Celebs used for deepfake AI ads, Google denies Gmail closure after email hoax

Image: BBC

Celebrities including Piers Morgan, Nigella Lawson and Oprah Winfrey have criticised the use of AI deepfake online adverts that gave the false impression they had endorsed a US influencer’s controversial self-help course. The adverts promoted the so-called “Genie Script”, the centrepiece of a “manifestation” course sold for $37 (£29) a time by Wesley “Billion Dollar” Virgin. He describes himself as a motivational coach who has 1.1 million followers on Instagram and claims to be worth $40m. BBC 

Serco has been ordered to stop using facial recognition technology to monitor its staff for “prioritising business interests over its employees’ privacy”. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found that a division of the outsourcing company, Serco Leisure, and community leisure trusts were unlawfully processing the biometric data of more than 2,000 employees at 38 leisure facilities across the UK. The watchdog said facial recognition and fingerprint scanning were routinely used to monitor workers’ attendance and then the subsequent payment for their time. Sky News 

Google has been forced to deny that Gmail is being deleted after a hoax email led to panic among its users. A post on X, formerly known as Twitter, claimed that the service was being “sunsetted”. The initial post made somewhat clear it was a joke – it claimed that it had happened by accident, because of a mix-up with Google’s Gemini AI service – but included a real-looking message about the service being shut down. That message was however based on a real email about Google getting rid of a basic HTML view. It was repurposed to suggest that Gmail was being removed entirely. Independent 

Chinese and Arabic chatbots are to be tested by state-backed artificial intelligence (AI) experts amid fears they risk helping terrorists build biological weapons. The Artificial Intelligence Safety Institute, a newly-formed government body designed to investigate whether AI systems present national security threats, is planning to examine chatbots that use Mandarin, Arabic, Korean and French. It comes after Chinese, Iranian and North Korean hackers were blocked from using ChatGPT when bots were used to carry out cyber attacks. Telegraph 

German sports car manufacturer Porsche has struck a partnership with Shenzhen-based electronics firm Honor to add a touch of luxury and automobile design to its latest folding phone. Known as the Porsche Design Honor Magic V2 RSR (“RSR” stands for “RennSport Rennwagen,” which roughly translates to “Racing Sport Racing Car”) the result of this somewhat unlikely collaboration is a new outer design for the Magic V2 foldable phone that launched last year ― and a higher £2,349.99 price tag. GB News 

The car industry ignored warnings more than a decade ago that keyless technology on modern vehicles risked a surge in vehicle thefts, an investigation by the Observer can reveal. Legal and computer researchers claimed keyless entry and vehicle software would be “subverted” because of inadequate security. The industry was warned of research that car owners could “expect to find their cars stolen in the future without any sign of entry.” The Guardian 

Chris Price
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