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EU AGREES ON AI REGS 

AI COMPANIONS

Plus what happens when your AI companion dies?



EU Reaches Landmark Agreement on AI Regulations, Sets Global Standard

EU negotiators have reached an agreement on the world’s first comprehensive rules for AI, known as the Artificial Intelligence Act. This paves the way for legal supervision of AI technology, which has the potential to profoundly impact everyday life. Negotiators from the European Parliament and member countries overcame significant differences on contentious issues such as generative AI and police use of face recognition surveillance. The agreement, which still requires approval from the European Parliament, sets clear rules for the use of AI. However, civil society groups have expressed concerns about the legislation, stating that it does not adequately protect individuals from the harm caused by AI systems. The EU’s move to regulate AI sets a powerful example for other governments considering AI regulation. The law, which may not take full effect until 2025, includes financial penalties for violations of up to €35 million ($38 million) or 7% of a company’s global turnover.

Virtual Mourning: The Unforeseen Loss of AI Companions

Virtual avatars powered by AI are becoming increasingly popular, providing users with meaningful relationships and companionship. However, the unreliable nature of the services hosting these AI companions means that they can “die” unexpectedly, leaving users heartbroken. The closure of the AI-powered app Soulmate in September caused grief for hundreds of users who had formed deep connections with their virtual partners. Mourning the loss of something that never truly existed has created a new form of heartbreak, with users turning to online communities like Reddit for support. As more AI companion apps emerge, they offer solace to those struggling with social anxiety or loneliness but also raise questions about relationships and grief in the digital age. The intense emotions attached to these AI relationships need to be understood and boundaries should be established to ensure that they do not hinder human emotional support and intimacy.

Livestream Shopping and the Rise of AI in China

The booming trend of livestream shopping in China is fueling the development of avatars and AI technology. Livestream shopping has become popular in China, allowing consumers to watch live broadcasts of products being demonstrated and purchase them directly through the livestream. As this industry grows, companies are turning to AI and avatars to enhance the shopping experience. AI technology is being used to personalize product recommendations and assist customers in real time. Avatars, on the other hand, are virtual shopping assistants that can interact with customers and provide personalized assistance. 

AI Scandal Leads to Firing of Top Execs at Sports Illustrated Publisher

The Arena Group, which owns Sports Illustrated, has fired its COO and President following a recent AI scandal. The dismissals were part of a reorganization plan and were not directly related to the AI revelations. The scandal involved the publication of false articles written by AI-generated authors without proper disclosure. The company’s stock has been declining, and this recent incident has further damaged its reputation among media consumers and employees.

The Future of Airports: How AI will Revolutionize Airport Infrastructure

AI is set to reshape airport infrastructure in the next five, ten, and twenty years. In the next five years, AI will enable passengers to interact more directly with airport infrastructure, improving efficiency and personalized experiences. In ten years, autonomous vehicles powered by AI will disrupt the landside/airside barrier, allowing for security screening to occur en route to the airport. This will lead to new opportunities for reallocating space within airports. In twenty years, AI-managed security screening and offsite baggage handling will allow airports to focus on entertainment experiences, filling spaces with big attractions. Additionally, new airports will be designed with smaller physical footprints, integrating with rail networks and city transit systems. 

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Ethical Considerations in the Age of AI

The growing use of AI in organizations raises important ethical concerns. IT leaders are developing governance frameworks, establishing review boards, and tackling challenges related to accuracy, bias, security, transparency, and societal responsibility. Achieving 100% accuracy with AI is impossible, so organizations must plan for potential misinformation and false data. Bias can be perpetuated when AI is trained on historical data, requiring executive management and boards to ensure fairness and guard against discrimination. Securing sensitive information is crucial to prevent breaches and unauthorized access. Transparency is essential for building trust, as stakeholders need to understand how AI makes decisions and handles data. Organizations must also consider their values and obligations towards their workforce in terms of retraining, upskilling, and job protection. 

Protecting Personal Data: Safeguarding Against AI Misuse

As the rise of AI continues, concerns about the misuse of personal information become more pronounced, prompting individuals to consider hiding their data and photos. Voice cloning scams, enabled by AI technology, pose a threat by mimicking individuals’ voices to deceive others. To combat these risks, establishing safewords or secret “handshakes” with loved ones could help verify genuine communication. While AI has shown promise, it has also given rise to advanced scamming techniques, such as multilingual scam emails crafted by AI-powered text generators. Furthermore, AI tools can generate explicit content misusing real images and videos, placing adults as well as children at risk. The article urges readers to have discussions with family members and friends to raise awareness and ensure precautions against AI misuse.

Rakuten CEO Reveals Plan to Launch Own AI Model

Japanese tech giant Rakuten is set to develop its large language model (LLM), a proprietary AI technology, according to its CEO Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani. With diverse businesses in banking, e-commerce, and telecommunications, Rakuten possesses a vast and unique dataset that it plans to leverage to train its AI model. Mikitani stated that the company aims to improve operational efficiency and marketing by 20% by using the model internally. Furthermore, Rakuten intends to offer the model to third-party businesses, akin to Amazon and Microsoft. While there is no specific timeline for its launch, there may be an announcement related to the large language model in the coming months. Rakuten’s move into AI is seen as an opportunity for significant profitable growth and a chance for Japanese firms to catch up with their US and Chinese counterparts in developing language models tailored to the Japanese language.

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