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Tesla video promoting self-driving was staged, engineer testifies

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Tesla video promoting self-driving was staged, engineer testifies
GLOBALTIMESPAKISTAN

 A 2016 video that Tesla (TSLA.O) used to promote its self-driving technology was staged to show capabilities like stopping at a red light and accelerating at a green light that the system did not have, according to testimony by a senior engineer.

The video, which remains archived on Tesla’s website, was released in October 2016 and promoted on Twitter by Chief Executive Elon Musk as evidence that “Tesla drives itself.”

But the Model X was not driving itself with technology Tesla had deployed, Ashok Elluswamy, director of Autopilot software at Tesla, said in the transcript of a July deposition taken as evidence in a lawsuit against Tesla for a 2018 fatal crash involving a former Apple (AAPL.O) engineer.

The previously unreported testimony by Elluswamy represents the first time a Tesla employee has confirmed and detailed how the video was produced.

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The video carries a tagline saying: “The person in the driver’s seat is only there for legal reasons. He is not doing anything. The car is driving itself.”

Elluswamy said Tesla’s Autopilot team set out to engineer and record a “demonstration of the system’s capabilities” at the request of Musk.

Elluswamy, Musk and Tesla did not respond to a request for comment. However, the company has warned drivers that they must keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of their vehicles while using Autopilot.

The Tesla technology is designed to assist with steering, braking, speed and lane changes but its features “do not make the vehicle autonomous,” the company says on its website.

To create the video, the Tesla used 3D mapping on a predetermined route from a house in Menlo Park, California, to Tesla’s then-headquarters in Palo Alto, he said.

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Drivers intervened to take control in test runs, he said. When trying to show the Model X could park itself with no driver, a test car crashed into a fence in Tesla’s parking lot, he said.

“The intent of the video was not to accurately portray what was available for customers in 2016. It was to portray what was possible to build into the system,” Elluswamy said, according to a transcript of his testimony seen by Reuters.

When Tesla released the video, Musk tweeted, “Tesla drives itself (no human input at all) thru urban streets to highway to streets, then finds a parking spot.”

Tesla faces lawsuits and regulatory scrutiny over its driver assistance systems.

The U.S. Department of Justice began a criminal investigation into Tesla’s claims that its electric vehicles can drive themselves in 2021, after a number of crashes, some of them fatal, involving Autopilot, Reuters has reported.

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The New York Times reported in 2021 that Tesla engineers had created the 2016 video to promote Autopilot without disclosing that the route had been mapped in advance or that a car had crashed in trying to complete the shoot, citing anonymous sources.

When asked if the 2016 video showed the performance of the Tesla Autopilot system available in a production car at the time, Elluswamy said, “It does not.”

Elluswamy was deposed in a lawsuit against Tesla over a 2018 crash in Mountain View, California, that killed Apple engineer Walter Huang.

Andrew McDevitt, the lawyer who represents Huang’s wife and who questioned Elluswamy’s in July, told Reuters it was “obviously misleading to feature that video without any disclaimer or asterisk.”

The National Transportation Safety Board concluded in 2020 that Huang’s fatal crash was likely caused by his distraction and the limitations of Autopilot. It said Tesla’s “ineffective monitoring of driver engagement” had contributed to the crash.

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Elluswamy said drivers could “fool the system,” making a Tesla system believe that they were paying attention based on feedback from the steering wheel when they were not. But he said he saw no safety issue with Autopilot if drivers were paying attention.

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Scammers can crack almost half of the passwords in less than a minute

Scammers can crack almost half of the passwords in less than a minute

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Scammers can crack almost half of the passwords in less than a minute

In June 2024, Kaspersky experts conducted a large-scale study on the resistance of 193M English passwords, compromised by infostealers and available on the darknet, to brute force and smart guessing attacks. According to the research results, 45% of all analyzed passwords which is almost 87M could be guessed by scammers within a minute. Only 23% (44M) of combinations turned out to be resistant enough and cracking them would take more than a year.

Kaspersky telemetry indicates more than 32 million attempts to attack users with password stealers in 2023. These numbers show the importance of digital hygiene and timely password policies. The results of the Kaspersky study demonstrate that the majority of the reviewed passwords were not strong enough and could be easily compromised by using smart guessing algorithms.
Besides, the majority of the examined passwords (57%) contain a word from the dictionary, which significantly reduces the passwords’ strength. Among the most popular vocabulary sequences, several groups can be distinguished. Popular names include “ahmed”, “nguyen”, “kumar”, “kevin”, “daniel”. While popular words in passwords are “forever”, “love”, “google”, “hacker” and “gamer”. Standard passwords are “password”, “qwerty12345”, “admin”, “12345” and “team”.

The analysis showed that only 19% of all passwords contain signs of a strong combination – a non-dictionary word, lowercase and uppercase letters, as well as numbers and symbols. At the same time, the study revealed that 39% of such passwords could also be guessed using smart algorithms in less than an hour.
”Unconsciously, human beings create ‘human’ passwords – containing the words from dictionary in their native languages, featuring names and numbers. Even seemingly strong combinations are rarely completely random, so they can be guessed by algorithms. Given that, the most dependable solution is to generate a completely random password using modern and reliable password managers. Such apps as Kaspersky Password Manager can securely store large volumes of data, providing comprehensive and robust protection for user information,” Commented Yuliya Novikova, Head of Digital Footprint Intelligence at Kaspersky.

In order to strengthen passwords, users should use a different password for each service. That way, even if one of your accounts is stolen, the rest won’t go with it. It’s better not to use passwords that can be easily guessed from your personal information, such as birthdays, names of family members, pets, or your own name. These are often the first guesses an attacker will try.It’s nearly impossible to memorize long and unique passwords for all the services you use, but with a special solution, such as Kaspersky password manager, you can memorize just one master password.
Enable two-factor authentication (2FA). Using a reliable security solution such as Kaspersky Premium will enhance your protection. It monitors the internet and Dark Web and warns if your passwords need to be changed.

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Additional information can be found in the research material on Securelist and Kaspersky Daily post. 

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Spotify launches new basic streaming plan in US

Spotify launches new basic streaming plan in US

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Spotify launches new basic streaming plan in US

Spotify introduced a new streaming plan for users in the United States on Friday, after raising prices for its premium plans earlier this month.

The new basic plan will start at $10.99 per month for eligible users. It will have the streaming benefits of a premium plan, but no monthly audiobook listening time.

Premium plans allow users to listen to offline ad-free music and 15 hours of audiobook listening time per month.

Spotify raised the prices for premium plans earlier in June, the latest step by the Swedish music-streaming service in its push to increase margins.

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The company raised the prices of its plan to $11.99 from $10.99 per month, the duo plan to $16.99 from $14.99, and its family plan to $19.99 from $16.99 in the United States, its largest market by revenue.

Spotify has been trying to boost its margins in recent months by lowering marketing spending and through layoffs, after relying on promotions and hefty investments to drive user growth.

The audio-streaming giant is looking to introduce a new expensive plan for its most ardent users later this year, Bloomberg News reported last week, with the plan likely to cost $5 more per month for access to better audio and fresh tools for creating playlists and managing song libraries.

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OpenAI acquires database analytics firm Rockset

OpenAI acquires database analytics firm Rockset

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OpenAI acquires database analytics firm Rockset

Microsoft-backed OpenAI has acquired search and database analytics firm Rockset for an undisclosed sum, the ChatGPT maker said on Friday.

A technology Rockset offers called vector search has benefited from increased adoption as more applications use artificial intelligence to power recommendation engines, voice assistants, and chatbots and detect anomalies.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Rockset said it will become a part of OpenAI and power the retrieval infrastructure of the ChatGPT maker’s products.

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This means Rockset’s expertise in real-time data processing and vector search will enhance OpenAI’s ability to quickly access and analyze vast amounts of information, likely leading to faster and more accurate responses from AI models.

CONTEXT

OpenAI is looking to stay ahead of the curve by integrating new functionalities in ChatGPT and developing new AI models to fend off competition from the likes of Alphabet’s Google and Anthropic, among others.

Reuters reported last month that OpenAI has been developing a search engine product to potentially compete with Google and AI search startup Perplexity.

Rockset, which counts Greylock, Sequoia and Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s venture capital arm among its investors, said in August last year it had raised $105 million in total capital.

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