Over 85% worried by online disinformation, YouTube tests conversational AI


More than 85% of people are worried about the impact of online disinformation and 87% believe it has already harmed their country’s politics, according to a global survey, as the United Nations announced a plan to tackle the phenomenon. Audrey Azoulay, director general of the UN’s culture body, Unesco, told reporters on Monday that false information and hate speech online – accelerated and amplified by social media platforms – posed “major risks to social cohesion, peace and stability”. Regulation was urgently needed “to protect access to information … while at the same time protecting freedom of expression and human rights”, Azoulay said. Guardian 

WeWork, the shared office firm that was once valued at $47bn (£38bn), has been forced to file for bankruptcy in the US. The decision follows the meteoric rise – and fall – of a company which was once seen as the future of the workplace. WeWork’s filing will give it protection from its creditors and landlords as it restructures its vast debts. Based on its latest share price, WeWork is now worth less than $50m. The bankruptcy will affect the company’s business in the US and Canada. The firm said its co-working spaces remained open and operational, including in the UK. BBC 

In addition to generative AI for Creators, YouTube is now testing a conversational AI for end users that lets them ask questions about videos and navigate comments more easily. A new “Ask” button on the video page will let you “interact with AI to learn more about the content.” Responses are generated by large language models (LLMs), though which isn’t specified, and “draw on info” from YouTube, as well as the web. For example, you can ask questions about the video you’re watching or choose a suggested prompt like “recommend related content.” 9to5Google

New legislation which will clear the way for the introduction of driverless buses, delivery vans and farm machinery is set to be announced in the King’s Speech, according to reports. The laws would make autonomously operating vehicles more common in some sectors of the economy by the end of the decade, the Times reports. A source told the publication that the decision would have ‘huge benefits for consumers, reduce road deaths and help decarbonise transport’, while Rishi Sunak is believed to be keen to push the bill through Parliament quickly. Daily Mail

The UK’s new car market
last month recorded its strongest October since the Covid pandemic, as 153,529 models left showrooms. This represents a 14.3% increase on the figures recorded in the same month in 2022, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), and a 7.2% rise compared with October 2019. For reference, 153,599 new cars were sold in the UK during October 2018. The most popular powertrain choice continued to be petrol (including mild hybrids), with 84,451 sales, followed by electric (23,943) and parallel hybrid (19,574). Autocar

TSB says it has seen a 35 per cent spike in online purchase fraud, which now accounts for over half of all scam cases.  The bank said that purchase fraud, when scammers trick people into paying for goods and services that don’t exist, is driving scam cases across the banking sector.  Banks are seeing over 400 cases a day of online purchase fraud, having recorded 77,000 cases in the first six months of 2023. TSB’s research also reveals that consumers are, on average, losing £500 per case as they fall victim to social media scams. Facebook Marketplace is the biggest driver of online purchase fraud, accounting for 77 per cent of purchase scams originating on the platform. ThisIsMoney

Chris Price
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