Technology

A Marketplace of Girl Influencers Managed by Moms and Stalked by Men
Technology

A Marketplace of Girl Influencers Managed by Moms and Stalked by Men

The ominous messages began arriving in Elissa’s inbox early last year.“You sell pics of your underage daughter to pedophiles,” read one. “You’re such a naughty sick mom, you’re just as sick as us pedophiles,” read another. “I will make your life hell for you and your daughter.”Elissa has been running her daughter’s Instagram account since 2020, when the girl was 11 and too young to have her own. Photos show a bright, bubbly girl modeling evening dresses, high-end workout gear and dance leotards. She has more than 100,000 followers, some so enthusiastic about her posts that they pay $9.99 a month for more photos.Over the years, Elissa has fielded all kinds of criticism and knows full well that some people think she is exploiting her daughter. She has even gotten used to receiving creepy mes...
Google DeepMind C.E.O. Demis Hassabis on the Path From Chatbots to A.G.I.
Technology

Google DeepMind C.E.O. Demis Hassabis on the Path From Chatbots to A.G.I.

Listen and follow ‘Hard Fork’Apple | Spotify | Amazon | YouTubeThis week’s episode is a conversation with Demis Hassabis, the head of Google’s artificial intelligence division. We talk about Google’s latest A.I. models, Gemini and Gemma; the existential risks of artificial intelligence; his timelines for artificial general intelligence; and what he thinks the world will look like post-A.G.I.Additional listening and reading: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, Marion Lozano and Pat McCusker. Fact-checking by Caitlin Love.Special thanks to Paula Szuchman, Pui-Wing Tam, Nell Gallogly, Kate LoPresti and Jeffrey Miranda. More in...
Let Tesla Expand? Germans Vote No.
Technology

Let Tesla Expand? Germans Vote No.

Why It Matters: A factory that has divided a town.Tesla’s decision to settle in Grünheide, which is in the state of Brandenburg, and the speed with which the factory was built — 861 days — has been a point of pride for local politicians in a country known for its onerous permitting processes.The factory, which opened two years ago, has also become an important driver of growth in the state, long one of the most economically challenged in Germany. Brandenburg recorded economic growth of 6 percent in the first half of 2023, largely driven by the 11,000 jobs at the plant and dozens of suppliers that have sprung up around it.But many local residents contend the plant has disrupted a quality of life that drew them to Grünheide, and say it threatens the air and water quality.Some said that Tesla...
Plans to Expand U.S. Chip Manufacturing Are Running Into Obstacles
Technology

Plans to Expand U.S. Chip Manufacturing Are Running Into Obstacles

In December 2022, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the key maker of the world’s most cutting-edge chips, said it planned to spend $40 billion in Arizona on its first major U.S. hub for semiconductor production.The much ballyhooed project in Phoenix — with two new factories, including one with more advanced technology — became a symbol of President Biden’s quest to spur more domestic production of chips, the slices of silicon that help all manner of devices make calculations and store data.Then last summer, TSMC pushed back initial manufacturing at its first Arizona factory to 2025 from this year, saying local workers lacked expertise in installing some sophisticated equipment. Last month, the company said the second plant wouldn’t produce chips until 2027 or 2028, rather than 20...
The Antitrust Enforcers Aimed at Big Tech. Then Came the Backlash.
Technology

The Antitrust Enforcers Aimed at Big Tech. Then Came the Backlash.

The South Korean government unleashed a wave of panic across the internet industry: The country’s antitrust regulator said it would enact the toughest competition law outside Europe, curbing the influence of major technology companies.The Korea Fair Trade Commission, with the backing of President Yoon Suk Yeol, said in December that it planned to make a proposal modeled after the 2022 Digital Markets Act, the European Union’s landmark law to rein in American tech giants. This bill also seemed to target South Korea’s own internet conglomerates just as much as the Alphabets, Apples and Metas of the world.The commission said the law would designate certain companies as dominant platforms and limit their ability to use strongholds in one online business to expand into new areas.Then last week,...
In Big Election Year, A.I.’s Architects Move Against Its Misuse
Technology

In Big Election Year, A.I.’s Architects Move Against Its Misuse

Artificial intelligence companies have been at the vanguard of developing the transformative technology. Now they are also racing to set limits on how A.I. is used in a year stacked with major elections around the world.Last month, OpenAI, the maker of the ChatGPT chatbot, said it was working to prevent abuse of its tools in elections, partly by forbidding their use to create chatbots that pretend to be real people or institutions. In recent weeks, Google also said it would limit its A.I. chatbot, Bard, from responding to certain election-related prompts to avoid inaccuracies. And Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, promised to better label A.I.-generated content on its platforms so voters could more easily discern what information was real and what was fake.On Friday, Anthropic, anot...
SpaceX to Launch Intuitive Machines Nova-C Moon Lander: How to Watch
Technology

SpaceX to Launch Intuitive Machines Nova-C Moon Lander: How to Watch

Another month, another day, another try at the moon.A robotic lunar lander is scheduled to launch in the early morning hours of Thursday, one day after a technical glitch postponed the first launch attempt. If all goes well, it will become the first American spacecraft to set down softly on the moon’s surface since the Apollo 17 moon landing in 1972.It is also the latest private effort to send spacecraft to the moon. Earlier attempts have all ended in failure. But the company in charge of the latest effort, Intuitive Machines of Houston, is optimistic.“I feel fairly confident that we’re going to be successful softly touching down on the moon,” said Stephen Altemus, the president and chief executive of Intuitive Machines. “We’ve done the testing. We’ve tested and tested and tested. As much ...
When the Voice You Hear Is Not the Actor You See
Technology

When the Voice You Hear Is Not the Actor You See

In the darkest moments of a family tragedy, when the playwright Mona Pirnot couldn’t find the strength to verbalize her feelings to her boyfriend or her therapist, she tried something a little unorthodox: She typed her thoughts into her laptop, and prompted a text-to-speech program to voice them aloud.It was a coping mechanism that also sparked a creative pivot: Pirnot’s then-boyfriend, now-husband, Lucas Hnath, is also a playwright, with a longtime interest in sound and a more recent history of building shows around disembodied voices. His last play, “A Simulacrum,” featured a magician re-creating his side of a conversation with Hnath, whose voice was heard via a tape recording; and his play before that, “Dana H.,” featured an actress lip-syncing interviews in which the playwright’s mothe...
Imran Khan Uses A.I. To Give Victory Speech in Pakistan
Technology

Imran Khan Uses A.I. To Give Victory Speech in Pakistan

Imran Khan, Pakistan’s former prime minister, has spent the duration of the country’s electoral campaign in jail, disqualified from running in what experts have described as one of the least credible general elections in the country’s 76-year history.But from behind bars, he has been rallying his supporters in recent months with speeches that use artificial intelligence to replicate his voice, part of a tech-savvy strategy his party deployed to circumvent a crackdown by the military.And on Saturday, as official counts showed candidates aligned with his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or P.T.I., winning the most seats in a surprise result that threw the country’s political system into chaos, it was Mr. Khan’s A.I. voice that declared victory.“I had full confidence that you would all come o...
This Couple Used an A.I. Lip-Dubbing App to Bridge a Language Gap
Technology

This Couple Used an A.I. Lip-Dubbing App to Bridge a Language Gap

Mr. Romero visits Ms. Ochoa in Mexico about once a month. But when they’re apart, the A.I.-powered app transports Ms. Ochoa to Mr. Romero’s kitchen or to a wrestling tournament as he coaches his teenage son. They exchange messages on WhatsApp and video chat as Ms. Ochoa gets ready for work. In addition to the lip-dub feature, Ms. Ochoa will often use her iPad to translate their tête-à-tête, while Mr. Romero uses the Timekettle WT2 Edge — earbuds with two-way simultaneous translation that help him follow a conversation in real time.Because their work hours differ, Ms. Ochoa is usually working while Mr. Romero is sleeping. “But in the morning, it’s always, ‘Good morning, love,’ accompanied by a video from LeRoy wishing me a good day,” she said.The tech apps aren’t always perfect — but Mr. Ro...