[2nd June 2024] Interesting Things I Learnt This Week


1. The Rubyglow pineapple : The Rubyglow pineapple, grown exclusively by Melissa's, is a mix between a normal pineapple and a Morada pineapple (that's usually inedible). The fruit, which was previously only available in Asia, features the pineapple's typically yellow center with a distinct ruby red colored outer shell. The rare fruit went viral and has now completely sold out by Fresh Del Monte.


 

My Take: The headlines about these limited-edition fruits are eye-catching, but the high price tag and quick sellout make it a minor story.  The real takeaway is the ongoing effort in genetic engineering to improve fruits – tastier, more nutritious, and longer-lasting.  This type of innovation holds the potential for significant global impact, compared to the more subtle changes LLMs might introduce.


2. Weather Union : Weather Union is a crowd-supported weather infrastructure project initiated by Zomato. It leverages a network of weather stations to collect real-time weather data across India. This data is then made freely available through an API for public use. The goal is to improve the weather data infrastructure in India and to boost the productivity of the economy.

My Take: This project has potential, but I'm concerned about Zomato's practices. Their API seems limited, offering location-specific results but no way to capture a complete dataset.  Additionally, their lack of transparency with closed-source documentation raises concerns.  An open-source alternative built on a platform like Meshtastic could be a more trustworthy solution in the long run.


3. DD Kisan launches AI Anchors : DD Kisan, a government TV channel dedicated to farmers, has launched two AI anchors, AI Krish, and AI Bhoomi. These AI anchors will provide every necessary information about agricultural research happening in the country and global level, trends in agriculture mandees, changes in the weather or any other information of government schemes.

My Take: It's refreshing to see a government channel experimenting with new content.  Innovation requires courage and vision,  even if the final product isn't perfect.  The important thing is that Doordarshan is taking a step in the right direction.

 

4. AI Outperforms Humans in Theory of Mind Tests : Theory of mind is the ability to understand other people’s mental states and according to a new study, the large language models (LLM) that power ChatGPT and the like are surprisingly good at mimicking this quintessentially human trait.

My Take: This study seems to overhype the results. LLMs are really good at one thing: predicting the next word in a sequence. Just because they pass a few tests on theory of mind (understanding others' thoughts) doesn't mean they truly grasp it. It could be a fluke or just the LLM's prediction skills at work. The bigger concern is that overstating what LLMs can do can create unrealistic expectations. This could slow down the  development of AI that's safe, beneficial, and used responsibly.

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