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Steven Levy

Steven Levy

Editor at Large at Wired

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United States
Covering topics
  • Technology
Languages
  • English
Influence score
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Media Database
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Steven Levy
wired.com

My Quest to Fix a Crashing Roku App Provides a Warning About AI - WIRED

I don’t think I’m alone when I confess that my streaming strategy is a mess. In fact, calling it a strategy is overly kind. I pay for a number of services, all of which cost more every year, and I still keep hearing of shows I want to see on streamers I don’t have. Maybe there are people who carefully analyze what’s available and keep unsubscribing and resubscribing, then methodically bingeing what they miss and deactivating again. Please do not sit those annoyingly competent people beside me at…
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This Company Says Conversational AI Will Kill Apps and Websites - W...

Was that the wrong thing to say? “I don’t know if that’s a compliment or criticism or just a fact,” says Taylor, who left his job as co-CEO of Salesforce to start Sierra. I assured him I saw it as more of the latter. “It’s not like you’re building girlfriends!” I noted. It’s significant that two of the more visionary leaders in Silicon Valley are building an AI startup not to chase the nerd trophy of superintelligence but to use recent AI advances to futurize nontechnical, mainstream corporation…
wired.com

Kara Swisher Is Sick of Tech People, So She Wrote a Book About Them...

In her new memoir, Burn Book, Kara Swisher cites a 2014 profile that dubbed her “Silicon Valley’s Most Feared and Well-Liked Journalist.” She might prefer to downplay the first and emphasize the second. Some people would switch that around. But there is no dispute about Swisher’s impact: When it comes to tech punditry, she’s at the top of the heap. No tech journalist has built a bigger brand for herself. Her three-decade career is a study in hard work and uncommon confidence. She rose from being…
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OpenAI's Sora Turns AI Prompts Into Photorealistic Videos - WIRED

We already know that OpenAI’s chatbots can pass the bar exam without going to law school. Now, just in time for the Oscars, a new OpenAI app called Sora hopes to master cinema without going to film school. For now a research product, Sora is going out to a few select creators and a number of security experts who will red-team it for safety vulnerabilities. OpenAI plans to make it available to all wannabe auteurs at some unspecified date, but it decided to preview it in advance. Other companies,…
wired.com

Here's the Thing AI Just Can't Do - WIRED

A few months ago, I was called in at the last minute to participate in an onstage fireside chat at an Authors’ Guild event. (I’m on the nonprofit’s council, but of course I speak here only for myself.) Guild CEO Mary Rasenberger and I spent much of the session exploring the implications of a future where AI robots could create viable literary works. For writers, it’s a terrifying scenario. As we discussed the prospect of a marketplace flooded by books authored by prompting neural nets, I had a r…
wired.com

Apple Shares the Secret of Why the 40-Year-Old Mac Still Rules - WIRED

My own relationship with the computer dates back to its beginnings, when I got a prelaunch peek some weeks before its January 1984 launch. I even wrote a book about the Mac—Insanely Great—in which I described it as “the computer that changed everything.” Unlike every other nonfiction subtitle, the hyperbole was justified. The Mac introduced the way all computers would one day work, and the break from controlling a machine with typed commands ushered us into an era that extends to our mobile inte…
wired.com

Your Medical Data Is Code Blue - WIRED

Until last November, I had never heard of Perry Johnson and Associates. But they had heard of me. In fact, without my knowledge, they had information about me that even my closest friends and relatives might not know. Because the company provides “transcription and dictation” services to Northwell Health, a medical provider that has treated me in the past, they had access to what they refer to as “certain files containing my health information as well as other personal data.” This might have inc…

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wired.com

In Defense of AI Hallucinations - WIRED

No one knows whether artificial intelligence will be a boon or curse in the far future. But right now, there’s almost universal discomfort and contempt for one habit of these chatbots and agents: hallucinations, those made-up facts that appear in the outputs of large language models like ChatGPT. In the middle of what seems like a carefully constructed answer, the LLM will slip in something that seems reasonable but is a total fabrication. Your typical chatbot can make disgraced ex-congressman G…
wired.com

How Not to Be Stupid About AI, With Yann LeCun - WIRED

LeCun’s views matter. Along with Hinton and Bengio, he helped create the deep learning approach that’s been critical to leveling up AI—work for which the trio later earned the Turing Award, computing’s highest honor. Meta scored a major coup when the company (then Facebook) recruited him to be founding director of the Facebook AI Research lab (FAIR) in 2013. He’s also a professor at NYU. More recently, he helped persuade CEO Mark Zuckerberg to share some of Meta’s AI technology with the world: T…
wired.com

Google's NotebookLM Aims to Be the Ultimate Writing Assistant - WIRED

Steven Johnson has written 13 books, on topics ranging from a London cholera outbreak to the value of video games. He’s been a television presenter and a podcast host. He’s a keynote speaker who doesn’t have to call himself that in his LinkedIn profile. And for over a year now, he’s been a full-time employee of Google, a status that’s clear when he badges me into the search giant’s Chelsea offices in New York to show me what his team has been creating. It’s called NotebookLM, and the easiest way…
wired.com

The Year of ChatGPT and Living Generatively - WIRED

No human celebrating a first birthday is as verbose, knowledgeable, or prone to fabrication as ChatGPT, which is blowing out its first candle as I type these words. Of course, OpenAI’s game-changing large language model was precocious at birth, tumbling into civilization’s ongoing conversation like an uninvited guest busting into a dinner party and instantly commanding the room. The chatbot astonished everyone who prompted it with fully realized, if not always completely factual, responses to al…
wired.com

OpenAI's Boardroom Drama Could Mess Up Your Future - WIRED

In June I had a conversation with chief scientist Ilya Sutskever at OpenAI’s headquarters, as I reported WIRED’s October cover story. Among the topics we discussed was the unusual structure of the company. OpenAI began as a nonprofit research lab whose mission was to develop artificial intelligence on par or beyond human level—termed artificial general intelligence or AGI—in a safe way. The company discovered a promising path in large language models that generate strikingly fluid text, but dev…
wired.com

What Sam Altman's Firing Means for the Future of OpenAI - WIRED

Sam Altman always insisted that he wasn’t the most important person at OpenAI despite being its CEO. As he traveled the world this year meeting world leaders—the world’s unofficial ambassador of AI—Altman would soft-pedal his role, even as he stole glances at his phone to keep up with what was happening in OpenAI’s luxe San Francisco offices. “We have an incredibly great team here that can do a lot of things, so mostly, I defer to them,” he told me in May when I asked him how the company ran in…
wired.com

The Case for Using AI to Log Your Every Living Moment - WIRED

People know Otter.ai as one of the AI-driven transcription services that have popped up over the past few years, automatically converting spoken words in interviews and meetings into text. The service can even distinguish between individual speakers. But its CEO, Sam Liang, sees this handy functionality as just a beachhead into a more sweeping and provocative project: Capturing everything you hear into a master dataset where you can search and reexperience every conversation you’ve ever had. Lia…
wired.com

Who Is Mira Murati, OpenAI's New Interim CEO? - WIRED

This interview was conducted in July 2023 for WIRED’s cover story on OpenAI. It is being published today after Sam Altman’s sudden departure to provide a glimpse at the thinking of the powerful AI company’s new boss. Steven Levy: How did you come to join OpenAI? Mira Murati: My background is in engineering, and I worked in aerospace, automotive, VR, and AR. Both in my time at Tesla [where she shepherded the Model X], and at a VR company [Leap Motion] I was doing applications of AI in the real wo…
wired.com

Fei-Fei Li Started an AI Revolution by Seeing Like an Algorithm - W...

Early in the pandemic, an agent—literary, not software—suggested Fei-Fei Li write a book. The approach made sense. She has made an indelible mark on the field of artificial intelligence by heading a project started in 2006 called ImageNet. It classified millions of digital images to form what became a seminal training ground for the AI systems that rock our world today. Li is currently the founding codirector of Stanford’s Institute of Human-Centered AI (HAI), whose very name is a plea for coope…
wired.com

Robotic Putting Greens. Mixed Reality. Loud Spectators. This Is Gol...

Castro consults with their caddie and reports, “It’s 312 to that bunker there.” Young makes clean contact. The ball lofts skyward. But there’s no sky above him. On this steamy day in late October, Young is in an air-conditioned soundstage on the back lot of Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. The building once hosted Nickelodeon TV shows. The “caddie” Castro consulted is virtual—it lives on a 15-inch tablet. The tee is on a patch of natural grass the width of a large mattress. It sits atop wo…
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Here's a New Plan to Rein In the Gilded Tech Bros - WIRED

When I first heard in 2013 that Barack Obama had chosen Tom Wheeler to head the crucial tech regulator that is the US Federal Communications Commission, my first thought was … what a sell-out! The new FCC boss had previously been head lobbyist for not one, but two industries: cable TV and cellular telecom. How could a Democratic president like Obama nominate the Big Bad Wolf to run the joint? My disappointment was tempered, however, when I spoke to my friend Susan Crawford, a tech policy expert…
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What Techno-Billionaire Marc Andreessen Missed In His Techno ... - ...

Andreessen’s bolt from late-stage capitalism’s Mount Olympus—Silicon Valley’s Sand Hill Road—landed this week to a mixture of kudos and outrage. He posits that technology is the key driver of human wealth and happiness. I have no problem with that. In fact, I too am a techno-optimist—or at least I was before I read this essay, which attaches toxic baggage to the term. It’s pretty darn obvious that things like air-conditioning, the internet, rocket ships, and electric light are safely in the “win…
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The Curse of the Creator Economy - WIRED

“It has radically upended how we’ve understood and interacted with our world. It has demolished traditional barriers and empowered millions who were previously marginalized. It has created vast new sectors of our economy while devastating legacy institutions. It is often dismissed by traditionalists as a vacant fad when it in fact it is the greatest and most disruptive change in modern capitalism.” In fact? More than private equity, the rise of the tech platforms influencers build on, or the US…
wired.com

U2's The Edge on The Sphere's Opening Night: 'This Is Definitely .....

U2’s set included a full airing of their Achtung Baby album and other hits. But while the band was in fine form, managing a show without regular drummer Larry Mullen Jr. for the first time in decades, the real noise was directed at the eye. Was this “the future of live shows?” as one headline asked. Or was it “the greatest show on Earth?” One that “will change live entertainment forever?” From my seat in section 104, I found these questions worth asking. As some critics gushed and others wrung t…