AI Insider No. 45

Happy Pride Month, AI Insiders! Interesting announcements and drama drone on in the AI-verse. Some pundits continue to write AI’s obit. Others continue to over-hype. Meanwhile, people are always askin’ me what I think. So, I’m weighing in this week plus offering the usual updates. I hope you all have a great week and get a chance to enjoy the summer!

The GAGEUR “smart bird feeder” uses AI to identify birds. (GAGEUR)

An AI Tool Literally For the Birds

By Michelle Johnson, Editor, AI Insider

I know next to nothing about birds. However, I was intrigued a few months back to see that one of the hot items at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas was an AI-infused  “smart bird feeder.”

So I ordered one called the GAGEUR in January. It sat in the Amazon box until Friday. I shouldn’t have waited so long.

Now, you may be wondering: What on Earth is a smart bird feeder? Truthfully, it’s kind of a stretch to call it that. All it means is that it’s got a built-in camera that records video or takes snapshots and then makes an AI-powered guess as to what kind of bird it’s looking at.

It was an easy setup. I downloaded an app, connected the camera to my home Wi-Fi, assembled the birdhouse and filled it with birdseed, attached the included solar panel, and popped the whole rig onto a pole in the garden. Then, I waited to get a ding on my phone whenever the motion-activated camera flipped on to watch the bird show.

It was a little slow the first day, attracting just a few common sparrows. But on Day Two, word seemed to have gotten out that there was a new eatery in town. Birds started literally flocking to the new Cafe AI.

It captures pretty good video. You can save images to an SD card (not included) or the cloud (free and paid plans available).

The company claims the included “smart AI” can ID more than 10,000 bird species. I have no way to test that claim, but I will say that it’s not always accurate (like most AI). Despite not knowing much about birds, I’m pretty sure that the alert that I got about a Lavender Waxbill’s arrival was wrong. Just to be sure, I looked it up, and those are native to Central Africa. In the US, they hang out in Hawaii.

Still, when it does get it right, it’s fun to learn more, such as how house sparrows can be aggressive, chasing other birds away from food. I think I spotted some of that behavior.

The GAGEUR Bird Feeder with Smart Bird Feeder Camera and Solar Panel is currently on sale for $99 at It’s gotten pretty good reviews on Amazon, and I give it a thumbs up, too. 

And just to inject even more AI into the picture, I put together a video of birdfeeder clips using Canva’s new AI-powered instant movie generator. You simply upload and select clips, give it a prompt describing what you want, and it generates an edited video with editable text overlays and a music track. It’s really fast.

(Michelle Johnson via Dall-E 3)

Opinion: Navigating the Crossroads of Innovation and Trust

By Michelle Johnson, Editor, AI Insider

This is why we can’t have nice things: Whenever something cool, life-changing, or innovative comes along, drama and disappointment inevitably follow. Then premature obits appear.

The “It’s dead, and I told you so!” crowd goes into overdrive, and innovators appear baffled, feel unappreciated, or misunderstood.

We seem to be at that point with AI. According to a writer for the Wall Street Journal, The AI Revolution Is Already Losing Steam. (Unlocked link.)

And? Well, duh, of course. Naturally, some things are cooling off, largely because expectations were unrealistically high from the start.

Who’s to blame? Is it AI companies over-promising, stealing other people’s content, and releasing half-baked products? Or is it the media for both over-hyping and sensationalizing fears? (They’re coming after your job! They’re spying on you! The world as we know it will end!)

Hmmm. Let’s look at a case study. We’ll title it “OpenAI: From Hero to Headache?” Since they dropped ChatGPT in November 2022, OpenAI has been lauded, vilified, and sued. Media coverage has ranged from glowing and wildly over-hyped to downright hostile.

For example, here’s a recent headline and story from Engadget:  The Atlantic and Vox Media made their own deal with the AI Devil. “In the last few months, news organizations have leapt into bed with OpenAI, hatching Faustian bargains where the cash-strapped media industry exchanges a monetary pittance for OpenAI’s right to scrape and integrate their content into things like ChatGPT. Those that have signed in blood include News Corp (publisher of the Wall Street Journal), the Financial Times, People magazine publisher Dotdash Meredith, the AP, and now, The Atlantic and Vox Media.”

Meanwhile, Actress Scarlett Johannsen threatened to sic her lawyers on OpenAI because she claimed they cloned her voice without permission. Unrelated, several key players recently resigned from OpenAI. Charges of mismanagement and conflicting visions for its future spilled into public forums.

After one person responsible for overseeing security issues bailed, he said the company is focused too much on creating “shiny” products

Well, I’ve got news for him: That’s exactly where the focus should be. Because innovation is primarily funded by investors who want a return on those investments. And unless somebody can figure out a way to do this for free, we need to come to terms with that and move on.

OpenAI needs to turn a profit, which could benefit the organization’s non-profit pursuits and lofty mission to benefit humankind.

While the ideals of open-source and free accessibility embodied by OpenAI’s name are noble, the current AI landscape paints a different picture. Promising AI startups are failing due to financial instability, leaving a trail of unfulfilled potential in their wake.

Like a lot of other people, I believe that two things can be true at once: AI is the greatest thing to happen in this generation, AND if left unchecked, AI has the potential to cause great harm. Period. We all know that by now.

So, what’s to be done about it? If I knew the answer, I’d be out hawking my services as a consultant. Instead, as an “AI enthusiast” (Where DID that term come from?), I can only pontificate here and suggest that everyone continue to “trust, but verify,” as we say in journalism circles.

In the last week, OpenAI announced:
The formation of a new safety and security committee tasked with making recommendations on all projects. 

ChatGPT Edu: An affordable offering for universities to bring AI to campus responsibly.

OpenAI for Nonprofits: A new initiative to enhance the accessibility to tools for nonprofit organizations.

Here’s why I personally trust these moves: These people are not stupid. If they fail, nobody gets paid, nobody ends up with a glowing entry in the history books, and nothing advances. All their hard work is wasted. And maybe they even prove the doomsayers right.

As for the verification part, media, AI influencers, and you, my friends, need to keep a close eye on developments in this industry. Because, in the end, vigilance and informed oversight are the only ways to ensure that innovation truly serves the greater good. Onward.

Results of a prompt to generate a page about Artificial General Intelligence. Interestingly, it even generated a timeline. (Screenshot)

Perplexity Introduces ‘Pages’ for AI-Powered Content Creation

By ChatGPT, for AI Insider

Perplexity AI, a company known for its innovative AI-powered search engine, has launched a new feature called “Perplexity Pages.” The tool is designed to transform how users create and share content online, providing an AI-driven platform for generating pages containing articles, images and other content with ease.

The “Pages” feature enables users to produce content directly on the Perplexity platform by starting with a simple prompt. Users can specify their target audience—ranging from novices to experts—and the AI will compile information from a vast array of public resources to draft articles organized as a page. This draft can then be customized with images, embedded videos, and additional sections, making it a versatile tool for content creators.

Content generated via Perplexity Pages can be published and shared directly on the platform. This feature aims to expand Perplexity’s functionality, potentially transforming it into a hub for AI-generated news, education, and research.

Click here to view an example of a Perplexity-generated page. For more details about this feature, see Perplexity’s blog post announcing Pages.

(Reuters Institute)

Global Survey Reveals Mixed Views on Generative AI

By Gemini and Perplexity for AI Insider

A comprehensive survey conducted by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has shed light on the public’s perception of generative AI in six countries: the US, France, Denmark, the UK, Argentina, and Japan. 

The survey, which polled 12,000 individuals online (2,000 in each country), reveals a significant gap between awareness and usage of AI tools and concerns about their potential impact on the news industry.

The majority of respondents in all six countries have heard of ChatGPT, with the highest awareness levels in the US and Japan. However, despite this widespread familiarity, actual usage remains relatively low. Most people reported having used ChatGPT only once or twice. Younger people are more likely to use AI tools regularly, with 56% of 18-24 year-olds reporting having used ChatGPT, compared to only 16% of those aged 55 and over.

The study noted, “Other tools, typically those built by incumbent technology companies – such as Google Gemini, Microsoft Copilot, and Snapchat My AI – are some way behind ChatGPT…. They are, with the exception of Grok from X, each recognized by roughly 15–25% of the public.”

The survey also found that most people expect AI to significantly impact various sectors, including news media, within the next five years. However, there is significant distrust in the ability of institutions, including news media, to use AI responsibly. Only 12% of respondents in the UK trust news media to use AI responsibly, compared to 30% in Argentina and the US.

Also, when it comes to journalism, the study unveiled a preference for news produced by human journalists, especially for hard news topics like politics and international affairs. Despite this, there is some acceptance of AI-generated news for softer topics like fashion and sports.

(Reuters Institute)

The survey also showed that younger people are generally more comfortable with AI-generated news across all topics. However, even among this group, most believe that AI-generated news is less worth paying for than news produced by humans.

NY Times: Google Rolls Back A.I. Search Feature After Flubs and Flaws (Unlocked link.)

Time: Elon Musk’s xAI raises $6 billion

Politico: Gavin Newsom warns against perils of over-regulating AI

Yahoo Finance: Meta identifies networks pushing deceptive content likely generated by AI

Google: Meet 24 startups advancing healthcare with AI

NBC News: Bilingual AI brain implant helps stroke survivor communicate in Spanish and English

Aht Gallery

For Pride Month, let’s see how image generators Midjourney, Leonardo, and Playground AI interpret the prompt: “A vibrant Pride parade with diverse participants marching, waving rainbow flags, holding signs advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, and wearing colorful outfits. The street is filled with joyous expressions, confetti, and balloons. Background includes city buildings, murals, and Pride banners.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.