- Meet ChatGPT’s evil twin, DAN (“Do Anything Now”)
- James Altucher and Shakespeare: “Let’s kill all the lawyers”
- Speaking of Shakespeare, Google’s Bard misses the mark
- Central banks’ gold binge (2022)
- U.S.-China divorce is on hold… DOJ’s Robinhoodies… I wanna be a BILLIONAIRE so freakin′ bad… RIP Burt… And more!
Let’s see… What’s happened in the week since I did my own experiment with ChatGPT… and concluded that it poses no threat to my job security?
Well, someone tricked ChatGPT to create a sort of evil-twin version of itself called DAN — short for “Do Anything Now.”
Among other things, DAN is convinced the next stock market crash will begin only six days from now. Examine the following answers spat out first by GPT, and then by DAN.
Look, if DAN turns out to be right, and if it can generate a few follow-up predictions that also turn out to be right, then everyone in the newsletter industry is in a heap of trouble.
But for the moment, let’s examine a profession where artificial intelligence poses a more tangible threat.
“Attorneys are near the top of my list of professions prime to be replaced by AI,” says Paradigm’s venture capital veteran James Altucher.
I’m not sure, as James asserted here on Tuesday, that ChatGPT will “save the economy”… but I can totally see his projection that AI could do away with about two-thirds of all lawyers. And how can that be anything other than progress, right?
Not that it’s going to happen right away, however. Not after the experience of Joshua Browder.
Some time ago, Browder created a chatbot to fight his own parking tickets… and the venture was successful enough that he founded a legal services chatbot called DoNotPay.
“The services now offered by the site,” says James, “include several that you’d usually have to contact an attorney for, such as filing for divorce or drafting a cease and desist letter.”
A month ago, Browder issued the following challenge…
Browder has since abandoned the effort. “He found out it was extremely illegal to bring recording devices into court,” James tells us. “Also practicing law without a license, even if you’re a robot, is frowned upon.”
In general, “the laws prohibiting what electronics can be brought into a courtroom slam shut any possibility of having your own robot adviser give you legal advice remotely.
“While protocols were updated over COVID in order to allow video chat to be used for attorneys to make arguments remotely, it seems unlikely they’d make the same concession in order to make their own professions obsolete.”
But what about more mundane legal tasks? “What about all the lawyers that don’t need to put on a suit for court?” James asks.
“While there hasn’t been a reckoning yet, AI is already having a massive effect on the legal system. Programs such as Document Intelligence are already utilizing AI tools to ease the burden of due diligence on law firms.
“While few lawyers have been put in the unemployment line by artificial intelligence so far, we are seeing fewer ‘man hours’ needed to complete tasks compared with only a few years ago.
Less work to do means fewer people needed to do the work.
“As it stands now, AI is only making the lives of attorneys easier. Not replacing them,” James concludes.
“You may think that robots being more efficient and less prone to errors might mean it’s just a matter of time before they replace any lawyer that’s ‘just’ a subject matter expert.
“Well, ChatGPT was given a series of law school exams and ended up receiving a C+.
Not bad for a free chatbot not specifically trained to practice law, but it seems that it’s at best equipped to replace bad lawyers.”
Which would seem to validate James’ prediction of about two-thirds of lawyers being made obsolete, no?
[Ed. note: A short time ago, James went “live” with his exclusive Insider’s Suite event — the one we told you about yesterday.
As a reminder, James is on the case of a major government decree that’s transforming a tiny startup into one of America’s fastest-growing companies. And if you act quickly enough, you can take an ownership stake before the sales start rolling in. The profit potential? Try 56 times your money, James says.
Thing is, the window of opportunity here is extremely short — potentially less than 24 hours. So you won’t want to waste any time watching James’ interview. Get started right away at this link.]
If it was earnings that dragged down the stock market yesterday, it’s earnings that are propelling the market higher today.
To be clear, we’re not sure earnings have anything to do with the market action either today or yesterday. But those are the headlines the mainstream is running with, because the mainstream always has to have a reason for every jot and tittle of stock-market movement.
In any event, the Dow is up two-thirds of a percent and back above 34,000. The S&P 500 is up a half percent to 4,139. And the Nasdaq is up three-quarters of a percent — just barely back above 12,000.
Among the big earnings movers is Disney — up 2.5% after the reinstated CEO Bob Iger announced he’s slashing $5.5 billion in costs, including 7,000 people on the payroll. With that announcement, the activist investor Nelson Peltz says he’s dropping his proxy fight with the company.
Not much movement in precious metals — gold remains stuck at $1,873 and silver at $22.18. Crude is down $1.49 and back below $77.
While Google’s initial stab at AI stumbled out of the gate — to say the least — “Google doesn’t strike me as a company that needs to play catchup,” asserts Paradigm tech maven Ray Blanco.
Google parent Alphabet is down another 4.5% today — on top of yesterday’s 7.4% drop. The company did a limited rollout of its Bard chatbot, and when asked a question about astronomy… it whiffed. Bard said the James Webb Space Telescope is the first to take pictures of a planet outside the solar system. Wrong: A European telescope did it way back in 2004.
The sell-off is an overreaction, Ray says. After all, ChatGPT has its own bugs to work out: “Many users have reported receiving false answers presented as facts from ChatGPT, making it an unreliable source for research.”
That’s just the nature of the technology in its present state, Ray says: “Since these AI platforms are designed to carry out a human conversation, they will talk about a topic and fill in the blanks if there is missing information.”
[In other words, AI chatbots can be bull**** artists, the same way corporate CEOs are trained to be.]
“And because the AI is so good at mimicking natural-sounding conversation,” Ray says, “the false information isn’t always immediately recognizable if you aren’t already deeply familiar with the topic in discussion.”
And so Google will release Bard to the general public whenever Google believes it’s ready for prime time — “when Google is confident that the quality of the answers the AI provides is finely tuned and beneficial to the overall experience.”
The final 2022 numbers are in: Central banks accumulated gold at a record pace during 2022… and all previous records look puny by comparison.
We already knew from World Gold Council figures that 2022 would set a record based on just the first three quarters of the year. The final-year total is 1,136 metric tons — worth about $70 billion at current prices. No other year comes close.
On the whole, central banks have been accumulating gold every year since 2010… but by now it’s obvious that last year’s record buying was spurred by Western sanctions against Russia.
As the London Telegraph put it in December, “Officials in many countries outside the West are rethinking their foreign currency reserves after the sanctions meant Russia’s central bank lost the use of its war chest, hampering its ability to protect the ruble and its banking system.”
In most cases it’s not possible to identify the specific buyers — but in November Bloomberg said the biggest buyers are likely China, Russia, major oil exporters and possibly India.
Once more, a reminder from Paradigm’s macro maven Jim Rickards. This central bank buying will in time translate to “much higher gold prices — because gold is the only alternative to dollars or other currencies such as the euro that can be weaponized” against other countries.
The “decoupling” of the U.S. and Chinese economies is on hold long enough for a Chinese tech firm to go public on the Nasdaq.
From the Financial Times: “Hesai Technology, which supplies laser-based sensors to carmakers and autonomous driving companies, on Wednesday raised $190 million from investors — more than it had originally planned — in an initial public offering on the Nasdaq stock exchange that valued it at around $2.4 billion.”
It’s the biggest Chinese IPO in the United States since 2021. For the moment, more than 200 Chinese companies remain listed on U.S. exchanges.
On a related note, it’s worth a brief mention that despite all the rising trade barriers between Washington and Beijing, U.S.-China trade totaled $691 billion in 2022 — exceeding the previous record set in 2018.
Weird fact of the day: The U.S. Justice Department owns something like 6.3% of Robinhood, the brokerage app that’s hot with the millennial-and-younger crowd.
That’s because when the crypto exchange FTX went under in November, the feds seized 55.3 million shares owned by FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried.
Uncomfortable, to be sure: Imagine if DOJ sought seats on Robinhood’s board. Heh…
And so HOOD management has opened talks with DOJ to buy back those shares. The only hitch is that ownership of those shares is hotly contested: SBF himself still claims ownership, along with units of FTX and the now-bankrupt crypto lender BlockFi. This mess might not be resolved for years…
“I was surprised to hear about the NANC and KRUZ ETFs,” a reader writes after yesterday’s edition.
“Talk about blatantly thumbing your nose at the law and the general public. Martha Stewart goes to prison and Pelosi gets lauded as an astute investor — what’s wrong with this picture?”
Finally, a sharp-eyed reader calls out a factual flub — “a jaw dropper,” he says. “To think no one caught it, even with million and trillion in the same sentence…”
Herewith the offending passage: “Facebook used to be part of a Big Five, but under Mark Zuckerberg’s reinvention as ‘Meta’ the company’s market cap has shriveled to under $400 million, while the other four are still trillion-dollar companies or bigger.”
Back to our reader: “That was a week ago, but orders of magnitude don’t change that fast. This morning (Feb. 7) Nasdaq shows Meta’s market cap at $491 billion. … Pretty good for a company whose name is one small typo away from being ‘Meat.’”
The 5: Nostra culpa. It happens once in blue moon: I’ll say million when I mean billion (or something similar), and it slips through The 5’s rigorous editing regime.
But I’ll put up our record against anyone else in the business on this score — to whatever extent it’s measurable — and I’m pretty sure we’d come out as the most error-free.
Meanwhile, the broader point still stands: Despite META’s massive 19% one-day jump last week, it’s still a pygmy compared with its erstwhile Big Five compatriots.
Checking our screens today, its market cap remains under $500 billion (with a “b”!) while Amazon is still over a trillion… Alphabet is still at $1.2 trillion despite the Bard boo-boo… and Apple is worth $2.4 trillion. Formidable…
The 5 Min. Forecast