Digital insights
june 2024

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Every month, our Human Digital colleagues keep you informed about the latest digital developments and news. This month, the EU is investigating Meta's addictive effects on children, and NASA is developing a new rocket system. 

June 1, 2024
Rik van den Buijs

Neuralink implant issue

Earlier this year, Neuralink, Elon Musk's company, successfully implanted a brain implant in 29-year-old Noland Arbaugh, who is paralyzed from the shoulders down. The implant enabled Noland to perform actions such as playing digital chess and Mario Kart. However, a few weeks later, issues arose when some wires from the implant retracted from the brain, reducing the speed and accuracy of his mouse movements. Neuralink resolved this by adjusting the recording algorithm, which even led to improved speed and precision. Additionally, the user interface for Noland was enhanced. While The Wall Street Journal reported that Neuralink considered removing the implant, this was ruled out as the problem posed no threat to Noland's safety or health. Neuralink has not provided an official response on this matter. 


Frequent travel to Mars? 

NASA has announced a series of futuristic projects, including a new rocket system based on nuclear fusion and plasma explosions. This system could reduce travel time to Mars from nine months to just two months. The rocket system has been approved under NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program and is advancing to Phase 2 for further research and additional funding.

The rocket system, developed by Howe Industries in Arizona, creates a continuous stream of plasma explosions. While NASA previously developed a similar rocket in 2018, this new version is smaller, simpler, and more affordable, crucial for frequent trips to Mars.

In addition to this rocket system, NASA is also exploring a lunar surface train system and a space telescope with liquid lenses. In Phase 2, the team will further analyze the controllability and energy consumption of the rocket. John Nelson from the NIAC program acknowledges that some ideas still sound like science fiction.


EU investigates Meta's addictive effects

The EU has launched an investigation into Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, suspecting it of exploiting the inexperience of children and young people. This investigation falls under the new Digital Service Act (DSA), aimed at protecting minors on the internet and social media.

The investigation focuses on various aspects, including Meta's compliance with DSA obligations. Specifically, it examines whether Facebook and Instagram interfaces are addictive, potentially harmful to children, and whether their age verification mechanisms are effective and proportionate, and if privacy measures for minors are sufficient.

This is not the first time the EU has scrutinized Meta; recently, the company was instructed to do more to combat misinformation.


EU puzzle over privacy rules for ChatGPT

European privacy watchdogs have been working on rules for ChatGPT for over a year, but it's proven complex. The EU task force is grappling with how current privacy rules should apply to the personal data used by OpenAI to train the AI chatbot. Processing this data, sourced from public platforms like social media, raises questions about compliance with privacy laws.

There's an urgent need for clear rules across Europe, as penalties for violations by AI companies can reach up to four percent of their annual fines. Complaints about mishandled personal information by OpenAI are growing, and without strict EU legislation, OpenAI is likely to continue operating as it does now.

Some countries have already intervened. Investigations were opened in Poland and Austria following complaints about misinformation by ChatGPT. Last year, Italy required OpenAI to stop gathering information on Italian citizens, leading to a temporary halt of ChatGPT in Italy.


First music video made with Sora is a reality

OpenAI has introduced Sora, an AI tool capable of creating realistic videos. This innovation caught Hollywood's attention, where OpenAI is exploring whether film studios are interested in using Sora for intermediate shots or even entire films. The first music video entirely made with Sora is now a reality: "The Hardest Part" by indie chillwave artist Washed Out.

Directed by Paul Trillo, the video is ideal for those with short attention spans. It's a rugged experience where settings, people, and colors constantly change, creating a sense of constant motion. Within Sora, short videos of up to 60 seconds can be created. Therefore, the 4-minute clip is a collection of these short videos seamlessly merged by the continuous zoom technique, making the video an impressive whole.



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