British Jobs For British Bots

Dateline: Woking, 22nd June 2024.Britain’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) published its quarterly labour market outlook earlier this year. It is based on a survey of more than 2,000 senior HR professionals and shows that around one in five employers have difficulties with candidate attraction and recruitment, with staff retention seen as being the biggest challenge in the coming year. Given that just a tenth of employers were expecting their headcount to fall while a third were expecting it to grow, it seems to me that fintechs, just like many other businesses, are going to have to come up with some new strategies. Read moreBritish Jobs For British Bots

Elon Musk's X revenue has officially plummeted, new documents show 

By now, you’ve probably heard about Elon Musk’s grand plan to turn X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, into an “everything app.” One of the major pillars of Musk’s reimagining of X includes a payment platform much like PayPal or Venmo.New documents obtained by Bloomberg shed new light, not only into Musk’s financial service vision for X, but also into just how much the company has struggled financially since he acquired it in October 2022.These new documents are prepared by X and have been submitted to state regulators as Musk’s company looks to receive money transmitter licenses — a requirement for anyone looking to provide financial services of this kind. These documents also give the public its first official peek into the company since Musk took X private.X’s revenue has plungedNow that X is no longer publicly traded, there’s a lot we no longer know about the company. Most reports regarding X’s revenue troubles, for example, have come from internal leaks.However, these new documents make it official: According to X, the company’s revenue has plummeted since Musk took over.In the first six months of 2023 — the first full year in which Musk controlled the company — X’s revenue fell by nearly 40 percent from the same period the prior year. The company brought in $1.48 billion during that time period. Furthermore, X lost $456 million in the first quarter of 2023.The majority of this drop in revenue can be attributed to X’s advertiser woes. Prior to…Elon Musk's X revenue has officially plummeted, new documents show 

Dirty Laundry

Dateline: Lisbon, 18th June 2024.I’ve been reading Geoff White’s new book “Rinsed”, which is all about money laundering. In the book he tells the story of gang of money launderers based in Bury, in the north of England (they were all caught: the gang leader got 18 years chokey and the gang members went down for between 11 and 15 years). Once the police had some of their Bitcoin addresses, the blockchain delivered an immutable record of where their money came from and went to. Which left me wondering what I should do to if I were to come across a stash of bent bitcoins.ShareProperty Rights and WrongsDo you remember the classic scene in the cult movie Office Space where the characters are trying to work out how to launder money and so they bring in a guy that they assume to be a drug dealer? He turns out to be a computer programmer who knows nothing about money laundering at all.That was in the 1990s. How would they go about money laundering now? They would probably use Bitcoin. This would be a big mistake, because one of the reasons why Bitcoin is not money, but property, is that it is not fungible. Coins that are stolen can be tracked using the immutable public record of transactions, the blockchain.In the case of the bitcoins stolen from the hacked cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, they were followed for years and anyone who is interested in technology and money cannot fail to have been…Dirty Laundry

Threads finally launched its API

Meta has finally launched the Threads API to developers, meaning third party businesses will be able to build their own integrations into the app.Announced Tuesday morning in a blog post by Threads director of engineering Jesse Chen, the API (Application Programming Interface) will allow external devs to build their own apps to publish custom image, video, text, or carousel posts, analyse performance metrics, access follower demographics, and automate reply tools on Threads.”People can now publish posts via the API, fetch their own content, and leverage our reply management capabilities to set reply and quote controls, retrieve replies to their posts, hide, unhide or respond to specific replies,” reads the blog post. SEE ALSO: You came back to Threads. Here’s how it can keep you. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg also announced the news on Threads, writing, “The Threads API is now widely available, and coming to more of you soon.” Post by @zuck View on Threads Meta provided an open-source sample app for developers wanting to build apps using the Threads API —there’s a form for interested developers to fill out. Meta also published a guide on how to use the API, which states that Threads accounts are limited to 250 API-published posts per 24 hours.After Instagram head Adam Mossieri suggested Meta was working on the Threads API in October 2023, the company started testing it earlier this year with Hootsuite, Techmeme, Sprinklr, Social News Desk, Grabyo, and Sprout Social, announcing the beta in April.”Threads is a fast-growing network that reflects…Threads finally launched its API

U.S. Surgeon General: Social media needs a warning label

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy announced Monday that he believes social media platforms should come with a warning label, in an effort to help protect young people from related mental health risks.”A surgeon general’s warning label, which requires congressional action, would regularly remind parents and adolescents that social media has not been proved safe,” Murthy wrote in a New York Times opinion essay.Tobacco products sold in the U.S. have long displayed a surgeon general’s warning label. Murthy said that research studies have demonstrated that warning labels can “increase awareness and change behavior.” SEE ALSO: How to ask a teen if they’re feeling suicidal He also cited a 2023 survey of 558 Latino parents as evidence that a warning label could be effective. When presented with a brief prompt about the risks of social media for youth, three-quarters of respondents said they were more likely to act, including by limiting or monitoring their social media use. This is not the first time Murthy has emphasized the potential harm of youth social media use. A year ago, he issued a 19-page advisory that outlined how social media can expose children to violence, sexual and hate-based content, disordered eating, bullying, and predatory and self-harming behaviors. Some critics believe the focus on social media and youth mental health amounts to a 21st-century moral panic, citing weak associations between poorer mental health and certain types of online engagement. But Murthy argued that spiraling youth well-being may very well be connected to the amount of…U.S. Surgeon General: Social media needs a warning label

5 of the best — and worst — social media apps in 2024 (so far)

Between misinformation, comparison, and general fatigue, navigating social media apps in 2024 can be pretty rough. It’s a consensus we all seem to agree on, despite the amount of time we spend scrolling. If you ask developers, the answer to this troubling phenomenon is more social media apps.Each year, dozens of new social media apps appear. Typically, the lifespan of one goes something like this: Someone gets bored with their feeds, so they create a new social media platform to fill a void. Then either: a) it falls flat, b) it’s a good idea, and a larger social media platform buys it, takes the idea, and sells the rest for parts, or c) it’s successful. We haven’t seen a thriving new social media platform rivaling the giants since TikTok. SEE ALSO: The best memes of 2024 (so far) Last year, we saw a massive uptick in social media platforms after Elon Musk bought Twitter and turned it into X, a platform that now sucks. In response, developers created Mastodon, BlueSky, and, oh God, so many more. We haven’t seen as many new apps this year, but plenty of apps have gained considerable popularity, worming their way into our collective consciousness and, worse, onto our phones.Here are some of the apps that have been on our minds: AirChat AirChat Credit: AirChat Do you remember Clubhouse, the audio-first social media platform popular during the first few weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, only to become obsolete a few months later? AirChat…5 of the best — and worst — social media apps in 2024 (so far)

Technology is the future, but the Biden administration is afraid 

President Biden recently vetoed bipartisan legislation that would have allowed financial institutions to hold customers’ cryptocurrency. It is disconcerting to see him veto legislation specifically crafted to foster financial innovation and safeguard consumer choice.  By disallowing banks from securing digital assets, the veto will impede the development of new financial technologies and reinforce the dominance of traditional financial systems that many view as outdated and excessively regulated. This action could stifle innovation in the financial sector and limit the potential benefits of decentralized currencies, which offer users more privacy and freedom.  Ever since British textile workers destroyed machines in cotton and wool mills in the early 1800s, fearing they would threaten their jobs, technological change has been marveled at by many and feared by some.   Known as the Luddites, members of this movement effectively sought to end human progress and advancement. Today, it isn’t bands of workers armed with clubs seeking to destroy technology, but often it is government bureaucrats and policymakers who take destructive actions to preserve the status quo, seemingly out of fear of the unknown.  Cryptocurrency, sometimes referred to as “freedom currency,” operates without a central network controlled by a single entity, which makes it challenging for the government to regulate transactions. That appears to be why the president and his administration oppose promoting its use in the financial system.  Biden appears to be more comfortable with exploring developing a Central Digital Currency (CDC), which the government would run. However, a CDC would have the opposite effect…Technology is the future, but the Biden administration is afraid 

A Pentagon-approved bot attack attempted to thwart global COVID-19 vaccinations, report finds

According to a new investigative report by Reuters, the Pentagon ran a year-long vaccine disinformation campaign using social media bots — all part of an anti-China political play built on problematic COVID-19 disinformation. One part of a larger, locally-targeted anti-vax campaign around the world, the propaganda efforts sought to discredit the validity of China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine among internet users in the Philippines, where the vaccine had been deployed. Messaging included the phrase #Chinaangvirus, reportedly Tagalog slang for “China is the virus.” SEE ALSO: How do we navigate climate disinformation online? Reuters reports that the campaign was reportedly run to “undermine China’s growing influence in the Philippines,” after the vaccines and other public health interventions were made readily available. The efforts “aimed to sow doubt about the safety and efficacy” of such aid. The strategy was greenlit by a secret order signed by then-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper — elevating China and Russia to the priority of “active combat” and allowing for non-State Department-sanctioned psyops. At least 300 fake accounts impersonating Filipinos were active on X/ Twitter between spring 2020 and mid-2021, right before a period of record deaths in the country — the platform later removed all of the accounts after being asked about their existence by Reuters. “We weren’t looking at this from a public health perspective. We were looking at how we could drag China through the mud,” an anonymous senior military officer told the publication. A wider network of bots and fake accounts created by the…A Pentagon-approved bot attack attempted to thwart global COVID-19 vaccinations, report finds

Apple to launch new AI 'Intelligence' feature, partner with ChatGPT

Apple will offer new artificial intelligence (AI) features for users across products in its upcoming software updates, both through its own new native “Apple Intelligence” and a partnership that will incorporate ChatGPT into devices. Apple Intelligence aims to give users an AI system that is personalized to their needs, the company announced Monday at its developer’s conference. Apple’s announcement of Apple Intelligence, combined with updates coming to its AI voice assistant Siri, is the latest AI push from a tech giant, following recent AI advancements rolled out by Google, Microsoft and OpenAI. Apple touted how its AI update will be more personalized for users, compared to other generative AI tools released on the market. Through Apple Intelligence, users will be able to prioritize their notifications or help rewrite language across apps, including in emails, notes or messages. The feature will be included as part of the launch of the new iOS18, as well as updates coming to operating systems for the Mac and iPad, which will be released in the fall. Apple also announced that use of its AI voice assistant Siri will be more advanced, allowing users to use more conversational context through follow-up questions. Through using Apple Intelligence and user context, users will be able to ask Siri specific questions to find information that may have been shared through an email or message without having to change which app the user is using. For example, a user can ask Siri what time a family member’s flight will land…Apple to launch new AI 'Intelligence' feature, partner with ChatGPT

From deepfake nudes to incriminating audio, school bullying is going AI

Students are quickly learning the ease with which artificial intelligence (AI) can create nefarious content, opening up a new world of bullying that neither schools nor the law are fully prepared for.  Educators are watching in horror as deepfake sexual images are created of their students, with sham voice recordings and videos also posing a looming threat.   Advocates are sounding the alarm on the potential damage — and on gaps in both the law and school policies. “We need to keep up and we have a responsibility as folks who are supporting educators and supporting parents and families as well as the students themselves to help them understand the complexity of handling these situations, so that they understand the context, they can learn to empathize and make ethical decisions about the use and application of these AI systems and tools,” said Pati Ruiz, senior director of education technology and emerging tech at Digital Promise.   At Westfield High School in New Jersey last year, teen boys used AI to create sexually explicit images of female classmates.  “In this situation, there was some boys or a boy — that’s to be determined — who created, without the consent of the girls, inappropriate images,” Dorota Mani, the mother of one of the girls at the school who was targeted, told CNN at the time.   And in Pennsylvania, a mother allegedly created AI images of her daughter’s cheerleading rivals naked and drinking at a party before sending them to their coach, the…From deepfake nudes to incriminating audio, school bullying is going AI