Tech Digest daily roundup: Zuckerberg reveals AI projects to power Metaverse

A basic virtual world created by Mark Zuckerberg in Builder Bot. Image: Meta

Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg has unveiled several ambitious artificial-intelligence projects, describing AI as “the key to unlocking the Metaverse”. In a live-streamed demonstration, he created a basic virtual world – including an island, trees and a beach – using the AI feature Builder Bot. Mr Zuckerberg also announced a plan to build a universal speech translator. “The ability to communicate with anyone in any language is a superpower that was dreamt of forever,” he said. Builder Bot was part of Meta’s CAIRaoke project to improve AI assistants and allow “AI to see the world from our experience” as people entered virtual reality via headsets or glasses, Mr Zuckerberg said. BBC 

Bitcoin slumped to its lowest in a month on Thursday after Russian forces fired missiles at several cities in Ukraine and landed troops on its coast, sparking a sell-off of riskier assets. Bitcoin fell by as much as 7.9% to $34,324, its lowest since Jan. 24, and was last trading down 4.5%. Smaller coins that typically move in tandem with bitcoin also fell, with ether losing as much as 10.8%. Russia launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea, the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War Two and confirmation of the worst fears of the West. Reuters 

The websites of Ukraine’s defense, foreign and interior ministries were unreachable or painfully slow to load Thursday morning after a punishing wave of distributed-denial-of-service attacks as Russia struck at its neighbor, explosions shaking the capital of Kyiv and other major cities. In addition to DDoS attacks on Wednesday, cybersecurity researchers said unidentified attackers had infected hundreds of computers with destructive malware, some in neighboring Latvia and Lithuania. AP News 

The rate of teenage girls reporting online dating-related sexual assaults has nearly doubled, according to new figures. A review by the National Crime Agency (NCA) highlighted the rise while the overall levels of such offending has remained fairly stable since 2015.  During the same period the proportion of reports from girls aged 19 and under rose from 12% to 22%, with boys in this bracket increasing from 25% to 31%. The NCA’s Serious Crime Analysis Section (SCAS) reviewed data from 671 cases of sexual assault after a first face-to-face meeting following initial contact via an online dating website or app. Sky News 

PlayStation Plus has confirmed that subscribers will see a whopping five free video games in March 2022. Sony has officially confirmed today’s earlier leak, revealing that the colourful racer Team Sonic Racer and open-world survival game Ark: Survival Evolved will be available to download for PlayStation 4 users from March 1. Meanwhile, PlayStation 5 owners will be able to get their hands on the new-gen version of slick sci-fi action game Ghostrunner. That’s not a bad lineup! But Sony has a few more things for subscribers this month. In addition to the usual three free games, PlayStation Plus subscribers will also be able to download and play Ghost of Tsushima: Legendsthe multiplayer spinoff to Sucker Punch’s excellent open-world adventure, for free. GamingBible

Mercedes-Benz (MBGn.DE) aims to double its electric vehicle sales in 2022 and expand its electrified car footprint in relevant markets worldwide, Chief Executive Ola Kaellenius said on Thursday in an earnings press conference. Chief Financial Executive Harald Wilhelm listed a series of challenges the carmaker expected to face this year, including uncertain geopolitical developments, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and a significant rise in some raw material prices. The carmaker had taken steps to tighten its relationship to semiconductor suppliers, Wilhelm said, such as agreeing concrete supply quantities, widening its source base, extending planning cycles and developing safety stocks. Reuters 


Chris Price
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