Technology

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,...
Hackers for China, Russia and Others Used OpenAI Systems, Report Says
Technology

Hackers for China, Russia and Others Used OpenAI Systems, Report Says

Hackers working for nation-states have used OpenAI’s systems in the creation of their cyberattacks, according to research released Wednesday by OpenAI and Microsoft.The companies believe their research, published on their websites, documents for the first time how hackers with ties to foreign governments are using generative artificial intelligence in their attacks.But instead of using A.I. to generate exotic attacks, as some in the tech industry feared, the hackers have used it in mundane ways, like drafting emails, translating documents and debugging computer code, the companies said.“They’re just using it like everyone else is, to try to be more productive in what they’re doing,” said Tom Burt, who oversees Microsoft’s efforts to track and disrupt major cyberattacks.Microsoft has commit...
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...
Does Technology Rule Our Sex and Dating Lives?
Technology

Does Technology Rule Our Sex and Dating Lives?

“I never really thought about the fact that it’s connected to the internet,” she said. “Being Gen Z, I feel like sex is so connected to technology already that it didn’t feel weird having something that’s a bit more technological than just say, watching something online.”While the pitch for products like Lovense and WeVibe, another popular brand of remote controlled vibrators and stimulation rings, might seem self-evident — to create pleasure — much of the latest sex tech often has a loftier goal in mind. Make Love Not Porn, a user-generated social sex platform, aims to eradicate the unrealistic standards created by hard core pornography by showing unrehearsed, consensual, “real world” sex, said Cindy Gallop, the company’s founder and a veteran sex educator.Meanwhile, products like the VDO...
A Friar Serves as the A.I. Ethics Whisperer for the Vatican and Italy
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A Friar Serves as the A.I. Ethics Whisperer for the Vatican and Italy

Before dawn, Paolo Benanti climbed to the bell tower of his 16th-century monastery, admired the sunrise over the ruins of the Roman forum and reflected on a world in flux.“It was a wonderful meditation on what is going on inside,” he said, stepping onto the street in his friar robe. “And outside too.”There is a lot is going on for Father Benanti, who, as both the Vatican’s and the Italian government’s go-to artificial intelligence ethicist, spends his days thinking about the Holy Ghost and the ghosts in the machines.In recent weeks, the ethics professor, ordained priest and self-proclaimed geek, has joined Bill Gates at a meeting with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, presided over a commission seeking to save Italian media from ChatGPT bylines and general A.I. oblivion, and met with Vatican ...
Apple Vision Pro Review: First Headset Lacks Polish and Purpose
Technology

Apple Vision Pro Review: First Headset Lacks Polish and Purpose

About 17 years ago, Steve Jobs took the stage at a San Francisco convention center and said he was introducing three products: an iPod, a phone and an internet browser.“These are not three separate devices,” he said. “This is one device, and we are calling it iPhone.”At $500, the first iPhone was relatively expensive, but I was eager to dump my mediocre Motorola flip phone and splurge. There were flaws — including sluggish cellular internet speeds. But the iPhone delivered on its promises.Over the last week, I’ve had a very different experience with a new first-generation product from Apple: the Vision Pro, a virtual reality headset that resembles a pair of ski goggles. The $3,500 wearable computer, which was released Friday, uses cameras so you can see the outside world while juggling app...
Tucker Carlson’s Visit to Russia Draws Speculation of Putin Interview
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Tucker Carlson’s Visit to Russia Draws Speculation of Putin Interview

Tucker Carlson, the former Fox News host who now has a show on the social network X, has been spotted in Moscow in recent days, leading to speculation in Russia and the United States that he is about to achieve his long-stated goal of interviewing President Vladimir V. Putin.If so, Mr. Carlson would be the first American media figure to land a formal interview with the Russian leader since he invaded Ukraine nearly two years ago.Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, has indicated that Mr. Putin was denying requests from Western new outlets because their countries had been “stupefied” by anti-Russian propaganda. But Mr. Carlson has been a defender of Mr. Putin while attacking his Western critics, placing him at the vanguard of a pro-Putin wing of the American conservative movement.In a call...
How A.I. Is Remodeling the Fantasy Home
Technology

How A.I. Is Remodeling the Fantasy Home

I was scrolling through Instagram recently when I found a new page slipped into my feed through a suggested post: @tinyhouseperfect. It seemed designed to poke at my frustrated longings for a space of my own. I want to own a house; I cannot currently buy a house. But what if the house were very small? Very small, and also perfect?Soon I was navigating the reading nooks and chef’s kitchens of an elfin cottage, a gothic coastal A-frame, a cozy “loch house” in the Scottish Highlands. I had projected my future self to the Scottish seaside, wondering how much the house might cost to rent for a weekend, when I realized that price was no object because the house did not exist. Each of these teensy homes had been rendered by A.I. software and smoothed with an assist from more A.I. software. I had ...
He’s Lost His Marriage, His Followers and His Lamborghini
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He’s Lost His Marriage, His Followers and His Lamborghini

With its streamlined curves and glow-in-the-dark sound system, the silver Lamborghini Huracán Performante was the stuff of teenage fantasy: $350,000 of aerodynamic metals and lightweight upholstery, packed into a taut and powerful body. Ben Armstrong loved it dearly.When he started shopping for a Lamborghini, Mr. Armstrong, a cryptocurrency evangelist with more than one million YouTube subscribers, worried that he’d have to spend months searching. “I think I have to go to Italy to get the Lambo I want,” he texted a business partner. “I don’t want to compromise.” But fate smiled on him. In the fall of 2021, a car dealership in Charlotte, N.C., shipped the Huracán to Mr. Armstrong’s production studio in an Atlanta suburb.As the Lamborghini was lowered from a delivery truck, Mr. Armstrong, be...
Senators Denounce Tech Companies Over Child Sex Abuse Online
Technology

Senators Denounce Tech Companies Over Child Sex Abuse Online

Lawmakers on Wednesday denounced the chief executives of Meta, TikTok, X, Snap and Discord, accusing them of creating “a crisis in America” by willfully ignoring the harmful content against children on their platforms, as concerns over the effect of technology on youths have mushroomed.In a highly charged 3.5-hour hearing, members of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee raised their voices and repeatedly castigated the five tech leaders — who run online services that are very popular with teenagers and younger children — for prioritizing profits over the well-being of youths. Some said the companies had “blood on their hands” and that users “would die waiting” for them to make changes to protect children. At one point, lawmakers compared the tech companies to cigarette makers.“Every par...