Sci-Tech

Colombian judge uses ChatGPT in ruling

Bogotá, Colombia (AFP) — A judge in Colombia caused a stir by announcing he had used the AI chatbot ChatGPT in preparing a ruling in a children’s medical rights case. Judge Juan Manuel Padilla said he used the text-generating bot in a case involving a request to exonerate an autistic child from paying fees for medical appointments, therapy and transportation given his parents’ limited income. Padilla told Blu Radio on Tuesday that ChatGPT and other […]

Google, Apple disappoint as tech earnings hit by gloom

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Google and Apple on Thursday reported downbeat results for the last quarter of 2022 as Amazon beat expectations, but warned that the coming months would be uncertain in a difficult moment for Big Tech. The world’s biggest tech companies posted their earnings as shares in Meta skyrocketed a day after it reported better results than expected and signaled spending and job cuts. The results follow several weeks of unprecedented […]

Sony hikes net profit forecasts as weak yen boosts gaming

by Katie Forster / Hiroshi HIYAMA Agence France-Presse Tokyo, Japan (AFP) — Sony upgraded its annual net profit forecasts on Thursday, saying it expects strong results in its key gaming sector as the weak yen inflates profits on products sold abroad. The Japanese electronics and entertainment giant said net profit in the April-December period jumped five percent year-on-year to 809 billion yen ($6.3 billion). This was partly thanks to strong sales in the game, music […]

Seeing is believing? Global scramble to tackle deepfakes

by Anuj Chopra with Saladin Salem in Berlin Agence France- Presse Washington, United States (AFP) — Chatbots spouting falsehoods, face-swapping apps crafting porn videos and cloned voices defrauding companies of millions — the scramble is on to rein in AI deepfakes that have become a misinformation super spreader. Artificial Intelligence is redefining the proverb “seeing is believing,” with a deluge of images created out of thin air and people shown mouthing things they never said […]

Meta reports sales fall, but beats expectations

by Glenn CHAPMAN Agence France-Presse SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Facebook and Instagram owner Meta on Wednesday reported its first annual sales drop since the company went public in 2012, but the fall was less brutal than expected, sending its share price soaring. The social media giant said sales dropped one percent to $116.6 billion in 2022, while it also announced that the number of daily users on Facebook hit two billion for the […]

‘Love hormone’? Not so fast, new study suggests

by Sara HUSSEIN Agence France Presse Tokyo, Japan (AFP) — The “love hormone” oxytocin has long been thought key to behaviours including pairing up with a partner and nurturing offspring, but a new study in prairie voles is raising doubts. The research found that voles bred to lack functioning receptors for oxytocin were still able to form strong pairs, produce young and nurse — all behaviours previously believed to depend on the hormone. Prairie voles […]

Phew! Truck-sized asteroid misses Earth

by Huw GRIFFITH Agence France-Presse Los Angeles, United States (AFP) Bruce Willis: you can stand down. A truck-sized asteroid that suddenly loomed out of the darkness a few days ago — with the Earth in its sights — sailed harmlessly past us on Thursday, space scientists said. Despite what we’ve seen in movies like “Armageddon,” no global mission to blow it up or knock it off course with nuclear weapons was required. Instead, Asteroid 2023 […]

Amsterdam unveils its largest bike garage. It’s underwater

Amsterdam, Netherlands (AFP)– Plagued by ever-shrinking space to park its hundreds of thousands of bicycles, Amsterdam opened Wednesday the first of its largest-ever bicycle parking complexes, built underwater in a pioneering engineering project. The shelter is constructed beneath the Open Haven Front, an access tributary to the city’s IJ river, and will be followed by another next to the IJ itself that will open in February. They will have a combined capacity for 11,000 bikes […]

How three dust specks reveal an asteroid’s secrets

by Sara HUSSEIN Agence France Presse Tokyo, Japan (AFP) – The specks are tiny. No, really tiny. Smaller than the diameter of a hair. But they hold billions of years of history that reveal some of the secrets of asteroids. The three minute particles from an asteroid called Itokawa show some of these space rocks are vastly older than was thought, and are much tougher. And that could mean we need bolder ways to prevent […]

Electric car batteries could be key to boosting energy storage: study

by Jenny VAUGHAN Agence France Presse Paris, France (AFP) — Electric car batteries could be used to boost power storage in the future, injecting electricity into the grid during times of scarcity or storing electricity during periods of excess, a new study found Tuesday. Renewable energy is essential for the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to well below two degrees Celsius, but the need to scale up quickly and the intermittency of wind […]

Doomsday Clock to be updated on January 24

Washington, United States (AFP) — Tick, tick, tick. An update is coming to the “Doomsday Clock,” representing the judgment of leading science and security experts about the perils to human existence. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced on Tuesday that they will announce at 10:00 am (1500 GMT) on January 24 whether the time of the symbolic clock will change. The organization describes the clock as a “metaphor for how close humanity is to […]

Scientists use laser to guide lightning bolt for first time

by Pierre Celerier Agence France Presse Paris, France (AFP) — Scientists said Monday they have used a laser beam to guide lightning for the first time, hoping the technique will help protect against deadly bolts — and one day maybe even trigger them. Lightning strikes between 40-120 times a second worldwide, killing more than 4,000 people and causing billions of dollars worth of damage every year. Yet the main protection against these bolts from above […]