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      US, UK ink AI pact modeled on intel sharing agreements / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 2 April - 13:42

    outline of faces behind numbers

    Enlarge (credit: LagartoFilm/Dreamstime)

    The US and UK have signed a landmark agreement on artificial intelligence, as the allies become the first countries to formally cooperate on how to test and assess risks from emerging AI models.

    The agreement, signed on Monday in Washington by UK science minister Michelle Donelan and US commerce secretary Gina Raimondo, lays out how the two governments will pool technical knowledge, information and talent on AI safety.

    The deal represents the first bilateral arrangement on AI safety in the world and comes as governments push for greater regulation of the existential risks from new technology, such as its use in damaging cyber attacks or designing bioweapons.

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      Daily Telescope: A shiny cluster of stars in a nearby galaxy / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 2 April - 12:00

    This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a globular cluster called NGC 1651.

    Enlarge / This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a globular cluster called NGC 1651. (credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, L. Girardi, F. Niederhofer)

    Welcome to the Daily Telescope . There is a little too much darkness in this world and not enough light, a little too much pseudoscience and not enough science. We'll let other publications offer you a daily horoscope. At Ars Technica, we're going to take a different route, finding inspiration from very real images of a universe that is filled with stars and wonder.

    Good morning. It's April 2, and today's photo comes from the venerable Hubble Space Telescope. It showcases a globular cluster, NGC 1651, in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

    This cluster of stars is about 120 light-years across. Like other such globular clusters, it is generally spherical, as the stars are bound to one another by gravity. Thus, there is a higher concentration of stars near the center of the cluster.

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      Trash from the International Space Station may have hit a house in Florida / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 2 April - 00:24

    This cylindrical object, a few inches in size, fell through the roof of Alejandro Otero's home in Florida last month.

    Enlarge / This cylindrical object, a few inches in size, fell through the roof of Alejandro Otero's home in Florida last month. (credit: Alejandro Otero on X )

    A few weeks ago, something from the heavens came crashing through the roof of Alejandro Otero's home, and NASA is on the case.

    In all likelihood, this nearly two-pound object came from the International Space Station. Otero said it tore through the roof and both floors of his two-story house in Naples, Florida.

    Otero wasn't home at the time, but his son was there. A Nest home security camera captured the sound of the crash at 2:34 pm local time (19:34 UTC) on March 8. That's an important piece of information because it is a close match for the time—2:29 pm EST (19:29 UTC)—that US Space Command recorded the reentry of a piece of space debris from the space station. At that time, the object was on a path over the Gulf of Mexico, heading toward southwest Florida.

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      OpenAI drops login requirements for ChatGPT’s free version / ArsTechnica · Monday, 1 April - 22:31 · 1 minute

    A glowing OpenAI logo on a blue background.

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    On Monday, OpenAI announced that visitors to the ChatGPT website in some regions can now use the AI assistant without signing in. Previously, the company required that users create an account to use it, even with the free version of ChatGPT that is currently powered by the GPT-3.5 AI language model. But as we have noted in the past , GPT-3.5 is widely known to provide more inaccurate information compared to GPT-4 Turbo , available in paid versions of ChatGPT.

    Since its launch in November 2022, ChatGPT has transformed over time from a tech demo to a comprehensive AI assistant, and it's always had a free version available. The cost is free because " you're the product ," as the old saying goes. Using ChatGPT helps OpenAI gather data that will help the company train future AI models, although free users and ChatGPT Plus subscription members can both opt out of allowing the data they input into ChatGPT to be used for AI training. (OpenAI says it never trains on inputs from ChatGPT Team and Enterprise members at all).

    Opening ChatGPT to everyone could provide a frictionless on-ramp for people who might use it as a substitute for Google Search or potentially gain new customers by providing an easy way for people to use ChatGPT quickly, then offering an upsell to paid versions of the service.

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      Discord starts down the dangerous road of ads this week / ArsTechnica · Monday, 1 April - 19:24 · 1 minute

    The Discord logo on a funky cyber-background.

    Enlarge (credit: Discord)

    Discord had long been strongly opposed to ads, but starting this week, it's giving video game makers the ability to advertise to its users. The introduction of so-called Sponsored Quests marks a notable change from the startup's previous business model, but, at least for now, it seems much less intrusive than the ads shoved into other social media platforms, especially since Discord users can disable them.

    Discord first announced Sponsored Quests on March 7, with Peter Sellis, Discord's SVP of product, writing in a blog post that users would start seeing them in the "coming weeks." Sponsored Quests offer PC gamers in-game rewards for getting friends to watch a stream of them playing through Discord.

    The goal is for video games to get exposure to more gamers, serving as a form of marketing. On Saturday, The Wall Street Journal ( WSJ ) reported that it viewed a slide from a slideshow Discord shows to game developers regarding the ads that reads: "We’ll get you in front of players. And those players will get you into their friend groups."

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      Google agrees to delete Incognito data despite prior claim that’s “impossible” / ArsTechnica · Monday, 1 April - 19:11

    Google agrees to delete Incognito data despite prior claim that’s “impossible”

    Enlarge (credit: Anadolu / Contributor | Anadolu )

    To settle a class-action dispute over Chrome's "Incognito" mode , Google has agreed to delete billions of data records reflecting users' private browsing activities.

    In a statement provided to Ars, users' lawyer, David Boies, described the settlement as "a historic step in requiring honesty and accountability from dominant technology companies." Based on Google's insights, users' lawyers valued the settlement between $4.75 billion and $7.8 billion, the Monday court filing said.

    Under the settlement, Google agreed to delete class-action members' private browsing data collected in the past, as well as to "maintain a change to Incognito mode that enables Incognito users to block third-party cookies by default." This, plaintiffs' lawyers noted, "ensures additional privacy for Incognito users going forward, while limiting the amount of data Google collects from them" over the next five years. Plaintiffs' lawyers said that this means that "Google will collect less data from users’ private browsing sessions" and "Google will make less money from the data."

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      AT&T acknowledges data leak that hit 73 million current and former users / ArsTechnica · Monday, 1 April - 19:01

    A person walks past an AT&T store on a city street.

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    AT&T reset passcodes for millions of customers after acknowledging a massive leak involving the data of 73 million current and former subscribers.

    "Based on our preliminary analysis, the data set appears to be from 2019 or earlier, impacting approximately 7.6 million current AT&T account holders and approximately 65.4 million former account holders," AT&T said in an update posted to its website on Saturday.

    An AT&T support article said the carrier is "reaching out to all 7.6 million impacted customers and have reset their passcodes. In addition, we will be communicating with current and former account holders with compromised sensitive personal information." AT&T said the leaked information varied by customer but included full names, email addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, AT&T account numbers, and passcodes.

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      Redis’ license change and forking are a mess that everybody can feel bad about / ArsTechnica · Monday, 1 April - 17:47

    AWS data centers built right next to suburban cul-de-sac housing

    Enlarge / An Amazon Web Services (AWS) data center under construction in Stone Ridge, Virginia, in March 2024. Amazon will spend more than $150 billion on data centers in the next 15 years. (credit: Getty Images)

    Redis , a tremendously popular tool for storing data in-memory rather than in a database, recently switched its licensing from an open source BSD license to both a Source Available License and a Server Side Public License (SSPL).

    The software project and company supporting it were fairly clear in why they did this. Redis CEO Rowan Trollope wrote on March 20 that while Redis and volunteers sponsored the bulk of the project's code development, "the majority of Redis’ commercial sales are channeled through the largest cloud service providers, who commoditize Redis’ investments and its open source community." Clarifying a bit, "cloud service providers hosting Redis offerings will no longer be permitted to use the source code of Redis free of charge."

    Clarifying even further: Amazon Web Services (and lesser cloud giants), you cannot continue reselling Redis as a service as part of your $90 billion business without some kind of licensed contribution back.

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      Google Podcasts shuts down tomorrow, April 2 / ArsTechnica · Monday, 1 April - 17:37

    Each headstone in this miniature, decorative cemetery is for a defunct Google product.

    Enlarge / A spooky Halloween display from Google's Seattle campus. (credit: Dana Fried )

    RIP Google Podcasts. Google's self-branded podcasting service shuts down tomorrow , April 2, and existing users have until July to export any subscriptions that are still on the service. Google originally announced the shutdown in September and has been plastering shutdown notices all over the Google Podcasts site and app for a few days now.

    Google Podcasts was Google's third podcasting service, after Google Listen (2009–2012) and Google Play Music Podcasts (2016–2020). The shutdown will clear the deck for Google's media consolidation under the YouTube brand with podcasting app No. 4: YouTube Podcasts.

    Google Podcasts has always had an awkward life.  Despite an eight-year existence, it has only been a viable podcasting app for maybe half that time. The project grew out of the Google Search team's desire to index podcast content. That started in 2016 when searching for a podcast would show a player embedded right in the Google Search results. This only worked on and on the Android search app.

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