Tech Digest daily roundup: Snapchat’s Saudi Arabia ties questioned


Saudi Arabia appears to be exploiting the US messaging app Snapchat
to promote the image of its crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, while also imposing draconian sentences on influencers who use the platform to post even mild criticism of the future king. The California-based company, which last year agreed to a “collaboration” with the Saudi culture ministry, has more than 20 million users in the kingdom – including an estimated 90% of 13-to-34-year-olds – and the crown prince has met personally with some of the platform’s biggest “Snapchatters”. Guardian

ChatGPT-style AI tool with “no ethical boundaries or limitations” is offering hackers a way to perform attacks on a never-before-seen scale, researchers have warned. Cyber security firm SlashNext observed the generative artificial intelligence WormGPT being marketed on cybercrime forums on the dark web, describing it as a “sophisticated AI model” capable of producing human-like text that can be used in hacking campaigns. “This tool presents itself as a blackhat alternative to GPT models, designed specifically for malicious activities,” the company explained in a blog post. Independent 

The co-founder of leading AI firm DeepMind, which started as a UK company and was sold to Google, says the UK should encourage more risk taking if it wants to become an AI superpower. Mustafa Suleyman added that he does not regret selling DeepMind to the US giant in 2014. “The US market is not only huge, but also more predisposed to taking big shots,” he told the BBC. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wants the UK to be a global hub for AI. He has pledged £1bn in funding over the next 10 years, and founded a UK AI taskforce. BBC 

In a landmark settlement, Tesla Inc’s directors have agreed to return a staggering $735 million to the company to resolve a high-profile lawsuit concerning alleged gross overpayment. The settlement, disclosed on Monday, in a filing at a Delaware court, addresses a 2020 legal challenge filed by a retirement fund that holds Tesla stock. The lawsuit questioned the legitimacy of stock options granted to Tesla directors starting June 2017. However, this settlement does not impact on Elon Musk’s $56 billion compensation package, currently under scrutiny in a separate lawsuit. Economic Times

The next Apple Watch Ultra could have 3D-printed parts. That’s according to a new report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who says that Apple is “actively adopting 3D printing technology” and that in particular, “some of the titanium mechanical parts of the 2H23 new Apple Watch Ultra will be made by 3D printing.” Those components are likely to be the moving parts: the digital crown, the side button and the action button.

Britons work from home more than any other European nation, as pandemic-era practices persist despite drives to get staff back into the office. In the UK, the average worker spends a day and a half at home each week, according to the Munich-based Ifo Institute, well above the one-day average in Germany and more than double the 0.6 in France and 0.7 in Italy. It also puts the UK above the US, where the typical worker spends 1.4 days per week at home. Among the 34 countries studied, only Canadians are more likely than Britons to work remotely, doing an average of 1.7 days from the kitchen table or home office. Telegraph 

Chris Price
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