‘The Next Mass Extinction?’

source: cnn.com (contributed by FAN, Bill Amshey |  image: pexels.com

 

Bird flu is back. With a large outbreak still unfolding, a New York Review of Books essay by Oliver Wang asks if this particular strain, H5N1, could cause “the next mass extinction.”
 
Word of the outbreak in animals spread last summer, Wang writes, recounting eerie mass deaths of seals, sea lions, and birds on South American coasts. “By the time I spoke to [Argentine veterinarian Marcela] Uhart, the breeding season in Patagonia had ended. Over 17,000 baby elephant seals—96 percent or more of the juveniles in the region—were estimated to have died, as well as more than 500,000 birds. In some areas there were no longer any organisms to infect. Still, Uhart told me, she saw sick and dead animals on each visit to the beach: a sea lion, a duck, a tern. ‘My suspicion is that the virus will linger on,’ she said. ‘We just don’t know whether it will continue to cause epidemic outbreaks, or whether it will just trickle in like it is now.’”
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Apple’s iPhone Spyware Problem Is Getting Worse. Here’s What You Should Know

source: wired.com | image: pexels.com

 

The iPhone maker has detected spyware attacks against people in more than 150 countries. Knowing if your device is infected can be tricky—but there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself.

 

In April, Apple sent notifications to iPhone users in 92 countries, warning them they’d been targeted with spyware. “Apple detected that you are being targeted by a mercenary spyware attack that is trying to remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple ID,” the notification reads.

Users quickly took to social media sites including X, trying to work out what the notification meant. Many of those targeted were based in India, but others in Europe also reported receiving Apple’s warning.

Weeks later, little is still known about the latest iPhone attacks. Former smartphone giant Blackberry, now a security firm, has released research indicating they are linked to a Chinese spyware campaign dubbed “LightSpy,” but Apple spokesperson Shane Bauer says this is inaccurate, and researchers at security firm Huntress say the variant Blackberry analyzed was a macOS version, not iOS. Continue reading “Apple’s iPhone Spyware Problem Is Getting Worse”

AI’s new power: Persuasion

source: axios.com | image: pexels.com

 

AI startup Anthropic says its language models have steadily and rapidly improved their “persuasiveness,” Axios’ Ryan Heath writes.

  • Why it matters: Persuasion can foster disinformation and push people to act against their own interests, according to new research the company posted yesterday.

There’s relatively little research on how the latest models compare to humans when it comes to their persuasiveness — a skill with widespread social, commercial and political applications.

  • The researchers found that the most capable Anthropic model, Claude 3 Opus, “produces arguments that don’t statistically differ” from arguments written by humans.

 

RESEARCH

Measuring the Persuasiveness of Language Models

While people have long questioned whether AI models may, at some point, become as persuasive as humans in changing people’s minds, there has been limited empirical research into the relationship between model scale and the degree of persuasiveness across model outputs. To address this, we developed a basic method to measure persuasiveness, and used it to compare a variety of Anthropic models across three different generations (Claude 1, 2, and 3), and two classes of models (compact models that are smaller, faster, and more cost-effective, and frontier models that are larger and more capable). Continue reading “AI’s new power: Persuasion”

Brute Force Password Cracking Takes Longer, But Celebration May Be Premature

source: technewsworld.com | image: pexels.com

 

Brute force cracking of passwords takes longer now than in the past, but the good news is not a cause for celebration, according to the latest annual audit of password cracking times released Tuesday by Hive Systems.

Depending on the length of the password and its composition — the mix of numbers, letters, and special characters — a password can be cracked instantly or take half a dozen eons to decipher.

For example, four-, five-, or six-number-only passwords can be cracked instantly with today’s computers, while an 18-character password consisting of numbers, upper- and lower-case letters, and symbols would take 19 quintillion years to break.

Last year, Hive’s research found that some 11-character passwords could be cracked instantaneously using brute force. This year’s findings revealed the effectiveness of newer industry-standard password hashing algorithms — like bcrypt — for encrypting passwords in databases. Now, that same 11-character password takes 10 hours to crack.

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Is the ‘Dead Internet’ theory suddenly coming true?

This could be a sign

source: fastcompany.com  |  image: pexels.com

No, not shrimp Jesus—though that’s noteworthy, too. We’re talking about what TikTok could be planning with AI influencers.

 

There’s been a popular theory floating around conspiracy circles for about seven or eight years now. It’s called the “Dead Internet” theory, and its main argument is that the organic, human-created content that powered the early web in the 1990s and 2000s has been usurped by artificially created content, which now dominates what people see online. Hence, the internet is “dead” because the content most of us consume is no longer created by living beings (humans).

But there’s another component to the theory—and this is where the conspiracy part comes into play. The Dead Internet theory states that this move from human-created content to artificially generated content was purposeful, spearheaded by governments and corporations in order to exploit control over the public’s perception. 

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AI could be as consequential to the economy as electricity

source: cnn.com (contributed by FAN, Bill Amshey)  |  image: pexels.com

 

Jamie Dimon believes artificial intelligence will have a huge impact on global business this year.

Dimon, one of the world’s most influential business leaders, said in his annual shareholder letter Monday that while he doesn’t yet know the full effect AI will have on business, the economy or society, he knows its influence will be significant.

“We are completely convinced the consequences will be extraordinary and possibly as transformational as some of the major technological inventions of the past several hundred years: Think the printing press, the steam engine, electricity, computing and the Internet, among others,” the JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO wrote in the letter.

The AI explosion has already transformed workplaces across the world and nearly 40% of global employment could be disrupted by AI, according to the International Monetary Fund.

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“Convince us to stay”:

U.S.-China ties see head-spinning shift

source: axios.com (contributed by FAN, Steve Page) |  image: pexels.com

 

For decades, Corporate America has raced to cash in on China‘s economy. Now China officials are in sell-mode, a stunning reversal from years past.

Why it matters: CEOs know the two nations are economically intertwined in a way that can’t easily be undone. But executives are more cautious, a subtle yet significant sign of a power dynamic shift underway between the U.S. and China.

What they’re saying: “Often foreign companies were on the solicitous side, like ‘can you please let us in?,'” Kurt Tong, the former U.S. envoy to Hong Kong, tells Axios.

  • “Now it’s a little bit more like ‘convince us to stay,'” Tong, who is currently at the Asia Group, adds.

Continue reading ““Convince us to stay”: U.S.-China ties see head-spinning shift”

Apple Sued Over AirTags Privacy: Everything to Know

source: cnet.com  |  image: pexels.com

AirTags digital trackers have raised privacy concerns since the beginning. But now, a lawsuit claims Apple didn’t implement sufficient safeguards.

A class-action lawsuit against Apple alleges the tech giant didn’t sufficiently resolve privacy issues raised by its AirTag digital tracking devices, leading to unwanted stalking and abuse.

The lawsuit, which was filed last year and given court approval to proceed earlier this month, says plaintiffs suffered “substantial” injuries from people who abused Apple’s $29 Bluetooth tracker in ways the company didn’t sufficiently work to address.

How to Protect Yourself (and Your Loved Ones) From AI Scam Calls

 

source: wired.com  |  image: pexels.com

 
AI tools are getting better at cloning people’s voices, and scammers are using these new capabilities to commit fraud. Avoid getting swindled by following these expert tips.

YOU ANSWER A random call from a family member, and they breathlessly explain how there’s been a horrible car accident. They need you to send money right now, or they’ll go to jail. You can hear the desperation in their voice as they plead for an immediate cash transfer. While it sure sounds like them, and the call came from their number, you feel like something’s off. So, you decide to hang up and call them right back. When your family member picks up your call, they say there hasn’t been a car crash, and that they have no idea what you’re talking about.

Congratulations, you just successfully avoided an artificial intelligence scam call. Continue reading “How to Protect Yourself (and Your Loved Ones) From AI Scam Calls”

Hacker Nation: The World’s Third-Largest Economy

 

source: technewsworld.com  |  image: pexels.com

 

During the past 40 years, hackers have graduated from worm attacks in the 1980s to fully funded organizations tapping into some of the most lucrative industries in the world. Today, cybercrime is a significant threat to any company with a device attached to the internet and continues to cause substantial economic impact worldwide.

The modern-day cyberattack can trace its roots back to the 1988 Morris worm attack. Before the World Wide Web had made an impact, a small program launched from a computer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) propagated remarkably. It infected an estimated 6,000 of the approximately 60,000 computers connected to the internet at the time. Although it was difficult to calculate the exact damage caused by the Morris worm, estimates put it anywhere between US$100,000 and the millions.

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