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News, Tech Roundup

Tech Beat by Namecheap – 1 September 2023

Awareness about the importance of data privacy has increased in recent years in the wake of countless data breaches and scandals. Despite this awareness, it remains unclear how exactly our personal data is used by companies, particularly in the advertising sector. To get a better idea, check out this week’s lead story, which dives into a well-known advertising platform’s segmentation database. It gets pretty weird.

In tech news:

  • AI-generated art can’t be copyrighted in the US. A recent federal ruling regarding copyright protection for art created by artificial intelligence (AI) could have implications for the ongoing writers’ and actors’ strikes in Hollywood. PC Mag reported that the ruling upheld a decision by the US Copyright Office that stated AI-generated art does not qualify for copyright protection due to the lack of human authorship. While this ruling pertains to physical art, it is likely to grab the attention of Hollywood studio executives due to the increasing use of AI in scriptwriting and acting. This issue is already being raised in ongoing lawsuits where artists claim AI generators have used copyrighted materials without consent or compensation. Notable cases include comedian Sarah Silverman suing Meta and OpenAI for using her work to train chatbots without her consent, as well as lawsuits filed by authors Richard Kadrey and Christopher Golden. 
  • Zoom CEO wants employees at the office because building trust is a challenge over Zoom. In leaked audio from an all-hands meeting, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan expressed his reluctance to allow remote work to continue, stating that the company’s video-calling platform hinders innovative conversations. Gizmodo reported his announcement that employees within 50 miles of a Zoom brick-and-mortar office must report to the office at least two days a week. While Yuan’s comments reflect his belief in the limitations of Zoom’s platform, other tech companies have also urged employees to return to the office, including Meta and Apple. However, some companies, like Amazon, have faced backlash from employees who oppose a return to in-office work. 
  • Record labels sue the Internet Archive as publisher battles intensify. The Internet Archive, a non-profit organization known for its preservation and digitization efforts, faces copyright infringement lawsuits from music and book industry giants. According to The Register, music companies, including UMG Recordings and Sony Music, claim that the Internet Archive violated their copyrights by digitizing and distributing audio files from old 78 RPM recordings. The Internet Archive argues that its goal is preservation, research, and discovery, but the music companies argue that it provides free and unlimited access to copyrighted music. Their ‘Great 78 Project’ holds over 400,000 recordings, including songs by renowned artists like Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong.
  • Scientists lukewarm about room-temp superconductor claims. The scientific community was abuzz with the news of a room-temperature superconductor named LK-99. As Gizmodo reported, this potential game-changer may have been a bit of a dud. Korea University is now investigating claims that Professor Young-Wan Kwon published the paper without his co-authors’ nod of approval. Meanwhile, other scientists tried to recreate the discovery but came up empty-handed. Adding to the drama, another team, this time from the University of Rochester in the US, claimed to have achieved this feat, publishing their findings in the journal Nature, but they now face allegations of research misconduct, and their paper is being retracted.
  • Who needs Sherlock when you have AI? MIT and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers have unveiled OncoNPC, a machine-learning model with a knack for detective work. MIT News described how the AI dives into the genetic sequences of mysterious cancers and predicts where the tumor started out in the body. Researchers demonstrated that they could accurately classify 40% or more of the tumors of an unknown origin. With its impressive accuracy, OncoNPC opens the door to more targeted treatments, potentially transforming the prognosis for patients with these cancers. 

Previously in Tech Beat: The rise of prompt engineering

In the rapidly evolving landscape of AI-driven content generation, tools like ChatGPT and Jasper are capturing the attention of diverse audiences. Amidst this technological surge, traditional copywriters are grappling with existential concerns, with some pivoting to roles as “prompt engineers” or “ChatGPT whisperers”. This emerging profession focuses on crafting and optimizing prompts for large language models, ensuring that AI produces the desired output. If you’re a writer, you’ll want to check out our recent article, Will copywriters become prompt engineers?

Tip of the week: Protect your data from advertisers

Even if your jurisdiction doesn’t have protections in place to safeguard your online data from dubious targeting, there are steps you can take as an individual.

  • Avoid free apps and platforms: Often, these kinds of apps make money from selling user data. So before you download or sign up for anything, always check its data-sharing practices. 
  • Use an ad blocker: Many websites and online ads feature trackers that collect your data. You can prevent this by adding an ad blocker extension to your browser.
  • Use a VPN: A VPN adds an extra layer of protection while using the Internet, hiding your IP and encrypting your data so nobody can snoop on your browsing activities.
  • Don’t link apps: Never use another online profile, like a social media account, to sign in to a new app. It may seem convenient to save yourself the two minutes it takes to create a new profile, but connecting apps will share your personal data with each other.

If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest tech news, be sure to subscribe to Namecheap’s blog today!

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