EU, US ready common code of conduct on artificial intelligence

By Marc Preel with Shaun Tandon in Oslo STOCKHOLM, May 31, 2023 (AFP) – The European Union and the United States said Wednesday that they would soon release a voluntary code of conduct on artificial intelligence, hoping to develop common standards among democracies as China makes rapid gains. Both political and technology industry leaders have been warning of the growing risks as AI takes off, with potentially wide-ranging effects on privacy and other civil liberties. […]

Amazon settles Ring customer spying complaint

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Amazon on Wednesday agreed to pay $30.8 million to settle Ring and Alexa privacy complaints filed by US regulators, including accusations that employees spied on female customers, according to court documents. The Federal Trade Commission charged Amazon-owned home security camera company Ring with failing to implement basic protections to stop hackers or employees from accessing people’s devices or accounts. According to the FTC complaint, Ring’s failures in security resulted in “egregious” […]

France to open its first electric car battery factory

By Caroline Nelly PERROT Agence France-Presse BILLY-BERCLAU, France, May 30, 2023 (AFP) — France will launch its first battery factory for electric cars on Tuesday, taking a big step in its race to build up a sector dominated by China. Building up the battery industry is at the heart of President Emmanuel Macron’s “reindustrialization” plan for France, with a clutch of factories set to emerge in the north of the country over the next three […]

China to send first civilian into space on Tuesday

By Ludovic EHRET Agence France-Presse JIUQUAN, China, May 29, 2023 (AFP) — China will send its first civilian astronaut into space as part of a crewed mission to the Tiangong space station on Tuesday, its Manned Space Agency announced, as Beijing pushes ahead with its extra-terrestrial ambitions. The world’s second-largest economy has invested billions of dollars into its military-run space program, trying to catch up with the United States and Russia after years of belatedly […]

 Musk’s Neuralink says cleared for human test of brain implants

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Elon Musk’s start-up Neuralink on Thursday said it has gotten approval from US regulators to test its brain implants in people. Neuralink said clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its first in-human clinical study is “an important first step” for its technology, which is intended to let brains interface directly with computers. “We are excited to share that we have received the FDA’s approval to […]

Solar investment outshines oil: IEA

By Catherine Hours and Richard Lein Agence France-Presse PARIS, France, May 25, 2023 (AFP) — Investment in solar power is expected to overtake oil for the first time this year as clean energy spending outpaces that for fossil fuels, the IEA said in a report Thursday. While that is a welcome development, the International Energy Agency warned that investment in fossil fuels is rising when it should be falling fast to achieve net zero emissions […]

Apple to spend billions of dollars on US-made 5G tech

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Apple on Tuesday announced a multi-billion-dollar collaboration with US tech firm Broadcom to make “cutting edge” components for wirelessly connecting to high-speed 5G telecom networks. The iPhone maker did not specify exactly how many billions of dollars it would put into the Broadcom alliance, but said it is part of a commitment to invest in the US economy. “We’re thrilled to make commitments that harness the ingenuity, creativity, and innovative spirit […]

US top health official sounds alarm on child social media use

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The top US health official on Tuesday issued a stark warning to parents, tech companies and regulators, saying the evidence is growing that social media use may seriously harm children. In a lengthy advisory, US surgeon general Vivek Murthy said that while not without benefits, “there are ample indicators that social media can also have a profound risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents.” […]

ISS welcomes its first Saudi astronauts, in private mission

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — A SpaceX capsule carrying two Saudi astronauts docked with the International Space Station on Monday, as part of a private mission chartered by Axiom Space. Rayyanah Barnawi, a scientist who became the first Saudi woman to go into space, and Ali Al-Qarni, a trained fighter pilot, are the first two people from their country to fly to the orbital outpost. “Greetings from outer space, I’m here not only representing […]

TikTok sues to stop ban in US state of Montana

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — TikTok on Monday filed suit in US federal court to stop the state of Montana from implementing an overall ban on the video sharing app. The unprecedented ban, set to start in 2024, violates the constitutionally protected right to free speech, TikTok argued in the suit. “We believe our legal challenge will prevail based on an exceedingly strong set of precedents and facts,” a TikTok spokesperson told AFP. Montana […]

Private mission carrying Saudi astronauts launches to ISS

By Gregg NEWTON with Lucie AUBOURG in Washington Agence France-Presse CAPE CANAVERAL, May 22, 2023 (AFP) — The second-ever private mission to the International Space Station (ISS), organized by Axiom Space, blasted off from the southern US state of Florida Sunday, carrying the first two Saudi astronauts to travel to the orbiting laboratory. Rayyanah Barnawi, a breast cancer researcher, is the first Saudi woman to voyage into space and is joined on the mission by […]

Dark cloud over ChatGPT revolution: the cost

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2023 (AFP) – The explosion of generative AI has taken the world by storm, but one question all too rarely comes up: Who can afford it? OpenAI bled around $540 million last year as it developed ChatGPT and says it needs $100 billion to meet its ambitions, according to industry media The Information. “We’re going to be the most capital-intensive startup in Silicon Valley history,” OpenAI’s founder Sam Altman told a panel […]