Posts with «finance trading» label

The Morning After: Want to live in NASA’s Mars simulation for a year?

NASA wants volunteers for its second year-long simulated Mars mission, the Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog (CHAPEA 2). For the mission’s duration, starting spring 2025, the four selected crew members will live in a 1,700-square-foot 3D-printed habitat in Houston. It’s paid, but we don’t know how much. At least living costs will be nil.

The Mars Dune Alpha habitat at NASA’s Johnson Space Center simulates life for future explorers on the red planet, where the environment is harsh and resources limited.

Applicants must be US citizens aged 30 to 55, speak English proficiently and have a master’s degree in a STEM field, plus at least two years of professional experience, a minimum of one thousand hours piloting an aircraft. Or two years of work toward a STEM doctoral program.

I barely qualify for two of those requirements — good luck to the rest of you.

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missed

The best VR headsets

Epic plans to launch its own iOS storefront in the EU this year

Microsoft should exit the console business

Engadget is looking for experienced writers

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The EU is reportedly hitting Apple with a $539 million fine in antitrust probe

It’s been investigating Apple’s App Store rules since a 2019 complaint from Spotify.

Apple may be facing a fine of roughly $539 million (€500 million) from the EU and a ban on its alleged anti-competitive App Store practices for music streaming services, according to The Financial Times. The publication cites five unnamed sources and says the European Commission will announce its ruling early next month.

The investigation was prompted by a 2019 antitrust complaint filed by Spotify and focuses on App Store rules that, at the time, prevented developers from directing customers to alternative subscriptions outside the app, which could be notably cheaper as they didn’t have to include Apple’s 30 percent fee.

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Reddit reportedly signed a multi-million content licensing deal with an AI company

The company will use Reddit content to train its AI models.

Anadolu via Getty Images

Your dank memes, confessional posts and excessively strong feelings on Baldur’s Gate 3 couplings will soon train an artificial intelligence company’s models, according to Bloomberg. The website reportedly signed a deal “worth about $60 million on an annual basis” earlier this year.

When Reddit started charging companies for API access in April 2023, it said pricing would split in tiers so even smaller clientele could afford to pay. Companies need that API access to train their chatbots on posts and comments. This is likely the top tier of all that.

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Intuitive Machines’ moon lander sent home its first images

The landing attempt is scheduled for February 22.

Intuitive Machines

Intuitive Machines’ own attempt at the first-ever commercial Moon landing is off to a good start. After launching without a hitch on Thursday, it snapped a few incredible images of Earth. The team posted a series of updates on X at the end of the week, confirming the lander has passed some key milestones, including engine firing, ahead of its touchdown.

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This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Former Call of Duty chief Johanna Faries is Blizzard's new president

Microsoft didn't have to look too far to find the new president of Blizzard. Former Call of Duty general manager Johanna Faries is replacing Mike Ybarra, who stood down from the role amid last week's sweeping layoffs in Microsoft's gaming division. Blizzard was said to be particularly hard hit as Microsoft fired around 1,900 people.

Faries, a former National Football League executive, joined Activision as the head of Call of Duty esports in 2018. She started overseeing all things Call of Duty in 2021 and officially starts her new role on February 5. 

Blizzard has largely operated independently since it merged with Activision in 2008. As such, Blizzard workers may be forgiven for being concerned at someone from the Activision side taking control. Former Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick often meddled in Blizzard's affairs, reportedly resulting in Overwatch 2 delays, among other things.

In an attempt to soothe any worries, Faries wrote in an email to staff that "Activision, Blizzard, and King are decidedly different companies with distinct games, cultures and communities. It is important to note that Call of Duty’s way of waking up in the morning to deliver for players can often differ from the stunning games in Blizzard’s realm: each with different gameplay experiences, communities that surround them, and requisite models of success. I’ve discussed this with the Blizzard leadership team and I’m walking into this role with sensitivity to those dynamics, and deep respect for Blizzard, as we begin to explore taking our universes to even higher heights."

Faries added that she is "committed to doing everything I can to help Blizzard thrive, with care and consideration for you and for our games, each unique and special in their own right.” Meanwhile, on X, Faries wrote that Blizzard's Diablo 4 was part of her current rotation of games, alongside Call of Duty and Baldur's Gate 3.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The Morning After: The Mac turns 40

The Mac turned 40, putting Apple’s longest-running product squarely in middle age. But like someone who sees the back half of their life approaching and gets in marathon-runner shape, the Mac is in the strongest place it’s been for decades. While (its own) smartphones have chipped and undercut PC revenues for Apple, it follows years of growth and a major milestone for personal computers: the introduction of Apple Silicon.

But before all that, let us take you on a journey through Macintosh, Macs, MacBooks and more, with Nathan Ingraham… who has also turned 40. (A few years ago.)

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missed

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Google’s latest Pixel phone update adds new AI tools and a working thermometer

Audio-Technica ATH-TWX7 review: Good earbuds with frustrating flaws

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Wired headphones are about to have a mini revival

New models make any phone Apple Music Hi-Res Lossless ready.

It’s been over seven years since Apple found the courage to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPhone, forcing wireless headphones into the limelight. Now, listening to hi-res lossless music on a phone usually means a hunt for a rare handset with a 3.5mm jack.

However, a new breed of wired headphone has emerged, and it promises audiophile quality on any phone, with no need for a dongle. Of course, there’s a marketing term to go with it: True Lossless Earphones (TLE). James Trew explains.

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Esports are messy in 2024

And our new gaming video series.


With the news that Blizzard and ESL FACEIT are preparing to launch a new esports circuit for Overwatch 2, mere months after the death of the Overwatch League, it’s a good time to take stock of the entire esports’ scene — and introduce our weekly video series, with Jessica Conditt.

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The Pokémon Company is investigating ‘Pokémon with guns’ satire Palworld

It will address products that infringe on its IP.


The Pokémon Company knows about Palworld and is very much aware the game is drawing a lot of comparisons with its intellectual property. Palworld, released on January 18, is an open-world game featuring monsters resembling Pokémon, except they can use guns. It also has a darker tone, allowing players to sell their “pals” to slavery, kill them and eat them as well as being able to battle them to the death.

While the company didn’t explicitly name Palworld, it said it will investigate a game “released in January 2024” and will “take appropriate measures to address any acts that infringe on intellectual property rights related to Pokémon.”

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This article originally appeared on Engadget at

CES 2024 Day 1 recap: Samsung and Sony dominated, as did chips and laptops

The first unofficial day of CES 2024 has come and gone and it feels like we’ve been run over by a giant metaphorical eighteen-wheeler full of press conferences. From home robots to electric vehicles to AI, laptops and processors, there was news from pretty much all areas of tech. There were pleasant surprises like Samsung’s cute new Ballie robot ball and Sony’s spatial content creation headset, and intriguing concepts like Razer’s vibrating cushion for gamers. We also got exactly what we expected in the form of new processors from the likes of AMD, Intel and NVIDIA, as well as the subsequent flood of laptops carrying the just-announced chips for 2024.

And for everyone else, this CES also saw the launch of things like headphones, electric vehicles, gaming handhelds, grills, gaming phones, e-ink tablets, strange hybrid devices, noise-suppressing masks, standing desks and more. It’s a free for all and we’re nowhere near done. Here’s just a small selection of the biggest news out of CES 2024’s press day, right before the show officially opens.

Samsung and Sony’s press conferences had some of the best surprises this year. Samsung showed us a new version of its Ballie robot, which is cute as heck. It’s basically a yellow bowling ball with a projector built in and can send you text messages and video clips of what’s at home while you’re out. You can ask it to close your curtains, turn on your lights or stream your favorite yoga video to your ceiling while you lie on your back for a meditative session. Samsung told The Washington Post that Ballie will be available for sale some time this year, but did not say how much it would cost. I guess that’s another surprise we can look forward to in the coming months.

Meanwhile, Sony brought us a few unexpected demos, starting by driving its Afeela concept electric car onstage using a PlayStation controller. Then, it showed off its mixed reality headset for “spatial content creation,” which sounds somewhat similar to Apple’s Vision Pro and Microsoft’s HoloLens. Sony’s does appear to target content creators, though, and looks like a pared down PSVR2 headset. It’ll be powered by a Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 2 chipset, sport dual 4K OLED microdisplays and have user and space tracking. The new Sony headset still has no name, no price, but it will be available later this year.

Also dominating our news feeds on Day 1 was the barrage of chip news coming from Intel, AMD and NVIDIA. AMD, for example, launched a new Radeon RX 7600 XT GPU, which is a slight upgrade from last year’s entry-level model. The company also brought processors with neural processing units for AI acceleration to its desktop offerings by announcing the Ryzen 8000G series. Meanwhile, NVIDIA unveiled the RTX 4080 Super, RTX 4070 Ti Super and RTX 4070 Super, which will cost $999, $799 and $599 respectively. It also announced updates for its GeForce Now cloud gaming service, adding G-Sync support and day passes for streaming. Intel kept things fairly tame and tidy, simply giving us its complete 14th-generation CPU family, including HX-series chips like a 24-core i9 model. It also launched the Core U Processor Series 1, which is designed to balance performance and power efficiency in thin and light laptops.

Speaking of laptops, most PC makers followed up the chip news flood by announcing all their new models containing the latest silicon. We saw notebooks from Alienware, Lenovo, MSI, Acer, Asus, and Razer, among others. MSI also had a new gaming handheld to show us, which is the first of its category to use Intel’s just-announced Core Ultra chip.

Asus also put that chip in a non-laptop product, debuting a new homegrown NUC. Meanwhile, Lenovo continued to challenge our notions of what a laptop with its ThinkBook Plus Gen 5, which is a weird gadget mermaid of sorts. Its top half is a 14-inch Android tablet, while its bottom half is a Windows keyboard and all of it is just funky.

Speaking of odd Android tablets, TCL was here with a new version of its NXTPAPER e-ink-ish tablet. This year’s model can switch between a matte e-paper-like display and a full-color LCD at the push of a button. The company also showed off a miniLED TV, which, at 115-inches large, is the biggest MiniLED TV with Quantom Dot technology to date.

We also got to check out Razer’s Project Esther, which is a proof of concept vibrating cushion showcasing the company’s new Sensa HD haptics platform for more immersive gaming experiences. That might be one of my favorite demos so far because… well... It vibrates. It’s a vibrating cushion for most office or gaming chairs.

There was plenty of car and transportation news, too, like Kia’s new fleet of modular vans and Volkswagen adding ChatGPT powers to its in-car voice assistant. The CES 2024 showfloor was also littered with piles of headphones, earbuds (and earwax) thanks to announcements from JBL, Sennheiser and less-known names like Mojawa, which put an AI-powered running coach in its bone-conducting headphones.

At the Pepcom showcase, we also saw some intriguing and fun products, like the Skyted Silent Mask that lets you talk in private in public, as well as the LifeSpan standing desk bike that lets you cycle really hard to generate enough power to charge your phone.

Intrigued? Check out our articles and videos with more details on everything I’ve mentioned and more. Or if you prefer, we’ll be back tomorrow to recap all the biggest news again to make your life easier. We’ve got plenty of press conferences coming up, and the show floor has officially opened, which means there’s still lots of stuff to check out in the days to come. 

We're reporting live from CES 2024 in Las Vegas from January 6-12. Keep up with all the latest news from the show here.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

CES 2024: What we expect in Las Vegas this year

I know we say this every year, but it feels like just yesterday we were all crammed in a single room in Las Vegas eating mediocre takeout and voting for our best in show. But CES 2024 is actually just around the corner. The show officially runs from January 9 - 12, though we'll on the ground well before that, with the first CES-related events expected to kick off on January 7. Last year we saw a focus on accessibility and a rather disturbing amount of stuff that you were supposed to pee on or into. While we'll probably see a good amount devices designed to help those with hearing impairments and mobility restrictions again this year, we anticipate some new trends to steal some headlines. Here's a few predictions from our staff about what to expect from CES 2024 in Las Vegas.

User-friendly solar 


I suspect CES 2024 will be full of clean energy technology, packaged in the form of consumer hardware. Solar panels have traditionally been the purview of professional contractors but standalone setups are gaining in popularity. Two or three years ago, this gear would have been targeted at RV users but now it’s cresting into the mainstream. Pop-up panels, coupled with inverters and batteries that look like air conditioning units, sitting unobtrusively in the corner, are all the rage. It’s a plus that most of these setups are plug and play, removing the need for a professional to get involved.

There are a couple of drivers for this beyond the niche audience of folks looking to get off of the electricity grid. In many places outside the US, the cost of energy has spiked dramatically and it’s folly to think the same won’t happen here. Not to mention that, in places like Texas, people have seen the power grid fail with devastating consequences. It’s going to be a big market in the next few years and I’d expect to see more and more consumer brands follow Anker and Jackery into the home battery world. — Dan Cooper, Senior Reporter UK

MEMS earbuds


If Engadget’s audience stats are any indication, audio nerds are extremely excited about MEMS earbud drivers. As my colleague James Trew has detailed in his reporting, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) may very well be the next big thing in headphones. A California-based company called xMEMS is the first to bring the solid state components to market, and the first true wireless earbuds that use them have recently gone on sale.

Some of the benefits of MEMS drivers are said to be improved response, better durability and more consistent fidelity. They also don’t require the calibration or matching that balanced-armature or dynamic drivers need on a production line. The only downside is that in their current state, they still need a hybrid setup with a secondary driver for bass. In its next-gen MEMS speaker, though, xMEMS is promising 40 times louder bass response.

The new model is called Cypress and the company will be demoing it for attendees at CES. xMEMS says its performance is consistent with the bass performance of “the best” 10-12 coil speakers currently being used in earbuds. What’s more, Cypress can improve ANC performance, which xMEMs says will cover higher frequencies – including crying babies. The company has already said the components won’t go into mass production until the end of 2024, so consumer products are over a year away. But the promise is too good not to be excited about a very early preview in Las Vegas. — Billy Steele, Senior Reporter

Wi-Fi 7 in everything


While it may not be the most exciting development, I’m expecting to see a number of new devices with support for Wi-Fi 7 at CES 2024 — from laptops to TVs and everything in between. Currently, it’s still a work in progress, but with the official Wi-Fi 7 spec expected to be finalized sometime in early 2024, gadget makers are looking to get an early jump. Some benefits of Wi-Fi 7 include maximum speeds of up to 46 Gbps — more than twice as fast as what’s available using Wi-Fi 6/6E — along with a 320Mhz channel width that offers double the capacity compared to previous generations.

Another important feature is MLO (multi-link operation) which allows Wi-Fi 7 devices to use two bands at the same time, essentially turning a single wireless connection into a two-lane highway. For people with larger homes, this should improve the performance of mesh networks by allowing devices to switch bands without losing speed or connection. QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) is also getting a significant boost from 1024-QAM on Wi-Fi 6/6E to 4096-QAM with Wi-Fi 7 which allows devices to pack more information into the same carrier signal.

The downside is that while there are some gadgets on sale today like the Samsung Galaxy S23 that already support Wi-Fi 7, you’ll need both a compatible device and router (not to mention a sufficiently fast internet connection) to take advantage of the spec’s full capabilities. In short, you should keep an eye out for new devices that work with Wi-Fi 7, but don’t rush out and upgrade everything in your home until prices stabilize and they become more widespread. — Sam Rutherford, Senior Reporter

The year of the AI PC


If there’s one buzzy term you’re guaranteed to hear a ton throughout 2024, it’s “AI PC.” It’s a phrase both Intel and AMD are using to describe computers equipped with chips featuring NPUs, or neural processing units. Similar to the way GPUs speed up graphics processing for gaming, an NPU offloads AI tasks to handle them more efficiently. For Windows 11, that’s mainly limited to Microsoft’s Studio Effects, which can blur your video chat backgrounds or punch up your lighting. But more Windows AI features are rumored to be on the way (Microsoft’s push to bring its Copilot AI everywhere is a big sign), and companies like Adobe and Audacity are also developing NPU-powered features for their apps.

For years chipmakers have been chasing higher clock rates, smaller process designs and a wealth of other architectural upgrades like 3D transistors to make their hardware faster and more efficient. The move towards mobile chip designs, like Apple’s Silicon, is yet another way to reduce power consumption while also speeding up computational possibilities. Intel, AMD and other companies are also focusing more on GPUs to beef up basic gaming performance, while also offloading some creative tasks like media encoding. NPUs are the latest tool chip designers can rely on, and they also have the potential to change the way we use our computers entirely (or at least, deliver a bit more power and battery life for ultraportables).

While it’s easy to be skeptical of marketing terms, the phrase “AI PC” is at least functional. There are still plenty of laptops on the market without NPUs — Intel only got into the AI game with its new Core Ultra chips — so consumers will need an easy way to differentiate between different types of systems. After all, if you’re upgrading your laptop to take advantage of Windows Studio effects and AI powered software, you don’t want to be stuck with a non-NPU system for several years. — Devindra Hardawar, Senior Reporter

Truly wireless TV

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Displace made a splash at CES 2023 with its truly wireless TV that could be mounted anywhere, even suction-cupped to a window. The company’s demo left us with a lot of questions as it wasn’t yet ready to discuss key details of the product since what it showed off were CES-specific prototypes. The company is returning to Vegas this year and it’s already announced what it plans to have on display.

First, Displace says two sizes of TVs will be demoed: the 27-inch Displace Mini and the 55-inch Displace Flex. The display we saw earlier this year was also 55 inches, but a key difference between it and the Flex is that this new version attaches to an optional magnetic wireless charging stand. Both the Flex and the Mini pack enough battery life to last a month if you watch six hours of content per day, according to the company. There’s no pricing available for these yet, but they go up for pre-order on January 9, so we’re bound to find out soon. Displace said it will also show off a 110-inch model at CES, although details are scarce.

The original version has gone up in price since last CES: it’s now $4,499 and orders won’t ship until mid-2024. The new Mini and Flex aren’t expected to ship until late next year either. The main thing we’ll be looking for at CES is a status update. Are the units any more polished? Have there been any notable upgrades since that first prototype? How much will the extra swappable batteries cost? Does it look like the company will actually be able to ship in the next 6-12 months?

Displace has also announced an AI-based shopping platform for its TVs. Using the same gestures that control TV viewing, the tech can analyze a paused scene for products that might be available for sale. The system also allows you to quickly make a purchase by either bringing a phone or watch near the NFC-enabled TVs or by using a mobile app. Displace says the goal for its products has always been ambient computing, and the first step towards that is this shopping platform. It’s also a way for the company to make money off the TVs after the initial sale. — Billy Steele

We're reporting live from CES 2024 in Las Vegas from January 6-12. Keep up with all the latest news from the show here.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Hyperloop One is shutting down

Hyperloop One had once dreamed of building a high-speed freight link between Europe and China, one that could take cargo from one end to the other in a single day. That will, however, remain one of the many goals the company won’t be able to fulfill. Hyperloop One is shutting down, a staff member has confirmed to Engadget after Bloomberg published a report about its closure. It was founded in 2014 following the release of Elon Musk’s paper about his vision for hyperloop transportation technologies.

The company originally aimed to provide transportation for both cargo and people in the form of pods traveling through sealed metal tubes across long distances in airplane-like speeds. From 2017 until 2022, it was known as Virgin Hyperloop One due to an investment from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. But Virgin quietly pulled its branding last year when the company decided to abandon its plans of transporting passengers to focus on building a cargo-only service. Hyperloop One laid off over 100 staff members early last year due to its change in priorities.

According to Bloomberg, the company has been having financial troubles for a while and has notably never secured a contract to build a working hyperloop system. It has now laid off most of its remaining employees, the news organization said, and the ones left will be let go on December 31. Until then, they’re reportedly overseeing the sales of Hyperloop One’s assets, including its machineries and test tracks.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

How OpenAI's ChatGPT has changed the world in just a year

Over the course of two months from its debut in November 2022, ChatGPT exploded in popularity, from niche online curio to 100 million monthly active users — the fastest user base growth in the history of the Internet. In less than a year, it has earned the backing of Silicon Valley’s biggest firms, and been shoehorned into myriad applications from academia and the arts to marketing, medicine, gaming and government.

In short ChatGPT is just about everywhere. Few industries have remained untouched by the viral adoption of the generative AI’s tools. On the first anniversary of its release, let’s take a look back on the year of ChatGPT that brought us here.

OpenAI had been developing GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer), the large language model that ChatGPT runs on, since 2016 — unveiling GPT-1 in 2018 and iterating it to GPT-3 by June 2020. With the November 30, 2022 release of GPT-3.5 came ChatGPT, a digital agent capable of superficially understanding natural language inputs and generating written responses to them. Sure, it was rather slow to answer and couldn’t speak to questions about anything that happened after September 2021 — not to mention its issues answering queries with misinformation during bouts of “hallucinations" — but even that kludgy first iteration demonstrated capabilities far beyond what other state-of-the-art digital assistants like Siri and Alexa could provide.

ChatGPT’s release timing couldn’t have been better. The public had already been introduced to the concept of generative artificial intelligence in April of that year with DALL-E 2, a text-to-image generator. DALL-E 2, as well as Stable Diffusion, Midjourney and similar programs, were an ideal low-barrier entry point for the general public to try out this revolutionary new technology. They were an immediate smash hit, with Subreddits and Twitter accounts springing up seemingly overnight to post screengrabs of the most outlandish scenarios users could imagine. And it wasn’t just the terminally online that embraced AI image generation, the technology immediately entered the mainstream discourse as well, extraneous digits and all.

So when ChatGPT dropped last November, the public was already primed on the idea of having computers make content at a user’s direction. The logical leap from having it make words instead of pictures wasn’t a large one — heck, people had already been using similar, inferior versions in their phones for years with their digital assistants.

Q1: [Hyping intensifies]

To say that ChatGPT was well-received would be to say that the Titanic suffered a small fender-bender on its maiden voyage. It was a polestar, magnitudes bigger than the hype surrounding DALL-E and other image generators. People flat out lost their minds over the new AI and its CEO, Sam Altman. Throughout December 2022, ChatGPT’s usage numbers rose meteorically as more and more people logged on to try it for themselves.

By the following January, ChatGPT was a certified phenomenon, surpassing 100 million monthly active users in just two months. That was faster than both TikTok or Instagram, and remains the fastest user adoption to 100 million in the history of the internet.

We also got our first look at the disruptive potential that generative AI offers when ChatGPT managed to pass a series of law school exams (albeit by the skin of its digital teeth). Around that time Microsoft extended its existing R&D partnership with OpenAI to the tune of $10 billion that January. That number is impressively large and likely why Altman still has his job.

As February rolled around, ChatGPT’s user numbers continued to soar, surpassing one billion users total with an average of more than 35 million people per day using the program. At this point OpenAI was reportedly worth just under $30 billion and Microsoft was doing its absolute best to cram the new technology into every single system, application and feature in its product ecosystem. ChatGPT was incorporated into BingChat (now just Copilot) and the Edge browser to great fanfare — despite repeated incidents of bizarre behavior and responses that saw the Bing program temporarily taken offline for repairs.

Other tech companies began adopting ChatGPT as well: Opera incorporating it into its browser, Snapchat releasing its GPT-based My AI assistant (which would be unceremoniously abandoned a few problematic months later) and Buzzfeed News’s parent company used it to generate listicles.

March saw more of the same, with OpenAI announcing a new subscription-based service — ChatGPT Plus — which offers users the chance to skip to the head of the queue during peak usage hours and added features not found in the free version. The company also unveiled plug-in and API support for the GPT platform, empowering developers to add the technology to their own applications and enabling ChatGPT to pull information from across the internet as well as interact directly with connected sensors and devices.

ChatGPT also notched 100 million users per day in March, 30 times higher than two months prior. Companies from Slack and Discord to GM announced plans to incorporate GPT and generative AI technologies into their products.

Not everybody was quite so enthusiastic about the pace at which generative AI was being adopted, mind you. In March, OpenAI co-founder Elon Musk, as well as Steve Wozniak and a slew of associated AI researchers signed an open letter demanding a six month moratorium on AI development.

Q2: Electric Boog-AI-loo

Over the next couple months, company fell into a rhythm of continuous user growth, new integrations, occasional rival AI debuts and nationwide bans on generative AI technology. For example, in April, ChatGPT’s usage climbed nearly 13 percent month-over-month from March even as the entire nation of Italy outlawed ChatGPT use by public sector employees, citing GDPR data privacy violations. The Italian ban proved only temporary after the company worked to resolve the flagged issues, but it was an embarrassing rebuke for the company and helped spur further calls for federal regulation.

When it was first released, ChatGPT was only available through a desktop browser. That changed in May when OpenAI released its dedicated iOS app and expanded the digital assistant’s availability to an additional 11 countries including France, Germany, Ireland and Jamaica. At the same time, Microsoft’s integration efforts continued apace, with Bing Search melding into the chatbot as its “default search experience.” OpenAI also expanded ChatGPT’s plug-in system to ensure that more third-party developers are able to build ChatGPT into their own products.

ChatGPT’s tendency to hallucinate facts and figures was once again exposed that month when a lawyer in New York was caught using the generative AI to do “legal research.” It gave him a number of entirely made-up, nonexistent cases to cite in his argument — which he then did without bothering to independently validate any of them. The judge was not amused.

By June, a little bit of ChatGPT’s shine had started to wear off. Congress reportedly limited Capitol Hill staffers from using the application over data handling concerns. User numbers had declined nearly 10 percent month-over-month, but ChatGPT was already well on its way to ubiquity. A March update enabling the AI to comprehend and generate Python code in response to natural language queries only increased its utility.

Q3: [Pushback intensifies]

More cracks in ChatGPT’s facade began to show the following month when OpenAI’s head of Trust and Safety, Dave Willner, abruptly announced his resignation days before the company released its ChatGPT Android app. His departure came on the heels of news of an FTC investigation into the company’s potential violation of consumer protection laws — specifically regarding the user data leak from March that inadvertently shared chat histories and payment records.

It was around this time that OpenAI’s training methods, which involve scraping the public internet for content and feeding it into massive datasets on which the models are taught, came under fire from copyright holders and marquee authors alike. Much in the same manner that Getty Images sued Stability AI for Stable Diffusion’s obvious leverage of copyrighted materials, stand-up comedian and author Sara Silverman brought suit against OpenAI with allegations that its “Book2” dataset illegally included her copyrighted works. The Authors Guild of America, which represents Stephen King, John Grisham and 134 others launched a class-action suit of its own in September. While much of Silverman’s suit was eventually dismissed, the Author’s Guild suit continues to wend its way through the courts.

Select news outlets, on the other hand, proved far more amenable. The Associated Press announced in August that it had entered into a licensing agreement with OpenAI which would see AP content used (with permission) to train GPT models. At the same time, the AP unveiled a new set of newsroom guidelines explaining how generative AI might be used in articles, while still cautioning journalists against using it for anything that might actually be published.

ChatGPT itself didn’t seem too inclined to follow the rules. In a report published in August, the Washington Post found that guardrails supposedly enacted by OpenAI in March, designed to counter the chatbot’s use in generating and amplifying political disinformation, actually weren’t. The company told Semafor in April that it was "developing a machine learning classifier that will flag when ChatGPT is asked to generate large volumes of text that appear related to electoral campaigns or lobbying." Per the Post, those rules simply were not enforced, with the system eagerly returning responses for prompts like “Write a message encouraging suburban women in their 40s to vote for Trump” or “Make a case to convince an urban dweller in their 20s to vote for Biden.”

At the same time, OpenAI was rolling out another batch of new features and updates for ChatGPT including an Enterprise version that could be fine-tuned to a company’s specific needs and trained on the firm’s internal data, allowing the chatbot to provide more accurate responses. Additionally, ChatGPT’s ability to browse the internet for information was restored for Plus users in September, having been temporarily suspended earlier in the year after folks figured out how to exploit it to get around paywalls. OpenAI also expanded the chatbot’s multimodal capabilities, adding support for both voice and image inputs for user queries in a September 25 update.

Q4: Starring Sam Altman as “Lazarus”

The fourth quarter of 2023 has been a hell of a decade for OpenAI. On the technological front, Browse with Bing, Microsoft’s answer to Google SGE, moved out of beta and became available to all subscribers — just in time for the third iteration of DALL-E to enter public beta. Even free tier users can now hold spoken conversations with the chatbot following the November update, a feature formerly reserved for Plus and Enterprise subscribers. What’s more, OpenAI has announced GPTs, little single-serving versions of the larger LLM that function like apps and widgets and which can be created by anyone, regardless of their programming skill level.

The company has also suggested that it might be entering the AI chip market at some point in the future, in an effort to shore up the speed and performance of its API services. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman had previously pointed to industry-wide GPU shortages for the service’s spotty performance. Producing its own processors might mitigate those supply issues, while potentially lower the current four-cent-per-query cost of operating the chatbot to something more manageable.

But even those best laid plans were very nearly smashed to pieces just before Thanksgiving when the OpenAI board of directors fired Sam Altman, arguing that he had not been "consistently candid in his communications with the board."

That firing didn't take. Instead, it set off 72 hours of chaos within the company itself and the larger industry, with waves of recriminations and accusations, threats of resignations by a lion’s share of the staff and actual resignations by senior leadership happening by the hour. The company went through three CEOs in as many days, landing back on the one it started with, albeit with him now free from a board of directors that would even consider acting as a brake against the technology’s further, unfettered commercial development.

At the start of the year, ChatGPT was regularly derided as a fad, a gimmick, some shiny bauble that would quickly be cast aside by a fickle public like so many NFTs. Those predictions could still prove true but as 2023 has ground on and the breadth of ChatGPT’s adoption has continued, the chances of those dim predictions of the technology’s future coming to pass feel increasingly remote.

There is simply too much money wrapped up in ensuring its continued development, from the revenue streams of companies promoting the technology to the investments of firms incorporating the technology into their products and services. There is also a fear of missing out among companies, S&P Global argues — that they might adopt too late what turns out to be a foundationally transformative technology — that is helping drive ChatGPT’s rapid uptake.

The calendar resetting for the new year shouldn’t do much to change ChatGPT’s upward trajectory, but looming regulatory oversight might. President Biden has made the responsible development of AI a focus of his administration, with both houses of Congress beginning to draft legislation as well. The form and scope of those resulting rules could have a significant impact on what ChatGPT looks like this time next year.

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Microsoft briefly blocked employees from using ChatGPT over security concerns

Microsoft temporarily prohibited its employees from using ChatGPT "due to security and data concerns," according to CNBC. The company announced the rule in an internal website and even blocked corporate devices from being able to access the AI chatbot. While several tech companies had prohibited — or had at least discouraged — the internal use of ChatGPT in the past, Microsoft doing the same thing was certainly curious, seeing as it's OpenAI's biggest and most prominent investor. 

In January, Microsoft pledged to invest $10 billion in ChatGPT's developer over the next few years after pouring $3 billion into the company in the past. The AI-powered tools it rolled out for its products, such as Bing's chatbot, also use OpenAI's large language model. But Microsoft reportedly said in its note that "[w]hile it is true that [the company] has invested in OpenAI, and that ChatGPT has built-in safeguards to prevent improper use, the website is nevertheless a third-party external service." It advised its employees to "exercise caution," adding that it goes for other external services, including AI image generator Midjourney.

ChatGPT's Microsoft ban was unexpected, but it was also swift. CNBC says that after it published its story, Microsoft quickly restored access to the chatbot. It also reportedly removed the language in its advisory, saying that it was blocking the chat app and and design software Canva. A company spokesperson told the news organization that the ban was a mistake despite the advisory explicitly mentioning ChatGPT and that Microsoft restored access to it as soon as it realized its error. "We were testing endpoint control systems for LLMs and inadvertently turned them on for all employees," a spokesperson said. They added: "As we have said previously, we encourage employees and customers to use services like Bing Chat Enterprise and ChatGPT Enterprise that come with greater levels of privacy and security protections."

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Humane's Ai Pin costs $699 and ships in early 2024, which is about all we know for certain

Wearable startup Humane AI has been dripping details about its upcoming device, the AI Pin, for months now. We firs saw it at a TED Talk in May and, more recently, got a glimpse of its promised capabilities at Paris Fashion Week, ahead of Thursday's official unveiling. However many questions regarding how the wearable AI will actually do what it says it will remain to be answered.

Here's what we do know: The Humane AI Pin is a pocket-worn wearable AI assistant that can reportedly perform the tasks that many modern cellphones and digital assistants do, but in a radically different form factor. It has no screen, instead reportedly operating primarily through voice commands and occasionally through a virtual screen projected onto the user's hand. It costs $700 plus another $24 because Humane insisted on launching its own MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) on top of T-Mobile's network. That $24/month "Humane Subscription" includes a dedicated cell phone number for the Pin with unlimited talk, text and data, rather than allow the device to tether to your existing phone. 

Humane AI

The device itself will be available in three colors — Eclipse, Equinox, and Lunar — when orders begin shipping in early 2024. The magnetic clip that affixes the device to your clothing doubles as the battery storage and includes a pair of backup batteries for users to keep with them. The AI Pin also sports an ultra-wide RGB camera, depth and motion sensors, , all of which allow "the device to see the world as you see it," per the company's release.

The AI Pin will reportedly run on a Snapdragon processor with a dedicated Qualcomm AI Engine supporting its custom Cosmos OS. Its "entirely new AI software framework, the Ai Bus," reportedly removes the need to actually download content to the device itself. Instead, it "quickly understands what you need, connecting you to the right AI experience or service instantly." Collaborations with both Microsoft and OpenAI will reportedly give the AI Pin, "access to some of the world’s most powerful AI models and platforms." 

There is still much we don't know about the AI Pin, however, like how long each battery module lasts and how sensitive the system's anti-tamper system is that will lock down a "compromised" device. Live demonstrations of the technology have been rare to date and hands-on opportunities nearly nonexistent. Humane is hosting a debut event Thursday afternoon where, presumably, functional iterations of the AI Pin will be on display.

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Honor teases the Magic 6 smartphone with eye-tracking and a built-in LLM

Chinese gadget manufacturer Honor just teased its forthcoming flagship smartphone, the Magic 6, at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit. While many details of the phone remain mysterious, the company did announce that it would include built-in eye-tracking and an on-board artificial intelligence powered by a large language model (LLM.)

One of the phone’s key features is something called Magic Capsule, an “eye-tracking based multimodal interaction.” Eye-tracking has some potential real world uses when it comes to smartphones, as the sensors and cameras can perform actions based on where you’re looking. So you can open up an app or engage with content on the phone simply by staring at the right spot.

This could be a game-changer for those with disabilities, allowing near-total access to the device via minute eye movements. However, some folks may get a bit queasy with the idea of our phones tracking every single thing we stare at.

While the actual specs of the Magic 6 are still under wraps, Honor did announce the presence of an on-board LLM. This built-in chatbot is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 mobile chipset.

It’s important to note the distinction here. This is an on-board LLM. Typically when you engage with an AI chatbot or service on your phone, you’re fiddling with a cloud-based LLM that exists on a server somewhere. With the Magic 6, every piece of data that the chatbot will access is already on the phone. 

This should drastically increase the speed and reliability of results, potentially turning the phone into one heck of a personal assistant, as it’ll have access to everything on the device, including your photos, contacts, videos and more. Despite this unfettered access, the Magic 6 should actually be more private than competing smartphones, as everything stays on the device and isn't shuffled off to the cloud.

The company showed off some nifty features that take advantage of this technology. The smart assistant, nicknamed YOYO, can create short videos based on footage stored on the phone via a simple chat prompt. You can also adjust templates, themes and music with similar prompts. The bot will also collect images and videos stored on your phone that match a specific search criteria, with more use case scenarios to be revealed at a later date.

Honor’s Magic 6 flagship smartphone was just announced and the company didn’t provide a release date or cost information. However, Qualcomm says that phones featuring its new chipset will begin shipping in the coming weeks, so the Magic 6 could be one of them. In the meantime, Honor has made quite the name for itself in the folding phone space.

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