The Download: Sam Altman on AI’s killer function, and the problem with ethanol


Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, has a vision for how AI tools will become enmeshed in our daily lives. 

During a sit-down chat with MIT Technology Review in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he described how he sees the killer app for AI as a “super-competent colleague that knows absolutely everything about my whole life, every email, every conversation I’ve ever had, but doesn’t feel like an extension.”

In the new paradigm, as Altman sees it, AI will be capable of helping us outside the chat interface and taking real-world tasks off our plates. Read more about Altman’s thoughts on the future of AI hardware, where training data will come from next, and who is best poised to create AGI.

—James O’Donnell

A US push to use ethanol as aviation fuel raises major climate concerns

Eliminating carbon pollution from aviation is one of the most challenging parts of the climate puzzle, simply because large commercial airlines are too heavy and need too much power during takeoff for today’s batteries to do the job. 

But one way that companies and governments are striving to make progress is through the use of various types of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs), which are derived from non-petroleum sources and promise to be less polluting than standard jet fuel.



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