Craigslist’s Craig Newmark funding Widespread Sense Media AI undertaking – EAST AUTO NEWS

Craigslist’s Craig Newmark funding Widespread Sense Media AI undertaking

Craig Newmark, founding father of Craigslist

Supply: Bleacher + Everard

Craig Newmark made his fortune off an internet site, based in 1995, that served as an early on-line bulletin board and appears prefer it hasn’t been up to date in 20 years.

That web site, Craigslist, continues to be cranking alongside, that includes condominium listings, an lively jobs board and objects on the market. However the privately held firm has lengthy been surpassed in worth by the likes of Airbnb, LinkedIn and East Auto Information Market, which all face Wall Avenue’s calls for for progress and revenue.

Although Newmark’s web firm could also be outdated, his issues about the place the business is headed are most actually not. Because the 2015 debut of Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the entrepreneur has donated many tens of millions of {dollars} to numerous causes involving media and expertise.

Most not too long ago, his group contributed $3 million to assist fund a brand new synthetic intelligence and schooling initiative from Widespread Sense Media, the nonprofit informed CNBC this week.

“Whereas I attempted to pay some consideration to what was occurring, simply all the things caught me without warning,” Newmark mentioned, referring to the present growth of generative AI and all the brand new and clever chatbots.

Newmark, 70, spoke to CNBC as he was recovering from a minor coronary heart process he went by means of in late August. The guts ablation required Newmark to put on his again “the entire time within the incorrect place” and he “awakened with lots of again ache,” he mentioned.

Greater than the surgical procedure, Newmark needed to speak concerning the hospital meals.

“Hospital pudding is admittedly good,” he mentioned. “And since they served my lunch chilly, I requested them and bought extra containers of pudding.”

Newmark, who ran his enterprise out of San Francisco however now lives along with his spouse in New York, mentioned the hospital keep did not trigger him to mirror a lot on mortality, as he’d already addressed such existential points when he determined to simplify his life by freely giving a lot of his Craigslist riches.

Newmark’s basis has principally targeted on donating to organizations and causes pertaining to journalism, combating misinformation, countering on-line harassment, cybersecurity points and supporting veterans and navy households.

The speedy evolution of AI and its potential hazards has not too long ago caught Newmark’s consideration, and his cash.

The purpose of Widespread Sense’s AI undertaking is to offer an AI rankings system for fogeys, educators, coverage makers and regulators to allow them to consider what makes sure instruments like OpenAI’s ChatGPT protected or unsafe for kids. Moreover, the nonprofit is providing on-line AI literacy programs meant to assist dad and mom and educators educate primary AI fundamentals to kids.

The complete scope of AI’s capabilities and potential for societal hurt grew to become extra clear to Newmark by the point firms started “modifying search engines like google to make use of generative AI.”

“I noticed that if a search engine was utilizing sources that weren’t dependable, if the sources have been about mendacity to individuals, that may create a giant, moral downside, and you actually do not desire a information supply of any type to knowingly lie,” Newmark mentioned.

Newmark is anxious that dangerous actors will use generative AI to extra simply amplify and unfold disinformation. On the similar time, he is apprehensive that tech firms, significantly in social media, “aren’t even attempting anymore to do away with stuff they know is dishonest,” he mentioned.

Tech firms like Meta, Amazon and X (previously generally known as Twitter) not too long ago laid off quite a few trust-and-safety staff as a part of main cost-cutting initiatives, however have mentioned that the downsizing will not have an effect on the security of their platforms.

‘Dangerous makes use of’ of the web

In the meantime, AI has the potential to profoundly have an effect on society, just like the web and the printing press earlier than it, Newmark mentioned. That is an space the place he has notable experience. Craigslist was each massively disruptive to newspapers and their categorised adverts sections, and has been a web site that is attracted criminals and scammers.

Few individuals predicted the “dangerous makes use of” of the web, which has allowed nefarious actors to “principally deceive individuals in massive numbers,” Newmark mentioned.

“I assume the earnings to be made in being a very good skilled liar, these earnings have enormously elevated as a result of the web is a giant amplifier,” Newmark mentioned. “It is everybody’s printing press, and also you get to make use of it as a printing press, whether or not your intentions are good or dangerous.”

Newmark mentioned he grew to become taken with language-generating software program like ChatGPT within the early Nineteen Seventies, “when individuals have been starting to speak about language understanding and neural networks.” Nonetheless, he says, “I did not actually perceive it.”

Now the expertise is right here and spreading quickly.

Study finds ChatGPT is 72% accurate in clinical decision-making

Newmark mentioned he would not wish to identify names in terms of the organizations he fears are creating essentially the most societal discontent by means of AI, as a result of he is beforehand been scarred for getting that particular.

“Previously after I’ve identified main issues, I’ve realized the exhausting manner that I am no match for somebody who lies for a dwelling,” Newmark mentioned. “So, I am permitting myself to be chickens—.”

Quite, he mentioned he depends on “people who find themselves each braver and smarter” to name public consideration to these issues.

“Defending youngsters in terms of AI is a giant problem,” Newmark mentioned, relating to his donation to Widespread Sense Media. “I do not know how I’d go about getting began, however I do know the place to place my cash the place my mouth is.”

Why Widespread Sense?

“Plenty of teams and politicians discuss defending youngsters,” Newmark mentioned. “However these guys are the actual deal, and so I am serving to them.”

Misinformation and journalism

Newmark acknowledged that the subjects of misinformation, journalism and content material moderation have turn out to be extra polarized and politicized of late. Home Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, alleged that tech firms unfairly censor conservative speech, and he is undertaken a “censorship investigation” to probe suspected ties between the manager department and sure technologists and researchers.

A number of lecturers beforehand informed CNBC that the politicized panorama has led to some organizations chopping again on funding analysis into combating misinformation for worry of being publicly criticized.  

“Some persons are backing off, some persons are getting braver. Once more, I am not very courageous,” Newmark mentioned. He highlighted the Knight Basis and Ford Basis as organizations which might be “doing courageous issues.”

Inside journalism, Newmark’s most high-profile endeavor is the Metropolis College of New York’s Craig Newmark Graduate Faculty in Journalism. This system was renamed in 2018 after Newmark endowed the college with a $20 million present, although he made prior contributions in 2016 and 2017.

He additionally donated $20 million in 2018 to assist fund The Markup, which describes itself as a “nonprofit newsroom that investigates how highly effective establishments are utilizing expertise to vary our society.” That undertaking shortly grew to become controversial after founding editor-in-chief Julia Angwin mentioned she’d been fired over electronic mail by co-founder and govt director Sue Gardner.

Nonetheless, Newmark says each the CUNY journalism faculty and The Markup have been profitable, whereas different efforts “haven’t been profitable, and I am being discreet about them as a result of I am nonetheless attempting to assist earlier than I’ve a lot sterner talks.”

He pegs his philanthropy success charge at “70 or 80%, which is nice, however it’s not 100.”

When it comes to the place he spends his time on-line, Newmark mentioned he nonetheless posts on X, primarily to advertise and spotlight the work of academics. Nonetheless, he mentioned the location is shedding its effectiveness because it leans in the direction of exhibiting individuals algorithmically really helpful posts.

Thilina Kaluthotage | Nurphoto | Getty Photographs

“As a social community, Twitter does appear to be gone,” Newmark mentioned, including that he is attempting out rivals like Bluesky, Mastodon and Meta’s Threads.

Specifically, Newmark mentioned he likes “just like the spirit of Mastodon and Bluesky,” which he likened to the early days of the web when it took a very long time for web sites to construct devoted audiences.

“The viewers improvement may be very gradual,” Newmark mentioned. “Twitter and all the things else grew slowly and the opposite websites are rising slowly, and but we’re impatient and we wish to see community results now.”

Cybersecurity is one other space of focus for Newmark. He pointed to a latest $100 million dedication introduced in March to a set of organizations engaged on cyber-related points, like combating the unfold of ransomware and creating strategies for tech and safety firms to share menace info.

He mentioned the entire quantity will in all probability exceed $100 million, as a result of he is already “damaged by means of $80 million.”

In June, Newmark’s philanthropy arm additionally pledged to donate $100 million to a number of organizations supporting veterans and navy members, who “generally have to decide on between respectable housing or feeding their households,” Newmark mentioned. He known as the therapy of that neighborhood “a nationwide safety matter.”

“There’s nothing virtuous in that,” Newmark mentioned about his donations, noting that he would not spend his cash on “yachts or quick vehicles.”

“It is extra satisfying to offer it away,” Newmark mentioned. “Once more, that is not pious or altruistic. It is simply what I used to be taught in Sunday faculty.”

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Craigslist’s Craig Newmark funding Widespread Sense Media AI undertaking – EAST AUTO NEWS


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