Technology

Switching to a Flip Phone Helped Me Cut Down on My Smartphone Addiction
Technology

Switching to a Flip Phone Helped Me Cut Down on My Smartphone Addiction

This time of year, everyone asks what you like least about your life, but they phrase it as, “What’s your New Year’s resolution?”My biggest regret of 2023 was my relationship to my smartphone, or my “tech appendage” as I’ve named it in my iPhone settings. My Apple Screen Time reports regularly clocked in at more than five hours a day.That’s only an hour more than the average American, but I still found it staggering to think that I spent the equivalent of January, February and half of March looking at that tiny screen (April too, if we only count waking hours).Sure, some (much?) of that time was gainfully spent on activities that enrich my life or are unavoidable: work, family text threads, reading the news and keeping up with far-flung friends. But I reached for the device more than 100 t...
The Times Sues OpenAI, a Debate Over iMessage and Our New Year’s Tech Resolutions
Technology

The Times Sues OpenAI, a Debate Over iMessage and Our New Year’s Tech Resolutions

Listen and follow ‘Hard Fork’Apple | Spotify | Amazon | YouTubeThe New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft last week for copyright infringement. Kevin Roose and Casey Newton walk through the lawsuit and discuss the stakes for news publishers. Then, they talk about Apple’s “walled garden,” which is facing threats from both regulators and 16-year-olds. Finally, we set our tech resolutions for the new year.Today’s guest: Eric Migicovsky, co-founder of BeeperAdditional Reading:The New York Times sued OpenAI.Apple’s latest headache in the debate over blue vs. green bubbles.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, Elisheba Ittoop, Mario...
Auto Sales Are Expected to Slow After a Strong 2023
Technology

Auto Sales Are Expected to Slow After a Strong 2023

After enjoying a strong rebound in sales in 2023, the auto industry appears headed for slower growth this year as consumers struggle with elevated interest rates and high prices for new cars and light trucks.Edmunds, a market researcher, expects the industry to sell 15.7 million vehicles this year. That would amount to a modest increase from the 15.5 million sold last year, when sales jumped 12 percent.“There’s definitely pent-up demand out there, because people have been holding off purchases for a while,” said Jessica Caldwell, head of insights at Edmunds. “But given the credit situation, we don’t think the industry will see a ton of growth this year.”Since the coronavirus pandemic, automakers have struggled with shortages of critical parts that have prevented them from producing as many...
Asian American Officials Cite Unfair Scrutiny and Lost Jobs in China Spy Tensions
Technology

Asian American Officials Cite Unfair Scrutiny and Lost Jobs in China Spy Tensions

When Thomas Wong set foot in the United States Embassy in Beijing this summer for a new diplomatic posting, it was vindication after years of battling the State Department over a perceived intelligence threat — himself.Diplomatic Security officers had informed him when he joined the foreign service more than a decade ago that they were banning him from working in China. In a letter, he said, they wrongly cited the vague potential for undue “foreign preference” and suggested he could be vulnerable to “foreign influence.”Mr. Wong had become a U.S. diplomat thinking that China was where he could have the greatest impact. He had grown up in a Chinese-speaking household and studied in the country. And as a graduate of West Point who had done an Army tour in the Balkans, he thought he had experi...
A 9-Month Cruise Is TikTok’s Favorite New ‘Reality Show’
Technology

A 9-Month Cruise Is TikTok’s Favorite New ‘Reality Show’

In the last few months, Beth Fletcher, a 39-year-old photographer in Derbyshire, England, built a small following on TikTok by recapping and analyzing the British reality show “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!” When the latest season ended in early December, Ms. Fletcher was at a loss for content because, she said, “we don’t have another good reality TV show on until summer.”Then the TikTok algorithm delivered: a video of Brooklyn Schwetje, a graduate student and influencer, sharing a day in her life on the Ultimate World Cruise, a nine-month-long, round-the-world voyage with Royal Caribbean. Ms. Fletcher was instantly rapt. “I’ve never been on a cruise, and the idea of a nine-month cruise blew my mind,” she said. After finding more videos from other passengers on the cruise, somethin...
Michael Cohen Used Fake Cases Cited by A.I. to Seek an End to Court Supervision
Technology

Michael Cohen Used Fake Cases Cited by A.I. to Seek an End to Court Supervision

Michael D. Cohen, the onetime fixer for former President Donald J. Trump, said in court papers unsealed on Friday that he had mistakenly given his lawyer bogus legal citations generated by the artificial intelligence program Google Bard.The fictitious citations were used by Mr. Cohen’s lawyer in a motion submitted to a federal judge, Jesse M. Furman. Mr. Cohen, who pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign finance violations and served time in prison, had asked the judge for an early end to the court’s supervision of his case now that he is out of prison and has complied with the conditions of his release.In a sworn declaration made public on Friday, Mr. Cohen explained that he had not kept up with “emerging trends (and related risks) in legal technology and did not realize that Google Bard was a...
Chinese Spy Agency Rising to Challenge the C.I.A.
Technology

Chinese Spy Agency Rising to Challenge the C.I.A.

The Chinese spies wanted more. In meetings during the pandemic with Chinese technology contractors, they complained that surveillance cameras tracking foreign diplomats, military officers and intelligence operatives in Beijing’s embassy district fell short of their needs.The spies asked for an artificial intelligence program that would create instant dossiers on every person of interest in the area and analyze their behavior patterns. They proposed feeding the A.I. program information from databases and scores of cameras that would include car license plates, cellphone data, contacts and more.The A.I.-generated profiles would allow the Chinese spies to select targets and pinpoint their networks and vulnerabilities, according to internal meeting memos obtained by The New York Times.The spie...
Apple’s Newest Headache: An App That Upended Its Control Over Messaging
Technology

Apple’s Newest Headache: An App That Upended Its Control Over Messaging

For years, Ben Black’s phone annoyed his family. It was the only Android device in a family message group with eight iPhones. Because of him, videos and photos would arrive in low resolution and there would be green bubbles of text amid bubbles of blue.But a new app called Beeper Mini gave him the ability to change that.Mr. Black, 25, used the app to create an account for Apple’s messaging service, iMessage, with his Google Pixel phone number. For the first time, every message the family exchanged had a blue bubble and members were able to use perks like emojis and animations.Since it was introduced on Dec. 5, Beeper Mini has quickly become a headache and potential antitrust problem for Apple. It has poked a hole in Apple’s messaging system, while critics say it has demonstrated how Apple ...
Apple Explores A.I. Deals With News Publishers
Technology

Apple Explores A.I. Deals With News Publishers

Apple has opened negotiations in recent weeks with major news and publishing organizations, seeking permission to use their material in the company’s development of generative artificial intelligence systems, according to four people familiar with the discussions.The technology giant has floated multiyear deals worth at least $50 million to license the archives of news articles, said the people with knowledge of talks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations. The news organizations contacted by Apple include Condé Nast, publisher of Vogue and The New Yorker; NBC News; and IAC, which owns People, The Daily Beast and Better Homes and Gardens.The negotiations mark one of the earliest examples of how Apple is trying to catch up to rivals in the race to develop...
Substack Says It Will Not Ban Nazis or Extremist Speech
Technology

Substack Says It Will Not Ban Nazis or Extremist Speech

Under pressure from critics who say Substack is profiting from newsletters that promote hate speech and racism, the company’s founders said Thursday that they would not ban Nazi symbols and extremist rhetoric from the platform.“I just want to make it clear that we don’t like Nazis either — we wish no one held those views,” Hamish McKenzie, a co-founder of Substack, said in a statement. “But some people do hold those and other extreme views. Given that, we don’t think that censorship (including through demonetizing publications) makes the problem go away — in fact, it makes it worse.”The response came weeks after The Atlantic found that at least 16 Substack newsletters had “overt Nazi symbols” in their logos or graphics, and that white supremacists had been allowed to publish on, and profit...