affirming care for minors. The measure also restricts the bathrooms children can use, bans schools from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity, and allows teachers to opt out of using preferred gender pronouns. It comes as at least 11 states have enacted similar measures. Republicans, who hold a super majority in the state, said using “puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones” is dangerous for kids. But Democrats said the move would “[deny] families, their physicians, and their therapists the right to make medically informed decisions.” The law's expected to go into effect this summer, but LGBTQIA+ advocates have vowed to sue. The news comes ahead of International Transgender Day of Visibility.

…Oh and speaking of anti-transgender laws, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) also signed into law a ban on gender-affirming care for minors. The change is expected to go into effect in January 2024.

What’s on the Senate’s mind…

Iraq. Yesterday, the Senate voted 66 to 30 to formally repeal the authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) in Iraq. In 2002, Congress voted to invade Iraq as the Bush administration alleged the country had weapons of mass destruction. Since then, almost every president, including Presidents Trump and Obama, has used the AUMF at one point in time. Some lawmakers say it’s time for Congress to take back its power. Others say the AUMF is still needed because there are threats abroad. Next, the legislation goes to the Republican-led House. If it passes Congress, President Biden — who supports the measure — is expected to sign the bill.

What got the stamp of approval…

Narcan. Yesterday, the FDA said the nasal spray could be sold over the counter without a prescription. Narcan can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose within minutes. And pharmacies in most states have been able to provide it without a prescription. Now, it’ll be more accessible when it hits shelves at convenience stores, supermarkets, and gas stations this summer.

Who people have well-wishes for…

Pope Francis.

What’s full of stars…

Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City.”

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