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Baidu partners with Lenovo in third China AI smartphone deal

Baidu partners with Lenovo in third China AI smartphone deal

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Baidu partners with Lenovo in third China AI smartphone deal

China’s Baidu (9888.HK), opens new tab has partnered with Lenovo to feature its generative artificial intelligence (AI) technology on Lenovo’s smartphones, in the latest team up with a phone manufacturer as it seeks practical applications for its AI model.

A spokesperson for Beijing-based Baidu told Reuters this week that the partnership involves Lenovo using its Ernie large language model (LLM) and is similar to collaborations with Samsung and Honor announced last month.

Lenovo sells its own branded phones and also owns the phone brand Motorola. Ernie is already embedded in the browser and app store apps of Lenovo’s personal computers and tablets.

Lenovo did not respond to a request for comment.

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Selling smartphones that offer generative AI features for services such as chatbots and real-time translation have become a new global trend after the technology became popularized in late 2022 with the launch of ChatGPT.

Google is seen to be a leader in AI smartphones with its Pixel phones and robust cloud-based AI while Apple has been reported to be working to bring generative AI models to the iPhone.

Research firm Canalys expects that 5% of smartphones shipped globally in 2024, or 60 million devices, will be AI-capable smartphones.

But AI services powered by U.S. firms like ChatGPT maker OpenAI and Google are unavailable in China, leaving the market to Chinese firms. The Chinese market has now over 200 AI models on offer, including from Baidu’s chief rivals Alibaba and Tencent.

Baidu CEO Robin Li said last November that firms now needed to focus on developing practical applications. China’s top phone brands including Vivo, Xiaomi and Huawei are also working on their own on-device AI models but have not disclosed details.

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Such smartphone collaborations could not only help Baidu in this arena, but having its AI features deeply bundled with smartphones could also give the company exposure to a vast amount of data which could help Baidu’s LLM catch up to rival AI companies in the U.S.

“Adapting LLM on smartphones is the right moment to promote AI-powered features, although they may be limited now. In the long run, they may become a ‘must-have’,” said Ivan Lam, an analyst at research firm Counterpoint. 

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WhatsApp unveils new text formatting feature for enhanced communication

WhatsApp unveils new text formatting feature for enhanced communication

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WhatsApp unveils new text formatting feature for enhanced communication

WhatsApp has unveiled a groundbreaking feature that revolutionizes text messaging by allowing users to customize their messages like never before.

Prior to this update, users were limited to basic text modifications such as bold and italic; however, the new feature introduces a plethora of formatting options, including numbers, bullets, block quotes, and text highlighting.

The process is simple and intuitive, requiring users to incorporate specific symbols to achieve their desired text format. For monospacing text, users can enclose their message with three backticks on both sides. Adding a quote is as easy as placing an angle bracket and a space before the text.

To strike through a message, users need to flank their text with tilde symbols, while bolding requires asterisks on both sides. One of the standout additions is the ability to create bulleted lists effortlessly. Users can precede each word or sentence with an asterisk or hyphen and a space to generate a neatly organized list.

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Moreover, numbering and spacing at the beginning of text with “1.” facilitates the creation of itemized lists, enhancing the overall clarity and structure of messages.

Inline code can now be seamlessly integrated into messages by enclosing the text with backtick symbols at the start and end. This provides users with a practical way to share code snippets or emphasize specific phrases within their conversations.

The accompanying image showcases the versatility of this new feature, illustrating the various formatting options available to users. WhatsApp users across iOS, Android, and web devices can now leverage this advanced text formatting feature to elevate their communication experience.

The update reflects WhatsApp’s commitment to continually enhance user experience and foster more expressive and organized conversations. Whether you’re conveying information, emphasizing key points, or sharing code snippets, the new formatting options provide a dynamic and engaging communication platform for users worldwide. 

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Meta to set up team to counter disinformation, AI abuse in EU elections

Meta to set up team to counter disinformation, AI abuse in EU elections

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Meta to set up team to counter disinformation, AI abuse in EU elections

 Facebook owner Meta will set up a team to tackle disinformation and the abuse of generative artificial intelligence in the run-up to European Parliament elections in June amid concerns about election interference and misleading AI-generated content.

The rapid growth of generative AI, which can create text, images and video in seconds in response to prompts, has triggered fears that the new technology could be used to disrupt major elections, across the world this year. 

European Parliament elections will take place June 6-9. Its 720 lawmakers, together with EU governments, pass new EU policies and laws.

“As the election approaches, we’ll activate an Elections Operations Center to identify potential threats and put mitigations in place in real time,” Marco Pancini, Meta’s head of EU affairs, said in a blogpost.

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He said experts from the company’s intelligence, data science, engineering, research, operations, content policy and legal teams will focus on combating misinformation, tackling influence operations and counter the risks related to the abuse of generative AI.

Meta, which currently works with 26 independent fact-checking organisations across the European Union covering 22 languages, will add three new partners in Bulgaria, France, and Slovakia, Pancini said.

Meta, Microsoft, OpenAI and 17 other tech companies earlier this month agreed to work together to prevent deceptive artificial-intelligence content from interfering with elections across the globe this year.

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‘X’ faces prolonged suspension across Pakistan

‘X’ faces prolonged suspension across Pakistan

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'X' faces prolonged suspension across Pakistan

The popular microblogging site ‘X,’ formerly known as Twitter, has been inaccessible across Pakistan for over a week. 

Despite a brief interval when the site was accessible, users are now reporting a persistent outage, even when using Virtual Private Network (VPN) services.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the government agency responsible for overseeing telecommunications, hasn’t released any official statement regarding the suspension of the service.

This lack of transparency has only intensified the frustration among users who heavily rely on ‘X’ for information and news updates. Users who initially turned to VPNs as a workaround have also hit a roadblock, as the microblogging site remains inaccessible. 

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The situation has raised concerns about the government’s stance on digital freedom and freedom of speech. The outage has not gone unnoticed by the public, with many expressing their discontent on various platforms. 

Criticism has been directed towards the government and the IT minister for what is perceived as an attack on freedom of speech and a hindrance to the revenue generated by the country’s thriving IT professionals.

Earlier, the Sindh High Court issued a directive to restore access to ‘X’ across Pakistan, recognising the site’s significance for information dissemination. However, despite court’s order, there has been no implementation, leaving users and advocates of digital freedom in a state of dismay.

The suspension of ‘X’ has broader implications, impacting not only the general public but also businesses and professionals who rely on the platform for communication, networking, and staying informed about the latest developments. The longer the outage persists, the more severe the consequences may be for the nation’s digital landscape.

As the public awaits an official statement from the PTA and the government, concerns about the potential ramifications of such a prolonged suspension continue to grow.

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