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The NFT market has now virtually disappeared. Recent research shows that the vast majority of NFT tokens have no value and basically cannot be sold for any amount.

In the technological world, 2021 can be called the "year of NFT" (Non-Fungible Token). NFT transactions are estimated to have reached a total value of $25 billion over these 12 months, with August 2021 being particularly impressive when NFT sales reached a record $2.8 billion. However, the situation now seems completely different. According to a study published by dappGamble, in July this year the NFT market saw only $80 million in turnover, which is only 3% of the result achieved in the mentioned record month. But that's not all. This study analyzed 73,257 different NFT collections and found that as many as 95% of them, or 69,795 collections, currently have no market value. As a result, approximately 23 million people who invested in these token assets now have NFT wallets that are not worth a penny.

Additionally, it turns out that as many as 79% of all NFT collections remain unsold, which means that the supply of these assets far exceeds the demand. However, the NFT problem goes beyond the market aspect. The huge energy consumption in creating these tokens is another significant issue. The study focused on nearly 196,000 NFT collections that were generated but failed to find a buyer, consuming as much as 27.8 gigawatt hours of energy in the process. According to the results of this study, this is the equivalent of 16,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 2,000 homes, the emissions of 3,500 cars or the carbon footprint of 4,000 passengers traveling from London to Wellington, New Zealand.

In the current market, which includes 8,850 top NFT collections, it is noticeable that as many as 1,600 of them currently have no specific value. Of those that do have a price, 41% are valued between $5 and $100, while less than 1% are valued above $6,000. This clearly shows the contrast to the roaring success that NFTs had in their early days. However, it is important to remember that there are situations where NFTs still have practical applications and provide value. They can authenticate limited products, provide access to exclusive events or content, and integrate with games and other projects to provide additional functionality. Even though there is a visible decline in interest in NFTs, there are still areas where this technology can play an important role.

It is worth recalling that many NFT owners were lured into the trap by investing millions of dollars. They sued image creators, intermediaries, and celebrities who "encouraged" people to make purchases.

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New cars collect personal data to a large extent. For this reason, they can be a nightmare for their owners - these are the conclusions reached by the non-profit organization Mozilla Foundation, which compiled a list of the 7 worst companies.

Mozilla is best known for its popular web browser. But a nonprofit organization called the Mozilla Foundation also analyzes how various products and services on the Internet use data. Against this background, new cars fare dismally, being the worst category ever tested.

Mozilla conducted its review on the American market. GDPR is in force in Europe, giving car owners certain basic rights regarding data protection and collection. Nevertheless, this does not always work in practice.

A lot of data falls into the hands of producers

Mozilla examined 25 car manufacturers for data. Unfortunately, none of them received a positive rating. According to company representatives, modern models collect a huge amount of sensitive personal data. These include: facial expression, weight, health data or addresses we went to.

"Many people think that the car is a private space where you can call the doctor, talk to your child on the way to school, cry after breaking up with your partner or go to places you don't want anyone to know about," he says. Jen Caltrider, head of the Privacy Unaccounted for project.

“It no longer corresponds to reality. In terms of privacy, all new cars are nightmares on wheels. They collect a huge amount of personal data," he adds.

“New Cars is the worst product category Mozilla has ever reviewed,” Caltrider says.

How do cars collect data?

They do this using sensors, microphones, cameras or a connected smartphone. Thanks to them, manufacturers can recreate an almost complete picture of the owner of a given car.

As if that were not enough, a lot of data is also collected using mobile applications and manufacturers' websites. It is worth remembering that automotive companies may sell or share this data with other entities.

Additionally, there is no way to check whether the data collected is always securely encrypted.

The worst producers

Mozilla has not issued a safety certificate to any car brand. However, she pointed out those that stand out in an even more negative way than others - at least on the American market.

  • Nissans collect data on the behavior, health diagnoses and sexual activity of the car owner
  • In its privacy policy, Kia also gives the right to monitor the car owner's sexual life
  • Volkswagen collects information about whether the driver wears seat belts and, for example, how he uses the brake. At the same time, it checks the age and gender of the car owner
  • Mercedes installs the TikTok application in its latest models, which has been criticized many times for protecting privacy and has even been banned by some organizations
  • Subaru - in cars of this brand, passengers are considered their users, so they automatically agree to the collection of data. It is up to the driver to inform them that the car collects so much private information
  • Tesla is underperforming in all categories rated by Mozilla. What's worse, if we turn off the Internet in a car of this brand, it may cause "serious damage" - says the manufacturer
  • Hyundai has the right to send data to the police and authorities even without a formal request

Data leaks are not an accident

It is important to realize that if the above information falls into the wrong hands, it could have disastrous consequences. What's worse, such a scenario is not impossible at all. After all, Volkswagen, Audi, Toyota, Tesla and Mercedes have "fallen victims" of data leaks for millions of users in recent years.

Most car manufacturers refrained from commenting on the results of Mozilla's analysis. In turn, companies that respond to the allegations claim that the car owner can always turn off "inconvenient" functions.

However, if he does this, he will not be able to use many important car systems, e.g. from a safety point of view.

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French senators have passed a controversial section of a justice law that allows law enforcement to secretly activate microphones and cameras in suspicious devices. This decision also opens up the possibility of quick access to geolocation data to track individuals under investigation.

The government explains that this is a tool introduced under the Justice Act, known as the "Keeper of the Seals". It is designed to capture images and recordings of individuals believed to be associated with terrorism, organized crime, or crime. Defenders of civil liberties spare no words of criticism. They warn that this recipe could turn any device into a surveillance tool. The Observatory of Digital Freedoms describes this as "overkill."

La Quadrature du Net expresses concern about the potential scope of this provision. The group warns that it's not just phones and computers that are affected - even baby monitors and televisions can become data collection points for law enforcement.

There is outrage at the Paris Bar, the organization representing lawyers. The lawyers regret that the government did not take them into account during the drafting process. "This new ability to remotely activate any electronic device is a serious invasion of privacy that cannot be justified by law enforcement." They also raise the alarm about the lack of clarity in the protection of communication between lawyer and client, calling it "an unacceptable violation of professional secrecy and the right of defence".

The introduction of the regulations still requires the approval of the National Assembly. Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti reassures that there is no need to panic. It ensures that appropriate mechanisms are in place to prevent abuses. A key element is the need to obtain a judge's approval for any surveillance request under this provision. The technical manner in which such cases of surveillance would be carried out was not specified.

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Hollywood writers went on strike over pay this week, but the decision by companies like Netflix and Disney to use artificial intelligence to replace human writers in the future only fuels anger and fear among the protesters.

AI programs such as ChatGPT, which have an increasing ability to amazingly mimic human conversation, are raising concerns across many industries. As such, the White House called a meeting with Big Tech this week to discuss potential threats. As part of weekly talks with studios and streaming platforms that ended Monday, the Writers Guild of America has asked for binding contracts to govern the use of artificial intelligence. According to the proposal, nothing written by AI can be considered "literary" or "source" material - industry terms that govern who receives royalties - and scripts written by WGA members cannot be "used to train AI." However, according to the WGA, the studios "rejected our proposal" and responded with a proposal to meet once a year to "discuss advances in technology".

The writers' strike is gaining momentum after the statements of streaming platforms that writers in the future may be replaced by artificial intelligence. Netflix and Disney have confirmed that they allow the use of algorithms.

"It's nice that they're offering a meeting about how they're using this against us!" joked WGA negotiating committee member Eric Heisserer, who wrote the script for Netflix's Bird Box. “Art cannot be made by a machine. You are losing the heart and soul of history... I mean the first word is 'artificial', he told AFP during a picket outside the streaming giant's headquarters. While writers already know this, the danger is that "we have to watch tech companies destroy business trying to find out," he said.

While few of the television and film writers who spoke to AFP believe their work could be replaced by computers, for many it was an added blow that studios and streaming platforms believe in the possibility of such a replacement. Screenwriters fear that Hollywood executives, where Silicon Valley companies have overturned many traditional practices such as long-term contracts for screenwriters, may try to cut costs even further by forcing computers to write more blockbusters. The statements of Hollywood's top executives at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills did not dispel the writers' fears in any way. "In the next three years, you're going to see a movie that's been written by AI and shot…good," said film producer Todd Lieberman. “Not just scripts. Editing, everything… scriptwriting, whatever,” added Fox Entertainment CEO Rob Wade. "AI in the future, maybe not next year or next year, but if we're talking about 10 years? Artificial intelligence will be able to do absolutely all of these things.”

Even for sci-fi writer Ben Ripley, who believes AI plays no role in writing, the introduction of legislation "to put up barriers" is "very necessary". Writers "have to be original," he said. "Artificial intelligence is the antithesis of originality."

 

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The system developed at the University of Texas in Austin (USA) - an artificial intelligence connected to an MRI scanner read the thoughts of volunteers. For now, it still makes mistakes, but in the future, similar devices could help people who are unable to communicate normally.

During the experiment, volunteers listened to a story or imagined telling it. Their brains were observed with the help of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and the artificial intelligence connected to it turned people's thoughts into text consistent with them. Importantly, no electrodes were needed to be implanted in the brain, and the person using the invention was not limited to a predetermined list of words, the researchers emphasize. However, the system requires special training - each person using it listens to podcasts for several hours, during which the computer watches his brain. "For non-invasive methods, this is a real leap forward compared to what was previously achieved, i.e. usually reading single words or short sentences" - says Prof. Alex Huth, author of the paper, which appeared in the journal "Nature Neuroscience". "Our model decodes long-term, continuous speech on complex topics," he emphasizes.

For now, the computer is not very accurate - it reads thoughts quite precisely in about 50 percent. However, he can often convey the meaning of the utterance. For example, he translated the thought, "I don't have a driving license yet," into "she hasn't started learning to drive yet." Listening to the thought, "I didn't know whether to scream, cry, or run away," he read as "She started screaming and crying and then she said 'I told you to leave me." The system was also good at reading the minds of the volunteers when they watched the videos. The creators of the program also addressed the topic of its possible abuses. They assure that at least currently it is impossible to read someone's mind if the person does not want to. It is also impossible to do it with someone with whom the system has not undergone a long training. “We take concerns about abuse very seriously and are working to prevent them. We want to make sure that people use these technologies when they want to, and that it helps them," said Jerry Tang, who led the research. Scientists hope that their idea will allow for the construction of devices that will allow people currently unable to communicate with the world, e.g. after severe strokes. The current version of the system only allows for its use in the laboratory, but according to the researchers, this can be changed - for example, instead of a large MRI scanner, it is likely that a much smaller device designed for non-invasive functional near-infrared spectroscopy can also be used.



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After three years, the German coronavirus warning app stops warning users about exposure to infection. It is not even known how effective this application was.

According to former German chancellor Angela Merkel, the application was supposed to be a milestone in the fight against coronavirus.

Three years have passed, all pandemic restrictions have been lifted, and the most important feature of the application has just been disabled: warnings after contact with a person infected with Covid-19.

"It makes no sense (to keep alerts) with the low incidence we have now," said German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach. He added that Covid-19 is no longer so severe also due to the high immunity of the population.

On June 1, the coronavirus alert app will go into sleep mode. This means it will no longer be updated and will also disappear from the Google and Apple app stores. However, users can keep the app on their mobile phone if, for example, they have saved their vaccination certificates there and want to continue using them. Lauterbach also urged users to keep the app in case of another Covid-19 outbreak - or even a pandemic. - It may be that we need to reuse it for Covid-19. But it may also happen that we develop it further for other infectious diseases,' he said.

According to the German Ministry of Health, since its launch almost three years ago, the app has been downloaded a total of 48 million times. However, it is impossible to say how many people actively used it. Obtaining accurate statistics is not possible because the data from the application was only stored locally on the mobile phone for data protection reasons.

The German Ministry of Health is to investigate how effective the application was. The app cost the government €220 million – much more than originally planned.

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In China school children are made to wear wristbands that measure their involvement in lessons and whether they are focused. This data is sent directly to the parents. Is this what awaits us in the near future?

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