Tech Digest daily roundup: 10 million sign up to Twitter rival Threads in 7 hours


Threads, the long-awaited Twitter rival from Meta,
has launched – with 10 million people signing up in the first few hours. Built by the firm’s Instagram team, it’s billed as a home for “sharing text updates and joining public conversations”. Its release couldn’t be more aggressively timed, coming days after another controversial move by Twitter’s incendiary owner Elon Musk forced many people to look for an alternative platform. With a shamelessly similar look and the billions of Mark Zuckerberg behind it, Threads seems well-placed to challenge “the bird app” in a way the likes of Bluesky and Mastodon haven’t quite managed. Sky News 

Officialdom cannot be trusted to protect privacy online, the boss of messaging app Signal has warned, amid fears that a new bill will hand unprecedented snooping powers to Whitehall. Meredith Whittaker warned that the Online Safety Bill, which is about to go though its final stage in Parliament, will give TV and tech industry regulators power to read people’s private messages at will. “It will be a perilous move for the UK”, she said. “We cannot continue to offer a truly private communication service and undermine or adulterate our encryption.” Telegraph 

Sales of smart speakers have “fallen off a cliff” as customers cut back and trade down on electrical items, the boss of Currys has said. Revenue was down across the board at the group in the year to 29 April as people bought cheaper goods due to the rising cost of living. Shoppers also bought more products on credit to spread their costs. Shares in Currys dropped after it said it was “wary of optimism about consumer spending power” in the coming year. Meanwhile, Mr Baldock said “smart speakers have fallen off a cliff. People aren’t as interested in Amazon Alexa as they used to be”. BBC

MG parent SAIC Motor is seeking to build a manufacturing base in Europe as part of the on-going expansion of its international business activities, the Chinese state-owned car maker has confirmed. The plans – revealed by the general manager of SAIC’s international business department, Yu De, in an address to Chinese media on Tuesday – aim to provide the parent company of MG with a fourth production base outside of China. The new European manufacturing base, a site for which has yet to be decided, is set to join factories in Thailand, Indonesia and India. Autocar

Grace is a nursing assistant, Ai-da (pictured above) a contemporary artist
, Desdemona a purple-haired rock singer and Nadine is on hand for companionship and conversation. They are all at the world’s largest gathering of humanoid robots, which is under way at the United Nations AI for Good global summit in Geneva. Rapid advances in AI have in recent years fuelled increasing unease that the technology, but the summit – with its extensive cast of robotic delegates – is focused on more favourable scenarios in which AI could be harnessed for positive causes. The Guardian 

OpenAI’s experiment with allowing ChatGPT to search the web via Bing has been suspended because the feature inadvertently allowed users to bypass paywalls. First rolled out in May and limited to paying ChatGPT users, OpenAI updated its help page for the “Browse with Bing” feature yesterday to indicate that, as of July 3, ChatGPT is back to not knowing anything about the world after September 2021, the cutoff date for its training data. The Register 

Chris Price
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