Developments to the Online Safety Bill

  • In the past few days, there have been ongoing changes to the Online Safety Bill and its development.
  • The culture secretary has said that she is “not ruling out” more changes to the Online Safety Bill after 43 Tory MPs backed a plan to make social media bosses face prison if they fail to protect children from damaging online content.
  • MPs also said that the bill should tighten proposed reforms to prevent streaming sites like Spotify being abused by those who wish to groom children.
  • To read more about the Online Safety Bill, go to the BBC, the Guardian and Yahoo websites.

VALL-E’s voice deepfakes spark concern

  • New voice synthesis machine learning model VALL-E has sparked concern over the possibility of fast and easily made deepfakes.
  • Voice replication apps have been around for years, however VALL-E uses a different approach to creating voices.
  • It has new methods which allow it to create “high-quality personalised speech” from using only 3 seconds of audio from a speaker.
  • The AI generated audio maintains accent, tone, timbre and even the “acoustic environment”.
  • The concern is the potential for scams and impersonation through using the AI generative app.
  • For more on this story, please visit the Tech Crunch website.

Protest over merger of three Downpatrick Schools

  • A demonstration has been staged outside the Department of Education over its plan to merge St Patrick’s Grammar with non-selective schools St Mary’s High and De La Salle.
  • This was given the go ahead by the Education Minister last year.
  • The new school would be a 1,600 pupil voluntary grammar school, split across the sites, with one pupil expressing concern that there would be, “no sense of community”.
  • For the full story, go to the BBC’s website.