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Why the Obamas returned to the White House

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It was quite the occasion at the White House on Wednesday with former President Barack Obama returning for a special ceremony

Former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle returned to the White House on Wednesday for the unveiling of official portraits.

Barack Obama selected Robert McCurdy to paint his portrait and says the “stripped down” style of his works helps create an “encounter” between the person in the painting and the person looking at it.

Barack took his chance being back at the White House to thank President Biden.

Back to the portraits, and It’s a modern vibe for the former First Lady’s too.

Sharon Sprung painted Michelle Obama seated on a sofa in the Red Room wearing a formal light blue dress.

Sprung worked on the portrait for eight months, day and night, the most time she’s ever spent on a single painting.

She worked entirely from photographs and getting the dress just right was the hardest part.

The portraits do not look like any others in the collection to which they will be added, in terms of style and substance.

Obama’s portrait is destined for display in the Grand Foyer of the White House, the traditional showcase for paintings of the two most recent presidents. 

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Race against the clock, will AI destroy music industry with new app

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In the ever-evolving landscape of AI technology, Udio, a new AI music generator developed by former Google Deepmind researchers, has recently made its debut.

Udio allows users to craft songs from simple text prompts, offering customisation options for various musical elements such as length, vocals, and lyrics.

 

The Good:

  • Accessible Creativity: Udio democratises music creation by providing a platform where anyone, regardless of musical expertise, can generate personalised songs effortlessly.
  • Customization Galore: Users have the freedom to tailor every aspect of their composition, from the mood of the music to the emotional depth of the vocals, allowing for a truly unique musical experience.
  • Realistic Vocals: One of Udio’s standout features is its ability to produce vocals that sound remarkably human, adding an emotional dimension to the generated music.

The Bad:

  • Ethical Concerns: As with any AI-powered tool, there are ethical considerations surrounding the authenticity of AI-generated music and its potential impact on the music industry, including issues of copyright infringement and artistic integrity.
  • Limitations in Length: While Udio offers flexibility in customisation, its maximum song length is limited to around 90 seconds, restricting its utility for those seeking longer compositions.
  • Copyright Ambiguity: While Udio attempts to navigate copyright concerns by restricting certain song requests, the boundaries remain unclear, leaving room for potential legal disputes and confusion among users.

 

Despite its innovative capabilities, Udio’s arrival has sparked debates within both the music and technology communities. While some laud its potential to inspire creativity and broaden musical horizons, others caution against the ethical implications and potential drawbacks of widespread AI-generated music.

As Udio continues to gain traction, it serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing dialogue surrounding the intersection of AI technology and creative expression. Only time will tell how Udio and similar innovations will shape the future of music creation and consumption.

 

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U.S. tech giant email systems utilised by Russian hackers

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Russian government-backed hackers have reportedly exploited access to Microsoft’s email system, stealing correspondence between officials and the tech giant.

Key Points:

  1. Russian government-backed hackers exploited access to Microsoft’s email system, as per a directive from CISA.

  2. The directive warned of hackers using email authentication details to infiltrate Microsoft customer systems, including government agencies.

  3. This follows Microsoft’s acknowledgment of ongoing struggles against intruders named “Midnight Blizzard” and a separate hack attributed to China.

According to an emergency directive from the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released on Thursday.

The directive, issued on April 2, cautioned that hackers were leveraging email authentication details to infiltrate Microsoft customer systems, including those of unspecified government agencies.

This alarming revelation follows Microsoft’s acknowledgment in March of ongoing struggles against intruders dubbed “Midnight Blizzard.”

The cybersecurity industry’s concerns intensified further with a recent report from the U.S. Cyber Safety Review Board, attributing a separate hack to China and criticising Microsoft for cybersecurity oversights and lack of transparency.

While CISA refrained from naming affected agencies, Microsoft assured collaboration with customers and CISA to investigate and mitigate the breach. The Russian Embassy in Washington, historically denying involvement in hacking activities, did not respond immediately to requests for comment. CISA also cautioned that non-governmental organisations might have been targeted, urging customers to liaise with Microsoft for additional information.

 

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Google looks to snap up Hubspot as part of growth strategy

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Google’s bold bid to acquire HubSpot in a billion-dollar deal has raised eyebrows in the digital marketing industry.

HubSpot, Inc., founded by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah in 2006, develops software for inbound marketing, sales, and customer service.

The acquisition aims to enhance Google’s marketing tools and potentially benefit small to mid-market businesses with improved solutions.

However, concerns over regulatory hurdles and antitrust issues persist, prompting mixed reactions from investors and industry experts.

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