Weekly News Highlights | January 29th

AI hiring to fuel layoffs

Sweeping layoffs across the tech sector have become a sadly common occurrence over recent years and now with the advent of an AI hiring boom, there are fears that job stability may be a thing of the past.

Already more than 20,000 tech employees have lost jobs so far in 2024, according to tracker layoffs.fyi. Google CEO Sundar Pichai last week warned employees there would be more job cuts this year as the company continues to shift investments toward AI.

Only time will tell what jobs survive the oncoming storm, but with companies betting big on AI, many are worried they will be among those rebalanced.

Read more here.

Rela8 Group Weekly News AI Layoffs

AI being used to attack elections

Emphasising one of AI’s more sinister use-cases, a fake robocall claiming to be from US President Joe Biden has urged voters to skip participating in a recent primary election in New Hampshire. In the message, a voice believed to be an artificial generation of President Biden’s tells voters to “save” their ballot for the general election in November. Anti-robocall application Nomorobo estimates the calls were placed between 5,000 and 25,000 times.

To add to the believability, the robocalls falsely appeared to be coming from the personal mobile phone number of a former state Democratic chairwoman, Kathy Sullivan, who helps run a pro-Biden political group in New Hampshire.

On Monday, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed that the audio was fake. Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez criticised the call as an attempt to “suppress voting and deliberately undermine free and fair elections”.

Read more here.

Rela8 Group Weekly News Joe Biden AI Election

Taylor Swift deepfakes spark calls for criminalisation

In a bad week for AI press, numerous calls for immediate legislation in the have been made calling for the criminalisation of AI deepfakes after explicit faked photos of Taylor Swift were viewed millions of times online.

In the UK, the sharing of deepfake pornography became illegal as part of its Online Safety Act in 2023. There are currently no federal laws against the sharing or creation of deepfake images in the US.

Sadly this is by no means the first instance of explicit deepfake creation. Given the high profile nature of this case in particular, politicians from both sides of the aisle have been weighing in. Republican Congressman Tom Kean Jr commented saying:

“It is clear that AI technology is advancing faster than the necessary guardrails. […] Whether the victim is Taylor Swift or any young person across our country, we need to establish safeguards to combat this alarming trend.”

Read more here.

Rela8 Group Weekly News Taylor Swift AI Deepfake Legislation Law
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