Festival of Media's Jeremy King on Ad Blockers, AI Governance, and Threads

On this week's episode of The MadTech Podcast, Jeremy King, CEO of Festival of Media, joins ExchangeWire CRO Anne-Marie Sheedy and COO Lindsay Rowntree to discuss YouTube's threat to ad blocker users, OpenAI's formation of a new team for "superintelligent" AI, Meta's launch of Threads, and more.

YouTube threatens ad blocker users with ban

Is the value exchange of the open internet a reality or currently just an ideal?

YouTube has begun warning viewers that it will block them from accessing videos if they continue to use ad blockers. The video-sharing platform has been presenting users with a pop up message telling them that it will make content unavailable unless they deactivate ad blocking software, either entirely or at least while on the website. 

“Ads allow YouTube to stay free for billions of users worldwide,” part of the pop up message reads. The Alphabet-owned company then appeals to users to take out a YouTube Premium subscription if they wish to avoid ads so that “creators can still get paid.” A YouTube spokesperson told BleepingComputer that the move is part of a global trial, but did not disclose the number of users or regions that are currently involved.

OpenAI set up team to wrangle AI

Who should be responsible for the safe development of AI?

Artificial intelligence organisation OpenAI has announced the formation of a new team to prepare for the arrival of “superintelligent” technologies. In a blog post published last week, co-founder and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever and alignment lead Jan Leike warned that AI systems could evolve to become more intelligent than human beings, and that such a development could have dangerous consequences.

Sutskever and Leike will lead the new “Superalignment” team in an effort to build solutions for bringing and keeping advanced AI solutions under human control. The team, which will consist of scientists and engineers from across OpenAI, will seek to build a “human-level automated alignment researcher” to train AI that can take over alignment work without going rogue. Sutskever and Leike say they will share the team’s developments with the wider industry.

Millions sign up to Twitter-challenger Threads

Will Threads prove to be the final nail in the coffin for Twitter? 

Threads, a new social media platform, accrued thirty million users on its first day, according to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The offering, which is tied to photo-sharing app Instagram, is the latest in a series of platforms launched to replace Twitter, which has had a tumultuous few months since being acquired by Elon Musk late last year.

The challenger app shares a number of features that are available on Twitter, including the ability to post instant updates and to share images and links, although Meta has promised to introduce more in the future. Critics have expressed concerns surrounding the amount and kinds of user data that Threads currently collects, with the Irish Data Protection Commission barring the app from being launched in the EU. Musk reportedly responded to the launch by stating that "It is infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram."