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US House Passes Bill Potentially Banning TikTok



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In a significant move, the US House of Representatives has approved a significant bill that could result in the banning of TikTok in the United States. This landmark legislation would compel ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of the popular social media app, to divest its controlling stake within six months, failing which the app would face a blockade in the US.

Bipartisan Support Amid Concerns Over Chinese Influence

Despite strong bipartisan support in the House, the bill must still navigate through the Senate and receive the president’s signature to become law. Lawmakers have voiced longstanding apprehensions regarding China’s sway over TikTok, intensifying the push for regulatory action.

Diplomatic Tensions and Legislative Impact

If passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Joe Biden, the bill’s enforcement could strain diplomatic relations with China. ByteDance would be compelled to seek approval from Chinese authorities for forced divestiture, a prospect Beijing has vowed to oppose vehemently.

TikTok CEO Warns of Dire Consequences

Lawmakers have long held concerns about China’s influence over TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, founded in 2012. The Beijing-based firm is registered in the Cayman Islands, and has offices across Europe and the US. Used by 170 million Americans, it is by far the most popular social media platform in the country. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said in a video posted Wednesday the legislation if signed into law “will lead to a ban on TikTok in the United States… and would take billions of dollars out of the pockets of creators and small businesses. It will put 300,000 American jobs at risk.”

Chew has vehemently opposed the legislation, warning of dire consequences if implemented. He asserts that the bill could lead to a ban on the platform in the US, jeopardizing billions of dollars in revenue for creators and small businesses and putting hundreds of thousands of American jobs at risk.

Growing Political Momentum Against TikTok

The political momentum in favor of the bill is palpable, with President Biden signaling his support and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan questioning the ownership of TikTok. Amid escalating tensions, Chinese companies face heightened scrutiny over data-sharing practices, further fueling concerns surrounding national security.

Reassurances from TikTok Amid Regulatory Scrutiny

Despite regulatory scrutiny, TikTok has sought to reassure stakeholders regarding data security measures. CEO Shou Zi Chew emphasized the company’s commitment to safeguarding user data and ensuring the platform remains impervious to external manipulation.

Uncertain Future for TikTok in the US

As legislative deliberations unfold, the fate of TikTok hangs in the balance. With geopolitical tensions shaping the regulatory landscape, the outcome of this bill could have far-reaching implications for both TikTok and the broader social media landscape.


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Google AI Overviews Tells Users to Eat One Small Rock A Day?



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After the controversy surrounding Gemini’s text-to-image feature a few months ago, Google is facing criticism once again, this time for its AI-powered search feature, AI Overviews. Rolled out earlier this month, AI Overviews is designed to replace traditional search result links with concise summaries of information. However, users have reported a number of bizarre and potentially dangerous suggestions from the AI. However, raising serious concerns about the reliability of Google’s AI technology.

“At least one small rock a day”

Google AI Overview
Google AI Overviews

Questionable Advice and Dangerous Recommendations

One alarming instance occurred when a user asked about the benefits of eating rocks. AI Overviews, citing UC Berkeley scientists, erroneously advised consuming “at least one small rock a day” for digestive health due to their mineral content. This recommendation is not only absurd but potentially harmful. Moreover, illustrating a significant flaw in the AI’s data processing and source verification.

In another case, the AI falsely claimed that former US President Barack Obama is Muslim in response to a query about Muslim presidents in the US. Such misinformation undermines the AI’s credibility and highlights the potential for spreading false information.

Google AI Overviews

Users seeking culinary advice also encountered problems. When one asked why cheese wasn’t sticking to their pizza, the AI suggested adding “about 1/8 cup of non-toxic glue to the sauce,” referencing an old Reddit comment. This bizarre and unsafe suggestion further showcases the AI’s inability to filter out dubious sources. Definitely not a recipe anyone should be following!

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Health Hazards and Public Outcry

Health-related queries have also led to dangerous advice. When asked how long one can stare at the sun for health benefits, the AI irresponsibly suggested that staring at the sun for 5-15 minutes, or up to 30 minutes for individuals with darker skin, was safe and beneficial. This recommendation could lead to serious eye damage, demonstrating a critical failure in the AI’s guidance on health matters.

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Another distressing example involved a user searching for help with depression. The AI shockingly recommended jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. However, a deeply irresponsible and dangerous response that could have life-threatening consequences.

Public and Expert Reactions

The backlash from users has been swift and severe, with many taking to Twitter to voice their concerns. Descriptions of the AI as a “nightmare” and a “disaster” reflect the widespread disappointment and distrust. Tom Warren, senior editor at The Verge, criticized the AI for transforming Google Search into an unreliable resource.

Critics argue that the AI’s tendency to generate bizarre and incorrect responses poses a threat to traditional media outlets and reliable information sources. The feature, which aims to auto-generate summaries for complex queries. Besides, effectively demotes links to other websites, exacerbating the issue of misinformation.

Can We Rely on Google AI at All?

In response to the controversy, a Google spokesperson acknowledged the issue but downplayed the extent. Besides, claiming the problematic examples are generally uncommon queries and not representative of most users’ experiences. They emphasized that the majority of AI Overviews provide high-quality information with links for deeper exploration.

Google assured that their systems aim to automatically prevent policy-violating content from appearing in AI Overviews and promised to take appropriate action if such content does appear. Despite these assurances, the continued flubs have significantly dented the chatbot’s credibility.

Google’s AI Overviews has stumbled significantly, providing misleading and dangerous advice on multiple occasions. From advocating the consumption of rocks to suggesting harmful health practices. Furthermore, the feature has raised serious questions about the reliability and safety of AI-generated content. As Google works to address these issues, users and critics alike remain wary. However, emphasizing the need for stringent checks and better AI training to prevent such blunders in the future. Until they fix this, we don’t think we (or anyone) can rely on our usual go-to search tool for a while!

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Threads Ups the Ante on Fact-Checking Before US Elections



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Threads, the app owned by Meta (formerly Facebook), is taking a big step towards combating misinformation ahead of the crucial US presidential election in November. Instagram chief Adam Mosseri recently announced the rollout of a dedicated fact-checking program for the platform.

Breaking Free from Piggybacking:

Previously, Threads relied on fact-checking efforts from its bigger siblings, Facebook and Instagram. However, this new program empowers independent fact-checkers to directly review and rate content on Threads, offering a more targeted approach to tackling misinformation within the app. Prior to this update, Threads relied on “inherited” fact-checks from Facebook and Instagram. This meant identifying and removing “near-identical false content” that had already been flagged on the other platforms.

Transparency Curtain Remains:

While Mosseri confirmed the rollout, details remain under wraps. Specific launch dates and geographical coverage haven’t been disclosed. It’s also unclear which independent organizations are partnering with Meta for this initiative. Hopefully, Meta will provide further clarity soon.

A Balancing Act?

Threads, unlike its main competitor Elon Musk’s X, has a history of prioritizing casual, non-political content. Mosseri previously reasoned that the potential downsides of political content, such as increased scrutiny and negativity, outweigh any potential benefits in terms of user engagement or revenue. This stance was further emphasized by the decision to remove political content recommendations from both Threads and Instagram in February.

Meta’s commitment to a dedicated fact-checking program for Threads suggests a potential shift in its approach. It remains to be seen if this signifies a broader change for the platform or remains focused on the upcoming US elections.

Unanswered Questions on India and Beyond:

Another uncertainty lies with the program’s geographical reach. Will it cover India, currently Meta’s largest user base and a country with its own ongoing national elections? Threads previously faced controversy in India when Instagram removed a hate speech video posted by Prime Minister Modi’s party.

The rollout of a dedicated fact-checking program on Threads is a significant development for the platform, particularly in the context of the upcoming US elections. Increased transparency and clearer communication from Meta regarding program specifics and reach will be crucial to ensure its effectiveness.

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Google I/O 2024: Everything You Need To Know




Google’s annual developer conference, I/O, just wrapped up, and this year’s event was all about artificial intelligence (AI). From CEO Sundar Pichai’s opening remarks to the final presentations, the focus was firmly on Google’s advancements in AI, particularly its flagship project, Gemini.

Unlike previous I/O keynotes that featured hardware reveals or teasers, this year’s event steered clear of any physical product announcements. Anticipation was high for a glimpse of the Pixel 9 series or the Pixel Fold 2, but Google remained tight-lipped on that front.


The keynote showcased how Google is weaving AI into its various products and services. Here are some of the key announcements:

Key Takeaways from Google I/O 2024

Google Lens Gets a Video Search Upgrade

You can now search using video recordings with Google Lens. Simply record a video of something you want to find information about, ask a question, and Google’s AI will scour the web for relevant answers.

Search Gets Smarter with Gemini

Google Search is receiving an AI boost with features like AI Overview for faster answers, intelligent travel itinerary creation, and the ability to use video for problem-solving.

Gemini Helps You Mine Your Photo Library

A new feature called “Ask Photos” allows Gemini to answer your questions about your Google Photos library. Imagine asking it to find your license plate number, and Gemini not only providing the number. Besides, but also showing you a picture of your car for confirmation!

Gemini 1.5 Gets Faster and More Capable

Google introduced Gemini 1.5 Flash, a new AI model optimized for quicker responses on specific tasks. Additionally, enhancements were made to Gemini 1.5 to improve its translation, reasoning, and coding abilities. The context window size, which determines how much information Gemini can process, has also been doubled.

Gemini Joins Your Workspace

As mentioned earlier, Gemini 1.5 Pro is being integrated into the Workspace suite. This essentially transforms it into a powerful assistant within Workspace. Moreover, allowing you to fetch information from your Drive, write emails based on documents you’re working on, and set reminders for important emails.

Project Astra: A Glimpse into the Future

Project Astra represents Google’s vision for a future where AI assistants can not only understand us but also take actions on our behalf. It’s the technology behind many of the impressive demos showcased at I/O. Furthermore, it hints at a future where AI assistants become true partners in our daily lives.

Veo Takes Video Creation to New Heights

Google unveiled two new AI models for creative pursuits. Veo can generate realistic 1080p videos based on your text prompts, while Imagen focuses on creating images from textual descriptions. Similar to OpenAI’s Sora, Veo is a generative AI model that creates 1080p videos based on various prompts. It offers a variety of styles and allows for customization through additional prompts. Google is already offering Veo to some YouTube creators and is even pitching it to Hollywood for use in films.

Introducing Gems: Custom Chatbot Creation

Similar to OpenAI’s GPTs, Gems empowers users to customize Gemini’s responses and areas of expertise. This means you can create a personalized chatbot that serves as your running coach, therapist, or anything else you can imagine (for Gemini Advanced subscribers).

Overall, Google I/O 2024 was a clear indicator of the company’s commitment to AI development and its integration into various products and services. From smarter assistants to AI-powered content creation tools. However, Google is making significant strides in the field of AI, and its impact on our daily lives is only set to grow.

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