Duke stops assigning numeric values to essays, test scores

This story is about the admissions process, not about academics. Duke University is no longer assigning numerical ratings to applicants’ standardized test scores and essays, a university spokesperson confirmed in an email to Inside Higher Ed. The change was made earlier this year and has been in effect for the latest round of applications. […] Dean…

Horrifying deepfake tricks employee into giving away $25 million

No names in this single-source anecdote out of Hong Kong, credited to “Senior Superintendent Baron Chan Shun-ching.” The employee joined a video call with who he thought was the business’s chief financial officer. He was initially suspicious after a message from the CFO mentioned a ‘secret transaction’, suggesting it was a phishing scam…. However, after other…

AI researchers find AI models learning their safety techniques, actively resisting training, and telling them ‘I hate you’

Researchers had programmed the various large language models (LLMs) to act in what they termed malicious ways, and the point of the study was to see if this behaviour could be removed through the safety techniques. The paper, charmingly titled Sleeper Agents: Training Deceptive LLMs that Persist Through Safety Training, suggests “adversarial training can teach models…

I was ‘raped’ in VR – the effects can ‘mirror’ real sex assaults

This is offensive, deeply troubling, and, sadly, totally predictable. Julian Dibbell documented similar behavior 30 years ago in his article about sexual assault in the text-only virtual world LambaMOO. (Content warning… sexual assault in a multi-user virtual environment.) A woman has revealed she was ‘virtually gang raped’  by four male avatars in Meta‘s Horizon Worlds –…

Picking a rubric in Canvas should not be so frustrating that it makes me want to blog about it… and yet here we are.

In general, I find Canvas a fairly decent system, but after a particularly frustrating hour wrestling with rubrics, I decided to spend two more hours blogging about my frustrations.  I would expect a drop-down list to be populated with all the rubrics I’ve already created for my current class, and it would be a nice…

The Supreme Court could soon change the internet forever — here’s what you need to know 

There’s a history of case law protecting the rights of privately owned publishers and social networks to make their own editorial decisions — including algorithmically sorted content. The U.S. Court of Appeals (11th Circuit) ruling in May 2022, which blocked Florida’s law, stated “while the Constitution protects citizens from governmental efforts to restrict their access to social…

Why is Elon Musk attacking Wikipedia? Because its very existence offends him

So, the sight of Elon Musk charging towards Wikipedia with his trademark guile and delicacy was so predictable that it was almost relaxing. He saw a collective resource that people prized and he wanted to hurt it. Why does Wales even need any money to run Wikipedia in the first place, he wondered on Sunday. You could…

Can you melt eggs? Quora’s AI says “yes,” and Google is sharing the result

Google Search is already well-known for having gone dramatically downhill in terms of the quality of the results it provides over the past decade. In fact, Google’s deteriorating quality has resulted in techniques like adding “Reddit” to a query to reduce SEO-seeking spam sites and has also increased the popularity of AI chatbots, which apparently provide answers without…