An artificially intelligent pause, the looming ‘splinternet’, baseball’s opening day, Pepsi’s new formula, and Amsterdam’s anti-tourism campaign are all in the latest selection of Trippant Takeaways — our round-up of stories on communications trends across sport, tech, entertainment and culture.
The Financial Times on an AI warning
If you feel like generative AI tools are developing a little too quickly for comfort, you are not alone.
Twitter owner Elon Musk has joined prominent engineers and tech ethicists among more than 1,000 signatories to an open letter published by the Future of Life Institute calling for an immediate, ‘public and verifiable’ six-month pause on ‘the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4’. They want to create space to discuss the wider implications of AI’s accelerating progress.
Companies like Google and Microsoft have announced heavy additional investment into artificial intelligence this year, with products like Midjourney and OpenAI’s ChatGPT earning mainstream buzz. However, scepticism about the long-term safety of AI has been long-held in some big tech circles.
Fast Company on the post-TikTok ‘splinternet’
Speculation continues to rise that TikTok will be banned in countries including the US, amid concerns about data security and the influence of the Chinese government over parent company ByteDance.
With TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew struggling to sway American lawmakers in his appearance before Congress last week, some kind of intervention appears to be getting nearer. That would only accentuate the ‘splinternet’ phenomenon, where a global online experience recedes as audiences in different regions get access to different social platforms and services.
Twitter, you may have heard, has had a bit of a time of it lately.
A shrunken workforce is battling to maintain basic functionality while owner Elon Musk introduces new features by executive fiat. Musk has now announced that historic verification tools will be switched off in April, with only paid subscribers receiving that service and promotion through the discoverable ‘For You’ feed.
The response to those changes is leading publications like TechCrunch to wonder whether Twitter’s problems could be terminal. Meanwhile, Morning Consult has been asking people in sport — where Twitter’s live, reactive nature still matters — about their expectations.
Dezeen on a brand refresh for Pepsi
Responding to the tastes of a new generation, Pepsi has announced its first full rebrand in 14 years.
The updated identity draws on the soft drinks giant’s heritage, while apparently reflecting its ‘confidence and unapologetic mindset’. Meanwhile, the introduction of black to the logo is a subtle reference to its zero-sugar lines — at a time where it is preparing to debut a much less sugary recipe for its main drink in the UK.
The New York Times on baseball’s bid for reinvention
Thursday 30th March is Opening Day for Major League Baseball, heralding the start of a new season in North America in more ways than one.
It hasn’t felt much like springtime in the sport for a while, with declining audiences and a brief lockout a year ago. But weeks after a warmly received World Baseball Classic, MLB is hoping that a spate of rule changes and other innovations will deliver a sharper, more entertaining spectacle in 2023.
The Guardian on Amsterdam’s ‘do not visit’ campaign
Amsterdam is one of Europe’s oldest, most influential and forward-thinking capitals, with beautiful architecture, a walkable canal-side layout and a world-class selection of museums.
That all makes for a hugely popular tourist destination — but its reputation for a more liberal attitude to drug use and sex work also brings in a somewhat rowdier crowd.
So the city has developed a distinctive communications solution to dissuade those looking for a ‘messy weekend’: a geo-targeted digital marketing campaign will place warning videos about the consequences of excess next to online searches like ‘stag party Amsterdam’ and ‘pub crawl Amsterdam’.
Wired on the future of the smartphone
Tech publication Wired turns 30 this year and as part of its commemorations, it has considered the evolution of a device that has been with us for around half that time.
With smartphone upgrades appearing to grow less dramatic and desirable, commentators suggest new styles and a dispersal of functions across wearable and household products could lie ahead.
The BBC on the history of data visualisation
The right visual aid can make an argument like little else. Indeed, some of the most familiar were invented with a specific persuasive cause in mind.