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AI makes Doomsday Clock tick

Hello, AI enthusiasts! Thursdays are for thick-cut French fries and AI news. Is your dipping sauce ready? 🍟

(The mystery link can lead to ANYTHING AI related. Tools, memes, articles, videos, and more…)

Today’s Menu

Appetizer: AI contributes to Doomsday Clock

Entrée: Alphabet ends contract with Appen 😬

Dessert: Huge EU tech company restructuring 8,000 jobs 📈


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People have predicted that the world is ending hundreds of times. But THIS time, it’s for real … 🙃

What’s up? The ominous “Doomsday Clock” has struck again, with humanity inching perilously closer to apocalypse, this time set to 90 seconds. A major factor? AI.

What is the Doomsday Clock? The iconic Doomsday Clock was initiated in 1947 by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists amidst the Cold War. It is meant to serve as a symbolic representation of the possibility, and even the probability, of human actions leading to the demise of humanity. Following the conclusion of the Cold War, the clock’s proximity to midnight reached as close as 17 minutes. This year, responding to recent wars, climate change concerns, and the risks associated with generative AI, the group transitioned from measuring the countdown in minutes to mere seconds.


Breakups are the worst … especially when millions of dollars are involved. Just ask Jeff Bezos. 😬

What’s new? Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has ended its multi-million dollar contract with Appen, the AI data firm instrumental in training Google’s Bard chatbot and other AI products.

Why? Appen has helped train AI models for multiple tech giants, including Microsoft, Nvidia, Meta, Apple, Adobe, Amazon, and Google. Despite their impressive AI endeavors, Appen still faced a 30% revenue drop in the past year. The company’s stock, which once soared, has also plummeted over 99% in the past three years. These results have been attributed to weak internal quality controls and organizational issues. Furthermore, conflicts with Google, including wage disputes, strained the relationship and led to the demise of the contract.

What’s next for Appen? The termination, effective March 19, is catching Appen by surprise, as this contract accounted for about one-third of the company's revenue. This decision impacts 2,000+ subcontracted Alphabet workers, a significant blow for Appen, already grappling with financial struggles and executive departures.


Q: What nationality are you while you’re in the bathroom?

A: Eur-o-pean. 😆

What’s up? SAP, the German software firm, is planning to restructure roles for 8,000 jobs, investing $2.2 billion to either retrain employees with AI skills or offer “voluntary redundancy programs” (AKA let people go).

How will this affect profits? SAP’s stock surged 7%—reaching an all-time high—following this announcement, as their forecast predicts double-digit revenue growth this year, as a 24%-27% increase is expected in 2024 due to the rapidly advancing AI software field. Despite the restructuring costs, the company anticipates operational efficiency improvements contributing $546 million to their operating profit in 2025.

“The right adjustments are being made and the company is being reorganized to prepare it for the age of artificial intelligence. Even if some employees are likely to fall by the wayside, HR policy is less of a cost issue and more of a strategic one, in which many new opportunities are also likely to arise.”

-Jürgen Molnar, investment strategist at brokerage RoboMarkets

What is the significance? While acknowledging job displacements, the company is focused on profitability and growth amidst rapidly developing AI. They believe a focus on AI will create new job opportunities, expecting the number of human workers to be the same as it is now by the end of the year, after reinvestments are made. SAP’s restructuring sets an example of how AI can help businesses achieve higher profits and better operating costs, but it also underscores the looming concern surrounding human job displacement and the need for upskilling.


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