Author: The Conversation

BY Anjana Susarla, Michigan State University; Casey Fiesler, University of Colorado Boulder, and Kentaro Toyama, University of Michigan 2023 was an inflection point in the evolution of artificial intelligence and its role in society. The year saw the emergence of generative AI, which moved the technology from the shadows to center stage in the public imagination. It also saw boardroom drama in an AI startup dominate the news cycle for several days. And it saw the Biden administration issue an executive order and the European Union pass a law aimed at regulating AI, moves perhaps best described as attempting to…

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by Hovig Tchalian, University of Southern California When a rare bottle of Scotch whisky sold for $2.7 million or R50.5 million in November 2023, I was stunned, but I wasn’t surprised. The whiskey market has been booming for some time. Bourbon brands like Pappy Van Winkle from Buffalo Trace distillery are selling for astronomical prices in the secondary market. Japanese whiskies, which have become popular over the past decade, now fetch prices up to 50 times higher what they did a decade ago. And in July 2022, a single Ardbeg whisky barrel, aged since 1975, with enough liquid for about…

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BY M. Hadi Amini, Florida International University Depending on which late-model vehicle you own, your car might be watching you – literally and figuratively – as you drive down the road. It’s watching you with cameras that monitor the cabin and track where you’re looking, and with sensors that track your speed, lane position and rate of acceleration. Your car uses this data to make your ride safe, comfortable and convenient. For example, the cameras can tell when you’ve been distracted and need to bring your attention back to the road. They can also identify when you are speeding by…

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by Christopher Adam, University of Oxford The high cost of making cross border payments on the African continent has driven governments on the continent to seek options of settling trade and other transactions in local currencies. This has given birth to the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System which is scheduled to go live in 2024 under Kenya’s leadership. Development economist Christopher Adam, who has studied the exchange rate policies of African countries, answers some key questions. Why are African countries exposed in the international currency market? Three main reasons. First, African economies are small and as such are highly dependent…

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BY Alexander Claus Winkler, Rhodes University “Drone fishing” is a relatively recent innovation in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Some recreational anglers are using personal drones to fly baited lines into hard-to-reach areas of water, or to look for good fishing areas. Recreational fishing is a popular sport and hobby in South Africa, which has a 2,850km shoreline. The most recent estimate of the number of marine shore based anglers is about 400,000. The group of researchers I’m part of, who study linefish (fish caught using hook and line) became aware over the past 10 years or so of…

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by Niusha Shafiabady, Charles Darwin University Artificial intelligence is changing the world – and one of the main areas it will affect in the short-to-medium term is the workforce. AI algorithms imitate real-world systems. The more repetitive a system is, the easier it is for AI to replace it. That’s why jobs in customer service, retail and clerical roles are regularly named as being the most at risk. That doesn’t mean other jobs won’t be affected. The latest advances in AI have shown all kinds of creative work and white-collar professions stand to be impacted to various degrees. However, there’s…

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by Adam Behr, Newcastle University In 2023, to still be working on Beatles music … to release a new song the public haven’t heard, I think it’s an exciting thing. Not surprisingly, Paul McCartney was positive about the appearance this week of what has been trailed as the “last” Beatles song, Now and Then. Much has been made of AI being part of the production. Machine learning was used to recognise John Lennon’s voice, and then isolate it from other sounds – a piano, a television in the background, electrical hum – to make it usable in a new recording.…

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by Daniel Gervais, Vanderbilt University and John Nay, Stanford University Only “persons” can engage with the legal system – for example, by signing contracts or filing lawsuits. There are two main categories of persons: humans, termed “natural persons,” and creations of the law, termed “artificial persons.” These include corporations, nonprofit organizations and limited liability companies (LLCs). Up to now, artificial persons have served the purpose of helping humans achieve certain goals. For example, people can pool assets in a corporation and limit their liability vis-à-vis customers or other persons who interact with the corporation. But a new type of artificial…

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by Arno J. van Niekerk, University of the Free State South Africa must tread carefully in its economic relationships to avoid being caught in the escalating tension between east and west, and more specifically China and the US. The country’s hosting, and the outcome, of the 2023 Agoa Summit should strengthen its role in diplomatic relations and contribute towards safeguarding the country’s economic interests. From 2-4 November 2023, the US and 35 sub-Saharan African countries will meet in Johannesburg for the 20th Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (Agoa Forum). It entails strengthening trade and investment ties between the US…

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By Ravi Sen, Texas A&M University Google, Microsoft and others boast that generative artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT will make searching the internet better than ever for users. For example, rather than having to wade through a sea of URLs, users will be able to just get an answer combed from the entire internet. There are also some concerns with the rise of AI-fueled search engines, such as the opacity over where information comes from, the potential for “hallucinated” answers and copyright issues. But one other consequence is that I believe it may destroy the US$68 billion search engine optimization…

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