New economic reality, OpenAI's AI CICERO, A Material That Learns, cryptocurrencies Short,  and product Piggy...

The new economic reality for small businesses is tough.

The U.S. economy has slowed significantly in 2022, and that slow growth is expected to continue into next year. After shrinking slightly in the first half of this year, real gross domestic product rebounded in the third quarter to a 2.6% annual growth rate.

Consumer and business spending has softened, amid deteriorating business sentiment in most sectors of the economy. It’s not hard to understand why: inflation remains high, which people notice every day at the gas pumps and grocery stores. Further, as the Fed tries to curb inflation to its 2% target, it has raised interest rates, which raises borrowing costs for businesses and consumers alike.

Inflation is the result of pent-up demand arising from after COVID-related lockdowns, supply chain issues, increased labor costs, and rising gas prices, among other factors. Stimulus money put more cash in the hands of consumers, who naturally spent it, thereby spurring inflation. The slowed economic growth is a sign that the monetary policy of raising interest rates, which has been in effect since late 2021, is beginning to work but will take time.

All of this puts small business owners in a tough spot. On one hand, they are suffering because of the tight labor market, which has driven up wages, and increasing costs of goods sold. Many small business owners feared raising prices further, since that can have a negative effect on demand, but at the same time, their margins have been squeezed. Read more...

OpenAI's AI, CICERO, Plays Diplomacy to Human Level and Beyond

Today, we're excited to announce CICERO, the first artificial intelligence (AI) agent to achieve human-level performance in the popular strategy game Diplomacy.

Diplomacy has been viewed as a nearly impossible challenge in AI because it requires players to understand people's motivations and perspectives, make complex plans and adjust strategies, and use language to convince people to form alliances.

CICERO marks the beginning of a new era for AI that can collaborate with people in gameplay using strategic reasoning and natural language processing. This technology could one day lead to intelligent assistants that can collaborate with people.

While CICERO is only capable of playing Diplomacy, the technology behind it is relevant to many other applications. For example, current AI assistants can complete simple question-answer tasks like telling you the weather—but what if they could hold a long-term conversation with the goal of teaching you a new skill?

By open sourcing the code and models we hope that AI researchers can continue to build off our work in a responsible manner. Additionally, to gain access to the data interested researchers can submit a proposal to our RFP in the area of human-AI cooperation through natural language using Diplomacy as the foundational environment. We're excited about the potential for future advances in human-AI collaboration and seeing how others build on our research. Read more...

Artificial Intelligence Takes Its Next Step As UCLA Engineers Create A Material That Learns

Artificial intelligence has taken many forms in the past, but it's never been able to adapt like this before.

Researchers from UCLA have created a new class of material that can learn behaviors over time and develop a “muscle memory” of its own, allowing for real-time adaptation to changing external forces, much like a pianist who learns to play their instrument without looking at the keys or a basketball player who puts in countless hours to throw a seemingly effortless jump shot.

The material is constructed of a structural system with tunable beams that allows it to change its shape and behaviors in response to dynamic circumstances. The study’s findings, which have implications in the building of buildings, the development of aircraft, and imaging technologies among others, were recently published in the journal Science Robotics.

"This research introduces and demonstrates an artificial intelligent material that can learn to exhibit the desired behaviors and properties upon increased exposure to ambient conditions," said mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Jonathan Hopkins of the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering who led the research."The same foundational principles that are used in machine learning are used to give this material its smart and adaptive properties.”

When the material is used in aircraft wings, for example, it may learn to morph the shape of the wings depending on wind patterns during a flight in order to improve the plane’s efficiency and maneuverability. Read more...

More investors are betting on the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies going down than ever before

In the wake of the FTX collapse, more investors than ever are betting on the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies going down.

More institutional investors than ever are betting on the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies going down, according to a Monday report from CoinShares. 

Institutional investor sentiment was “deeply negative” last week, according to the report, as short product inflows represented 75% of the total inflows—the largest inflow on record. 

Short products allow investors to short cryptocurrency (bet on the price of an asset going down). In the case of last week, investors flocked to put their money on the price of Bitcoin and Ethereum continuing to decline. 

The report said that assets under management in crypto investment products also hit a two-year low of $22 billion, “suggesting on aggregate sentiment was deeply negative for the asset class.”

And it noted that last week more investors than ever before poured money into short-Ethereum investment products—a sum of $14 million.

CoinShares added that the interest in short products was “likely being a direct result of the ongoing fallout from the FTX collapse.” Read more...

Download Piggy to Easily Create Stunning Content From Your Phone. 

Visual, creative, and interactive mobile documents creator

We're super excited to launch here! We know how hard it is to work on a long, multipage document when you're on the go. That's why we created Piggy, an app that makes authoring content in a mobile format that incorporates all the stuff you like from social media—videos, gifs, polls, audio, links—easy and fun.

We live in a mobile world and Piggy is here to help you easily create stunning content right from your phone. Piggys are stored in the cloud and can be shared with selected people or publicly with anyone. Use Piggy to create presentations, documents, photo albums, memes, invitations, greeting cards, blog posts… anything else you can imagine! Obviously people can view your creations without downloading the app or opening an account.

We're just getting started and we'd love to finally hear from our community! Read more...

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