Technology

F.C.C. Bans A.I.-Generated Robocalls – The New York Times
Technology

F.C.C. Bans A.I.-Generated Robocalls – The New York Times

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday outlawed unwanted robocalls generated by artificial intelligence, amid growing concerns over election disinformation and consumer fraud facilitated by the technology.The unanimous decision by the F.C.C. cited a three-decade-old law aimed at curbing junk phone calls, clarifying that A.I.-generated spam calls are also illegal. By doing so, the agency said it expanded the ability of states to prosecute creators of unsolicited spam robocalls.“It seems like something from the far-off future, but it is already here,” the F.C.C. chairwoman, Jessica Rosenworcel, said in a statement. “Bad actors are using A.I.-generated voices in unsolicited robocalls to extort vulnerable family members, imitate celebrities and misinform voters.”Concerns about the u...
Vision Pro Goggles are not Safe While Driving a Tesla, U.S. Says
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Vision Pro Goggles are not Safe While Driving a Tesla, U.S. Says

Videos being shared across social media this week depict an almost dystopian, futuristic scene: drivers of Teslas in Autopilot mode while wearing Apple Vision Pro headsets, seemingly unaware of the road in front of them.The videos led federal transportation officials to issue warnings.But are people really mindlessly riding around in Teslas in Autopilot mode, wearing Apple’s futuristic new goggles? Or is it all just a bit? Part of a never-ending cycle of people doing silly things for clicks, likes, views and clout?The new goggles have a feature that merges digital apps and one’s surroundings into one immersive space, and videos of people wearing them in strange settings have started to crop up across the internet since they were released on Feb. 2.Several of the videos taken in cars appear...
Fake and Explicit Images of Taylor Swift Started on 4chan, Study Says
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Fake and Explicit Images of Taylor Swift Started on 4chan, Study Says

Images of Taylor Swift that had been generated by artificial intelligence and had spread widely across social media in late January probably originated as part of a recurring challenge on one of the internet’s most notorious message boards, according to a new report.Graphika, a research firm that studies disinformation, traced the images back to one community on 4chan, a message board known for sharing hate speech, conspiracy theories and, increasingly, racist and offensive content created using A.I.The people on 4chan who created the images of the singer did so in a sort of game, the researchers said — a test to see whether they could create lewd (and sometimes violent) images of famous female figures.The synthetic Swift images spilled out onto other platforms and were viewed millions of ...
Anxiety, Mood Swings and Sleepless Nights: Life Near a Bitcoin Mine
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Anxiety, Mood Swings and Sleepless Nights: Life Near a Bitcoin Mine

On a sweltering July evening, the din from thousands of computers mining for Bitcoins pierced the night. Nearby, Matt Brown, a member of the Arkansas legislature, monitored the noise alongside a local magistrate.As the two men investigated complaints about the operation, Mr. Brown said, a security guard for the mine loaded rounds into an AR-15-style assault rifle that had been stored in a car.“He wanted to make sure that we knew he had his gun — that we knew it was loaded,” Mr. Brown, a Republican, said in an interview.The Bitcoin outfit here, 45 minutes north of Little Rock, is one of three sites in Arkansas owned by a network of companies embroiled in tense disputes with residents, who say the noise generated by computers performing trillions of calculations per second ruins lives, lower...
How to Quit Your Smartphone
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How to Quit Your Smartphone

Last May, Fabuwood, a kitchen cabinet manufacturer in Newark, instituted a new company policy: No phones allowed during meetings.To enforce it, the company installed “device shelves” outside each of its six glass-walled conference rooms. On a recent Wednesday morning, there were animated meetings in three of the conference rooms, and the shelves outside were full of smartphones, tablets and ’90s-style flip phones. The 1,200-person company pays the cost of a flip phone for employees who give up their smartphone, and 80 people have acted on the offer.Surprisingly, employees say they like it. Rena Stoff, a project manager, said that while at first she hated the idea of being deprived of her smartphone, she found that it had made meetings — that she once found boring and unnecessary — engaging...
Meta Rejected Efforts to Improve Children’s Safety, Documents Show
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Meta Rejected Efforts to Improve Children’s Safety, Documents Show

Hours before Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Meta, was set to testify on Wednesday about child safety online, lawmakers released internal documents showing how his company had rejected calls to bulk up on resources to combat the problem.In 90 pages of internal emails from fall 2021, top officials at Meta, which owns Instagram and Facebook, debated the addition of dozens of engineers and other employees to focus on children’s well-being and safety. One proposal to Mr. Zuckerberg for 45 new staff members was declined.The documents, which are being released in full for the first time, were cited in a lawsuit last year by 33 state attorneys general who accused Meta of getting young users hooked on its apps. They contradict statements from company executives, including the head of globa...
David L. Mills, Who Kept the Internet Running on Time, Dies at 85
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David L. Mills, Who Kept the Internet Running on Time, Dies at 85

David L. Mills, an internet pioneer who developed and, for decades, implemented the timekeeping protocol used by financial markets, power grids, satellites and billions of computers to make sure they run simultaneously, earning him a reputation as the internet’s “Father Time,” died on Jan. 17 at his home in Newark, Del. He was 85.His daughter, Leigh Schnitzler, confirmed the death.Dr. Mills was among the inner circle of computer scientists who from the 1960s through the ’90s developed Arpanet, a relatively small network of linked computers located at academic and research institutions, and then its globe-spanning successor, the internet.It was challenging enough to develop the hardware and software needed to connect even a small number of computers. But Dr. Mills and his colleagues recogni...
23andMe Breach Targeted Jewish and Chinese Customers, Lawsuit Says
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23andMe Breach Targeted Jewish and Chinese Customers, Lawsuit Says

The genetic testing company 23andMe is being accused in a class-action lawsuit of failing to protect the privacy of customers whose personal information was exposed last year in a data breach that affected nearly seven million profiles.The lawsuit, which was filed on Friday in federal court in San Francisco, also accused the company of failing to notify customers with Chinese and Ashkenazi Jewish heritage that they appeared to have been specifically targeted, or that their personal genetic information had been compiled into “specially curated lists” that were shared and sold on the dark web.The suit was filed after 23andMe submitted a notification to the California Attorney General’s Office that showed the company was hacked over the course of five months, from late April 2023 through Sept...
Mediapocalypse Now, a16z’s Chris Dixon Defends Crypto, and HatGPT
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Mediapocalypse Now, a16z’s Chris Dixon Defends Crypto, and HatGPT

Listen and follow ‘Hard Fork’Apple | Spotify | Amazon | YouTubeLayoffs are hitting newsrooms and publishers again, as tech platforms, ad markets and artificial intelligence reshape the internet. Kevin Roose and Casey Newton have ideas for solutions. Then, one of the most influential investors in crypto companies lays out where the industry went wrong, and why he still thinks blockchains are the future. And finally, a round of HatGPT with the week’s tech headlines, including a spicy LinkedIn post and an A.I. test that disturbs Kevin and Casey’s sense of reality.Credits“Hard Fork” is hosted by Kevin Roose and Casey Newton and produced by Davis Land and Rachel Cohn. The show is edited by Jen Poyant. Engineering by Chris Wood and original music by Dan Powell, Elisheba Ittoop and Marion Lozano....
Deal Ends Dispute Over Records of Onetime King of Donkey Kong
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Deal Ends Dispute Over Records of Onetime King of Donkey Kong

Back in the 1980s, it seemed as if everyone with a spare quarter was playing the arcade game Donkey Kong, scooting up ramps and climbing ladders while avoiding barrels hurled by a giant ape.For most players, the video game provided a few minutes of excitement before inevitable defeat. But a handful of top players had the superhuman ability to rescue Pauline, the damsel in distress, over and over again, earning one of the high scores not just in their own arcade but in the whole world.Now a settlement has been reached in a long-running disagreement over disputed world records set by the arcade gamer Billy Mitchell.While the arcade boom of the 1980s faded, some gamers pressed on in their pursuit of high scores, often playing on their own machines in basements and garages, long after most gam...