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Artificial Intelligence

Open-source Microsoft Novel protein-generating AI EvoDiff

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All diseases are based on proteins, natural molecules that perform vital cellular functions. Characterizing proteins can reveal disease mechanisms and ways to slow or reverse them, while creating proteins can lead to new drug classes.

The lab’s protein design process is computationally and human resource-intensive. It involves creating a protein structure that could perform a specific function in the body and then finding a protein sequence that could “fold” into that structure. To function, proteins must fold correctly into three-dimensional shapes.

Not everything has to be complicated.

Microsoft introduced EvoDiff, a general-purpose framework that generates “high-fidelity,” “diverse” proteins from protein sequences, this week. Unlike other protein-generating frameworks, EvoDiff doesn’t need target protein structure, eliminating the most laborious step.

Microsoft senior researcher Kevin Yang says EvoDiff, which is open source, could be used to create enzymes for new therapeutics, drug delivery, and industrial chemical reactions.

Yang, one of EvoDiff’s co-creators, told n an email interview that the platform will advance protein engineering beyond structure-function to sequence-first design. EvoDiff shows that ‘protein sequence is all you need’ to controllably design new proteins.

A 640-million-parameter model trained on data from all protein species and functional classes underpins EvoDiff. “Parameters” are the parts of an AI model learned from training data that define its skill at a problem, in this case protein generation. The model was trained using OpenFold sequence alignment data and UniRef50, a subset of UniProt, the UniProt consortium’s protein sequence and functional information database.

Modern image-generating models like Stable Diffusion and DALL-E 2 are diffusion models like EvoDiff. EvoDiff slowly subtracts noise from a protein made almost entirely of noise to move it closer to a protein sequence.

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Beyond image generation, diffusion models are being used to design novel proteins like EvoDiff, create music, and synthesize speech.

“If there’s one thing to take away [from EvoDiff], I think it’s this idea that we can — and should — do protein generation over sequence because of the generality, scale, and modularity we can achieve,” Microsoft senior researcher Ava Amini, another co-contributor, said via email. “Our diffusion framework lets us do that and control how we design these proteins to meet functional goals.”

EvoDiff can create new proteins and fill protein design “gaps,” as Amini noted. A protein amino acid sequence that meets criteria can be generated by the model from a part that binds to another protein.

EvoDiff can synthesize “disordered proteins” that don’t fold into a three-dimensional structure because it designs proteins in “sequence space” rather than structure. Disordered proteins enhance or decrease protein activity in biology and disease, like normal proteins.

EvoDiff research isn’t peer-reviewed yet. Microsoft data scientist Sarah Alamdari says the framework needs “a lot more scaling work” before it can be used commercially.

“This is just a 640-million-parameter model, and we may see improved generation quality if we scale up to billions,” Alamdari emailed. WeAI emonstrated some coarse-grained strategies, but to achieve even finer control, we would want to condition EvoDiff on text, chemical information, or other ways to specify the desired function.”

Next, the EvoDiff team will test the model’s lab-generated proteins for viability. Those who are will start work on the next framework.

As Editor here at GeekReply, I'm a big fan of all things Geeky. Most of my contributions to the site are technology related, but I'm also a big fan of video games. My genres of choice include RPGs, MMOs, Grand Strategy, and Simulation. If I'm not chasing after the latest gear on my MMO of choice, I'm here at GeekReply reporting on the latest in Geek culture.

Artificial Intelligence

Microsoft’s new AI product raises concerns and prompts thoughts of a dystopian future

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Microsoft has experienced significant developments in the past few days. The company’s annual Build conference, which took place from May 21–23 in Seattle, featured a wide range of exciting announcements about upcoming technology. A significant focus of these announcements was the seamless integration of artificial intelligence into future devices. However, there is one announcement that has already sparked controversy and could potentially lead to legal consequences for the company.

The AI-powered “Recall” feature, which Microsoft describes as a timeline of your PC’s past, has generated curiosity and concern among experts and everyday users. This feature captures screenshots of your active screen at regular intervals and stores them on your device. The program will then be able to search through these screenshots as well as all of users’ past activity—files, photos, emails, browsing history, and more.

According to Dr. Kris Shrishak, an expert in artificial intelligence and privacy, this could be a significant concern for privacy.

“The potential for screenshots being taken during device usage could have a significant impact on individuals,” Shrishak expressed concern. Some individuals may be hesitant to visit specific websites or access certain documents, particularly those of a sensitive nature, if Microsoft is continuously capturing screenshots at regular intervals.

Microsoft, on the other hand, emphasizes the presence of safeguards: privacy has been a fundamental consideration in Recall’s design, according to the company. Users have the ability to restrict the frequency of screenshots being captured.

“Recall snapshots are stored on the local hard disk and are safeguarded through data encryption on your device,” the company explains. “Screenshots in Recall are exclusively associated with individual user profiles and are not shared with other users, made accessible to Microsoft, or utilized for targeted advertisements […]” Keep in mind that other users and other applications or services cannot access or see screenshots.

While some may find it reassuring, safety experts remain skeptical. According to Microsoft, it is important to be aware that certain sensitive information, such as passwords and financial account numbers, may not be concealed in screenshots. This means that if a computer’s Recall privacy settings are misconfigured, if it becomes infected with malware, or if it simply malfunctions, it could potentially pose a significant security risk.

According to Muhammad Yahya Patel, the lead security engineer at Check Point, the attack is a one-shot opportunity for criminals, as he explained to TechRadar.

According to Patel, with Recall, users will have the convenience of a grab-and-go experience, as everything they need will be stored in a single location—their screenshot database. Just think about the vast amount of information that could be stored on a machine and the potential harm that threat actors could cause with it.

It is worth noting that there are significant concerns surrounding Recall, which has led to legal issues for Microsoft. In the UK, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the national data protection authority, has taken action by initiating inquiries with Microsoft to ensure that user privacy is adequately safeguarded.

The office emphasized the importance of organizations being open and honest with users regarding the use of their data. They also stressed the need for organizations to only process personal data when it is absolutely necessary to fulfill a specific purpose. This statement was released on Wednesday. It is crucial for the industry to prioritize data protection from the very beginning and thoroughly evaluate and address any potential risks to individuals’ rights and freedoms before introducing products to the market.

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Artificial Intelligence

Google’s artificial intelligence system, known as AI Overviews, is producing peculiar and potentially hazardous outcomes

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Google has recently introduced AI overviews. And it’s not going very smoothly. The feature was recently launched in the US and is expected to be available worldwide by the end of 2024. However, initial results indicate that there are some challenges to be addressed. Users on social media were swift to highlight the humorous responses, but soon after, a number of individuals began raising concerns about some of the answers.

AI Overviews is a tool that is currently being tested. After submitting a query, search engines generate a result using artificial intelligence. Nevertheless, machine learning algorithms lack consciousness. They possess the expertise to identify words and phrases within specific contexts. Consequently, when posed with a question, they generate an answer that is anticipated to align with the query. Even if the AI has to improvise. It is similar to fabricating fictional legal cases for a lawyer.

Google’s AI Overviews retrieve information from actual websites, but they may struggle to distinguish between serious answers and those meant to be satirical or comedic. It seems that certain “news” sites, such as The Onion, and social media platforms like Reddit are unintentionally amusing the less knowledgeable AI.

Google has recently introduced AI overviews. And it’s not going very smoothly. The feature was recently launched in the US and is expected to be available worldwide by the end of 2024. However, initial results indicate that there are some challenges to be addressed. Users on social media were swift to highlight the humorous responses, but soon after, a number of individuals began raising concerns about some of the answers.

AI Overviews is a tool that is currently being tested. After submitting a query, search engines generate a result using artificial intelligence. Nevertheless, machine learning algorithms lack consciousness. They possess the expertise to identify words and phrases within specific contexts. Consequently, when posed with a question, they generate an answer that is anticipated to align with the query. Even if the AI has to improvise. It is similar to fabricating fictional legal cases for a lawyer.

Google’s AI Overviews retrieve information from actual websites, but they may struggle to distinguish between serious answers and those meant to be satirical or comedic. It seems that certain “news” sites, such as The Onion, and social media platforms like Reddit are unintentionally amusing the less knowledgeable AI.

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One method for cleaning a washing machine involves the use of chlorine, bleach, and vinegar. The revised response emphasizes the importance of using them separately rather than merely mentioning them in passing. Combining these substances results in the formation of chlorine gas, which can be extremely toxic.

Speaking of toxicity, Google’s AI Gemini is not performing any better. It mistakenly identified the destroying angel mushroom (Amanita bisporigera) as a white button mushroom. This mushroom is extremely hazardous, capable of causing severe damage to the liver and kidneys.

“Doctor Google” has evolved into a new and concerning incarnation. However, satirical websites also provide comedic advice. AI Overviews will inform you that there are potential health benefits associated with engaging in certain activities, which may contribute to a stronger immune system.

If you wish to challenge scientific findings, it is advisable to conduct your own research.

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Artificial Intelligence

Meta’s latest innovation allows users to seamlessly share images from their Ray-Ban smart glasses to their Instagram Story

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Meta has just announced the addition of new hands-free functionality to its Ray-Ban smart glasses. One exciting feature is the ability to effortlessly share images from smart glasses to Instagram Stories, eliminating the need to use a phone.

Once you’ve captured a photo using the smart glasses, simply command, “Hey Meta, share my most recent photo on Instagram.” Alternatively, you can instruct Meta to post a photo to Instagram by saying, “Hey Meta, take a new photo in the moment.”

The introduction of the new feature brings to mind the Snap Spectacles, which were first released in 2016. These smart glasses enabled users to effortlessly capture photos and videos, which could then be shared directly to their Snapchat Stories.

Meta’s Ray-Ban smart glasses now have seamless integrations with Amazon Music and the meditation app Calm, allowing for a truly hands-free experience.

Streaming music from Amazon Music is now easier than ever. Simply say “Hey Meta, play Amazon Music” and enjoy your favorite tunes without reaching for your phone. With touch or voice controls, you have the convenience of controlling your audio playback while keeping your phone safely tucked away in your pocket.

Users can now access the new hands-free Calm integration by simply saying “Hey Meta, play the Daily Calm” on their smart glasses. This allows for easy access to mindfulness exercises and self-care content.

Furthermore, Meta is broadening its range of styles, now accessible in 15 countries, such as the U.S., Canada, Australia, and various parts of Europe. The expansion features the Skyler style in Shiny Chalky Gray with Gradient Cinnamon Pink Lenses, Skyler in Shiny Black with Transitions Cerulean Blue Lenses, and Headliner Low Bridge Fit in Shiny Black with Polar G15 Lenses. You can find the glasses on both Meta’s and Ray-Ban’s websites.

The introduction of the new features follows the recent AI enhancement of the smart glasses, which occurred just a month ago. Meta has introduced a cutting-edge multimodal AI feature for their smart glasses, allowing users to effortlessly inquire about their surroundings. For example, if you come across a menu in French, the smart glasses can utilize their integrated camera and Meta AI to provide real-time text translation.

The concept behind the launch is to enable the smart glasses to function as a personal AI assistant beyond your smartphone, resembling Humane’s Ai pin.

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