Tech Digest daily roundup: TikTok faces gruelling US congressional hearing


Bruising, damaging, relentless. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew faced four-and-a-half hours of questioning at a US congressional hearing on Thursday. As one congressman pointed out, some people run marathons quicker than that. Mr Chew will certainly be feeling it, after a torrid time giving evidence. Many tech execs have stood before Congress, and they often don’t get an easy ride. But what was exceptional about this hearing was the stubborn, never-ending line of vicious questioning. From both Democrats and Republicans, there was no let-up. A spokesperson for TikTok said afterwards the politicians were “grandstanding”. BBC 

Electric cars are being written off for having the slightest damage to battery packs following accidents because there is no way of repairing them, according to a report by Reuters. It said insurance companies are increasingly being left with little to no choice but to permanently take the cars off the road after minor collisions, which in turn is pushing premiums on electric vehicles (EVs) higher. The report warns of scratched and mildly damaged battery packs ‘piling up in scrapyards in some countries’. ThisIsMoney 

When the MG dealer told Richard Hilder his new MG 4 EV had finally arrived after six months of waiting, the Derby-based business manager was elated. But then came the shock: a day later, the dealer phoned again to say his Citroën ë-C4 was no longer worth £20,900 but £16,000, so could he please find a £2000 up-front deposit and accept another £36 per month on his four-year PCP deal? He’s one of the many victims of a huge crash in the value of used electric cars in the UK. Autocar

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman feels “awful” about ChatGPT leaking some users’ chat histories on Monday, and blamed an open source library bug for the snafu. In a couple of tweets, Altman admitted the flaw, which allowed some users to see snippets of others’ conversations — not the full contents, but recent titles – with the question-and-response bot. “We had a significant issue in ChatGPT due to a bug in an open source library, for which a fix has now been released and we have just finished validating,” Altman said. The Register 

Image: Meta

WhatsApp has a new app on Windows 11 and Windows 10. Meta just announced the application, which is available for download. In addition to being faster than previous iterations of WhatsApp on Windows, the new app supports video calls of up to eight people and audio calls with up to 32 participants…While WhatsApp has been usable on PCs for years in some format, such as the web, the new Windows app feels like a concerted effort to bring WhatsApp on Windows to parity with the app on other platforms. WindowsCentral

Hot on the heels of the arrival of Google Bard, the tech giant’s answer to artificially intelligent internet darling of the moment ChatGPT, Google is bringing a new AI-powered feature to Gmail on Android devices – the ability to ask an AI to write an email for you. The way this will work is pretty straightforward: a new icon (a wand with sparkles, because AI is simply magical) will take you to a text box, where you can type in a short prompt that Gmail’s generative AI will use to produce an email.  Tech Radar 



Chris Price
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