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Google unveils ChatGPT rival Bard, AI search plans in battle with Microsoft

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Google owner Alphabet Inc on Monday said it will launch a chatbot service and more artificial intelligence for its search engine as well as developers, an answer to Microsoft Corp in their rivalry to lead a new wave of computing.

Microsoft, meanwhile, said it planned its own AI reveal for Tuesday.

The cascade of news reflects how Silicon Valley is anticipating massive change from so-called generative AI, technology that can create prose or other content on command and free up white-collar workers’ time.

The ascent of ChatGPT, a chatbot from Microsoft-backed OpenAI that could disrupt how consumers search for information, has been one of the biggest challenges to Google in recent memory.

In a blog post, Alphabet Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said his company is opening a conversational AI service called Bard to test users for feedback, followed by a public release in the coming weeks.

He also said Google plans to add AI features to its search engine that synthesize material for complex queries, like whether learning guitar or piano is easier. Currently, Google presents text that exists elsewhere on the Web for questions where the answer is clear.

Google’s update for search, the timing of which it did not disclose, reflects how the company is bolstering its service while Microsoft is doing the same for Bing, embedding OpenAI’s capabilities in it.

Microsoft has said it plans to imbue AI into its all its products and on Tuesday plans to brief news outlets on developments it did not specify, with its CEO Satya Nadella, according to an invitation seen by Reuters. Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, tweeted that he would also attend the event.

How Google aims to differentiate Bard from OpenAI’s ChatGPT was unclear. Pichai said the new service draws on information from the internet; ChatGPT’s knowledge is up to date as of 2021.

“Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of our” AI, Pichai said.

Behind the new chatbot is LaMDA, Google’s AI that generated text with such skill that a company engineer last year called it sentient, a claim the technology giant and scientists widely dismissed.

In a demo of the service, Bard like its rival chatbot invites users to give it a prompt while warning its response may be inappropriate or inaccurate. It then bulleted three answers to a query about a space telescope’s discoveries, the demo showed.

Google is relying on a version of LaMDA that requires less computing power so it can serve more users and improve with their feedback, Pichai said.

ChatGPT at times has turned away users because of explosive growth, with UBS analysts reporting it had 57 million unique visitors in December outpacing potentially TikTok in adoption.

Google also plans to give technology tools, first powered by LaMDA and later by other AI, to creators and enterprises starting next month, Pichai said.

Google owner Alphabet Inc on Monday said it will launch a chatbot service and more artificial intelligence for its search engine as well as developers, an answer to Microsoft Corp in their rivalry to lead a new wave of computing.

Microsoft, meanwhile, said it planned its own AI reveal for Tuesday.

The cascade of news reflects how Silicon Valley is anticipating massive change from so-called generative AI, technology that can create prose or other content on command and free up white-collar workers’ time.

The ascent of ChatGPT, a chatbot from Microsoft-backed OpenAI that could disrupt how consumers search for information, has been one of the biggest challenges to Google in recent memory.

In a blog post, Alphabet Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said his company is opening a conversational AI service called Bard to test users for feedback, followed by a public release in the coming weeks.

He also said Google plans to add AI features to its search engine that synthesize material for complex queries, like whether learning guitar or piano is easier. Currently, Google presents text that exists elsewhere on the Web for questions where the answer is clear.

Google’s update for search, the timing of which it did not disclose, reflects how the company is bolstering its service while Microsoft is doing the same for Bing, embedding OpenAI’s capabilities in it.

Microsoft has said it plans to imbue AI into its all its products and on Tuesday plans to brief news outlets on developments it did not specify, with its CEO Satya Nadella, according to an invitation seen by Reuters. Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, tweeted that he would also attend the event.

How Google aims to differentiate Bard from OpenAI’s ChatGPT was unclear. Pichai said the new service draws on information from the internet; ChatGPT’s knowledge is up to date as of 2021.

“Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of our” AI, Pichai said.

Behind the new chatbot is LaMDA, Google’s AI that generated text with such skill that a company engineer last year called it sentient, a claim the technology giant and scientists widely dismissed.

In a demo of the service, Bard like its rival chatbot invites users to give it a prompt while warning its response may be inappropriate or inaccurate. It then bulleted three answers to a query about a space telescope’s discoveries, the demo showed.

Google is relying on a version of LaMDA that requires less computing power so it can serve more users and improve with their feedback, Pichai said.

ChatGPT at times has turned away users because of explosive growth, with UBS analysts reporting it had 57 million unique visitors in December outpacing potentially TikTok in adoption.

Google also plans to give technology tools, first powered by LaMDA and later by other AI, to creators and enterprises starting next month, Pichai said.

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/international/20230207/google-unveils-chatgpt-rival-bard-ai-search-plans-in-battle-with-microsoft/71368.html

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Dawn school trial for drowsy teens draws outcry in Indonesia

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Every morning in a city in Indonesia’s far east, sleepy teenagers can be seen trudging zombie-like through the streets on their reluctant way to school.

It is not a scene from some cheesy sci-fi offering but a controversial experiment to get the day off to a much earlier start for the sleep-deprived teens.

The pilot project in Kupang, the capital of East Nusa Tenggara province, has twelfth-graders at 10 high schools starting classes at 5:30 am.

Authorities say the scheme, announced last month by governor Viktor Laiskodat, is intended to strengthen children’s discipline.

According to parents, though, their children are “exhausted” by the time they get home. Schools in Indonesia generally start between 7:00 and 8:00 am.

Teens in their school uniforms are now walking down dark streets or waiting for motorcycle taxis to get to school on time.

“It is extremely difficult, they now have to leave home while it’s still pitch dark. I can’t accept this… their safety is not guaranteed when it’s dark and quiet,” Rambu Ata, a mother to a 16-year-old, told AFP.

Her daughter Eureka now has to wake up at 4:00 am to get ready and ride a motorbike to school.

“Now every time she arrives home, she is exhausted and falls asleep immediately because she is so sleepy,” Ata said.

At least one scholar seems to agree.

“It has no correlation with the effort to improve the quality of education,” Marsel Robot, an education expert from Nusa Cendana University, told AFP.

In the long run, sleep deprivation could endanger the students’ health and cause a shift in behaviour, he said.

“They will only sleep for a few hours and this is a serious risk for their health. This also will cause them stress and they will vent their stress by acting out.”

Policy extended

A 2014 study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that middle and high schoolers start classes at 8:30 am or later to allow enough time for sleep.

The Kupang rule change was also challenged by local lawmakers, who demanded the government cancel what they called a baseless policy.

The government has maintained their experiment despite the criticism and even extended it to the local education agency, where civil servants also now start their day at 5:30 am.

Not everybody is unhappy with the policy.

Rensy Sicilia Pelokilla, a civil servant at the agency, told AFP that starting earlier made her healthier because she now has to join group exercise sessions in her office that she once slept through.

“As a civil servant I am ready to comply with the regulation and I’m going to do my best,” Pelokilla said.

Every morning in a city in Indonesia’s far east, sleepy teenagers can be seen trudging zombie-like through the streets on their reluctant way to school.

It is not a scene from some cheesy sci-fi offering but a controversial experiment to get the day off to a much earlier start for the sleep-deprived teens.

The pilot project in Kupang, the capital of East Nusa Tenggara province, has twelfth-graders at 10 high schools starting classes at 5:30 am.

Authorities say the scheme, announced last month by governor Viktor Laiskodat, is intended to strengthen children’s discipline.

According to parents, though, their children are “exhausted” by the time they get home. Schools in Indonesia generally start between 7:00 and 8:00 am.

Teens in their school uniforms are now walking down dark streets or waiting for motorcycle taxis to get to school on time.

“It is extremely difficult, they now have to leave home while it’s still pitch dark. I can’t accept this… their safety is not guaranteed when it’s dark and quiet,” Rambu Ata, a mother to a 16-year-old, told AFP.

Her daughter Eureka now has to wake up at 4:00 am to get ready and ride a motorbike to school.

“Now every time she arrives home, she is exhausted and falls asleep immediately because she is so sleepy,” Ata said.

At least one scholar seems to agree.

“It has no correlation with the effort to improve the quality of education,” Marsel Robot, an education expert from Nusa Cendana University, told AFP.

In the long run, sleep deprivation could endanger the students’ health and cause a shift in behaviour, he said.

“They will only sleep for a few hours and this is a serious risk for their health. This also will cause them stress and they will vent their stress by acting out.”

Policy extended

A 2014 study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that middle and high schoolers start classes at 8:30 am or later to allow enough time for sleep.

The Kupang rule change was also challenged by local lawmakers, who demanded the government cancel what they called a baseless policy.

The government has maintained their experiment despite the criticism and even extended it to the local education agency, where civil servants also now start their day at 5:30 am.

Not everybody is unhappy with the policy.

Rensy Sicilia Pelokilla, a civil servant at the agency, told AFP that starting earlier made her healthier because she now has to join group exercise sessions in her office that she once slept through.

“As a civil servant I am ready to comply with the regulation and I’m going to do my best,” Pelokilla said.

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/international/20230316/dawn-school-trial-for-drowsy-teens-draws-outcry-in-indonesia/72122.html

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Japan battles to persuade its big brands to join military buildout

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As Tokyo spins up its defence industry for the country’s largest military expansion since World War Two, it has run into a challenge: some of Japan’s best-known brands are reluctant to invest in the military side of their businesses.

Japan, which renounced war in 1947, last year unveiled a five-year $315 billion military expansion to deter Beijing from using force in the East China Sea.

But a key part of Tokyo’s strategy hinges on persuading commercial firms such as Toshiba Corp, Mitsubishi Electric Corp  and Daikin Industries Ltd, which for decades have quietly armed its Self Defence Forces (SDF), to ramp up production.

In a country with an ingrained public sentiment against militarism, that is proving a hard sell for some of its suppliers, according to Reuters interviews with six government and company officials.

In private meetings with the defence ministry over the last year, some firms have raised concerns such as low profit margins, the financial risk of building manufacturing plants that could be left idle after Japan completes its military expansion, and potential damage to their public image from arms sales, an official directly involved in the talks told Reuters.

The official declined to be identified or attribute the complaints to specific companies, citing the confidential nature of the talks.

The government is preparing legislation that includes raising profit margins on military gear from a few percent to as much as 15%, and the provision of state-owned factories that companies can use to expand production risk-free. Some are concerned that might not be enough.

“Until now, the ministry has taken the defence companies for granted,” said Masahisa Sato, an influential ruling party lawmaker and former deputy defence minister.

Sato said it was increasingly difficult for Japanese executives to justify defence sales out of “patriotic duty” to shareholders focused on more profitable civilian ventures.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s military buildup plan identifies defence manufacturing as a key pillar of national security.

Japan, however, does not have a national defence champion such as Lockheed Martin Corp in the United States or Britain’s BAE Systems PLC, and many of the firms supplying the SDF are associated with more mundane products.

At Japan’s biggest defence company, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which is developing Japan’s next jet fighter and new longer-range missiles to help deter China, military contracts account for only a tenth of its $29 billion in revenue last year. Most of its business is civilian aircraft components, power plant equipment and factory machines.

Aircon manufacturer Daikin has a munitions sideline; Toshiba, which makes electronic goods such as printers, also produces military-grade batteries; and Mitsubishi Electric makes radars and missiles alongside fridges and vacuum cleaners.

Since early last year, defence officials have been meeting with these firms and other top suppliers, such as car-and-helicopter maker Subaru Corp, to urge them to expand their lower-profile military units.

Reuters contacted 15 leading Japanese defence manufacturers, whose CEOs the defence ministry invited to talks with then- defence minister Nobuo Kishi in April, and in January with his successor, Yasukazu Hamada.

Three of them, Mitsubishi Heavy, Mitsubishi Electric and IHI Corp, which makes jet engines, bridges and heavy machinery, confirmed they had also taken part in other lower-level discussions.

Five firms did not reply, and the rest declined to say whether they had joined in other discussions. The companies who responded declined to give details of the meetings or any concerns they raised during the talks.

Sweeteners

Many companies are reluctant to talk about their defence units, fearing it might put off customers at home, where anti-military sentiment lingers, or overseas, particularly in China, where resentment over Japan’s wartime past could be politicised.

Reuters asked 10 of Japan’s military suppliers, including Toshiba, Mitsubishi Electric, Daikin and Subaru, for interviews with their defence unit managers. Only Mitsubishi Electric agreed.

Masahiko Arai, the head of Mitsubishi Electric’s defence systems division, said he welcomed government proposals and hoped that contributing to Japan’s “safety and security” would be beneficial for the firm.

His biggest concern, he said, was what would happen after Japan’s five-year military buildup ends, adding that other companies “are troubled by reputation risk”. His unit accounted for about 4% of the $34 billion in sales the company recorded last business year.

An official at another major Japanese defence supplier, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said being directly involved with regional tensions might be bad for business.

“Reputation risk worries us a lot,” the official said. “There have been occasions when our Chinese customers have expressed their discomfort when the topic of defence has come up.”

Despite diplomatic tensions, China is Japan’s top trade partner and a major manufacturing base for many Japanese companies.

When Japan ended a decades-long ban on military exports in 2014, it did not spur industry growth because of corporate timidity and overly cautious bureaucrats, analysts say. Mitsubishi Electric is the only company to have sold defence equipment overseas, with a deal in 2020 to supply radars to the Philippines.

Meanwhile, chemical company Daicel announced it would close its pilot-ejection system unit in 2020, and Sumitomo Heavy Industries said it told the defence ministry in 2021 it would stop making machine guns. Daicel cited low profitability, while Sumitomo Heavy said it was difficult to maintain production and train engineers.

‘Special equipment’

An opinion poll published by the government this month suggests there is growing public support for a bigger military as regional tensions with China and North Korea escalate.

In the survey of 1,602 people, 41.5% said they wanted to expand the SDF, up from 29.1% in the last poll five years ago.

Even so, Japanese companies often refer to their military products as “special equipment,” the government official said.

Daikin, which generates 90% of its revenue from air conditioning, is among them. It does not list the artillery and mortar shells it makes at its Yodogawa plant in Osaka, western Japan, on its website.

“We aren’t keeping our defence business secret; we disclose information about it in a regular way,” a Daikin spokesperson said. “It’s not about reputation risk.”

On a street outside the barbed-wire topped wall that surrounds the Daikin factory, Reiko Okumoto, 66, said she had lived in the working-class neighbourhood surrounding it for more than 40 years without knowing it produces shells.

“It would be good if (Daikin) could step away from military work,” she said. “But given how the world is, I know that’s unrealistic.”

($1 = 133.6900 yen)

As Tokyo spins up its defence industry for the country’s largest military expansion since World War Two, it has run into a challenge: some of Japan’s best-known brands are reluctant to invest in the military side of their businesses.

Japan, which renounced war in 1947, last year unveiled a five-year $315 billion military expansion to deter Beijing from using force in the East China Sea.

But a key part of Tokyo’s strategy hinges on persuading commercial firms such as Toshiba Corp, Mitsubishi Electric Corp  and Daikin Industries Ltd, which for decades have quietly armed its Self Defence Forces (SDF), to ramp up production.

In a country with an ingrained public sentiment against militarism, that is proving a hard sell for some of its suppliers, according to Reuters interviews with six government and company officials.

In private meetings with the defence ministry over the last year, some firms have raised concerns such as low profit margins, the financial risk of building manufacturing plants that could be left idle after Japan completes its military expansion, and potential damage to their public image from arms sales, an official directly involved in the talks told Reuters.

The official declined to be identified or attribute the complaints to specific companies, citing the confidential nature of the talks.

The government is preparing legislation that includes raising profit margins on military gear from a few percent to as much as 15%, and the provision of state-owned factories that companies can use to expand production risk-free. Some are concerned that might not be enough.

“Until now, the ministry has taken the defence companies for granted,” said Masahisa Sato, an influential ruling party lawmaker and former deputy defence minister.

Sato said it was increasingly difficult for Japanese executives to justify defence sales out of “patriotic duty” to shareholders focused on more profitable civilian ventures.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s military buildup plan identifies defence manufacturing as a key pillar of national security.

Japan, however, does not have a national defence champion such as Lockheed Martin Corp in the United States or Britain’s BAE Systems PLC, and many of the firms supplying the SDF are associated with more mundane products.

At Japan’s biggest defence company, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which is developing Japan’s next jet fighter and new longer-range missiles to help deter China, military contracts account for only a tenth of its $29 billion in revenue last year. Most of its business is civilian aircraft components, power plant equipment and factory machines.

Aircon manufacturer Daikin has a munitions sideline; Toshiba, which makes electronic goods such as printers, also produces military-grade batteries; and Mitsubishi Electric makes radars and missiles alongside fridges and vacuum cleaners.

Since early last year, defence officials have been meeting with these firms and other top suppliers, such as car-and-helicopter maker Subaru Corp, to urge them to expand their lower-profile military units.

Reuters contacted 15 leading Japanese defence manufacturers, whose CEOs the defence ministry invited to talks with then- defence minister Nobuo Kishi in April, and in January with his successor, Yasukazu Hamada.

Three of them, Mitsubishi Heavy, Mitsubishi Electric and IHI Corp, which makes jet engines, bridges and heavy machinery, confirmed they had also taken part in other lower-level discussions.

Five firms did not reply, and the rest declined to say whether they had joined in other discussions. The companies who responded declined to give details of the meetings or any concerns they raised during the talks.

Sweeteners

Many companies are reluctant to talk about their defence units, fearing it might put off customers at home, where anti-military sentiment lingers, or overseas, particularly in China, where resentment over Japan’s wartime past could be politicised.

Reuters asked 10 of Japan’s military suppliers, including Toshiba, Mitsubishi Electric, Daikin and Subaru, for interviews with their defence unit managers. Only Mitsubishi Electric agreed.

Masahiko Arai, the head of Mitsubishi Electric’s defence systems division, said he welcomed government proposals and hoped that contributing to Japan’s “safety and security” would be beneficial for the firm.

His biggest concern, he said, was what would happen after Japan’s five-year military buildup ends, adding that other companies “are troubled by reputation risk”. His unit accounted for about 4% of the $34 billion in sales the company recorded last business year.

An official at another major Japanese defence supplier, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said being directly involved with regional tensions might be bad for business.

“Reputation risk worries us a lot,” the official said. “There have been occasions when our Chinese customers have expressed their discomfort when the topic of defence has come up.”

Despite diplomatic tensions, China is Japan’s top trade partner and a major manufacturing base for many Japanese companies.

When Japan ended a decades-long ban on military exports in 2014, it did not spur industry growth because of corporate timidity and overly cautious bureaucrats, analysts say. Mitsubishi Electric is the only company to have sold defence equipment overseas, with a deal in 2020 to supply radars to the Philippines.

Meanwhile, chemical company Daicel announced it would close its pilot-ejection system unit in 2020, and Sumitomo Heavy Industries said it told the defence ministry in 2021 it would stop making machine guns. Daicel cited low profitability, while Sumitomo Heavy said it was difficult to maintain production and train engineers.

‘Special equipment’

An opinion poll published by the government this month suggests there is growing public support for a bigger military as regional tensions with China and North Korea escalate.

In the survey of 1,602 people, 41.5% said they wanted to expand the SDF, up from 29.1% in the last poll five years ago.

Even so, Japanese companies often refer to their military products as “special equipment,” the government official said.

Daikin, which generates 90% of its revenue from air conditioning, is among them. It does not list the artillery and mortar shells it makes at its Yodogawa plant in Osaka, western Japan, on its website.

“We aren’t keeping our defence business secret; we disclose information about it in a regular way,” a Daikin spokesperson said. “It’s not about reputation risk.”

On a street outside the barbed-wire topped wall that surrounds the Daikin factory, Reiko Okumoto, 66, said she had lived in the working-class neighbourhood surrounding it for more than 40 years without knowing it produces shells.

“It would be good if (Daikin) could step away from military work,” she said. “But given how the world is, I know that’s unrealistic.”

($1 = 133.6900 yen)

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/international/20230316/japan-battles-to-persuade-its-big-brands-to-join-military-buildout/72121.html

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Eight dead after two migrant boats capsize near San Diego

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At least eight people have died after two fishing boats capsized off the coast of San Diego, California, in an apparent migrant smuggling operation, emergency officials said on Sunday.

San Diego emergency crews began a search and recovery operation late Saturday night, after receiving a 911 call from a Spanish-speaker about fishing boats in distress off the coast of San Diego’s Black’s Beach.

Crews arrived to find two fishing boats capsized in a 400-foot (366 m) area, and eight bodies were recovered from the water and the beach, San Diego Fire-Rescue Lifeguard Division Chief James Gartland said.

“This is one of the worst smuggling tragedies that I can think of in California, certainly here in the city of San Diego,” Gartland said.

Officials did not know the nationalities of the victims but told reporters that they were all adults.

Hazardous weather conditions likely contributed to the danger of the maritime smuggling operation, and also hindered rescue efforts overnight, officials said. The U.S. Coast Guard and the San Diego Fire-Rescue Lifeguard division were still involved in the recovery operation late Sunday morning.

Eric Lavergne, special operations supervisor with the U.S. Border Patrol in San Diego, said this was one of a few hundred migrant smuggling events recorded in his jurisdiction this fiscal year, which is on track with the rate in recent years.

These have included incidents of migrants swimming, traveling by surfboard or taking panga fishing boats to cross into the U.S., he said.

At least eight people have died after two fishing boats capsized off the coast of San Diego, California, in an apparent migrant smuggling operation, emergency officials said on Sunday.

San Diego emergency crews began a search and recovery operation late Saturday night, after receiving a 911 call from a Spanish-speaker about fishing boats in distress off the coast of San Diego’s Black’s Beach.

Crews arrived to find two fishing boats capsized in a 400-foot (366 m) area, and eight bodies were recovered from the water and the beach, San Diego Fire-Rescue Lifeguard Division Chief James Gartland said.

“This is one of the worst smuggling tragedies that I can think of in California, certainly here in the city of San Diego,” Gartland said.

Officials did not know the nationalities of the victims but told reporters that they were all adults.

Hazardous weather conditions likely contributed to the danger of the maritime smuggling operation, and also hindered rescue efforts overnight, officials said. The U.S. Coast Guard and the San Diego Fire-Rescue Lifeguard division were still involved in the recovery operation late Sunday morning.

Eric Lavergne, special operations supervisor with the U.S. Border Patrol in San Diego, said this was one of a few hundred migrant smuggling events recorded in his jurisdiction this fiscal year, which is on track with the rate in recent years.

These have included incidents of migrants swimming, traveling by surfboard or taking panga fishing boats to cross into the U.S., he said.

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/international/20230313/eight-dead-after-two-migrant-boats-capsize-near-san-diego/72090.html

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