Tech News Feed

Health Firm 'Grail' Wrongly Told Hundreds of People They Might Have Cancer

SlashDot - Tue, 2023-06-06 23:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CBS News: A biotechnology company selling a $949 blood test that it bills as a "first of its kind" to detect cancer said it incorrectly informed about 400 customers that they might have the disease. The Menlo Park, California, company, called Grail, said it sent a form letter to some customers who had bought its Galleri test, which detects a marker for more than 50 types of cancer, "stating incorrectly that a cancer signal was detected," a company spokeswoman told CBS MoneyWatch in a statement. The company blamed a vendor, PWN Health, for the error, citing a "software configuration issue." In a statement, PWN Health said it said the problem was due to "a misconfiguration of our patient engagement platform used to send templated communications to individuals." It added that it has added processes to make sure such a mistake doesn't occur again, and started contacting the people who received the erroneous letters within 36 hours. The error comes amid an increased demand for health care screening tests, especially for chronic diseases such as cancer. Grail is billing its service as a complement to routine single-cancer tests for diseases such as colon or breast cancer, and said that the blood test can detect forms of the disease that aren't routinely screened for, such as in the gallbladder and pancreas. Grail said it hasn't received reports of patient harm or "adverse events" due to the erroneous letters. "After being notified of the incident, Grail immediately began outreach by phone or email to all individuals who received the PWNHealth letter, and we continued our efforts until we confirmed we successfully reached each individual via phone, email or letter," the spokeswoman said. "The issue was in no way related to or caused by an incorrect Galleri laboratory test result." More than half the erroneous letters were sent to customers who hadn't had their blood drawn yet for the Galleri test, the spokeswoman added. On Monday, Illumina filed an appeal against a FTC order, "demanding that it divest cancer diagnostic test maker Grail over competition concerns in the U.S. market for cancer tests," reports Reuters. According to the filing, Illumina is arguing that the FTC "violated due process by depriving Illumina and Grail of a fair proceeding before an impartial tribunal."

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Samsung to Host Galaxy Unpacked Event in Seoul for First Time - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2023-06-06 22:46
Electronics giant teases foldables in announcing first home-country event for its unveiling event next month.

Healthcare Org With Over 100 Clinics Uses OpenAI's GPT-4 To Write Medical Records

SlashDot - Tue, 2023-06-06 22:02
US healthcare chain Carbon Health has implemented an AI tool named Carby, powered by OpenAI's GPT-4 language model, to automatically generate medical records from conversations between physicians and patients. The Register reports: If a patient consents to having their meeting recorded and transcribed, the audio recording is passed to Amazon's AWS Transcribe Medical cloud service, which converts the speech to text. The transcript -- along with data from the patient's medical records, including recent test results -- is passed to an ML model that produces notes summarizing important information gathered in the consultation. The screenshot of an example medical chart below shows what type of text the software, nicknamed Carby, generates. The hypothetical patient's information and vital measurements are included, as well as a summaries of medical records and diagnoses. Carbon Health CEO Eren Bali said the software is directly integrated into the firm's electronic health records (EHR) system, and is powered by OpenAI's latest language model, GPT-4. Carbon Health said the tool produces consultation summaries in four minutes, compared to the 16 consumed by a flesh and blood doctor working alone. Clinics can therefore see more patients [...] Generative AI models aren't perfect, and often produce errors. Physicians therefore need to verify the AI-generated text. Carbon Health claims 88 percent of the verbiage can be accepted without edits. Carbon Health said the model is already supporting over 130 clinics, where over 600 staff have access to the tool. A clinic testing the tool in San Francisco reportedly saw a 30 percent increase in the number of patients it could treat.

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Apple Makes Developer Betas Free To Download and Install

SlashDot - Tue, 2023-06-06 21:25
Apple has made the Apple Developer Program available for anyone with an Apple ID. Previously, the company limited developer betas to developers who have a paid account that costs $99 per year. MacRumors reports: "OS beta releases" is now listed as an available resource even for those who are not members of the Apple Developer Program. This change means that anyone with an Apple ID can download and install the iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma betas without waiting for the public betas to launch. Of course, it is not a good idea to install these betas on a main device as there can be notable bugs and issues with early software. More information can be found on Apple's membership page.

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SEC Asks For Emergency Order To Freeze Binance US Assets Anywhere In the World

SlashDot - Tue, 2023-06-06 20:45
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed an emergency motion seeking to freeze the assets of Binance's U.S. platform and repatriate the funds held by its customers, including both fiat currency and cryptocurrencies. CNBC reports: The freezing order only applies Binance's two U.S. holding companies, not to the non-U.S. regulated international exchange. The order would apply to dozens of accounts held at Axos Bank, the defunct Silvergate Bank, Prime Trust, and other institutions. Two foreign entities also controlled by Zhao, Sigma Chain and Merit Peak, served as conduits for billions of dollars of customer money that was improperly commingled with Binance's funds, the SEC has alleged. The emergency restraining order was necessary, the regulator argued, to "prevent the dissipation of available assets for any judgment, given the Defendants' years of violative conduct, disregard of the laws of the United States." The order also compels Binance's founder, Changpeng Zhao, to "show cause why a preliminary injunction" against Zhao and his two holding companies "should not be entered." The restraining order would also prevent all three entities from destroying evidence. On Monday, the SEC filed a lawsuit against Binance and the company's founder, Changpeng Zhao, accusing the exchange of mishandling customer funds as well as lying to regulators and investors about its operations.

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OpenAI CEO Has No IPO Plan Due To 'Strange' Company Structure

SlashDot - Tue, 2023-06-06 20:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Microsoft-backed OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, has no plans to go public any time soon, Chief Executive Sam Altman said at a conference in Abu Dhabi. "When we develop super intelligence, we are likely to make some decisions that most investors would look at very strangely," Altman said. "I don't want to be sued by ... public market, Wall Street etc, so no, not that interested," he said in response to a question on whether he will take OpenAI public. OpenAI has so far raised $10 billion from Microsoft (MSFT.O) at a valuation of almost $30 billion as it invests more on building computing capacity. "We have a very strange structure. We have this cap to profit thing," he said. OpenAI started off as a non-profit organization but later created a hybrid "capped-profit" company, that allowed it to raise external funds with a promise that the original non-profit operation still benefits. Altman is on a whirlwind tour across the world, meeting heads of states of several countries, and was in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday. He plans to travel next to Qatar, India and South Korea. While in Europe he got into controversy for saying OpenAI may leave the region if it becomes too hard to comply with planned laws on AI, inviting criticism from several lawmakers, including EU industry chief Thierry Breton. OpenAI later reversed the stance. "We did not threaten to leave the EU," Altman said on Tuesday. "We expect to be able to comply. There's still more clarity we are waiting for on the EU AI Act, but we are very excited to operate in Europe."

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Apple's New iOS 17 Will Warn You If Someone Tries To Send Unsolicited Nudes

SlashDot - Tue, 2023-06-06 19:20
Apple's new iOS 17 includes a Sensitive Content Warning feature that notifies users when they receive unsolicited nude images. Insider reports: Apple said in a press release that the Sensitive Content Warning would help adult users avoid seeing unwanted nude images and videos. The company would not get access to the content as processing for the new feature occurred on the user's device, the press release added. The tech giant is also expanding Communication Safety, a feature aimed at protecting children, to cover sending and receiving content via AirDrop, Contact Posters, and FaceTime messages. The privacy feature will also expand to cover video content, as well as images. Further reading: Apple Announces iOS 17 With StandBy Charging Mode, Better Autocorrect

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Microsoft To Pay $20 Million Settlement For Illegally Collecting Children's Personal Data

SlashDot - Tue, 2023-06-06 18:40
Microsoft has agreed to pay $20 million to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that it illegally collected personal information from children without parental consent and retained it for extended periods. TechCrunch reports: The federal consumer watchdog said Microsoft violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), the federal law that governs the online privacy protections for children under the age of 13, which requires companies notify parents about the data they collect, obtain parental consent and delete the data when it's no longer necessary. The FTC said children signing up to Microsoft's Xbox gaming service were asked to provide their personal information -- including their name, email address, phone number and date of birth -- which until 2019 included a pre-filled check box allowing Microsoft to share user information with advertisers. The FTC said Microsoft collected this data before asking for the parent to complete the account setup, but held onto children's data even if the parent abandoned the sign-up process. "Only after gathering that raft of personal data from children did Microsoft get parents involved in the process," said FTC's Lesley Fair in a corresponding blog post. As a result, the FTC will require Microsoft to notify parents and obtain consent for accounts created before May 2021. Microsoft will also have to establish new systems to delete children's personal information if it hasn't obtained parental consent, and to ensure the data is deleted when it's no longer needed.

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Engadget Podcast: Trying out Apple's Vision Pro headset

Engadget - Tue, 2023-06-06 18:00

We’ve survived day one of Apple’s WWDC 2023, and we’re ready to talk about the company’s new Vision Pro mixed reality headset. In this bonus episode, Cherlynn and Devindra dive into their thoughts on Apple’s spatial computing play, as well as Devindra’s 30-minute hands on session with the headset. It’s undoubtedly the best AR/VR experience we’ve seen yet, but there are still plenty of issues Apple needs to solve.

Listen below or subscribe on your podcast app of choice. If you've got suggestions or topics you'd like covered on the show, be sure to email us or drop a note in the comments! And be sure to check out our other podcasts, the Morning After and Engadget News!


Hosts: Cherlynn Low and Devindra Hardawar
Producer: Ben Ellman
Music: Dale North and Terrence O'Brien

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Redditor Creates Working Anime QR Codes Using Stable Diffusion

SlashDot - Tue, 2023-06-06 18:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: On Tuesday, a Reddit user named "nhciao" posted a series of artistic QR codes created using the Stable Diffusion AI image-synthesis model that can still be read as functional QR codes by smartphone camera apps. The functional pieces reflect artistic styles in anime and Asian art. [...] In this case, despite the presence of intricate AI-generated designs and patterns in the images created by nhciao, we've found that smartphone camera apps on both iPhone and Android are still able to read these as functional QR codes. If you have trouble reading them, try backing your camera farther away from the images. Stable Diffusion is an AI-powered image-synthesis model released last year that can generate images based on text descriptions. It can also transform existing images using a technique called "img2img." The creator did not detail the exact technique used to create the novel codes in English, but based on this blog post and the title of the Reddit post ("ControlNet for QR Code"), they apparently trained several custom Stable Diffusion ControlNet models (plus LoRA fine tunings) that have been conditioned to create different-styled results. Next, they fed existing QR codes into the Stable Diffusion AI image generator and used ControlNet to maintain the QR code's data positioning despite synthesizing an image around it, likely using a written prompt. Other techniques exist to make artistic-looking QR codes by manipulating the positions of dots within the codes to make meaningful patterns that can still be read. In this case, Stable Diffusion is not only controlling dot positions but also blending picture details to match the QR code. This interesting use of Stable Diffusion is possible because of the innate error correction feature built into QR codes. This error correction capability allows a certain percentage of the QR code's data to be restored if it's damaged or obscured, permitting a level of modification without making the code unreadable. In typical QR codes, this error correction feature serves to recover information if part of the code is damaged or dirty. But in nhciao's case, it has been leveraged to blend creativity with utility. Stable Diffusion added unique artistic touches to the QR codes without compromising their functionality. [...] This discovery opens up new possibilities for both digital art and marketing. Ordinary black-and-white QR codes could be turned into unique pieces of art, enhancing their aesthetic appeal. The positive reaction to nhciao's experiment on social media may spark a new era in which QR codes are not just tools of convenience but also interesting and complex works of art.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple’s developer betas are now free to download and install

Engadget - Tue, 2023-06-06 17:36

Today, Apple updated its developer program to allow anyone access to the beta operating systems. Pointed out by user iSoftware Updates on Twitter and confirmed by Apple’s developer program comparison page, OS beta releases can be installed without needing to pay the annual $99 fee for the Apple Developer Program. This means that eager users will be able to install the various betas starting today, including iOS 17, for free versus having to wait until July for the public beta.

Earlier today, Apple "accidentally" released the iOS 17 beta to the public, allowing those who weren’t part of the developer program access. This may have been an intentional move by Apple to prepare for the bigger change, allowing anyone access to the beta program.

​​Earlier this year, Apple made a change to how it distributes betas to developers. Previously, developers had to download and install a configuration profile on a per-device basis. But the system now allows users to install betas by simply checking an option within the software update settings directly on their devices. Despite the change, Apple still required you to pay $99 per year in order to gain access to the developer betas. Now, users that don’t want to pay the fee won’t have to wait for the public beta, which was always available for free but typically is released later than developer betas. This year, Apple says the public betas should arrive in July.

We highly discourage running betas on your main devices as there can be bugs and issues, especially early on in the cycle. These betas are intended for developers, who typically have secondary devices to test their applications against the new software. Certain betas, such as watchOS 10, tvOS 17, HomePod 17, and AirPods betas prevent you from rolling back to public, stable software. For those platforms, as soon as you install the beta, you’ll be stuck on it until the next public release comes out, which is typically available later in the fall. Definitely install these betas at your own risk. But those who aren’t risk-averse can download these now.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Reddit Laying Off Employees and Slowing Hiring Amid Restructuring

SlashDot - Tue, 2023-06-06 17:20
Social-media company Reddit is laying off roughly 90 employees and slowing hiring as it restructures key parts of its business. From a report: Reddit is making the moves to address priorities, including funding projects and achieving its goal of breaking even next year, Chief Executive Steve Huffman told employees in an email seen by The Wall Street Journal. The job cuts amount to around 5% of Reddit's workforce of approximately 2,000 people. "We've had a solid first half of the year, and this restructuring will position us to carry that momentum into the second half and beyond," Huffman said in the email. He added that the company would reduce its hiring for the rest of the year to about 100 people from an early plan to hire 300.

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First Steps Agreed on Plastics Treaty After Breakthrough at Paris Talks

SlashDot - Tue, 2023-06-06 16:41
Nation-state representatives have taken the first concrete step toward a legally binding treaty to regulate plastic, described as the most important green deal since the 2015 international climate agreement. From a report: The banging of a recycled-plastic gavel, on Friday night at Unesco headquarters in Paris, signalled the end of a fraught process, marked by accusations of exclusion and industrial lobbying. Talks threatened to fall apart, but in the end delegates were able to broadly agree on key elements that the treaty should contain, laying the groundwork for the future agreement. Attended by delegates from 180 nations and dozens of stakeholders including civil society groups, waste pickers and a coalition of scientists, the talks were the second of five meetings to thrash out the wording of the new treaty, which could come into force in 2025. The world produces almost 400m tonnes of plastic every year; an estimated 14m tonnes escape into the ocean annually. There is a growing recognition that this vast international problem requires a harmonised global response. While plastic has historically been viewed as an environmental waste problem, critics now emphasise the array of harms this fossil-fuel-derived and chemical-rich product causes to the environment and human health across its entire lifecycle. The production of plastic has been shown to worsen air pollution, while its material waste intensifies flooding and starves wildlife. Plastic particles are now found in the air, in drinking water and in human blood.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple bought the AR company behind the tech in Nintendo’s ‘Mario Kart’ ride

Engadget - Tue, 2023-06-06 16:32

Apple has reportedly bought AR startup Mira. The Los Angeles-based company makes the AR headsets for Super Nintendo World’s Mario Kart ride and has contracts with the US Air Force and Navy. You may also remember the Mira Prism, the company’s smartphone-based AR headset that Engadget tried in 2017. Of course, Apple finally revealed its long-rumored AR headset, the Vision Pro, at its WWDC 2023 keynote on Monday.

The Vergereports that the acquisition was verified through posts on the private Instagram account of Mira CEO Ben Taft and that Apple also confirmed it. It isn’t yet clear what Apple paid for the startup — or what its plans are with the company. (Talent and patents are logical candidates following the Vision Pro announcement.) The Verge also reports that Apple has brought at least 11 of Mira’s employees into the fold and that former design chief Jony Ive once advised the startup.

Image of a person (left) wearing a Mira industrial headset, watching a pop-up (augmented) video of a colleague on a video call in a working environment.Mira

Mira’s Air Force contract reportedly involves supplying the company’s Prism Pro headset for pilots at Travis Air Force Base in Northern California, allowing them to display augmented equipment instructions. Meanwhile, the AR device built for Nintendo World portrays virtual characters and animations from the game to make the ride feel like you’re inside the classic racing title.

In his 2017 hands-on with the Mira Prism, Engadget’s Devindra Hardawar found the phone-based device to be surprisingly immersive for its price (relative to that era). “Even though I only had a few minutes with the Prism, I was impressed with what I saw,” he said. “I’m used to trying on headsets that are too expensive for most people to buy, so it was a bit of a shock that it worked at all.” Fast-forwarding to this week, Hardawar describes the Apple Vision Pro as “the best mixed reality (VR/AR) experience I’ve had yet, delivering an unparalleled sense of immersion” while holding out reservations. “And yet, it’s still just a VR headset, with many of the issues endemic to the entire category.”

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Instagram may roll out its own AI chatbot in the near future

Engadget - Tue, 2023-06-06 16:06

We're seeing artificial intelligence chatbots pop up all overthe place, and soon enough you may very well have access to one in Instagram, too. Reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi claims the platform has an AI agent in the pipeline. According to screenshots he shared (as spotted by ZDNet), the chatbot will be able to answer questions and give advice. You may have as many as 30 personalities to choose from too.

The chatbot could give those who find it difficult to write messages some help. It also seems you'll be able to bring the chatbot into a conversation you're having with someone by @-mentioning it.

— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) June 5, 2023

It's too early to say exactly when or even if Instagram will roll out this feature, but there's no smoke without fire. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in February that the company had a team working on "AI personas" for Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. Paluzzi has a good track record, too. He spotted evidence of a paid verification system in Instagram only a couple of weeks before Meta announced it.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Excel Spreadsheet Error Leads Austrian Party To Announce Wrong Leader

SlashDot - Tue, 2023-06-06 16:01
A major Austrian opposition political party on Monday corrected the results of a closely contested leadership election after it announced the wrong winner over the weekend due to a "technical" error: Someone had messed up an Excel spreadsheet. From a report: At a convention on Saturday, Austria's Social Democrats (SPO) declared that Hans Peter Doskozil, governor of the eastern Burgenland province, was the new leader of the center-left party. But on Monday, the party said Andreas Babler, a small-town mayor and lesser-known figure, had actually won, with about 52 percent of the votes. "Unfortunately, the paper ballots did not match the result that was announced digitally," Michaela Grubesa, head of the SPÃ- electoral commission, said a news conference. "Due to a colleague's technical error in the Excel list, the result was mixed up." Those familiar with Microsoft's spreadsheet program, which is used by millions around the world, were quick to crack jokes, bringing wider attention to the error and ensuing chaos. Babler said at a news conference after his belated apparent victory that the commission should count the vote again for accuracy's sake, local media reported, adding that the debacle was "painful for everyone involved" and bad for the party's image.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple Buys AR Headset Startup Mira

SlashDot - Tue, 2023-06-06 15:20
Apple has acquired Mira, a Los Angeles-based AR startup that makes headsets for other companies and the US military, according to a post from the CEO's private Instagram account yesterday seen by The Verge and a person familiar with the matter. Apple confirmed the acquisition. From a report: The news comes just one day after Apple unveiled the Vision Pro, a $3,499 mixed reality headset that the company has billed as a new spatial computing platform. It's unclear how much Apple paid for Mira, which raised about $17 million in funding to date. Jony Ive, Apple's former design chief, was an advisor to the startup at one point, according to two former employees who requested anonymity to speak without the company's permission.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

These Savings Accounts and CDs Are Offering 5% APY or More Right Now - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2023-06-06 15:04
These high rates may make it hard to choose between a CD and savings account. Here's how to decide.

Why Millions of Usable Hard Drives Are Being Destroyed

SlashDot - Tue, 2023-06-06 14:45
Millions of storage devices are being shredded each year, even though they could be reused. "You don't need an engineering degree to understand that's a bad thing," says Jonmichael Hands. From a report: He is the secretary and treasurer of the Circular Drive Initiative (CDI), a partnership of technology companies promoting the secure reuse of storage hardware. He also works at Chia Network, which provides a blockchain technology. Chia Network could easily reuse storage devices that large data centres have decided they no longer need. In 2021, the company approached IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) firms, who dispose of old technology for businesses that no longer need it. The answer came back: "Sorry, we have to shred old drives." "What do you mean, you destroy them?" says Mr Hands, relating the story. "Just erase the data, and then sell them! They said the customers wouldn't let them do that. One ITAD provider said they were shredding five million drives for a single customer." Storage devices are typically sold with a five-year warranty, and large data centres retire them when the warranty expires. Drives that store less sensitive data are spared, but the CDI estimates that 90% of hard drives are destroyed when they are removed. The reason? "The cloud service providers we spoke to said security, but what they actually meant was risk management," says Mr Hands. "They have a zero-risk policy. It can't be one in a million drives, one in 10 million drives, one in 100 million drives that leaks. It has to be zero."

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MacBook Air (15-inch, M2) vs. MacBook Air (13-inch, M2): How Apple's thinnest laptops compare - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2023-06-06 14:32
Apple's newest MacBook Air has a bigger screen, but does it offer anything else that its little linemates don't?