Rep. Wexton unveils AI recreation of voice

Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) unveiled an artificial intelligence (AI) recreation of her voice Wednesday as she battles a neurodegenerative disease that has “robbed” her of her “full voice.” Wexton, who has said she has progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), said in a post on the social platform X Wednesday that “AI has allowed me to make a new model of my voice like it was before my PSP.” “For those of you who heard me speak before PSP robbed me of my full voice, you may think your ears are deceiving you right now,” a voice sounding quite similar to Wexton’s old voice can be heard saying in a video featured in the post. “I assure you, they are not.” “I’m very pleased to debut my new AI voice today, and share how this remarkable technology has helped empower me to keep living my life, and doing the job I love.” Back in September 2023, Wexton announced that she wouldn’t try for another term due to increasing challenges with her health. “I’m heartbroken to have to give up something I have loved after so many years of serving my community,” Wexton said in a statement. “But taking into consideration the prognosis for my health over the coming years, I have made the decision not to seek reelection once my term is complete and instead spend my valued time with Andrew, our boys, and my friends and loved ones.” Wexton gave a speech on the House floor via voice assist in May…Rep. Wexton unveils AI recreation of voice

X / Twitter's user base has stopped growing under Elon Musk

Elon Musk’s X is stuck.X, formerly known as Twitter, has stagnated when it comes to user growth ever since Musk acquired the company. According to a new report from the Financial Times, X has around 251 global daily active users as of the second quarter of 2024.This represents just a 1.6 percent increase in users on X compared to the same period last year.The social media platform, then-known as Twitter, enjoyed double-digit growth, adding tens of millions of new users year-after-year before Musk took over the company in October 2022.In contrast, Musk’s X only added a little over four million users from from Q2 2023 to Q2 2024.Stalled growth at Musk’s X worse than it looksThe quarterly breakdown of X’s meager daily active user growth actually puts a positive spin on the platform’s realities, according to Mashable’s own previous reporting.X hasn’t openly shared its daily active user numbers since Musk took the company private. However, shortly after Musk acquired the company, then-Twitter’s new owner was quite open about the bump in X’s user base – seemingly buoyed by users signing up to see what he was going to do. Tweet may have been deleted In late November 2022, Musk shared a graph showing that then-Twitter added roughly five million daily active users in the month since he acquired the company. The weekly breakdown graph displayed that the social media platform had 254.5 million daily active users as of Oct. 23, the last full week of Twitter before Musk took over….X / Twitter's user base has stopped growing under Elon Musk

Senate panel to hold privacy-focused AI hearing  

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing Thursday centered on privacy-related concerns stemming from the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), the committee announced Monday.   The hearing will examine how AI has “accelerated the need for a federal comprehensive privacy law,” according to the committee announcement.   The hearing was scheduled amid mounting pressure for Congress to put AI rules in place, as well as a comprehensive federal privacy law.   The U.S. lacks a comprehensive federal privacy law, as states and other countries roll out new standards that regulate the largely U.S.-based tech giants. The American Privacy Rights Act, a bipartisan data privacy bill led by Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), was scheduled for a markup in the House last month, but the meeting was pulled shortly before it began after pushback from House GOP leaders. The House pushback threatens the bill’s chances of passage this session, but it is likely to emerge during a Senate hearing on the topic.   The bill would give people more control over their data and add requirements such as letting users opt out of targeted advertising and data transfers. It would also create a private right of action that allows consumers to seek financial damages through court and preempt state laws. The Senate hearing will feature testimony from Ryan Calo, a professor at the University of Washington School of Law and co-director of the University of Washington Tech Policy Lab; Amba Kak, co-executive…Senate panel to hold privacy-focused AI hearing  

How Congress is fighting the rise of nonconsensual AI porn

Political momentum is building to regulate the spread of nonconsensual explicit deepfakes as the issue of the digitally altered images has moved from a potential threat to a reality.   Several bipartisan bills introduced in Congress aim to mitigate the spread of nonconsensual explicit images made using artificial intelligence (AI), an issue that has not only plagued public figures and celebrities, but everyday people and even kids.   “The past year, it’s really been a new thing where it’s forced itself — where we’ve got a real big problem,” said Anna Olivarius, the founding partner of McAllister Olivarius, a transatlantic law firm specializing in cases of race and gender discrimination.   In January, explicit AI-generated images made to look like Taylor Swift circulated online, bringing mass attention to the issue. The outcry inspired lawmakers and the White House to push platforms to enforce their rules and prevent the spread of such images. While the spread of the Swift deepfakes put a spotlight on the rise of nonconsensual AI porn, the issue has become more widespread. Schools have even been forced to grapple with the new form of cyberbullying and harassment as students create and spread deepfakes of their peers in a largely unregulated space.   “It’s impacting tons of everyday people,” Olivarius said.   Lawmakers have also been victims. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who is one of the lawmakers spearheading a bill to fight explicit deepfakes, spoke about being targeted by nonconsensual explicit deepfakes herself in an April interview with…How Congress is fighting the rise of nonconsensual AI porn

The US must secure its supremacy against China in AI and cloud computing 

The race for dominance in cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) is heating up, and China is pulling ahead with aggressive tactics. If the U.S. doesn’t step up now, we risk losing our technological edge and compromising national security.   Cloud computing is arguably the backbone of today’s AI renaissance, providing essential infrastructure for the training, processing and deploying of today’s most advanced models leveraging the most sophisticated semiconductors available. With over 70 percent of companies adopting AI platforms and 85 percent developing AI applications in the cloud, the U.S. government faces an urgent task: ensuring that high-performing chips are manufactured and deployed by trusted entities and that AI is developed in secure, reliable clouds.  American cloud providers are crucial for AI innovation, yet they face unfair competition from Chinese firms backed by state subsidies and predatory pricing. It’s time for the U.S. to act decisively and reclaim leadership in these critical sectors.  China’s cloud giants, such as Alibaba, Huawei and Tencent, are leveraging state support to offer services at drastically reduced prices, sometimes 20 percent to 40 percent lower; Huawei this year offered as much as 90 percent off its services to help its cloud enterprise grow fast. This aggressive pricing, coupled with low- or no-cost loans from the Chinese government, has enabled them to make significant inroads in developing regions such as Latin America, Africa and Asia. These moves not only undermine American companies but also create dependency on Chinese technology, posing long-term security risks. The rapid expansion of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in cloud…The US must secure its supremacy against China in AI and cloud computing 

Elon Musk's X: Flawed Grok AI chatbot to become more deeply integrated

X, formerly known as Twitter, is looking to integrate its flawed AI chatbot even more deeply into the platform.App researcher Nima Owji has recently uncovered code written within the X website that shows the company’s upcoming plans for its AI chatbot Grok. While the features haven’t publicly launched yet, Owji’s discovery gives users a sneak peek into how much Elon Musk is looking to depend on AI for his social media platform.It’s important to note that these upcoming Grok-related features will likely be paywalled, similar to how Grok AI is currently structured. While users originally needed to pay for the $16 per month Premium+ plan, X has since rolled Grok out to those paying for the $8 X Premium plan.X’s upcoming Grok featuresAccording to Owji’s findings, X is planning to launch at least three new features across the platform that are powered by Grok. Tweet may have been deleted X will reportedly allow X Premium and Premium+ subscribers to highlight text on the platform — and then ask Grok about the selection via a pop-up without needing to head off the page. Owji found code in X which deploys an “Ask Grok” prompt pop-up message when text is highlighted. Tweet may have been deleted Another upcoming X feature that lets users access Grok without moving off-page is the “More about this account” prompt. Based on Owji’s research, it appears X will soon let paying users ask Grok for background information about a specific X account via a Grok button that…Elon Musk's X: Flawed Grok AI chatbot to become more deeply integrated

Coming redesign of Elon Musk's X will get rid of… a lot

Another big change that no one asked for is coming to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.X is planning to redesign how content shows up in users’ feeds by removing interaction and engagement buttons from posts. This means that the repost (aka retweet), like, and reply buttons would no longer appear on each individual post on a users’ X timeline.  Tweet may have been deleted Along with the removal of the buttons, repost, like, and reply counts will also be removed from each individual post.Instead of tapping on a button, X wants users to swipe left or right on a post in order to like or reply. X for iOS users can also force touch a post in order to open a menu with more options.The only viewable metric on the post in the timeline will be view count, which has been moved to the upper right hand corner of the post. Tweet may have been deleted The upcoming X post design change was first discovered by researcher Aaron Perris of MacRumors. X owner Elon Musk has since confirmed it’s coming.The reaction from most users so far has been negative.”It’s awesome,” Musk said in a reply to a user who criticized the change in the reply to a video showcasing the redesign. “Just swipe left to like and right to reply.” Tweet may have been deleted Musk has long wanted to remove repost, like buttonsSince acquiring the company in October 2022, Musk has made quite a few sweeping changes…Coming redesign of Elon Musk's X will get rid of… a lot

Get Ready for Y2Q

Dateline: Woking, 2nd July 2024.Remember when the Russians published the contents of top secret Germany army discussions about missile deployments? According to Der Spiegel magazine, the discussions did not take place on a secure army network but on WebEx. Perhaps it’s time to start taking security seriously, as Apple has done.SharePost-Quantum SecurityApple are introducing new security to their iMessage service in the form of the PQ3 protocol, an end-to-end encrypted messaging protocol designed for exchanging data in long-lived sessions between two devices (eg, chats with your friends). Why is this interesting? Well, it’s because it uses “Kyber”, an algorithm selected by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST ) as one of its post-quantum security standards.Post-quantum security means security that employs cryptographic principles and practices designed to secure communications and data against the potential future threat posed by quantum computers. Traditional cryptographic systems use classes of algorithms, including the algorithms used to secure today’s internet communications of all kinds (including banking, shopping and messaging), based on mathematical problems that are difficult to solve with classical computers but could be easily solved with quantum computers.Quantum computers operate on the principles of quantum mechanics, allowing them to process information in ways fundamentally different from classical computers. While large-scale quantum computers capable of breaking these current cryptographic systems are not yet a reality, the potential for their development poses a significant threat to contemporary security measures.With this threat in mind, organisations are beginning to think about switching to post-quantum cryptography (PQC). There are…Get Ready for Y2Q

Teachers look to make AI more of an asset

Teachers are increasingly trying to turn artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to their advantage in the face of concerns over cheating and equity.   A survey released this month from Imagine Learning found 50 percent of educators reported an increased use of AI in the last academic year, and, just days later, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) released new AI guidelines ahead of the 2024-2025 one.   Experts say teachers have so far mostly used AI to help complete lesson plans quicker or create individualized instruction more efficiently, and that more training is needed to ensure the technology is used to its fullest potential.  “I think it’s still not every teacher who’s using AI, but the trend seems to be increasing that more teachers are interested in using these tools both for their own practice and for supporting student learning and engagement,” said Torrey Trust, an associate professor of teacher education and curriculum studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  “From the research that I’ve seen, the most common usage by teachers is to save them time, so to help with lesson planning, to generate texts for communications with administrative tasks and then to support student learning,” Trust said. “Then also just with creative thinking, support and helping with improving their academic success.”   In the Imagine Learning report, 68 percent of teachers said they use AI for analyzing student data, 67 percent create instructional material with it and 65 percent use it for grading.   “I think teachers are…Teachers look to make AI more of an asset

Bipartisan lawmakers call for increased AI oversight in Medicare Advantage coverage decisions

A bipartisan group of 51 lawmakers in both the House and Senate is calling for increased oversight of artificial intelligence (AI) in Medicare Advantage (MA) coverage decisions. In the letter addressed to Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the group of lawmakers said that they are “concerned about MA plans’ use of prior authorization, specifically their ongoing use of artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithmic software to guide coverage decisions.” “Plans continue to use AI tools to erroneously deny care and contradict provider assessment findings,” reads the letter, signed by several lawmakers including Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.). The lawmakers push for CMS to take action including creating “an approval process to review AI and algorithmic tools and their inputs to ensure the integrity of their use, and conduct a review of algorithm and AI tools currently being used.” “We believe CMS must be more proactive in monitoring plans’ use of AI and algorithm-driven tools,” the letter reads. “MA plans cannot be allowed to side-step oversight by claiming that these tools are mere ‘guidance.’ Given that we do not know what inputs are used for the algorithms and AI tools currently being used, it is difficult to know the accuracy of the information they generate and whether the inputs comply with the regulations.” “Absent a prohibition on the use of such tools altogether, CMS should limit their use until a systematic evaluation can…Bipartisan lawmakers call for increased AI oversight in Medicare Advantage coverage decisions