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University of Michigan School of Information


Fun Size for 6/2/23: How to spot fake job ads

Sorry, pal, you’re on your own 

While Netflix is cracking down on sharing passwords with people outside a single household, several other streaming services are still allowing the practice. USA Today explains how Netflix plans to enforce its new policy and has a list of more lenient services, like Disney+ and Hulu. Could be time to unfriend a few people or move to a more inclusive (for now) service.

Soup up your PC 

To replace or renew? has ten inexpensive ways to upgrade your old PC and keep it out of the landfill for a few more years. Swapping your hard drive for a cheap new SSD, for example, could be just the pepper-upper that old chassis needs.

A dream job, literally 

Finding a job can be stressful enough. Now some scammers are making the situation worse by creating fake job postings to steal personal information and money. LinkedIn is rolling out new verification and anti-scam features for its job listings, says EndGadget, and even the Federal Trade Commission is providing advice on how to spot fake job ads.

If you could read my mind, love 

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have developed a new AI system called a semantic decoder that can translate a person’s brain activity into a continuous stream of text. Applications may help people who are mentally conscious yet unable to physically speak (think Stephen Hawking) to communicate intelligibly again. The system does not require surgical implants, making the process non-invasive.

Provide perfect prompts 

Sure, AI can now write college essays and legal briefs, but only if it’s given the correct prompts to get the ball rolling. To help, Vanderbilt University is launching a free online course, Prompt Engineering for ChatGPT, on Coursera. Prompt engineering, says the school, is “the process of creating high-quality inputs to generate high-quality outputs.” So, the opposite of “garbage in, garbage out.”

Land of Lincoln takes a stand against book-banning 

Illinois is poised to become the first state in the nation to pass anti-book-banning legislation. On May 3, the senate passed House Bill 2789, which withholds funding from any of the 1,600 school and public libraries that ban books from their shelves. Libraries must certify that they subscribe to the ALA’s Library Bill of Rights or have their own written statement prohibiting book banning. On May 22, the bill was sent to the governor, who looks forward to signing it, according to Politico.

Immaculate conception 

Ellen is a blue-haired sprite lifted from the pages of a children’s book and brought to life by Finnish photographer Antii Karppinen. Well, sort of. Petapixel admires the creation of an engaging young social media influencer generated entirely by AI images, without use of photographs. How lifelike is she? Judge for yourself.

Duolingo to the Max 

Is there anyone who isn't doing Duolingo? With 500 million registered accounts, DuoLingo is one of the world’s most popular language-learning apps. TechCrunch reports on one of Duolingo Max’s newest paid features, an AI-powered French or Spanish tutor with whom learners can chat in real time. The chatbot’s tone will be “fun, encouraging and occasionally snarky.” Hey, just like Fun Size!

Chef’s Choice 

Digital media company BuzzFeed is trying various measures to boost its sagging valuation, including shutting down BuzzFeed News in April. Experimenting with AI, BuzzFeed has created a recipe-recommending chatbot called Botatouille. But when NY Times reporter Benjamin Mullin asked what meals it would suggest for a laid-off digital media worker, it failed to see the humor.

Scrolling for dollars 

One million dollars. That’s the prize for teams vying to meet the Vesuvius Challengea machine learning and computer vision competition to read the Herculaneum Papyri. Over 600 carbonized but still readable scrolls were buried when Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. The grand prize of $700K goes to the first team to read four passages of text within two intact scrolls. The catch: the scrolls are written in invisible ink.

When the telegraph came to town 

Before the internet, before the telephone, news traveled along wires strung between cities. Carnegie Mellon professor Edmund Russell has created a fascinating digital map that traces the creation of the telegraph network that connected America from coast to coast in the mid-1800s. The feature-rich map includes lessons on telegraph history, an interactive timeline and the date and location of each town’s first telegraph office.