5 things about AI you may have missed today: Paytm’s AI-led layoff, AI antibiotic, and more

Today is Christmas and, as expected, most businesses and governments have shut down for the day and people are enjoying a holiday. Yet artificial intelligence developments have found a way to emerge even today. In a shocking development, the parent company of Paytm, One97 Communication, has fired more than 1000 employees. The underlying reason behind the Paytm layoff is reported to be the AI advancement of the company that has caused a few positions to be surplus to requirements. This and more in today’s AI roundup. Let us take a closer look.

Paytm fires 1000 employees

Paytm’s parent company, One97 Communication, has laid off over 1000 employees from various departments as a cost-cutting measure, reported the Economic Times. The layoffs, occurring over the past few months, amount to a 10 percent reduction in Paytm’s overall workforce. The restructuring was prompted by advancements in artificial intelligence, rendering some positions obsolete. The decision comes after Paytm exited the buy-now-pay-later and small-ticket lending space due to regulatory changes by the RBI. The job losses are concentrated in the division that experienced significant growth in the past year.

AI discovers antibiotic for staph infection

Researchers from MIT, Harvard University, and the Broad Institute have made a groundbreaking discovery using AI machine learning to identify a new class of antibiotics, as per a report by Psychology Today. This marks the first such finding in over 60 years and is a significant breakthrough in addressing drug-resistant staph infections, contributing to the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Staph, or Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), is a Gram-positive bacteria responsible for various human infections, including skin infections, sepsis, and deadly pneumonia. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) resulted in over 120,000 global deaths in 2019, as reported by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in January 2022.

Sydney Harbour Bridge gets an AI-adorned Christmas decoration

Sydney’s Harbour Bridge has undergone a Christmas Day transformation featuring dazzling lights and draped white cloth, but the festive look is AI-generated, according to a report by 9News. It’s a digital creation by AI artist If Only, known for similar transformations of landmarks like Egypt’s Great Pyramids and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, showcasing the power of artificial intelligence in generating visually stunning imagery.

“What if we woke on Christmas morning to discover Santa had transformed the Sydney Harbour Bridge into a festive wonderland? With a touch of Christmas magic and a whole lotta AI wizardry, the Sydney Harbour Bridge as we’ve never seen it before, adorned with a pixel-perfect look to celebrate Christmas day,” the official Sydney Instagram account posted.

Interactive AI can be a thing in 2024

Mustafa Suleyman, cofounder of Google DeepMind, has said that he believes the future of AI chatbots centres around their advanced capability to interact with humans, as per a report by Deutsche Welle.

“The third wave will be the interactive phase. That’s why I’ve bet for a long time that conversation is the future interface. You know, instead of just clicking on buttons and typing, you’re going to talk to your AI,” Suleyman told MIT Technology Review.

AI pioneer says AI must give humans more agency

Fei-Fei Li, an American computer scientist, who was born in China and is known for establishing ImageNet, the dataset that enabled rapid advances in computer vision in 2010, has recently given her opinions on AI in its current form and believes it undermines human agency.

Speaking with The Associated Press, she said, “The biggest misconception of AI in journalism is when journalists use the subject AI and a verb and put humans in the object. Human agency is very, very important. We create technology, we deploy technology, and we govern technology. The media and the public discourse, but heavily influenced by media, is talking about AI without the proper respect to human agency. We have so many articles, so many discussions, that start with ‘AI brings blah, blah, blah; AI does blah blah blah; AI delivers blah blah blah; AI destroys blah, blah, blah.’ And I think we need to recognize this”.

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