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May 2024 - the hottest tech news

Apple announces new iPads, Google goes big on AI and more...

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One of these days we’ll write a monthly tech news article that doesn’t mention AI. But not this time. Because Google has just announced a whole new raft of AI features to get excited about.

Google’s incredible new Gemini AI

Gemini is the new AI superstar that stole the show at Google’s annual I/O 2024 conference. From super-smart searches in your Google Photos to AI assistants that are practically coworkers, Gemini is getting integrated into everything. Let's dive into the highlights…

It’s going to be easier than ever to find important pictures on Google Photos. With Gemini, the new Ask Photos function will let you ask questions like, “What’s my number plate?” and Gemini will do the searching for you. No more endless scrolling.

But Gemini isn’t just about finding stuff—it’s about getting things done. Meet Agents, a new AI assistant that handles all sorts of tasks. In one demo, Google showed how you could snap a photo of some shoes, and Agents would identify them and find the receipt in your Gmail. It can even start a returns process if you don’t like them.

Google also introduced Astra, an experimental project that ties Gemini into cameras. Astra can identify and explain what it sees, like breaking down how a speaker works or reading and explaining code. Imagine this tech in smart glasses, giving you info about the world around you without lifting a finger!

On the creative side, Google unveiled Imagen 3 for generating amazing images from text prompts, and Veo, an AI that makes stunning HD videos. Plus, with SynthID, all AI-generated content gets a subtle watermark to keep things transparent.

Gemini’s magic extends to Google Search too, with AI Overviews that summarise search results and break down complex queries. So it’s going to be easier than ever to find what you need. Gemini is coming soon to Android devices. When it lands, we’ll let you know.

LinkedIn is now quite fun

Earlier this month, LinkedIn added three games to its app as part of a cunning plan to get users to interact with the app more. But are the games any good?

Yes, actually. They are.

First up, there’s Pinpoint. It’s similar to the The New York Times’ Connections game where you put related words into categories, but flipped on its head because you have to guess the category. It’s not as easy as it sounds, so good luck!

Next is Crossclimb, which is mini crossword with a clever twist. After you solve the crossword, you have to rearrange the answers into a word ladder. It’s a brainy challenge that’ll wake you right up in the morning.

And then there’s Queens, the toughest of the trio. Picture a game that mixes Minesweeper’s strategy with Sudoku’s logic. Your mission is to place a queen in each row, column, and colour without any overlap. It’s a real head-scratcher, but so satisfying when you nail it.

LinkedIn’s new games are quick and easy. You can play all three in about ten minutes, making them perfect for that daily puzzle fix. Before you know it, you’ll be hooked. That’s what LinkedIn is hoping for, anyway. The platform wants to be more than a job-hunting site – it’s aiming to be a full-fledged social network. From trying out TikTok-like features to dabbling in live audio and stories, LinkedIn is constantly evolving. And if games keep users coming back and connecting over their scores, you can bet LinkedIn will roll out even more. Let’s just hope that companies won’t start hiring people based on their scores!

Deadbots are a new thing, and they need urgent regulation

Being spammed by unwanted notifications is annoying enough. But imagine how distressing it could be if you were being contacted by a recently deceased loved on. That’s the scary situation that AI ethicists are warning about - and urging for safeguards to be swiftly put in place.

Researchers from Cambridge University are raising the alarm about ‘deadbots’, digital recreations of deceased loved ones, which they say could cause serious psychological harm and even ‘haunt’ users. AI chatbots, which can mimic the speech of dead relatives, are already technically feasible and legally allowed. And the researchers warn that unscrupulous businesses could misuse this technology, leading to lasting harm and disrespecting the dead. The potential impact on vulnerable people who have recently lost loved ones is especially concerning, and could disrupt their natural grieving process.

To prevent these issues, the researchers are calling for regulations and best practices, such as limiting deadbots' interactions to adults and ensuring transparency. With these measures, the dignity of the deceased and the wellbeing of the living can both be taken care of.

Apple ‘lets loose’ with new iPads

On Tuesday May 7th, Apple's ‘Let Loose’ event saw the tech giant announce a new iPad Air and iPad Pro (plus upgrades to the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil).

The new iPad Pro is available in 11-inch and 13-inch models, with the 13-inch being the thinnest device Apple has ever made. Both sizes now feature OLED displays, known for delivering richer colours, deeper blacks, and better contrast. According to Apple, it’s the world’s most advanced display.

The new iPad Pro includes a 12MP rear camera capable of shooting 4K video, with an improved flash for easier document scanning. The front camera is now positioned on the longer side, perfect for landscape mode video calls on FaceTime or for work. This new iPad Pro is also the first to feature Apple’s M4 chip, promising faster performance and enhanced AI features.

The new iPad Air is now available in 11-inch and 13-inch sizes with a high-resolution Liquid Retina display. Like the iPad Pro, the iPad Air's front camera has been moved to the longer side for better video calls in landscape mode.Both sizes now include the powerful M2 chip, replacing the M1, making it nearly 50% faster and more energy-efficient for all-day battery life.

The best news? You can order the new Apple iPad Pro and Apple iPad Air right now.

We’ll be back next month with a round-up of June’s hottest tech news. See you soon.

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