Technology

Supreme Court Seems Open to Free Speech Challenges to Social Media Laws
Technology

Supreme Court Seems Open to Free Speech Challenges to Social Media Laws

The Supreme Court seemed skeptical on Monday of laws in Florida and Texas that bar major social media companies from making editorial judgments about which messages to allow.The laws were enacted in an effort to shield conservative voices on the sites, but a decision by the court, expected by June, will almost certainly be its most important statement on the scope of the First Amendment in the internet era, with broad political and economic implications.A ruling that tech platforms have no editorial discretion to decide which posts to allow would expose users to a greater variety of viewpoints but almost certainly amplify the ugliest aspects of the digital age, including hate speech and disinformation.Though a ruling in favor of big platforms like Facebook and YouTube appeared likely, the ...
Instagram’s Uneasy Rise as a News Site
Technology

Instagram’s Uneasy Rise as a News Site

On a recent Wednesday in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood, Mosheh Oinounou, a former producer for CBS, Bloomberg News and Fox News, swiped through Instagram. He had started his morning reading major newspapers and more than a dozen newsletters. Then he spent much of the day turning many of the articles into posts on his Instagram account, under the handle Mo News.A Wall Street Journal story on aging Americans was relayed through a picture of a cake declaring, “Record Number of Americans Will Turn 65 This Year: Wealthy, Active, And Single.” At times, Mr. Oinounou, an affable 41-year-old, has also appeared on camera with the co-host of his daily news podcast to explain the significance of how Republican presidential candidates were polling and why President Biden was a write-in candidate in New...
A Marketplace of Girl Influencers Managed by Moms and Stalked by Men
Technology

A Marketplace of Girl Influencers Managed by Moms and Stalked by Men

The ominous messages began arriving in Elissa’s inbox early last year.“You sell pics of your underage daughter to pedophiles,” read one. “You’re such a naughty sick mom, you’re just as sick as us pedophiles,” read another. “I will make your life hell for you and your daughter.”Elissa has been running her daughter’s Instagram account since 2020, when the girl was 11 and too young to have her own. Photos show a bright, bubbly girl modeling evening dresses, high-end workout gear and dance leotards. She has more than 100,000 followers, some so enthusiastic about her posts that they pay $9.99 a month for more photos.Over the years, Elissa has fielded all kinds of criticism and knows full well that some people think she is exploiting her daughter. She has even gotten used to receiving creepy mes...
Let Tesla Expand? Germans Vote No.
Technology

Let Tesla Expand? Germans Vote No.

Why It Matters: A factory that has divided a town.Tesla’s decision to settle in Grünheide, which is in the state of Brandenburg, and the speed with which the factory was built — 861 days — has been a point of pride for local politicians in a country known for its onerous permitting processes.The factory, which opened two years ago, has also become an important driver of growth in the state, long one of the most economically challenged in Germany. Brandenburg recorded economic growth of 6 percent in the first half of 2023, largely driven by the 11,000 jobs at the plant and dozens of suppliers that have sprung up around it.But many local residents contend the plant has disrupted a quality of life that drew them to Grünheide, and say it threatens the air and water quality.Some said that Tesla...
Plans to Expand U.S. Chip Manufacturing Are Running Into Obstacles
Technology

Plans to Expand U.S. Chip Manufacturing Are Running Into Obstacles

In December 2022, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the key maker of the world’s most cutting-edge chips, said it planned to spend $40 billion in Arizona on its first major U.S. hub for semiconductor production.The much ballyhooed project in Phoenix — with two new factories, including one with more advanced technology — became a symbol of President Biden’s quest to spur more domestic production of chips, the slices of silicon that help all manner of devices make calculations and store data.Then last summer, TSMC pushed back initial manufacturing at its first Arizona factory to 2025 from this year, saying local workers lacked expertise in installing some sophisticated equipment. Last month, the company said the second plant wouldn’t produce chips until 2027 or 2028, rather than 20...
Facial Recognition in Airports: Biometrics Technology Is Expanding
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Facial Recognition in Airports: Biometrics Technology Is Expanding

On a recent Thursday morning in Queens, travelers streamed through the exterior doors of La Guardia Airport’s Terminal C. Some were bleary-eyed — most hefted briefcases — as they checked bags and made their way to the security screening lines.It was business as usual, until some approached a line that was almost empty. One by one, they walked to a kiosk with an iPad affixed to it and had their photos taken, as a security officer stood by. Within seconds, each passenger’s image was matched to a photo from a government database, and the traveler was ushered past security into the deeper maze of the airport. No physical ID or boarding pass required.Some travelers, despite previously opting into the program, still proffered identification, only for the officer to wave it away. This passenger s...
The State of A.I., and Will Perplexity Beat Google or Destroy the Web?
Technology

The State of A.I., and Will Perplexity Beat Google or Destroy the Web?

Listen to and follow ‘Hard Fork’Apple | Spotify | Amazon | YouTubeA year ago, a chatbot tried to break up Kevin Roose’s marriage. Ever since, chatbots haven’t been the same. We’ll tell you how. Then, we’ll talk through the latest ways the world is adapting to artificial intelligence. And finally, Aravind Srinivas, the chief executive of Perplexity, will discuss his company’s “answer engine,” a challenger to Google’s search engine that could reshape the web as we know it.Credits“Hard Fork” is hosted by Kevin Roose and Casey Newton, and produced by Davis Land and Rachel Cohn. The show is edited by Jen Poyant. Engineering by Alyssa Moxley and original music by Dan Powell, Marion Lozano, Pat McCusker and Rowan Niemisto. Fact-checking by Caitlin Love.Special thanks to Paula Szuchman, Pui-Wing T...
SpaceX to Launch Intuitive Machines Nova-C Moon Lander: How to Watch
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SpaceX to Launch Intuitive Machines Nova-C Moon Lander: How to Watch

Another month, another day, another try at the moon.A robotic lunar lander is scheduled to launch in the early morning hours of Thursday, one day after a technical glitch postponed the first launch attempt. If all goes well, it will become the first American spacecraft to set down softly on the moon’s surface since the Apollo 17 moon landing in 1972.It is also the latest private effort to send spacecraft to the moon. Earlier attempts have all ended in failure. But the company in charge of the latest effort, Intuitive Machines of Houston, is optimistic.“I feel fairly confident that we’re going to be successful softly touching down on the moon,” said Stephen Altemus, the president and chief executive of Intuitive Machines. “We’ve done the testing. We’ve tested and tested and tested. As much ...
When the Voice You Hear Is Not the Actor You See
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When the Voice You Hear Is Not the Actor You See

In the darkest moments of a family tragedy, when the playwright Mona Pirnot couldn’t find the strength to verbalize her feelings to her boyfriend or her therapist, she tried something a little unorthodox: She typed her thoughts into her laptop, and prompted a text-to-speech program to voice them aloud.It was a coping mechanism that also sparked a creative pivot: Pirnot’s then-boyfriend, now-husband, Lucas Hnath, is also a playwright, with a longtime interest in sound and a more recent history of building shows around disembodied voices. His last play, “A Simulacrum,” featured a magician re-creating his side of a conversation with Hnath, whose voice was heard via a tape recording; and his play before that, “Dana H.,” featured an actress lip-syncing interviews in which the playwright’s mothe...
Imran Khan Uses A.I. To Give Victory Speech in Pakistan
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Imran Khan Uses A.I. To Give Victory Speech in Pakistan

Imran Khan, Pakistan’s former prime minister, has spent the duration of the country’s electoral campaign in jail, disqualified from running in what experts have described as one of the least credible general elections in the country’s 76-year history.But from behind bars, he has been rallying his supporters in recent months with speeches that use artificial intelligence to replicate his voice, part of a tech-savvy strategy his party deployed to circumvent a crackdown by the military.And on Saturday, as official counts showed candidates aligned with his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or P.T.I., winning the most seats in a surprise result that threw the country’s political system into chaos, it was Mr. Khan’s A.I. voice that declared victory.“I had full confidence that you would all come o...