June 25, 2024

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This Week’s Top 5 Tech Stories You Must Know- December Week 1

Lots has happened this past week in the tech world! With Google introducing the new AI model Gemini, the EU continuing to debate AI, a judge blocking Montana’s TikTok ban, and more, there’s much to catch up on. So, let’s get started! 

Google Introduces New AI Model Gemini

On Dec. 6, the new AI model Gemini was unveiled. The Google parent company, Alphabet, highlighted that the awaited AI system surpasses OpenAI’s latest tech model in speed and can process diverse types of media, including video, audio, and text. Gemini is available in three versions, each tailored to utilize varying levels of processing power.

While Alphabet has long held a prominent position in AI research, OpenAI’s ChatGPT took the spotlight in Nov. 2022, allowing Microsoft (MSFT.O) to introduce AI-powered software for businesses. With the introduction of Gemini, Alphabet hopes to reclaim its prominence in AI.

The EU Continues to Debate AI 

EU lawmakers temporarily suspended discussions on the bloc’s groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act on Dec. 7, deciding to resume on Friday after failing to reach a consensus in almost 24 hours of negotiations.

The intense three-way debate involving European Union member states, the European Commission, and the European Parliament will now enter a third day. Fatigued lawmakers agreed to take a break, acknowledging the need for rest. “We are exhausted. We cannot go on like that. We need to sleep so we can reassess the texts,” remarked an individual present at the talks, speaking anonymously to Reuters.

Judge Blocks Montana’s TikTok Ban

A federal judge has temporarily halted Montana’s new law, which hoped to ban TikTok within the state. The law, scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, was deemed unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy, who delivered a preliminary injunction. 

The judge criticized the ban, stating that it “oversteps state power and infringes on the Constitutional right of users and businesses.” Molloy emphasized that the legislature’s focus appeared to be more on targeting China’s tech role in TikTok than protecting Montana consumers. The final ruling will be determined later as the legal challenge progresses through the courts.

Photo by cottonbro studio via Pexels

23andMe Releases More Info About Data Breach

Additional details are emerging regarding the tech data breach reported by genetic testing company 23andMe in Oct. Initially, 23andMe stated that attackers accessed a small percentage (0.1%) of user accounts, approximately 14,000. However, the recent revelation indicates that the attackers collected personal data from about 5.5 million people who had opted into 23andMe’s DNA Relatives service, along with information from an additional 1.4 million users who had their Family Tree profile information accessed. 

The compromised data includes display names, log in details, relationship labels, predicted relationships, percentage of shared DNA, ancestry reports, chromosome matching details, self-reported locations, ancestor birth locations, family names, profile pictures, birth years, links to self-created family trees, and other profile information. 

Amazon Announces No More Venmo Payments for 2024

Amazon has recently announced that it won’t accept Venmo as a payment option on its platform beginning Jan. 2024. As a result, Amazon customers will be required to shift to alternative payment methods such as credit cards, debit cards, or checking accounts for their transactions.

Amazon will still permit the use of the Venmo debit card and Venmo credit card after the cessation of integrated payments. With this said, customers possessing these specific Venmo-associated cards will experience no disruption.

Photo by Pixabay via Pexels
Picture of By Lindsey Feth

By Lindsey Feth

Managing Editor, Innovation & Tech Today

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