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News, Tech Roundup

Tech Beat by Namecheap – 14 April 2023

Generative AI has been a trending topic for months, but very little time has been spent discussing its environmental impact. Experts are concerned about the sky-high computational resources needed for the technology to function and its carbon emissions. Find out how generative AI affects the environment, how it’s set to get worse, and what tech corporations can do to lessen the impact.

In other news

  • Bloomberg introduces new finance bot. We’ve all heard of ChatGPT, but now the finance giant is applying AI tech to the world of financial data. Forbes reports that the BloombergGPT will draw on the company’s vast datasets as a financial research and analysis tool. The datasets comprise weighted proportions of financial news, press releases, and company financial filings collected by Bloomsberg over decades. Additional non-financial data comes from general sources that include Wikipedia, The Pile, and The Colossal Clean Crawled Corpus (C4).  
  • Cruise and Waymo self-driving taxis are not the best drivers. San Francisco is big on disruption, but traffic disruptions are less welcome. According to Gizmodo, driverless vehicles are causing problems by suddenly stopping and taking ill-advised turns, among other examples of bad driving. There was even a collision between a Cruise car and a San Francisco public bus. There have been at least 12 incidents in the last 7 months resulting in more than 80 minutes of delays. The new driverless cars have been relatively safe and accidents have been rare, but difficulties are caused by their faulty operation. 
  • London police hail facial recognition. According to the Guardian, London’s Metropolitan Police are optimistic about improvements in live facial recognition technology shown in a recent report, despite criticisms from human rights campaigners. The police force says the “game-changing” technology shows an 89% rate of accuracy (previously at 72%), which will make it easier to catch terrorists and find missing people. But groups like Amnesty International, Liberty, and Big Brother Watch have called the technology oppressive and that it will make citizens “walking ID cards”.
  • FTC urged to freeze OpenAI’s ‘biased, deceptive’ GPT-4. The Center for AI and Digital Policy has filed a complaint to America’s Federal Trade Commission urging an investigation into OpenAI’s GPT-4 release, claiming it violates commerce laws and poses risks to consumers. Journalists at The Register observed that the policy center argues that the product doesn’t meet the FTC’s requirements for fair and transparent AI use. OpenAI’s CEO himself has expressed concern about the technology’s impact on society, admitting that it is biased, harmful, and can spread misinformation. 
  • Look out! SpaceX’s Starlink satellites are dropping from the sky. SpaceX’s recently launched Starlink V2 Mini satellite, designated as 30062, has reentered Earth’s atmosphere and burned up during its reentry. The satellite was one of the 21 mini versions of the next-generation Starlink satellites launched last month. Gizmodo reports that CEO Elon Musk clarified on Twitter that the satellites were “experiencing some issues” and that some of them will be deorbited while others would still be tested. 
  • Driving a Tesla? Say cheese! Tesla is facing controversy as workers allegedly shared sensitive images captured by Tesla’s Autopilot camera system. According to Reuters, employees shared embarrassing photos of customers and accidents in internal channels. The incident has raised concerns over privacy and data protection, with experts questioning the company’s commitment to user confidentiality. Tesla has yet to comment on the matter, but the event could potentially lead to regulatory scrutiny and legal challenges.
  • Massive black hole may be baby star maker. Astronomers accidentally spotted a runaway supermassive black hole, 20 million times more massive than the Sun, speeding through space and leaving a trail of newborn stars behind it. As reported in The Register, the rogue black hole is believed to have been ejected from its host galaxy after interacting with other supermassive black holes. Yale University scientists discovered this phenomenon in an image captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. This remarkable discovery has significant implications for our understanding of star formation and the properties of the gas surrounding galaxies.

Tip of the week: Treat yo’ self & delete yo’ self from search results

In today’s digital world, our online identities can profoundly impact our personal and professional lives, so taking steps to delete yourself from search results is worth considering. Employers and advertisers often use publicly available information to evaluate candidates and target marketing. However, this also leaves us vulnerable to cyberbullying, stalking, and abuse. 

  • To take control of our online privacy and data, ZDNet points out it is essential first to understand what information about yourself is available online. Google and other search engines can be used to uncover this information, but it is crucial to switch to privacy-focused search engines like DuckDuckGo to prevent tracking. 
  • In the EU, citizens can request the removal of information from Google search results, but Google employees will review requests on a case-by-case basis. It is important to note that Google may not accept every request, especially if the information is deemed to be in the public interest. 
  • Knowing if your information has been leaked in data breaches is essential. The “Have I Been Pwned” service can be used to check if any account information has been compromised or included in a data breach. 
  • Companies now offer services such as credit monitors and password vaults that periodically check for compromised passwords. 

Ultimately, taking control of your online privacy requires a proactive approach that includes understanding what information is available, using privacy-focused search engines, requesting the removal of sensitive data from search results when possible, and securing personal accounts from cyber-attacks.

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