- This regular roundup brings you compelling digital stories from the past two weeks.
- Top digital news: Meta develops AI chatbots for social media apps; China Announces Global AI Governance Initiative; Internet companies are battling the biggest denial-of-service attack ever.
1. Social media meets AI with new chatbots from Meta
Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook users will soon be able to interact with almost 30 AI chatbots introduced by Meta to transform their social media user experience.
Many of the AI assistants come in the form of celebrity avatars. They are played by personalities including rapper Snoop Dogg, sports legend Tom Brady, media personality Kendall Jenner and tennis player Naomi Osaka.
Meta says AI will allow users to immerse themselves in new forms of connection and expression, as well as be more creative and expressive.
AI assistants will be introduced gradually, with built-in guardrails to ensure they are safe and reliable, Meta says. For example, images created or edited with AI will be clearly labeled “to reduce the chances of people confusing them with human-generated content.”
2. China Announces Global AI Governance Initiative
At the third Belt and Road Forum this week, China proposed a framework to promote the “healthy, orderly and safe” development of artificial intelligence, as described by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The initiative calls for countries to maintain mutual respect in the development of this technology, meaning that each nation should have “equal rights.”
The Cyberspace Administration of China is leading the initiative and has described AI as bringing great opportunities but also “unpredictable risks and complex challenges.”
“As global peace and development face various challenges, all countries must commit to a vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and place equal emphasis on development and security,” it said.
The initiative envisages a “people-centric approach” to AI development, where tackling climate change or preventing the misuse of technology by criminal groups is a priority.
The World Economic Forum has brought together governments, businesses, startups and civil society in its Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) network.
It promotes public-private collaboration in the development of policy frameworks and pilots new approaches to regulating and adopting technology to ensure it benefits people and the planet.
Headquartered in San Francisco, the network has hubs in Azerbaijan, Brazil, Colombia, India, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. He also launched an ocean themed center based in Norway.
The network plays a vital role in shaping the governance of emerging technologies at local, national and regional levels.
Read more about network impact
3. News in a nutshell: Digital technology stories from around the world
Microsoft has completed its $69 billion acquisition of UK-based gaming giant Activision Blizzard. The UK government dropped its opposition to the takeover after Microsoft agreed to sell streaming rights that raised concerns about anti-competitive practices. Activision Blizzard is behind some of the world’s best-selling games, including Call of Duty. Posting on X (formerly known as Twitter), the head of Microsoft’s Xbox gaming platform called the takeover “a good day for gaming.”
Internet companies including Amazon, Google and Cloudflare say they have battled the largest distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack in history. According to Reuters, Google said the attack was more than seven times larger than the previous record attack that took place in 2022. DDoS attacks affect servers and bring down websites by hitting them with millions of data requests per second.
The European Central Bank (ECB) has announced plans to explore the potential benefits and risks of using AI models like ChatGPT in its data-heavy operations. In a blog post, the ECB said: “AI offers us new ways to collect, clean, analyze and interpret this wealth of available data so that insights can be fed into the work of areas such as statistics, risk management, banking supervision and analytics of monetary policy.”
Australia and Fiji have announced a new partnership to improve cyber security in the Asia-Pacific region. Fiji shelved plans to work with China, opting instead to strengthen ties with Australia.
The password-sharing ban imposed by Netflix led to an increase in the number of subscribers by about 6 million, according to Reuters. The streaming service is considering its subscription pricing, with some commentators expecting prices to rise.
TikTok said it will suspend e-commerce operations in Indonesia to comply with the new regulations. The Indonesian government said it imposed the ban on e-commerce on social media to protect traders in traditional markets and shops.
4. More about technologies in Agenda
Digital technology has the potential to help reduce global emissions by up to 20%. Reducing emissions generated by hard-to-cut sectors, including energy, materials and mobility, will be critical to getting to zero.
Meeting the nutritional needs of an ever-growing world population requires sustainable food production for both planet and society. Digital technologies have the potential to increase agricultural yields and efficiency while creating more efficient and transparent food supply chains.
Preparing for future pandemics is another area where digital technologies can help to ensure the world can respond effectively in the event of future outbreaks. This article explores seven ways technology can help public sector decision makers face critical choices.