Why farmers are turning to AI for help

ALSO: Adding color to old photos with AI

Read time: under 4 minutes

Welcome back, Superhuman

Geoffrey Hinton, known as the “Godfather of AI,” warned this week that LLMs could one day take control of humanity. Despite that, he just put his name behind a buzzy AI startup based in the UK. So, what’s different about the company he’s publicly endorsing?

Today’s Insights

  • Why an AI pioneer is backing a tool to fight climate change

  • Tutorial: How to add color to old images

  • Using AI to thwart crop shortages

  • 5 new AI tools to boost your productivity

  • Everything else you should know today

  • AI-Generated Images: Loft life


A new AI platform searches for materials to help fight climate change

Max Welling and Chad Edwards, the cofounders of CuspAI. Source: CuspAI

The “Godfather of AI” happens to be among the highest-profile AI skeptics. Computer scientist Geoffrey Hinton — who developed an algorithm in the ‘80s that became the basis for modern-day neural networks — hasn’t been shy about his belief that AI could one day “take over.”

But that didn’t stop him from recently endorsing a UK startup called CuspAI, which is working on an AI-powered repository for molecules and materials. Founded by former Microsoft Research and Alphabet alums, the firm wants to help scout out new materials that could be used to facilitate carbon capture and other green technologies.

The idea: 

  • “Imagine a search engine not just for existing materials, but for all potential molecules and materials that could be created,” cofounder Max Welling told Fortune

  • For example, you could ask the platform to find a material that’s both durable and resistant to extreme temperatures and quickly surface the best candidates

  • It’s no secret that power-hungry AI data centers are putting an added burden on global energy systems

  • With $30 million in seed funding, CuspAI hopes its platform can speed up the search for sustainable solutions

What it means: Hinton quit his position at Alphabet last year, telling news outlets that he’d come to regret his contributions to the field. Why then would he join the board of an AI startup? It might be because he believes platforms like CuspAI carry far less risk than all-purpose LLMs like the ones that power Gemini or ChatGPT.

CuspAI’s model might not be able to help you write an essay or solve a math problem — and the founders probably have little interest in reaching AGI. Instead, they’ve honed their model to do one thing extremely well. If Hinton has his way, we might see more AI platforms that have been fine-tuned to tackle highly specific tasks – instead of general-use ones that are more difficult to manage.


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How to add color to old images

  • Go to Canva and log in.

  • Click on apps and then select AI-powered.

  • Search for ‘colorize’ and select it.

  • Choose use in new design option from the pop-up window.

  • Select the size of your image accordingly.

  • Upload your greyscale or black and white image.

  • Click on colorize image and wait for a few seconds.


Quiz Time

Prompt: You are a quiz master and are going to ask me 10 questions on the subject of [insert subject]. You will ask them one at a time, and wait for my response. After each response tell me if I am right or wrong. At the end of the quiz, give me my score and ask me whether I would like to try again

You can adapt the prompt to your specific needs.

Source: Bernard Marr/Forbes


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Farmers look to AI for help predicting the weather

Source: ClimateAi

Most of us have struggled to keep a houseplant or garden thriving. Now, imagine taking care of acres of crops at once — with your entire livelihood on the line. For hundreds of years, agricultural workers in the US used the Old Farmer’s Almanac to predict crop yields, but studies show that the publication’s “secret formula” is only about 50% accurate.

Farmers have come to rely on modern forecasting techniques instead, but climate change has made weather patterns so unpredictable that even sophisticated models are struggling to keep up.

Now, some growers are turning to AI for a better picture of how their crops might fare each season. One tool called ClimateAi uses air temperature, rainfall, and other metrics to give highly specific insights, like when a particular crop is most likely to start flowering. It can suggest when a farmer should plant or harvest a particular crop between one hour and six months into the future.

Why it’s important: During crop shortages, groceries can get more expensive, and certain products might be harder to find. But when an agricultural disruption — say, an unusually long dry spell — is magnified on a global scale, it can lead to bigger problems, like food shortages.

Nowadays, farmers use different varieties of seeds to make their crops more resistant to weather conditions. But climate scientists say our environment is changing at a rate that we can no longer keep up with. ClimateAi is one of many startups that are working on features that can reduce the testing phase of new seeds by years.

The next frontier will likely involve making these AI tools accessible to more farmers around the world since many of them are currently only available in wealthier countries.


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Everything else you need to know today

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, Source: Nvidia

  • Power Shift: Chip maker Nvidia blew past Apple and Microsoft on Tuesday to become the world’s most valuable company.

  • FYI SSI: Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI’s former chief scientist, is starting a new AI company that focuses on “building safe superintelligence.“

  • Back to Basics: Apple’s Developer Academy announced it will start training all of its students, mentors, and alumni in the fundamentals of LLMs, including “how to build and train AI models from the ground up.”

  • Geek Squad 2.0: Best Buy trained 30,000 employees so they’re ready to guide shoppers as the first wave of AI PCs hits store shelves this week.

  • Headset Hiatus: The Information reported that Apple has stopped development on the second iteration of its pricey Vision Pro headset. Instead, it’ll focus on a more affordable, stripped-down model that’s expected to be released by 2026.

😄 One Fun Thing: A Lego enthusiast who goes by Creative Mindstorms on YouTube has built an AI-powered printer that can create custom Lego mosaics based on text prompts.

🧠 Brain Food: Researchers from Harvard, Princeton, and UC Santa Barbara recently found that under certain conditions, AI can achieve “transcendence” — a point at which it outperforms the experts it learned from. In one experiment, a model was able to integrate different chess strategies to become a better player than each of its trainers.


Lofty High Ceilings

Source: @g3ronimoo on Midjourney

Prompt: Designer Interior, inside of a beautiful organic Loft Apartment, some indoor Plants, simple modern luxurious classic interior, the Apartment is French architecture with a romantic ambiance, high ceilings, New York 1940s City Apartment Vibe
--chaos 80 --ar 1:2 --stylize 1000

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Zain & the Superhuman AI team

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