An AI-generated image led to a market crash, Netflix finally started rolling out password sharing, Sony announced a brand new handheld console for the PlayStation 5, and a much-awaited Twitter US presidential announcement fell flat — these are some of the few headlines that dominated the tech world over the past week. Let’s take a closer look.
AI-Led US Market Crash
On Monday, social media platforms were flooded with a wave of excitement and concern as an image generated by artificial intelligence (AI) depicting an explosion near a building in the Pentagon complex in Arlington, Virginia, US, started circulating online. The image, which showed a towering plume of dark grey smoke, quickly spread across Twitter, with even verified accounts sharing it. The source of the image remains unidentified.
Prime example of the dangers in the pay-to-verify system: This account, which tweeted a (very likely AI-generated) photo of a (fake) story about an explosion at the Pentagon, looks at first glance like a legit Bloomberg news feed. pic.twitter.com/SThErCln0p
— Andy Campbell (@AndyBCampbell) May 22, 2023
The US Department of Defense promptly confirmed that the image was entirely fabricated, debunking any claims of an actual explosion. However, the image’s widespread circulation briefly impacted the stock market, causing some temporary fluctuations.
The fire department of Arlington acknowledged the reports circulating on social media regarding the alleged explosion. They reassured the public that there was no real threat or cause for alarm.
In response to the dissemination of the AI-generated image, Twitter took action by suspending several verified accounts that had shared the photo. This was an effort to prevent the further spread of misinformation and maintain the platform’s integrity.
There’s a bigger issue here, though. AI, as a technological advancement, is something to be admired. However, as is the case of any invention of note, it can easily be manipulated by bad actors to spread chaos. From the photos of Donald Trump getting arrested, which went viral a few weeks ago, to the latest Pentagon blast fiasco, such occurrences have clearly shown the need for global AI regulation. No wonder the G7 nations are planning to meet on May 30 to hold their first-ever working-level AI meet. Read more about it here.
Netflix Is (Finally) Serious About Password Sharing
In an effort to address the issue of password sharing, Netflix has recently expanded its initiative across various countries, including the United States, after promoting the new feature for months. As a leading streaming service with a global user base exceeding 200 million, Netflix has taken steps to curb the practice of sharing accounts beyond the boundaries of a user’s own household. This move aims to boost revenue in a market that has become saturated.
To inform its users about these new restrictions, Netflix has begun sending out email notifications in 103 countries and territories, including prominent markets such as the United States, France, Germany, and Brazil. The emails serve as a reminder that a Netflix account should only be accessed within a single household. However, subscribers do have the option to add additional members from outside their homes by paying an extra monthly fee of $7.99 in the United States.
It remains to be seen how much the feature will cost in India when it eventually rolls out here. The company is yet to announce any details.
Sony Announces New Console
The launch of a new console is always a major reason to rejoice for gamers and given that the newest handheld kid on the block comes from PlayStation-maker Sony, Project Q certainly has our attention.
During its announcement-packed PlayStation Showcase event, Sony announced Project Q, a handheld console that is capable of streaming games from your PS5 via Wi-Fi. The device itself will feature an 8-inch HD screen and incorporate all the buttons and features of the popular DualSense wireless controller. Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO and President Jim Ryan assured that Project Q will be launched later this year.
The PlayStation Showcase also saw the announcement of a handful of new games, including a Metal Gear Solid 3 remake, as well as some new trailers of much-awaited titles such as Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and Assassin’s Creed Mirage.
IN PICS: Top Announcements From PlayStation Showcase
Major iPhone Manufacturer Exits India
Wistron, the Taiwanese electronics company responsible for manufacturing iPhones, has made the decision to gradually cease its operations in India after being present in the country for 15 years. As part of this move, Wistron plans to sell its plant located in Kolar, near Bengaluru, to the Indian conglomerate Tata Group.
The firm encountered difficulties in establishing a deeper foothold in the iPhone maker’s supply chain and faced challenges related to local employment regulations, ultimately leading to its departure from the country.
Discussions between Tata Group and Wistron regarding this transaction have been ongoing since last year.
Ron DeSantis’s Presidential Announcement Sees A Shaky Start
In a highly anticipated live audio chat that took place on Wednesday, Twitter encountered multiple disruptions that prevented Florida Governor Ron DeSantis from announcing his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. The chat, featuring Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of Twitter, attracted significant attention. Since Musk assumed control of the social media platform in October, a considerable number of employees, including software engineers responsible for fixing bugs, have been laid off. Concerns were previously raised by current and former Twitter employees about the increased risk of crashes during periods of high traffic as a result of these layoffs.
Acknowledging the issue of server overload, venture capitalist David Sacks, a close friend of Musk, noted during the event on Wednesday, “We’ve got so many people here that I think we are kind of overwhelming the servers, which is a positive sign.”
Musk attributed the technical difficulties to the overwhelming number of listeners and his extensive Twitter following. Despite the interruptions, approximately 678,000 individuals tuned in to the audio chat on Twitter Spaces. Eventually, the Spaces session resumed, with around 304,000 participants actively engaged in the discussion.
A day later, a senior Twitter engineering executive announced his departure from the company. Foad Dabiri, who served as the engineering lead for Twitter’s Growth organisation, took to Twitter to share his decision, stating that he had “decided to leave the nest” after nearly four years at the company.
Dabiri acknowledged the transformative nature of the company, mentioning the distinct eras he experienced before and after Elon Musk’s acquisition last year. Describing the transition to Twitter’s “2.0” as “massive and rapid,” he emphasised the challenges faced during the process.
Twitter Acted Strange Yet Again, And Nobody Knows Why
Is any tech wrap ever complete without a bit of Twitter fiasco?
Twitter is apparently restoring deleted tweets for several of its users, as per media reports earlier this week. Some of the old and deleted tweets date back to 2020. However, there is no acknowledgement from Twitter as to why three-year-old tweets are being restored on their own.
That’s it from the world of tech headlines this week. Stay tuned to this space for more top stories next week.