🤖 The feelings are real
Edition 60 of BWG
👋🏻 Hey, friends! Cole here, aka the Basic Web Guy.
I've been enjoying Threads more lately. It's the closest to a Twitter replacement I've found. Are you using the platform? If so, let me know so I can follow you.
Step aside Vision Pro? Meta's AR/VR division that includes the Quest 3 broke a record for the highest grossing quarterly profit; exceeding $1b.
🤖 Can AI help alleviate loneliness? Some developers think chatbots can do just that. Luka, Inc., the company behind chatbot apps Replika and Blush recently announced Tomo, an app intended to replicate a personal or life coach.
"Tomo is a subscription mobile app that offers more than 250 activities led by an AI avatar guide, including yoga, meditation, and positive affirmations," notes Axios.
Luka founder Eugenia Kuyda believes chatbots can be used to assist the emotional needs of humans. "It doesn't matter if an AI is real or not," Kuyda told Axios. "The feelings are real."
And Kuyda has the data to back up the company's claims. A recent study created by Luka, Inc. and Stanford showed that the company's Replika app reduced suicidal thoughts among its users.
🎙️ Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker recently sat down for an interview with Diane Brady of Forbes to discuss the state of the internet. When asked about the health of the internet today, Baker replied that it's "mixed" adding that "it's robust and active but there are some parts of the systems that really do need attention and are quite likely harming us now and will continue to do so."
One key point Baker makes near the start of the interview is that online "engagement drives revenue and outrage drives engagement." It's a very factual statement that easily explains the state of the web today.
During the 20-minute interview, Baker also discusses AI, open source, and how lessons from the internet of the past are helpful today.
🛠️🌐 Satya Nadella says hackers could disrupt the world order. The Microsoft CEO warned that the world order as we know it is at risk due to nation-state hackers.
Speaking with NBC's Lester Holt, Nadella said: "When you have an adversary who is a nation-state or a country that, you know, has institutional sort of strength, organizations that are both well-resourced and are relentless in attacking – I'm glad that we have the capability we have to even detect what they're doing on the cyber side."
According to TechSpot, Nadella "called for the US, Russia, and China to come together to form a type of cyber Geneva Convention."
👾 Also at Microsoft, the company's researchers have discovered a flaw that could allow hackers to inject malicious code into open-source projects. The flaw has the potential to impact nearly 70,000 of such projects, according to Axios. "The vulnerability can be triggered when someone submits a contribution or edit to a build system project hosted on Azure Pipelines."
Open-source software is often more secure than proprietary applications, as many vulnerabilities are often spotted by both expert and novice coders, and the code itself is often more scrutinized.
🗑️ AI spam is reportedly ruining the internet, as AI-generated versions of legitimate articles have been showing up on Google search results. Business Insider notes that "[t]hese AI-generated versions of articles hurt the news business, effectively stealing away clicks (and revenue) from the outlets that spend real time and money doing the reporting."
BI goes on to note that The Hairpin, a popular blog, "had been taken over by an AI click farmer who left up some of the popular articles but replaced the names of the women who wrote them with men's names — ick."
Those running the schemes are simply bad actors looking to make ad revenue profit by generating AI garbage articles filled with crappy SEO.
A Utah high school student is challenging the state's social media law requiring age verification and parental consent for under 18s.
Hannah Zoulek, who identifies as queer, says the state's Social Media Regulation Act is "making it harder to talk with people who have similar experiences."
And prior to the law being passed, Zoulek testified before the Utah House Judiciary Committee, "citing their concerns about the law’s infringement on teens’ speech and ability to discuss important issues such as mental health," notes Ars Technica.
📔 Into comics? Into cybersecurity? You're in luck because the folks at Green Archer Comics are creating a comic book based on characters who are cybersecurity experts.
This will be the first comic book anthology that focuses on cybersecurity professionals, notes Axios, adding that "[c]reating comics about cybersecurity could make the topic more approachable — and fun."
Green Archer Comics is also accepting potential story plots for the comic, making this an exciting and collaborative project.
😔 Recent comments on Elmo's Twitter/X post "underscore a growing mental health crisis across the U.S. and a national spike in anxiety and depression, with young people driving a rise in mental health spending in recent years."
Here's what happened: Earlier this week, the Elmo account on X posted a cute check-in, asking folks how they were doing. Replies by followers clearly showed that many are "depressed and broke," laid off, or feeling tired.
According to Axios: "The responses to Elmo's post that was seen an estimated 140 million-plus times underscore a growing mental health crisis across the U.S. and a national spike in anxiety and depression, with young people driving a rise in mental health spending in recent years."
While Elmo's tweet isn't a scientific study, I think it's still a strong indicator on how people are feeling these days.
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