Hashtag Trending Feb.28- OpenAI says New York Times hacked ChatGPT; Apple cancels plans to release electric car; Your Voice is Power teaches indigenous youth about coding


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OpenAI says the New York Times “hacked” ChatGPT to generate misleading evidence. Apple pulls the plug on its electric car. Wendy’s experiments with “surge pricing”. Meta is monitoring and collecting data on users of its Quest headset. And Your Voice is Power teaches indigenous youth about coding, music and their history and culture.

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OpenAI has requested a federal judge dismiss parts of a copyright lawsuit filed by the New York Times, alleging that the newspaper “hacked” its ChatGPT and other AI systems to generate misleading evidence for the case. 

According to OpenAI’s filing in Manhattan federal court, the Times manipulated the technology to reproduce its material using “deceptive prompts” that violate OpenAI’s terms of use. 

OpenAI criticized the Times for not adhering to its “famously rigorous journalistic standards” and claimed that the newspaper paid someone to hack OpenAI’s products, though it did not specify who was hired or accuse the Times of breaking any anti-hacking laws.

The New York Times’ attorney, Ian Crosby, countered OpenAI’s claims, stating that what OpenAI describes as ‘hacking’ was merely the use of OpenAI’s products to seek evidence of copyright infringement by OpenAI. The lawsuit, filed by the Times against OpenAI and its largest financial backer, Microsoft, in December, accuses them of using millions of the newspaper’s articles without permission to train chatbots. This lawsuit is part of a broader trend of copyright owners suing tech companies over the alleged misuse of their work in AI training.

The tech industry argues that AI systems make fair use of copyrighted material and that these lawsuits could hinder the growth of the AI sector, potentially worth trillions of dollars. 

Courts have yet to decide whether AI training constitutes fair use under copyright law, and so far, judges have dismissed some infringement claims over the output of generative AI systems due to insufficient evidence that AI-created content resembles copyrighted works.

Sources include: Reuters 

Apple has officially canceled its plans to release an autonomous, electric vehicle, a project that has been in development for over a decade with millions of dollars invested. The announcement was made by Apple’s chief operating officer Jeff Williams to approximately 2,000 employees working on the Apple Car, catching many by surprise.

Many of those involved in the car project will be moved to Apple’s artificial intelligence division to work on generative AI under AI chief John Giannandrea. However, with a number of hardware engineers and car designers on the team, there will inevitably be layoffs.

This news follows earlier rumors that Apple had scaled back its ambitions for a fully driverless car, opting instead to focus on an electric vehicle with fewer self-driving features, aiming for a release around 2026. These plans have now been shelved entirely.

The Apple Car project, first rumored in 2014, has faced numerous challenges, including changes in leadership and project direction due to internal strife. Despite efforts to scale down the project while still aiming to produce a viable car, senior Apple executives recently decided to wind down the project.

Sources include:   MacRumours 

Wendy’s is set to introduce Uber-like surge pricing, a practice known as “dynamic pricing,” starting in 2025. This initiative is part of a $20 million investment in new digital menu boards across its U.S. restaurants, enabling price adjustments based on demand. 

The CEO of Wendy’s, Kirk Tanner, mentioned that the new digital menus would allow the company to test dynamic pricing and day-part offerings alongside AI-enabled menu changes and suggestive selling. 

Dynamic pricing is not new and is commonly used in industries like sports and concert tickets, as well as ride-hailing services like Uber, which adjust prices based on demand. However, its application in the restaurant sector has been limited due to the manual labour required to change menus. With the advent of apps and digital menus, fast food chains like Wendy’s can now easily update prices, making dynamic pricing a more feasible option.

Wendy’s digital transformation includes a $15 million upgrade to its app, reflecting the company’s expectation that digital order sales will reach $2 billion this year. McDonald’s has also experimented with dynamic pricing and new order-suggestion capabilities at some of its drive-thrus and on its app.

The introduction of surge pricing in the fast-food industry could mark a turning point, according to Jonathan Maze, editor-in-chief of Restaurant Business. However, there are risks associated with fluctuating prices, especially during busy times, which could lead to customer backlash. Wendy’s will need to navigate these challenges carefully as it implements dynamic pricing.

Sources include: CNN

Meta is set to begin “collecting anonymized data” from users of its Quest headsets, a move that will see the company aggregating information about hand, body, and eye tracking; camera information; “information about your physical environment”; and details about “the virtual reality events you attend.” This initiative was announced in an email to Quest users, indicating that starting with the next software update, Meta will collect and aggregate “anonymized data about… device usage” from Quest users. The company states that this data will be used for purposes such as building better experiences and improving Meta Quest products for everyone.

The data collection will encompass a wide range of personal information as outlined in the “Supplemental Meta Platforms Technologies Privacy Policy,” including audio data for animating avatars, data about hand, body, and eye tracking, fitness-related information, details about the physical environment, voice interactions, and activity in virtual reality. While Meta emphasizes that the data is anonymized and does not identify individuals, there are concerns about the potential for “anonymous” data to be linked back to personally identifiable information.

Meta’s help page mentions that users can opt out of sharing a small subset of “additional data” with the company, but there’s no option to opt out of the new anonymized data collection policies entirely. This policy applies to users who access their Quest headsets with a Meta account, subject to Meta’s broader data-collection policies. Users with a legacy Oculus account are subject to a separate privacy policy with similar but more limited data-collection practices.

This development raises questions about privacy and the use of personal data in the context of virtual reality, echoing concerns that have been present since Meta’s VR division was known as Oculus. The move to collect more detailed usage data from Quest users reflects the growing interest in leveraging user data to enhance product development and user experiences, while also highlighting the ongoing debate over data privacy and anonymity in the digital age.

Sources include: ArsTechnica

“Your Voice is Power” is an innovative educational program and remix competition that combines computer science, coding skills, and social justice education, focusing on the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis experience in Canada. This initiative, launched by Amazon Future Engineer, Amazon Music, and TakingITGlobal, aims to engage 20,000 Canadian middle and high school students in 2024, building on the success of reaching over 15,000 students in 2023.

The program addresses the underrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples in tech-related employment and industries in Canada. By introducing students from underrepresented communities to STEM education early, “Your Voice is Power” seeks to inspire future academic and career possibilities in technology.

The curriculum, available at no cost for grades 7 through 12, was developed by TakingITGlobal with extensive collaboration with the Cloud Innovation Centre at the University of British Columbia. It features eight modules that teach coding basics while engaging students in discussions about significant topics such as Residential Schools, the Sixties Scoop, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action.

Students are encouraged to remix music from Indigenous artists Jayli Wolf, Dakota Bear, Samian, Twin Flames, and, new for 2024, Juno-nominated artist Aysanabee, using EarSketch, a free online code editor available in English, French, Ojibwe, and Inuktitut. Participants can submit their remixes to a competition, with two winners (one Indigenous and one identifying as an ally) receiving $5,000 scholarships. The deadline for the 2024 competition is May 31, with winners selected in June.

Aysanabee, an Oji-Cree singer-songwriter with three 2024 Juno Award nominations, will provide music for the curriculum and join the judging panel for the student competition.

For more information or to explore interview opportunities with Indigenous Artist Dakota Bear or Anishinaabe educator Christine M’Lot, coordination can be provided.

And Amazon music listeners in Canada can listen to a special Your Voice is Power playlist of these and more incredible indigenous artists. 

For further details, visit Your Voice is Power.

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