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Round-up of the latest industry news – January 2024

30.01.2024
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Round-up of the latest news

Apple will open up its tap-and-go mobile payment system to rivals, allowing third party providers to access the contactless function on its iOS operating system.

OpenAI has claimed that a ban on the use of news and books to train models would doom the development of artificial intelligence.

Nearly 40 per cent of global employment is exposed to AI, according to a new report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), rising to 60 per cent in developed economies.

Amazon and robot vacuum maker iRobot have ended their merger plan in the face of strong opposition from competition regulators in the EU and US.

Searches for Taylor Swift on X were blocked following the circulation of explicit ‘deepfake’ images of the pop star on the social media platform.

Italy’s communications authority, AGCOM, has brought in stringent new rules to improve transparency on social media posts made by ‘influencers’.

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Apple will open up its tap-and-go mobile payment system to rivals, allowing third party providers to access the contactless function on its iOS operating system. The company is seeking a resolution to a case first brought in 2022, in which the European Commission had accused it of abusing its dominant position by blocking developers of rival payment apps from accessing the iPhone’s near-field communication technology. This, according to the Commission, prevents developers from offering competing services on Apple devices. The proposed changes would last for ten years and the EU is now seeking feedback from ‘all interested parties’ before making a final decision in the case.

OpenAI has claimed that a ban on the use of news and books to train models would doom the development of artificial intelligence. In a submission to the UK House of Lords the creator of Chat GPT said that ‘because copyright today covers virtually every sort of human expression – including blog posts, photographs, forum posts, scraps of software code and government documents – it would be impossible to train today’s leading AI models without using copyrighted materials.’ OpenAI is currently fighting legal action in the US over claims that it has illegally used content from book and news publishers.

Nearly 40 per cent of global employment is exposed to AI, according to a new report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), rising to 60 per cent in developed economies. Using a new methodology, the analysis predicts that about half of these jobs will be affected negatively while the remainder could benefit from enhanced productivity through AI integration. The research suggests that, while many emerging and developing economies will be less exposed to immediate disruptions from AI, they are also in a weaker position to seize its advantages. This, says the IMF, could exacerbate the digital divide and cross-country income disparity. The full report can be downloaded here.

Amazon and robot vacuum maker iRobot have ended their merger plan in the face of strong opposition from competition regulators in the EU and US. The announcement comes after the EU’s Commissioner for Competition, Margarethe Vestager said that its investigation showed that ‘the acquisition of iRobot would have enabled Amazon to foreclose iRobot’s rivals by restricting or downgrading access to Amazon stores’. Amazon said that the merger now had ‘no path to regulatory approval in the European Union’, although it’s understood that the Federal Trade Commission in the US was also poised to block the deal.

Searches for Taylor Swift on X  were blocked following the circulation of explicit ‘deepfake’ images of the pop star on the social media platform. The change meant that even legitimate content featuring Taylor Swift became harder to view on the site. A company spokesman said the move was was temporary and taken ‘with an abundance of caution’. The block has now been lifted, but the story has again raised concerns about the rise of deepfakes. Experts have warned that fake pornographic imagery is one of the most common emerging abuses of deepfake technology, and is increasingly used in political disinformation campaigns.

Italy’s communications authority, AGCOM, has brought in stringent new rules to improve transparency on social media posts made by ‘influencers’. The decision follows a fine handed to Chiara Ferragni, a celebrity with nearly 30 million Instagram followers by Italy’s competition agency over the lack of clarity in a Christmas charity initiative. Any advertising content posted will now need to be clearly labelled and recognisable as such. AGCOM said the rules will apply initially to influencers posting in Italian and working with Italian brands who have more than 1 million followers.

Sources:  The Financial Times, APNews, Euronews, CNN,  TechCrunch, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Bloomberg, Economic Times, Ars Technica, Reuters, BBC, Politico

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