EU may suspend TikTok’s new rewards app over risks to kids

LONDON — The European Union on Monday demanded TikTok provide more information about a new app that pays users to watch videos and warned that it could order the video sharing platform to suspend addictive features that pose a risk to kids.  The 27-nation EU’s executive commission said it was opening formal proceedings to determine whether TikTok Lite breached the bloc’s new digital rules when the app was rolled out in France and Spain.  Brussels was ratcheting up the pressure on TikTok after the company failed to respond to a request last week for information on whether the new app compliesmore

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Connected Africa Summit addressing continent’s challenges, opportunities and bridging digital divides

Nairobi, Kenya — Government representatives from Africa, along with ICT (information and communication technology) officials, and international organizations have gathered in Nairobi for a Connected Africa Summit. They are discussing the future of technology, unlocking the continent’s growth beyond connectivity, and addressing the challenges and opportunities in the continent’s information and technology sector. Speaking at the Connected Africa Summit opening in Nairobi Monday, Kenyan President William Ruto said bridging the technology gap is important for Africa’s economic growth and innovation.   “Closing the digital divide is a priority in terms of enhancing connectivity, expanding the contribution of the ICT sector tomore

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Doctors display ‘PillBot’ that can explore inner human body

vancouver, british columbia — A new, digestible mini-robotic camera, about the size of a multivitamin pill, was demonstrated at the annual TED Conference in Vancouver. The remote-controlled device can eliminate invasive medical procedures. With current technology, exploration of the digestive tract involves going through the highly invasive procedure of an endoscopy, in which a camera at the end of a cord is inserted down the throat and into a medicated patient’s stomach. But the robotic pill, developed by Endiatx in Hayward, California, is designed to be the first motorized replacement of the procedure. A patient fasts for a day, then swallowsmore

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Apple pulls WhatsApp and Threads from App Store on Beijing’s orders

HONG KONG — Apple said it had removed Meta’s WhatsApp messaging app and its Threads social media app from the App Store in China to comply with orders from Chinese authorities. The apps were removed from the store Friday after Chinese officials cited unspecified national security concerns. Their removal comes amid elevated tensions between the U.S. and China over trade, technology and national security. The U.S. has threatened to ban TikTok over national security concerns. But while TikTok, owned by Chinese technology firm ByteDance, is used by millions in the U.S., apps like WhatsApp and Threads are not commonly used inmore

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Once foreign aid bill signed, this is how US can rush weapons to Ukraine

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon could get weapons moving to Ukraine within days once Congress passes a long-delayed aid bill. That’s because it has a network of storage sites in the U.S. and Europe that hold the ammunition and air defense components that Kyiv desperately needs. Moving fast is critical, CIA Director Bill Burns said this past week, warning that without additional aid from the U.S., Ukraine could lose the war to Russia by the end of this year. “We would like very much to be able to rush the security assistance in the volumes we think they need to be ablemore

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EU politicians embrace TikTok despite data security concerns

Sundsvall,  Sweden — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s short videos of his three-day trip to China this week proved popular in posts on Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok, which the European Union, Canada, Taiwan and the United States banned on official devices more than a year ago, citing security concerns. By Friday, one video showing highlights of Scholz’s trip had garnered 1.5 million views while another of him speaking about it on the plane home had 1.4 million views.  Scholz opened his TikTok account April 8 to attract youth, promising he wouldn’t post videos of himself dancing.  His most popular post somore

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Meta’s new AI agents confuse Facebook users 

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts — Facebook parent Meta Platforms has unveiled a new set of artificial intelligence systems that are powering what CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls “the most intelligent AI assistant that you can freely use.”  But as Zuckerberg’s crew of amped-up Meta AI agents started venturing into social media in recent days to engage with real people, their bizarre exchanges exposed the ongoing limitations of even the best generative AI technology.  One joined a Facebook moms group to talk about its gifted child. Another tried to give away nonexistent items to confused members of a Buy Nothing forum.  Meta, along with leadingmore

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Man sets self on fire outside New York court where Trump trial underway

new york — A man set himself on fire on Friday outside the New York courthouse where Donald Trump’s historic hush-money trial was taking place as jury selection wrapped up, but officials said he did not appear to have been targeting Trump. The man burned for several minutes in full view of television cameras that were set up outside the courthouse, where the first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. president is being held. “I see a totally charred human being,” a CNN reporter said on the air. Officials said the man survived and was in critical condition at a localmore

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Developers: Enhanced AI could outthink humans in 2 to 5 years

vancouver, british columbia — Just as the world is getting used to the rapidly expanding use of AI, or artificial intelligence, AGI is looming on the horizon. Experts say when artificial general intelligence becomes reality, it could perform tasks better than human beings, with the possibility of higher cognitive abilities, emotions, and ability to self-teach and develop. Ramin Hasani is a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the CEO of Liquid AI, which builds specific AI systems for different organizations. He is also a TED Fellow, a program that helps develop what the nonprofit TED conference considers tomore

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Google fires 28 workers protesting contract with Israel

New York — Google fired 28 employees following a disruptive sit-down protest over the tech giant’s contract with the Israeli government, a Google spokesperson said Thursday. The Tuesday demonstration was organized by the group “No Tech for Apartheid,” which has long opposed “Project Nimbus,” Google’s joint $1.2 billion contract with Amazon to provide cloud services to the government of Israel. Video of the demonstration showed police arresting Google workers in Sunnyvale, California, in the office of Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian’s, according to a post by the advocacy group on X, formerly Twitter. Kurian’s office was occupied for 10 hours, themore

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Security agencies warn election officials to brace for attacks on US presidential race

washington — U.S. intelligence and security agencies are trying to prepare election officials for a wave of new attacks aiming to destroy voter confidence in November’s presidential election, just as a series of reports warn some familiar adversaries are starting to ramp up their efforts. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), along with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the FBI, issued a new warning on Wednesday that “the usual suspects” — Russia, China and Iran — are looking for ways to stoke tensions and divide American voters. All three countries, the guidance said, are “leveragingmore

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Schumer says he’ll move to end Mayorkas’ impeachment trial in Senate as soon as it begins

Washington — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that he will move to dismiss impeachment charges against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, a move that would end the Senate trial before arguments even begin. Schumer, D-N.Y., said that the two articles of impeachment brought against the secretary over his handling of the U.S.-Mexico border “fail to meet the high standard of high crimes and misdemeanors” and could set a dangerous precedent.  “For the sake of the Senate’s integrity and to protect impeachment for those rare cases we truly need it, senators should dismiss today’s charges,” Schumer said as he openedmore

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Microsoft finds Russian influence operations targeting US election have begun

SAN FRANCISCO — Microsoft said on Wednesday that Russian online campaigns to influence the upcoming U.S. presidential election kicked into gear over the past 45 days, but at a slower pace than in past elections.  Russia-linked accounts are disseminating divisive content aimed at U.S. audiences, including criticizing American support of Ukraine in its war with Russia, researchers at the tech giant said in a report.  The Russian embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment, but the Kremlin said last month it would not meddle in the November U.S. election. It also dismissed U.S. allegations that it orchestratedmore

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AI-generated fashion models could bring more diversity to industry — or leave it with less

Chicago, Illinois — London-based model Alexsandrah has a twin, but not in the way you’d expect: Her counterpart is made of pixels instead of flesh and blood. The virtual twin was generated by artificial intelligence and has already appeared as a stand-in for the real-life Alexsandrah in a photo shoot. Alexsandrah, who goes by her first name professionally, in turn receives credit and compensation whenever the AI version of herself gets used — just like a human model. Alexsandrah says she and her alter-ego mirror each other “even down to the baby hairs.” And it is yet another example of howmore

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