AI’s Existence Is All It Takes To Be Accused Of Being One

New technologies bring with them the threat of change. AI tools are one of the latest such developments. But as is often the case, when technological threats show up, they end up looking awfully human.

Recently, [E. M. Wolkovich] submitted a scientific paper for review that — to her surprise — was declared “obviously” the work of ChatGPT. No part of that was true. Like most people, [E. M. Wolkovich] finds writing a somewhat difficult process. Her paper represents a lot of time and effort. But despite zero evidence, this casual accusation of fraud in a scientific context was just sort of… accepted.

There are several reasons this is concerning. One is that, in principle, the scientific community wouldn’t dream of leveling an accusation of fraud like data manipulation without evidence. But a reviewer had no qualms about casually claiming [Wolkovich]’s writing wasn’t hers, effectively calling her a liar. Worse, at the editorial level, this baseless accusation was accepted and passed along with vague agreement instead of any sort of pushback.

Showing Your Work Isn’t Enough

Interestingly, [Wolkovich] writes everything in plain text using the LaTeX typesetting system, hosted on GitHub, complete with change commits. That means she could easily show her entire change history, from outline to finished manuscript, which should be enough to convince just about anyone that she isn’t a chatbot.

But pondering this raises a very good question: is [Wolkovich] having to prove she isn’t a chatbot a desirable outcome of this situation? We don’t think it is, nor is this an idle question. We’ve seen how even when an artist can present their full workflow to prove an AI didn’t make their art, enough doubt is sown by the accusation to poison the proceedings (not to mention greatly demoralizing the creator in the process.)

Better Standards Would Help

[Wolkovich] uses this opportunity to reflect on and share what this situation indicates about useful change. Now that AI tools exist, guidelines that acknowledge them should be created. Explicit standards about when and how AI tools can be used in the writing process, how those tools should be acknowledged if used, and a process to handle accusations of misuse would all be positive changes.

Because as it stands, it’s hard to see [Wolkovich]’s experience as anything other than an illustration of how a scientific community’s submission and review process was corrupted not by undeclared or thoughtless use of AI but by the simple fact that such tools exist. This seems like both a problem that will only get worse with time (right now, it is fairly easy to detect chatbots) and one that will not solve itself.

Target Lifting Mechanism Goes Wireless

“WARNING: DO NOT Hammer on this mechanism” sounds like the start of a side quest. A quest is exactly what [CelGenStudios] started when he came upon a strange box with this message.

The military identification tag was printed “Target Holding Mechanism, M31A1”, along with some other information. It also informed the reader that the device weighed 70lbs (31.75kg). Something carrying that much mass just had to be good.

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Hackaday Links: February 11, 2024

Apple’s Vision Pro augmented reality goggles made a big splash in the news this week, and try as we might to resist the urge to dunk on them, early adopters spotted in the wild are making it way too easy. Granted, we’re not sure how many of these people are actually early adopters as opposed to paid influencers, but there was still quite a bit of silliness to be had, most of it on X/Twitter. We’d love to say that peak idiocy was achieved by those who showed themselves behind the wheels of their Teslas while wearing their goggles, with one aiming for an early adopter perfecta, but alas, most of these stories appear to be at least partially contrived. Some people were spotted doing their best to get themselves killed, others were content to just look foolish, especially since we’ve heard that the virtual keyboard is currently too slow for anything but hunt-and-peck typing, which Casey Niestat seemed to confirm with his field testing. After seeing all this, we’re still unsure why someone would strap $4,000 worth of peripheral-vision-restricting and easily fenced hardware to their heads, but hey — different strokes. And for those of you wondering why these things are so expensive, we’ve got you covered.

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3D Printed Basketball Could Be A Game Changer

Basketball has changed a lot over the years, and that goes for the sport as well as the ball itself. While James Naismith first prescribed tossing soccer balls into peach baskets to allow athletes to stay in shape over the winter, today, the sport looks quite different both rule-wise and equipment-wise.

An early basketball. Image via Wikipedia

The basketball itself has gone through a few iterations. After the soccer ball came a  purpose-built leather ball with stitches and a rubber bladder inside. The first molded version came in 1942, although most balls continued to be made of leather, especially for indoor-only use. Today, the NBA still uses leather-clad balls, but that could change. Wilson, the official supplier of NCAA postseason tournament balls, has developed a 3D-printed basketball that never needs to be inflated.

Much like a regular ball, the Wilson Airless Gen1 has eight lobes, bounces like you’d expect, and can be palmed, provided your hand is big enough. We would argue forcefully that it is far from airless, though we do get the point. According to TCT Magazine, the ball “nearly fits” the performance specs of a regular basketball, including weight, size, and rebound. This may not be good enough for the NBA today, but we doubt innovation over at Wilson has stopped abruptly, so who knows what the future holds?

Interested in trying one out? You may be better off trying to design and print one yourself. The limited-edition ball will be available on February 16th at for the low, low price of $2,500. It would probably pair well with the can’t-miss robotic hoop. Or, pair it with a giant 3D-printed hand for display purposes.

Main and thumbnail images via Wilson Sporting Goods

Printing A Log

We’ve used wood filament before, and we hazily remember a Cura plugin that changed temperatures to create wood grain. But unlike [Patrick Gibney], we never thought of printing a faux wood log coaster that looks like it has rings. Check out the video below to see how it works.

The filament is not really wood, of course, but a polymer — usually PLA — mixed with wood particles. Changing the temperature does a nice job of darkening the wood. However, it also changes the properties of the carrier polymer, and that’s not always a good thing.

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Benchmarking Latency Across Common Wireless Links For MCUs

Although factors like bandwidth, power usage, and the number of (kilo)meters reach are important considerations with wireless communication for microcontrollers, latency should be another important factor to pay attention to. This is especially true for projects like controllers where round-trip latency and instant response to an input are essential, but where do you find the latency number in datasheets? This is where [Michael Orenstein] and [Scott] over at Electric UI found a lack of data, especially when taking software stacks into account. In other words, it was time to do some serious benchmarking.

The question to be answered here was specifically how fast a one-way wireless user interaction can be across three levels of payload sizes (12, 128, and 1024 bytes). The effective latency is measured from when the input is provided on the transmitter, and the receiver has processed it and triggered the relevant output pin. The internal latency was also measured by having a range of framework implementations respond to an external interrupt and drive a GPIO pin high. Even this test on an STM32F429 MCU already showed that, for example, the STM32 low-level (LL) framework is much faster than the stm32duino one.

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3D Printed DIN Rail Mount Is Attractive

DIN rails aren’t very common in hobby projects, although you do see them occasionally. But in some industries, they are everywhere. The rail is just a piece of aluminum or steel with slots to hold it to a wall or bulkhead. There are two small lips that equipment like circuit breakers, power supplies, or controllers can attach easily. A common 3D printing project is a way to mount something like a printer controller to DIN rails. [NotLikeALeafOnThe Wind] shows a different take on it: a magnetic holder that temporarily attaches a rail to a ferrous surface.

Of course, mounting the rail is only half the equation. After that, you still need things to mount on the rail. Luckily, there’s no shortage of designs for DIN mounts for many common boards and modules.

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