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Why age-verification payments for porn web sites couldn’t work

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Why age-verification payments for porn web sites couldn’t work

a particular person sitting at a desk illuminated by a expansive spotlight

Age-verification payments pose a privateness risk, consultants verbalize.
Credit rating: Bob Al-Greene / Mashable

Whenever you have not noticed, free expression online is currently beneath attack. From the proposed TikTok ban to hearings on Part 230 (which protects social platforms from being accountable for what customers put up), some U.S. lawmakers are concentrating on win entry to to free and birth web. 

Current age-verification payments are any other iteration of this. These authorized guidelines require of us to show proof of age to specialize in grownup insist — or, in some variations, to gape social media at all. Consultants warn that these payments threaten digital privateness and free speech.

What are age-verification payments?

Final three hundred and sixty five days, Louisiana passed Act 440(Opens in a recent tab), which requires guests to web sites with over 33.33 p.c of grownup insist to use a commercial age-verification draw (AVS) to brand they’re over 18, a lot like with a government-issued ID. The law went into close on Jan. 1, 2023.

An influx of same payments cropped up at some level of the country afterwards. Utah’s SB 287(Opens in a recent tab), which requires a commercial AVS for web sites that include “a substantial allotment of enviornment subject that will presumably well moreover be heinous to minors” has been signed into law and can scramble into close on Could perhaps well moreover simply 2. (Utah has also passed two other payments, SB 152(Opens in a recent tab) and HB 311(Opens in a recent tab), which requires age verification for all customers on social media web sites(Opens in a recent tab); parental permission to win entry to social media for these beneath 18; and social media curfews for beneath-18s. These are speculated to transfer into close in March 2024, nonetheless social media platforms are expected to scenario these authorized guidelines beforehand).

Copycats of the Louisiana law include also passed in Virginia(Opens in a recent tab), Mississippi(Opens in a recent tab), and Arkansas(Opens in a recent tab) as well, nonetheless include but to be signed. Such payments were introduced forward in other states too, fancy Texas and Arizona. The Free Speech Coalition, a porn industrial foyer neighborhood, has compiled a tracker of age-verification payments(Opens in a recent tab)

In the UK, same rules that called for age-verification on porn web sites, is named the “porn block,” failed in 2019. Final three hundred and sixty five days, the UK government revisited the foundation, with critics saying it can presumably well pickle off a “slippery slope” for censorship.

The downsides to “porn passport” authorized guidelines

While these payments could presumably well moreover before the full lot appear sound — no one needs adolescents to win entry to grownup insist — the consultants verbalize that they couldn’t work, and can pickle off a complete lot of concerns.

Relating to the ancient, these statutes are refined to connect into attach and straightforward to win around. For one, there are going to be web sites essentially based mostly in other worldwide locations that will not regulate to these rules, said Mike Stabile, director of public affairs at the Free Speech Coalition. “My ideal apprehension after I looked at [these bills] was once that this is…going to push adolescents to more and more dreadful web sites,” he said.

For any other, machine fancy VPNs (virtual privateness networks) are built to compose it appear fancy the client is somewhere they aren’t. Days after the Louisiana law went into close, a Redditor asked if they are able to use a VPN(Opens in a recent tab) to win around it. “Yep,” the pinnacle comment be taught. “So easy a five three hundred and sixty five days dilapidated can attain it.”

Previous enforceability, consultants verbalize they pickle off a worthy privateness risk.

“The quick concerns are that there could be not a foolproof age-verification draw that isn’t intrusive, comprehensive, efficient, and could presumably well also be supplied instant,” said Jason Kelley, affiliate director of digital intention at the Digital Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit centered on defending digital rights. Since there don’t seem to be programs in dwelling to place in power these rules, tech firms will trudge to acknowledge these authorized guidelines. They could well presumably perhaps moreover attain the accurate component, or the imperfect component unintentionally, fancy pickle up an AVS that is scared because they do not know how AVS’s work, or they could presumably well moreover attain the imperfect component intentionally to web up of us’s info. 

“You assemble this complete ecosystem, the build of us’s particular particular person behaviors — the web sites that they seek the suggestion of with — could presumably well moreover moreover be tracked and connected to their id,” Kelley continued. “We’re essentially increasing this quick requirement for of us to section their non-public info alongside their pornography desire with firms that attach not essentially include a tool in dwelling to present protection to that info.”

A longer-timeframe enviornment is that there will be a domino close, which is already taking place with the copycat payments. If they were all to pass, Kelley said we would include an especially refined draw the build utterly different states settle for utterly different kinds of verification, which could presumably well moreover result in these web sites requiring verification from everybody no subject converse to make certain they comply. 

Extra, payments fancy Utah’s SB 152 and HB 311 aim social media for your complete, and would fundamentally swap the web. A bunch of states are following suit: A proposal in Ohio(Opens in a recent tab), as an example, would require parental permission for adolescents to study in not reliable for Facebook and YouTube, nonetheless “any online web web page, online carrier, online product, or online feature that requires client consent to register, test in, or in any other case assemble a extraordinary username.”

“The close result’s that we couldn’t include win entry to that is nameless to mighty of the web,” Kelley said of these flurry of age-verification payments, “which is essential with out cost speech” and other issues, fancy privateness protection. If all these payments went into close, many of us wouldn’t be in a dwelling to win entry to the web at all with out an ID. As it’s, there’s a “digital divide” the build millions of People have not got an ample web connection at dwelling; verification would most appealing exacerbate this enviornment of win entry to. While of us who attain include IDs could presumably well moreover win via these boundaries, they could ought to quit anonymity to attain so.

If all these payments went into close, many of us wouldn’t be in a dwelling to win entry to the web at all with out an ID, and these that will presumably well moreover win entry to would ought to create documentation.

That’s not the accurate doable enviornment. As senior security analyst Max Eddy(Opens in a recent tab) at PCMag (which is owned by Ziff Davis, Mashable’s mother or father firm) warned, id theft could presumably well moreover amplify in the wake of these authorized guidelines(Opens in a recent tab). Or not it’s already taking place: “Now we include already heard experiences of phishing happening in Louisiana, the build of us are impersonating grownup web sites, and getting of us to upload their ID after which selling these IDs…for Bitcoin,” Stabile said. “We demand that…id theft goes to skyrocket.” 

Customers don’t seem to be the accurate of us impacted by these authorized guidelines, either; grownup creators are(Opens in a recent tab), too. 

On-line sex workers are already pushed offline due to payments FOSTA-SESTA(Opens in a recent tab), an amendment to Part 230 supposed to quit sex-trafficking, nonetheless has resulted in the removal (or shadowbanning) of sex workers and remotely horny insist from most essential social platforms fancy Facebook and Instagram. (Only a single trafficker has been prosecuted(Opens in a recent tab) beneath FOSTA-SESTA in its first five years.) Could perhaps well moreover simply collected age-verification payments development, the topic will inevitably irritate.

“Or not it’s reliable going to censor us,” said grownup performer and imply Alana Evans. “How is it going to impress a platform fancy Twitter?” At this time, Twitter does allow grownup insist, and Evans sees it because the accurate platform that has a receive dwelling for performers — nonetheless that pickle hangs in the balance. “If Twitter decides that we are in a position to not advertise my cam links anymore” or same links, she said, “it can presumably well slay my industrial. It could well per chance presumably well slay my earnings.”

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guard adolescents from grownup insist

“I worked my butt off to take care of my adolescents far from that enviornment subject,” said Evans, who’s a mother or father. “The largest component is de facto being responsive to what your adolescents are doing in the first dwelling.” This entails checking their units and having birth conversations about sex and porn. She’s had talks alongside with her son, who’s now an grownup, the build she outlined that porn isn’t in actuality valid nonetheless moderately a “theatrical model” of sex. 

“I don’t bring to mind us could presumably well moreover collected be shy of having that dialog,” Evans said. One reason young of us specialize in at porn is purely because they’re outlandish. “Whenever you happen to are having a dialog with them,” she continued, “the curiosity is taken away.”

Adore Evans, Stabile also calls on of us to be enthusiastic with their adolescents’ web taking a specialize in and to include these conversations. There’s loads of insist beyond porn that isn’t appropriate for adolescents — portrayals of violence, as an example — and it can presumably well well be not doable to present protection to adolescents from seeing any of it, nonetheless you would possibly want to presumably well presumably test with them about it. 

Previous conversations, Stabile recommends machine-stage filters that block all web sites which could presumably well be registered RTA, or “Restricted to Adults.”(Opens in a recent tab) “It signals to filters, whether or not or not it’s your Apple filter or Gain Nanny or one thing fancy that, that this build could presumably well moreover collected be blocked,” he outlined. Or not it’s not relevant if a baby tries a VPN or any other workaround — the positioning will be blocked on that machine. 

The inspiration at the support of these payments “isn’t imperfect,” said Evans — no one, especially these in the grownup industrial, needs adolescents staring at their insist. These payments, however, assemble dangers, and could presumably perhaps cascade into a web based privateness and censorship nightmare that hurts sex workers and other web customers. 

“If even about a of them [age-verification bills] pass in utterly different contexts, this could occasionally be dreadful for all americans in america who goes online,” Kelley warned, “because we would be unable to win entry to issues privately.”

Anna Iovine is the sex and relationships reporter at Mashable, the build she covers matters ranging from relationship apps to pelvic disaster. Beforehand, she was once a social editor at VICE and freelanced for publications a lot like Slate and the Columbia Journalism Overview. Apply her on Twitter @annaroseiovine(Opens in a recent tab).

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Sahil Sachdeva is the CEO of Level Up Holdings, a Personal Branding agency. He creates elite personal brands through social media growth and top tier press features.

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Temporary Pause: McDonald’s Halts AI Drive-Thru Ordering

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McDonald’s affirms IBM as a valued partner but hints at exploring alternative AI providers following a temporary halt in AI drive-thru ordering at their global locations.

In 2021, McDonald’s and IBM joined forces to introduce Automated Order Taking (AOT) technology as part of McDonald’s growth strategy, “Accelerating the Arches.” This initiative aimed to simplify and expedite the ordering process for customers and restaurant teams alike. IBM praised AOT for its advanced capabilities, citing its speed and accuracy as standout features that enhance efficiency in demanding operational environments.

The partnership highlighted a commitment to innovation in the quick-service industry, positioning McDonald’s at the forefront of technology adoption. By integrating AOT technology, McDonald’s aimed to improve overall service quality and customer experience across its global chain of restaurants, reinforcing its dedication to meeting evolving consumer expectations.

“While McDonald’s is revaluating and refining its plans for AOT, we look forward to continuing to work with them on a variety of other projects,” IBM said in a statement.

McDonald’s reassures that its AI endeavours are ongoing, with plans to assess sustainable voice-ordering solutions by the close of 2024.

According to David Henkes, senior principal and head of strategic partnerships at Technomic, AI is poised to play a crucial role in enhancing restaurant automation and efficiency, although its capabilities are still developing. McDonald’s exemplifies both the potential benefits and current limitations of AI technology.

Beyond McDonald’s, other fast-food chains are also exploring AI innovations. For instance, White Castle tested an automated drive-thru ordering system in 2021, while Wendy’s expanded its collaboration with Google Cloud to introduce its own AI-powered ordering tool last year.

Despite enthusiasm from these companies to integrate AI into their operations, challenges persist. Issues such as inaccuracies in order processing, attributed to difficulties in accent recognition and distinguishing voices from background noise, underscore the technology’s ongoing evolution.

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Reviving iPhone Cool: Apple’s Golden Opportunity Today

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Apple Faces Crucial Moment to Revitalise iPhone Sales Amidst AI Evolution”

Apple has faced a four-year drought in compelling reasons for customers to upgrade their iPhones since introducing 5G with the iPhone 12. This trend has slowed sales growth, a critical concern for the tech giant heavily reliant on iPhone revenue. The longer upgrade cycles have been particularly challenging, exacerbated by fierce competition in China and legal battles over antitrust issues.

At its upcoming Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple plans to unveil new artificial intelligence features that could reinvigorate its products and bring it back into the competitive AI landscape. The iPhone, pivotal to Apple’s strategy, stands to benefit significantly from these advancements.

Despite ongoing challenges, Apple remains a formidable force in the tech industry, boasting substantial iPhone earnings and a resilient stock performance. Analysts stress that rejuvenating iPhone sales is vital for sustaining Apple’s growth trajectory, emphasising the need for compelling reasons to entice consumers to adopt the upcoming iPhone 16.

Investors are closely watching Apple’s ability to assert itself in the evolving AI field, especially as competitors like Nvidia and Microsoft advance their AI-powered offerings. The outcome of Apple’s strategic moves at this juncture will likely shape its standing as a technology leader moving forward

Eagerly Anticipating the AI-Enhanced iPhone

For years, Apple has quietly integrated AI into its products, enhancing user experiences in subtle yet impactful ways. Now, Apple is poised to unveil its most user-focused AI updates yet.

Expected to be announced on Monday, these updates are anticipated to include new generative AI features for iOS, particularly enhancing Siri’s capabilities. This could enable Siri to perform tasks like retrieving old photos or answering detailed queries about weather, news, or trivia. Over time, Siri could personalise responses based on user preferences and even learn their personality traits.

Drawing from trends in AI integration by competitors, Apple may also introduce additional tools such as email summarization or drafting assistance

Traditionally, Apple has prioritised delivering a premium user experience rather than being the first to introduce new technologies. Now, there’s heightened anticipation for Apple to impress consumers with features that surpass those offered by competitors like Samsung and Microsoft.

Beyond the features themselves, the main question at WWDC is which Apple devices will support these advancements: Will the new AI tools be available on older iPhones, or restricted to upcoming models launching in the fall, possibly due to hardware requirements like new chips or faster processors?

If these features are exclusive to newer devices, it could potentially drive a significant upgrade cycle for iPhones, influencing Apple’s overall performance. Analysts suggest that lacklustre features or widely available AI capabilities on older iPhones could negatively impact Apple’s stock, while compelling new technology prompting upgrades in the fall could lead to substantial gains.

The critical factor lies in whether Apple can deliver compelling innovations that encourage users to upgrade, potentially marking a pivotal moment akin to their last significant surge in upgrade activity four years ago.

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Pope Francis Advocates for Church’s Role in Global AI Discussions

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Last year, a manipulated image of Pope Francis wearing a trendy white puffer jacket caused a stir online, sparking discussions about his fashion choices and speculation about the involvement of a stylist. However, the image was revealed to be a ‘deep fake,’ generated using artificial intelligence.

This week, Pope Francis is set to address the pivotal topic of artificial intelligence at the G7 summit in southern Italy’s Puglia region. His participation marks a historic moment as he becomes the first pope to engage in discussions at this level, specifically focusing on AI during a dedicated session. Notably, US President Joe Biden, who shares a close rapport with the pontiff, is expected to attend the summit.

At 87 years old, Pope Francis is committed to leveraging the influence of his position to advocate for the ethical development of AI, emphasising its potential to benefit humanity while cautioning against the emergence of unforeseen dangers akin to a modern-day ‘Frankenstein’s monster.’

Drawing from his background in chemistry, the pope welcomes advancements in science and technology, recognizing the promising opportunities AI presents. However, he also remains vigilant about the potential serious risks it may pose.

In a recent communication, Pope Francis issued a cautionary message about the potential emergence of a ‘technological dictatorship’ if proper regulations are not established, particularly emphasising concerns regarding AI-controlled weaponry and the risk of technology being exploited for surveillance and election interference. Stressing the importance of AI serving the ‘common good’ and not exacerbating inequalities, the pontiff has advocated for an ethical framework in its development and application.

The Vatican, through its Pontifical Academy for Life, has been actively promoting the ‘Rome Call for AI Ethics,’ a set of principles including transparency, inclusion, responsibility, and impartiality. Major tech firms like Microsoft, IBM, and Cisco Systems, alongside international organisations and religious leaders, have endorsed this initiative.

At the upcoming G7 summit, Pope Francis is expected to rally global leaders towards collaborative efforts in AI regulation, echoing his previous call for an ‘international treaty’ to curb harmful AI practices. While the European Union has passed legislation in this regard, bipartisan efforts in the United States signal a growing momentum towards federal regulation.

Father Paolo Benanti, a key figure in Vatican discussions on AI, underscores the pope’s focus on the societal impacts of technology, particularly its implications for inequality and misinformation. With a global perspective, Pope Francis recognizes disparities in technology access and aims to address these issues alongside broader humanitarian challenges such as migration and climate change.

According to Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, international regulation is crucial to effectively address the misuse and manipulation of emerging technologies like AI. The Pontifical Academy for Life’s advocacy for ethical AI aims to promote sustainable development for humanity as a whole.

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Italy, currently holding the G7 presidency, imposed a temporary ban on ChatGPT due to privacy concerns and plans to enforce penalties for AI misuse. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni believes Pope Francis’ participation in the summit will significantly contribute to establishing an ethical and cultural framework for AI regulation. Meloni emphasises the importance of integrating ethical considerations into algorithmic development, citing the ‘Rome Call for AI Ethics’ as a pivotal step towards fostering ‘algorethics’.

Father Antonio Spadaro, a papal adviser, remarked that Pope Francis’ participation in the G7 summit reflects his commitment to engaging in meaningful dialogues where significant decisions are made. By attending the summit in Puglia, the pope aims to engage directly with policymakers, demonstrating his vision of an actively involved Church in worldly affairs.

Father Philip Larrey, an AI expert and former dean, views Pope Francis’ decision to attend the summit as unexpected yet influential. Larrey anticipates the pope’s presence will have a significant impact on the summit’s outcomes, highlighting the pope’s role as a catalyst for meaningful discussions.

Pope Francis is closely monitoring developments in AI and emerging technologies, seeking to leverage the depth of Catholic tradition to address their ethical implications. His active involvement, notably his presence at the G7 summit, underscores the urgency of his message. Francis advocates for ‘person-centred AI,’ emphasising the need for ethical considerations in technological advancement.

The infamous ‘deep fake’ incident, where an AI-generated image of the pope went viral, highlighted the potential for technology to manipulate visuals. Francis has addressed this issue, warning against the spread of false information and acknowledging his own experiences as a target of such manipulation.

Recognizing AI as a pivotal aspect of the current era’s transformation, Francis aims for the Church to play a central role in shaping discussions around its development. He believes in ensuring that new technologies serve the greater good of humanity.

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Apple’s Highly Anticipated Unveiling: The Next Big Innovation

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Apple stands at the brink of what could be one of its most pivotal moments in recent history, as it confronts a barrage of challenges on multiple fronts. The company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, slated to commence on Monday, is widely anticipated to herald a significant partnership with OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, and introduce a suite of groundbreaking generative AI tools integrated into its mobile operating system.

This strategic foray into AI holds immense potential to catalyze growth in iPhone sales and services for the foreseeable future, particularly as consumers increasingly defer device upgrades amidst economic uncertainty, compounded by lingering effects of the pandemic, particularly in markets like China. Concurrently, Apple finds itself navigating regulatory scrutiny in the United States, exacerbated by recent shifts in market dynamics that saw chip maker Nvidia surpass it as the nation’s second-largest publicly traded company.

Apple’s Chief Executive Officer, Tim Cook, hinted at the impending AI initiative during the company’s latest earnings call, underscoring its strategic significance and positioning within the broader technological landscape. While Apple traditionally adopts a cautious approach to integrating emerging technologies, the rapid proliferation of generative AI is seemingly accelerating its timeline, compelling the company to maintain its competitive edge in the smartphone market.

Anticipation is rife regarding the nomenclature of Apple’s AI endeavor, rumored to be christened “Apple Intelligence” and set to be accessible exclusively on select devices such as the iPhone 15 Pro or those equipped with an M1 chip or newer iterations. Speculation abounds regarding the potential enhancements AI could bring to Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, by leveraging OpenAI’s latest ChatGPT-4o model to imbue it with advanced conversational capabilities akin to those of a chatbot.

Beyond Siri, generative AI holds promise for revolutionizing various facets of Apple’s ecosystem, potentially augmenting user experiences across core applications like Apple Maps, iMovie, and iPhoto. Analysts anticipate Apple’s unveiling to spotlight on-device AI’s manifold benefits, emphasizing its seamless integration into daily routines while elucidating the company’s long-term vision for AI-driven innovation.

Crucially, Apple’s purported collaboration with OpenAI could be pivotal in shaping its AI trajectory, representing a concerted effort to harness external expertise in advancing its technological prowess. However, such partnerships entail inherent risks, potentially impinging on Apple’s autonomy in product development and its unwavering commitment to data privacy and security.

As Apple embarks on this transformative journey into AI, it remains steadfast in its commitment to consumer privacy and security, underscoring the imperative of responsible AI deployment amidst mounting concerns over its ethical implications. Moreover, the company is expected to provide updates on its Vision Pro mixed reality headset, positioning AI as a cornerstone of its immersive experiences strategy aimed at unlocking new frontiers in enterprise adoption.

Ultimately, Apple’s bold foray into generative AI underscores its unwavering commitment to innovation, poised to redefine the future of human-computer interaction while navigating the complex interplay of technological advancement and societal impact.

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Following Employee Revolt, OpenAI Establishes New Safety Board

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OpenAI announced on Tuesday the establishment of a new committee dedicated to advising the company’s board on matters of safety and security. This move comes just weeks after the company dissolved its previous AI safety team.

According to a blog post by OpenAI, the newly formed committee will be spearheaded by CEO Sam Altman, along with Bret Taylor, the board chair, and board member Nicole Seligman. The creation of this committee follows significant changes within the company’s leadership and strategy concerning AI safety.

Earlier this month, Jan Leike, an OpenAI executive focused on safety, resigned from his position, citing insufficient investment in AI safety work and escalating tensions with the company’s leadership as his reasons. Leike’s departure highlighted growing concerns within the organization about its commitment to AI safety.

In addition to Leike’s exit, Ilya Sutskever, a prominent figure in OpenAI’s “super alignment” team, also left the company. The superalignment team was tasked with ensuring that AI development aligned with human needs and priorities. Sutskever had previously played a pivotal role in the unexpected removal of Sam Altman as CEO last year, a decision that was later reversed when Sutskever supported Altman’s return.

In response to these high-profile departures, OpenAI stated that dismantling the super alignment team and redistributing its members across the company would better facilitate the achievement of its super alignment objectives. An OpenAI spokesperson told CNN that this restructuring aimed to enhance the company’s focus on aligning AI development with its overarching goals.

In its blog post, OpenAI also revealed that it has started training a new AI model intended to succeed GPT-4, the current model powering ChatGPT. The development of this new model marks another step toward the company’s vision of achieving artificial general intelligence (AGI).

OpenAI expressed pride in developing and releasing models that lead the industry in both capability and safety. However, the company also welcomed robust debate at this critical juncture. The blog post emphasized the importance of ongoing evaluation and improvement of OpenAI’s safety protocols.

One of the initial tasks assigned to the new Safety and Security Committee will be to assess and refine OpenAI’s safety processes and safeguards over the next 90 days. At the end of this period, the committee will present their recommendations to the full board. Following the board’s review, OpenAI plans to publicly share an update on the adopted recommendations in a manner that maintains consistency with safety and security protocols.

This proactive approach reflects OpenAI’s commitment to addressing safety and security concerns amid the rapid advancement of AI technology. By establishing this committee and inviting open discourse, the company aims to reinforce its dedication to developing AI in a safe and responsible manner.

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Eligible iPhone Users May Receive $349 Settlement Payout for Audio Issues

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Some iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus owners may be eligible for a payout as part of a $35 million settlement.

Owners of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus devices who experienced audio chip issues may receive up to $349 in compensation as part of a 2019 lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

To qualify, users must have owned these models between September 16, 2016, and January 3, 2023, and either complained to Apple about issues such as FaceTime, the loudspeaker, Siri, or the voice memo app not working, or paid for a related repair.

Apple has denied that these devices had such issues and any allegations of wrongdoing, according to the Settlement Administration website. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The issue involved the audio chip, which manages sound output through speakers or headphones. In September 2016, Apple removed the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 models to improve sound quality, achieve a thinner design, and enhance water resistance.

Eligible users might receive an email or postcard about the settlement. The deadline to file a claim is June 3, and the final approval hearing will be held on July 18.

This isn’t the first lawsuit payout for iPhone 7 models. Apple customers who purchased the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, or SE before December 21, 2017, were eligible for $25 as part of the company’s settlement of a $500 million class-action lawsuit that accused Apple of slowing down older devices with system upgrades, which in turn forced users to upgrade to the latest iPhone model.

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Big Tech Executives Warn That Europe’s New AI Law Could Stifle Innovation

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Executives from major technology companies are expressing concerns that Europe’s newly proposed AI legislation might hinder innovation. The law, designed to regulate the development and deployment of artificial intelligence, aims to ensure ethical standards and protect consumer rights. However, industry leaders argue that the stringent regulations could slow down technological advancements and place European companies at a disadvantage compared to their global counterparts.

The AI Act, introduced by the European Commission, seeks to impose strict guidelines on the use of AI, particularly in high-risk applications. It includes provisions for transparency, accountability, and oversight, requiring companies to conduct rigorous assessments and provide detailed documentation of their AI systems. While the goal is to mitigate risks and prevent misuse, tech executives worry that the bureaucratic burden and compliance costs could be prohibitive, especially for smaller firms and startups.

Critics of the law contend that it might drive innovation outside Europe, as companies might prefer to develop and deploy AI technologies in regions with more flexible regulatory environments. They argue that a balanced approach is needed, one that safeguards public interest without stifling technological progress. The debate highlights the challenge of crafting policies that both foster innovation and ensure the ethical use of AI.

As the legislation moves through the European Parliament, tech industry representatives are calling for revisions that would reduce the regulatory burden while maintaining the law’s core protective measures. The outcome of this legislative process will significantly shape the future landscape of AI development in Europe and its global competitiveness in the tech sector.

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Why OpenAI Should Be Concerned About a Potential Lawsuit from Scarlett Johansson

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In recent years, the intersection of artificial intelligence and entertainment has led to groundbreaking advancements in creating lifelike digital avatars of celebrities. However, this promising technology is not without its legal and ethical implications, as evidenced by the looming threat of a lawsuit from Scarlett Johansson against OpenAI.

The crux of the matter lies in OpenAI’s use of Johansson’s likeness without her consent. The organization, renowned for its cutting-edge AI research, developed an AI model capable of generating realistic images of individuals based on textual descriptions. In a demonstration of the model’s capabilities, OpenAI showcased images resembling Johansson, among other celebrities, without seeking permission from the actors themselves.

Johansson, a prominent Hollywood actress known for her roles in blockbuster films, including the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has long been protective of her image rights. This unauthorized use of her likeness has understandably raised concerns regarding privacy, intellectual property, and the potential for exploitation in the digital realm.

The legal landscape surrounding the use of celebrity likenesses in AI-generated content is complex and evolving. While existing laws offer some degree of protection, they may not adequately address the unique challenges posed by AI technology. Furthermore, the precedent set by this case could have far-reaching implications for the future of AI-driven content creation and the rights of individuals to control their image.

Beyond the legal ramifications, the dispute between OpenAI and Johansson underscores broader ethical considerations surrounding AI development. As AI systems become increasingly sophisticated in mimicking human behaviors and appearances, questions arise regarding consent, authenticity, and the potential for misuse. Striking a balance between technological innovation and ethical responsibility is imperative to ensure that AI serves the greater good without infringing on individual rights.

In response to the controversy, OpenAI has emphasized its commitment to responsible AI development and ethical guidelines. However, the looming specter of litigation serves as a sobering reminder of the complex ethical and legal challenges inherent in the intersection of AI and entertainment.

As the legal battle between OpenAI and Scarlett Johansson unfolds, it is poised to shape the future trajectory of AI-driven content creation and the rights of individuals in the digital age. The outcome of this case will undoubtedly reverberate throughout the technology, entertainment, and legal sectors, leaving a lasting impact on how we navigate the evolving landscape of AI and its implications for society.

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Amazon Web Services CEO to Step Down: Major Leadership Change Announced

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Amazon’s cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services (AWS), is set for a significant leadership change. Adam Selipsky, the current CEO of AWS, will step down from his role next month, the company announced on Tuesday. Selipsky, who has been with AWS since 2005, took the helm in 2021 after former AWS CEO Andy Jassy was promoted to lead all of Amazon.

Matt Garman, currently the vice president of sales, marketing, and global services at AWS, will succeed Selipsky as CEO starting June 3.

The leadership of AWS is crucial for Amazon, as the cloud computing unit contributes nearly two-thirds of the company’s overall profits. With annual revenues exceeding $90 billion last year, AWS outpaces many standalone companies in size.

AWS is at a critical juncture with the rise of artificial intelligence. The company is rolling out new tools and capabilities to establish itself as the preferred computing provider for emerging technologies. However, AWS faces stiff competition from Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

Under Selipsky’s leadership, AWS has seen sales grow by more than 85%. Despite this growth, Amazon shares fell by over 1% following the announcement of his departure.

In an email to staff, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy explained that Selipsky’s tenure was always intended to be brief. Jassy noted that when he transitioned from AWS to lead Amazon, he recognized the need for strong leaders at AWS who could benefit from additional experience under an experienced CEO.

“When Adam and I discussed him taking the role in 2021, we agreed it would likely be for a few years, with a focus on preparing the next generation of leadership,” Jassy said. “Adam has skillfully led the business while developing his leadership team.”

Selipsky expressed gratitude for his time at AWS. “I’m humbled by the many customers who have said they wouldn’t be what they are without AWS, thankful to our many partners, and grateful to my passionate and innovative teammates. AWS will be in great hands with Matt and the incredible leadership team,” he shared in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

Matt Garman, who has been with Amazon since 2005, was long considered a top contender for the AWS CEO role. He started as an intern and later became one of AWS’s first product managers. Garman has since held various key positions, including general manager of AWS Compute Services, before moving to lead the sales division.

This leadership transition marks a new chapter for AWS as it continues to navigate a competitive landscape and rapidly evolving technological advancements.

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Australia and US Unveil Cutting-Edge Undersea Drones: Ghost Shark and Manta Ray

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2024-04-manta-ray-update-surface-dsc05179-full-res-photo-from-northrop-grumman

Ghost Shark and Manta Ray might sound like characters from a future Marvel movie, but they represent a significant leap forward in Pacific naval defenses. These prototype uncrewed underwater vehicles (UUVs) were recently introduced by Australia and the United States, and they could revolutionize undersea warfare by enhancing power while minimizing the risks to human life.

Developed by Australia, Ghost Shark, and crafted by Northrop Grumman in the US, Manta Ray, significant advancements in military technology. The Ghost Shark prototype, “Alpha,” was co-developed by the Defence Science and Technology Group, Navy, and Anduril Australia. It offers stealthy, long-range autonomous capabilities for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and strike missions. According to the Australian Defense Ministry, the first production models are expected by the end of next year, though specific details remain classified.

In the United States, the Boeing-built Orca UUV and Northrop Grumman’s Manta Ray prototype showcase modular designs for varied payloads and efficient deployment. Aerial drones have become commonplace in warfare, and their maritime counterparts are set to follow. Drones have been extensively used by the US in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan since the 1990s and have become key military hardware in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Kyiv’s naval surface drones have inflicted significant damage on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

However, controlling drones underwater presents unique challenges. Unlike aerial and surface drones that use satellites and radio waves, underwater drones face communication barriers due to water’s properties. A 2023 study published in the Swiss journal *Sensors* highlights that underwater communications require more energy and suffer significant data loss due to variables like water temperature, salinity, and depth. Makers of the new generation of military UUVs have not disclosed how they will overcome these challenges.

When Australia unveiled Ghost Shark, it called the prototypes “the most advanced undersea autonomous vehicles in the world.” These UUVs are designed to provide the Navy with stealthy, long-range capabilities for persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR), and strike. This innovation marks a significant milestone in undersea defense technology.

Australian officials and those from manufacturer Anduril Australia have not shared specific details on Ghost Shark due to classification. However, they emphasized the speed of development from concept to prototype within two years. “Being ahead of schedule, on budget, it’s pretty unheard of,” said Shane Arnott, Anduril’s senior vice president for engineering. Australia’s chief defense scientist, Tanya Monro, stated that delivering the first Ghost Shark prototype ahead of schedule sets a new standard for rapid capability development.

Emma Salisbury, a fellow at the British think tank Council on Geostrategy, noted that Ghost Shark seems similar to the Orca extra-large UUV being developed in the US. Ukraine has used sea drones effectively against Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, with each drone carrying at least 250kg (500lb) of explosives. Salisbury suggested that these UUVs are likely intended for similar missions, focusing on intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and anti-submarine capabilities.

The US Navy describes the Boeing-built Orca UUV as a cutting-edge, autonomous, unmanned diesel-electric submarine with a modular payload section for various missions. The modular design allows the Orca to carry different weapons or specialized equipment for reconnaissance or intelligence gathering. The Pentagon plans to acquire five more UUVs, but no specific timetable has been provided. The Orca has been in development for over a decade, highlighting the contrast with the rapid progress of Australia’s Ghost Shark.

Chris Brose, Anduril’s chief strategy officer, stated that the company and Australia are proving that these capabilities can be developed much faster, cheaper, and more intelligently. Anduril Australia indicated that Ghost Shark, developed entirely domestically, would be available for export after joining the Australian naval fleet.

Meanwhile, the US continues to innovate with Northrop Grumman’s Manta Ray, which was tested off Southern California in February and March. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) praised Manta Ray’s modularity, which allows payloads to be switched out depending on the mission. The Manta Ray can be broken down to fit into five standard shipping containers, transported to the deployment site, and reassembled in the field. This method saves internal energy for the mission instead of using it to reach the deployment site.

DARPA program manager Kyle Woerner highlighted the innovation in Manta Ray’s design, which began in 2020. Despite slower development compared to Ghost Shark, DARPA is working with the US Navy on the next steps for testing and transitioning the technology. China, identified by the US military as a primary threat in the Pacific, is also advancing in UUV development. Submarine expert H I Sutton suggests that Beijing has at least six extra-large UUVs in development based on open-source intelligence.

Besides Australia, the US, and China, other countries developing UUVs include Canada, France, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. The rapid evolution of UUV technology underscores the strategic importance of undersea defenses in modern military operations. Ghost Shark and Manta Ray exemplify the cutting-edge advancements leading this transformative shift in naval warfare.

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