Don’t call it a (COVID) comeback

Plus: Halley's Comet
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The Futurist is your daily tech, cosmic, and science (both weird or otherwise) newsletter with articles and content curated just for you.

In today's edition:

// COVID-19's "return"

// Tesla's big little lie

// Japan's population crisis

// GPT v. Turing

ChatGPT broke the Turing test — the race is on for new ways to assess AI | Nature

"The team behind the logic puzzles aims to provide a better benchmark for testing the capabilities of AI systems — and to help address a conundrum about large language models (LLMs) such as GPT-4. Tested in one way, they breeze through what once were considered landmark feats of machine intelligence. Tested another way, they seem less impressive, exhibiting glaring blind spots and an inability to reason about abstract concepts."

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Japan's population fell by 800,000 last year as demographic crisis accelerates | CNN

"Japan's population crisis is accelerating, with the number of nationals falling by more than 800,000 in the past year – echoing similar trends seen in other East Asian countries.

As of January 1 this year, Japan's total population stood at 125.4 million, including both Japanese and foreign residents, according to data released on Wednesday by Japan's internal affairs ministry. The number of foreign residents rose by nearly 289,500 compared to the previous year – a significant increase of more than 10%.

But the number of Japanese residents shrank by 800,523, marking the 14th consecutive year of contraction since a peak in 2009, said the ministry."

Tesla exaggerated range figures, set up secret team to divert customer complaints | Interesting Engineering

"[Tesla] decided to rig its range-estimating software in its cars so that they offered 'rosy' projections on a full charge. This helped to market its vehicles, a person familiar with the design of the software told Reuters.

It was only when the battery charge fell below 50 percent that the read-out was programmed to show more realistic projections. Car owners saw range estimations drop drastically and were at risk of being stranded."

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Is COVID-19 creeping back? Here's what you should know about this summer's uptick in cases | Inverse

"The COVID-19 pandemic is no longer a global emergency. Over the past year, we've seen cases continue to fall. In fact, earlier this month, the number of deaths per day (not just from COVID-19) in the United States was considered on par with normal years. But in recent weeks, cases have started to climb. Is this something to worry about?

The short answer: Probably not. But it is a reminder that the virus will continue to remain a part of how we live our lives. Here's what you need to know."

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//Quiz: How often does Halley's Comet appear in the sky?

How often does Halley's Comet appear in the sky?

Also, if anyone's been lucky enough to witness it, what is it great? What is it a let-down? Feel free to reply to this email!