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Baidu shows off A.I.-powered chatbot Ernie

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The event was meant to be livestreamed, but there was strong demand from companies to test the bot

Chinese search engine Baidu has shared pre-recorded videos of its A.I.-powered chatbot Ernie.

Revealing the bot performing more advanced tasks than at its launch two weeks ago.

While the videos were shown during a closed-door meeting, images shared by a Baidu spokesperson appeared to show significant developments.

This included summarising financial statements and producing powerpoint presentations, as well as producing travel itineraries.

The videos were shown to the first batch of companies that are testing an industry-focused version of the chatbot.

Ernie is considered China’s closest equivalent to U.S.-developed ChatGPT.

The meeting was originally meant to be a livestreamed product launch open to the media and public.

But the format was changed to prioritise what Baidu said was the “strong demand” from over 120,000 companies that had applied to test the bot.

More companies will be able to sign up to test the industry-focused version of the Ernie bot starting on March 31.

Tests conducted show that the regular version has a good command of the Chinese language.

However, it produces factual errors and avoids answering political questions.

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Tesla is slashing prices to stay competitive

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Tesla cut the U.S. prices of its Model Y, Model X and Model S vehicles by $2,000 each, days after the first-quarter deliveries of the world’s most valuable automaker missed market expectations.

Elon Musk’s electric-vehicle (EV) maker lowered the prices for its Model Y base variant to $42,990, while the long-range and performance variants are now priced at $47,990 and $51,490, respectively, according to its website.

The basic version of the Model S now costs $72,990 and its plaid variant $87,990. The Model X base variant now costs $77,990 and its plaid variant is priced at $92,900.
Tesla North America also said in a post on X said it would end its referral program benefits in all markets after April 30.

Referral program allows buyers to get extra incentives through referrals from existing customers, a strategy long used by traditional automakers to boost sales.

Musk has postponed a planned trip to India where he was to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and announce plans to enter the South Asian market, Reuters reported on Saturday.
On Monday Reuters reported, citing an internal memo, that the EV maker was laying off more than 10% of its global workforce.
Earlier this month Reuters reported the EV maker had canceled a long-promised inexpensive car, expected to cost $25,000, that investors had been counting on to drive mass-market growth.
The EV maker reported this month that its global vehicle deliveries in the first quarter fell for the first time in nearly four years, as price cuts failed to stir demand.

Tesla is to report first-quarter earnings on Tuesday.

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TikTok launches Instagram competitor ‘Notes’

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TikTok Notes has launched in Australia & Canada as a formidable competitor to Instagram, offering a unique platform for content creation, text and sharing.

“TikTok Notes is a lifestyle platform that offers informative photo-text content about people’s lives, where you can see individuals sharing their travel tips and daily recipes,” reads the official App Store description.

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The app allows users to create content by combining short videos with text-based notes, closely resembling that of Meta’s Instagram.

Whether it’s sharing a quick tutorial, a personal anecdote, or a thought-provoking message, TikTok Notes is positioned to be a formidable social media platform.

Currently, the app is only available for download and “limited testing” in Australia and Canada.

As it gains momentum, the platform is poised to contest Instagram’s established reign in the social media landscape.

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Ramifications of a TikTok ban to impact Open Internet

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The United States’ longstanding advocacy for an open internet faces a critical juncture as Congress considers legislation targeting TikTok.

The proposed measures, including a forced sale or outright ban of TikTok, have sparked concerns among digital rights advocates and global observers about the implications for internet freedom and international norms.

For decades, the U.S. has championed the concept of an unregulated internet, advocating for the free flow of digital data across borders.

However, the move against TikTok, a platform with 170 million U.S. users, has raised questions about the consistency of America’s stance on internet governance.

Read more – Big tech to handover misinformation data

Critics fear that actions against TikTok could set a precedent for other countries to justify their own internet censorship measures.

Russian blogger Aleksandr Gorbunov warned that Russia could use the U.S. decision to justify further restrictions on platforms like YouTube.

Similarly, Indian lawyer Mishi Choudhary expressed concerns that a U.S. ban on TikTok would embolden the Indian government to impose additional crackdowns on internet freedoms.

Moreover, the proposed legislation could complicate U.S. efforts to advocate for an internet governed by international organizations rather than individual countries.

China, in particular, has promoted a vision of internet sovereignty, advocating for greater national control over online content.

A TikTok ban could undermine America’s credibility in urging other countries to embrace a more open internet governed by global standards.

 

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