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Microsoft Designer Expands Previews With New AI Design Features

Alright, folks, buckle up. Microsoft’s been in the lab, cookin’ up some pretty slick stuff. They’re pulling the curtain back on their new AI-powered tool, MICROSOFT DESIGNER. They’re saying “sayonara” to the waitlist and adding some real neat features to the preview.

Alright, let’s break it down. Microsoft Designer is like your own personal digital Picasso. No need for fancy art degrees or software skills. This AI-powered tool helps you create stunning visuals, catchy social media posts, and even invitations. They’ve fine-tuned it since they first announced it back in 2022, and now it’s ready for prime time.

This new tool is like a creative secret weapon. You just describe what you want, and BAM! The AI whips up custom images and design suggestions. It even helps you pen those pesky captions and hashtags for your social media posts. No more staring at the screen trying to come up with a clever one-liner.

 ​​And here’s the kicker – the app now lets you resize your designs to fit 20 different social media layouts. From Instagram to LinkedIn, it’s got you covered. Plus, you can add some pizzazz to your creations with animated visuals. Now that’s something to write home about!

And for all you web-surfers out there, they’ve integrated Designer right into the Microsoft Edge sidebar. No need to switch windows or download anything extra. It’s right there when inspiration strikes. Heck, it’ll even suggest designs while you’re drafting a post. Talk about a time-saver!

But they’re not stopping there. They’ve got some new features in the works, like FILL, EXPAND BACKGROUND, ERASE, and REPLACE BACKGROUND. Imagine being able to add objects to your graphic, expand your image’s background, erase unwanted objects, or swap your boring home office background for a sunny beach – all with the help of AI.

So, if you’re tired of your designs looking like they were made in a high school computer class, give Microsoft Designer a whirl. It’s free to try, and they’re rolling out more features over time. Just head on over to their website or log into your Microsoft account. Just remember, with great power comes great responsibility – or at least, some really cool images.


TikTok is testing a new option to create AI-generated avatars for profile picturesTikTok is testing a new option to create AI-generated avatars for profile pictures

Well butter my biscuit, TikTok’s at it again! They’re tinkering with a new gizmo that lets folks whip up AI-crafted lookalikes for their profile pictures. It’s like playing with a high-tech funhouse mirror, but it ain’t widely available yet, and no one knows when it will be.

Here’s the scoop: you upload a snapshot of yourself and voila! TikTok’s fancy algorithms spit out a jazzed-up, cartoonified you. This little nugget came from a social media guru who spotted it first.

TikTok’s all hush-hush about the timeline for this new feature, saying they’re always on the hunt for fresh ways to jazz up the app and keep the TikTok tribe entertained, creative, and culture-driving. Currently, they’re just dipping their toes in the water in a few select regions.

But hold your horses. This AI picture-making malarkey isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Some folks are raising their eyebrows over concerns these tools could be used in less savory ways, like over-sexualizing images, whitewashing folks’ skin tones, or slimming down bodies. So, while we wait for TikTok’s newest feature, let’s hope they’ve thought about all that jazz too.


Snapchat sees spike in 1-star reviews as users pan the ‘My AI’ feature, calling for its removal

Snapchat’s latest brainchild, the “My AI” chatbot feature, has landed with a thud louder than your granddad falling off a bar stool. After being unveiled to the masses last week, the unrequested AI chum has kicked up a bigger fuss than a skunk at a garden party.

Sensor Tower (analysis of Snapchat app reviews)

Snapchat’s U.S. App Store rating has taken a nosedive, dropping from a respectable 3.05 to a pitiful 1.67 in just a week. The app’s been slapped with more one-star reviews than a badly behaved Uber driver, and users are taking to social media like ants to spilled soda to voice their gripes.

The “My AI” feature, stubborn as a mule, is pinned to the top of users’ chat feed and can’t be kicked to the curb like other convos. This ain’t going down well with Snapchatters who feel like they’ve been ambushed by an unwelcome party-crasher.

The AI bot’s not just being called out for being pushy, but creepy to boot. Turns out, folks ain’t too keen on an AI that knows their location and uses it in casual chit-chat. Who knew? It’s like finding out your neighbor’s been snooping in your mailbox.

Snapchat’s stance on the uproar? Well, their spokesperson says if you don’t like it, don’t use it. Seems a bit like handing someone a leaky bucket and telling them not to get wet. But hey, who are we to judge? After all, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?


Italy Welcomes ChatGPT Back After Ban Over AI Privacy Concerns

Well, lookie here, Italy’s had a change of heart. Just a month ago, they gave ChatGPT the ol’ boot, citing some serious privacy worries. Now, they’re rolling out the welcome mat again. Goes to show that even a government can change its mind faster than my Uncle Sal can decide on a pizza topping.

The Italians were all in a tizzy over ChatGPT maybe snooping around in user data without asking nicely first. They weren’t the only ones either. Countries from Canada to France were squinting suspiciously at this handy AI tool.

But then the Italian watchdog, Garante, decided to play nice, offering OpenAI a chance to get back in the game. They laid down the law: age restrictions, clear info about data handling, options for data management, and an opt-out clause for folks who didn’t want their data used.

OpenAI, not to be outdone, jumped to it. They rolled out new features faster than a New York minute, letting users turn off their chat history and say ‘no thanks’ to their data being used for training. They also put their privacy policy in the spotlight and came up with a new way for users in the EU to object to their data being used. And they’re introducing an age checker for users in Italy.

On top of all that, OpenAI’s promising to keep beefing up security to guard user data and handle those crazy AI “hallucinations” – that’s when an AI starts spouting off wild, untrue stuff.

All’s well that ends well, it seems. OpenAI’s back in Italy, and they’re looking forward to more good talks with Garante. Still, makes you wonder – what’s gonna cause the next international kerfuffle in the world of AI? Stay tuned, folks.


From Scams to Music, AI Voice Cloning Is on the Rise

Well, buckle up folks, ’cause AI voice cloning is the new catfish. This ain’t your grandma’s prank call. In Arizona, a family nearly handed over a cool million after a scam call made it sound like their daughter had been snatched. Turns out, it was just a well-executed hoax using AI.

How’s this work, you ask? Simple. Bad guys get their mitts on a sound clip of your voice, then let AI do the heavy lifting to mimic your vocal cords. This ain’t just sci-fi anymore, folks. Companies like Murf, Resemble, and Speechify are serving up voice cloning for less than your monthly coffee budget.

Now, if you get a call that gives you the heebie-jeebies, the FTC says to ring back on a familiar number and check it out. If they’re asking for dough via wires, crypto, or gift cards, that’s as fishy as a three-dollar bill. Pro tip: set up a secret word with your nearest and dearest, so you can sniff out a scam.

But it ain’t all doom and gloom. Some folks are using AI voices for tunes. People are making songs sound like they’ve got big-name artists on vocals. Sure, this ruffled some feathers, like when a faux Drake and Weeknd song hit the internet, but others like Grimes are embracing the tech, even offering to split royalties for AI-generated songs using her voice.

Now, there ain’t any laws against musical deepfakes yet, but some are worried about damage to artists’ reputations and potential cultural appropriation. As AI keeps moving forward, we’re all gonna have to figure out how to keep up. Stay sharp, folks!


AI-generated deepfakes are moving fast. Policymakers can’t keep up

Well, folks, the line between truth and tall tales is getting downright fuzzy. The Republican National Committee whipped up an ad this week using artificial intelligence, painting a picture of a second Biden term that’s more sci-fi than C-SPAN. Think Chinese invasion of Taiwan and San Francisco rolling up the sidewalks – all shown with images that never happened but sure look like they did.

Looks like the tech whizzes have got AI that can mimic reality so well it’s giving us all a run for our money. We’re talking fake images, synthetic audio and video, even text that sounds like your next-door neighbor wrote it. The experts can’t tell heads from tails, so what chance do we have?

Irene Solaiman, an AI safety expert, says it’s a bumpy road ahead. She’s worried about the misuse of AI to spin political yarns, manipulate elections, and create phony histories. And it’s not just the tech that’s a problem, but how we handle it.

We have some tools in our toolbox, like software that sniffs out AI output, or watermarks on AI-created images or text. There’s even talk of content provenance – a fancy way of saying “knowing where your digital media comes from.” But there are more holes in these defenses than a chunk of Swiss cheese.

While laws and regulations may help, they’re not foolproof either. Ten states have laws against certain deepfakes, and copyright law can sometimes save the day – just ask Drake and The Weeknd, who used it to pull a fake song off streaming platforms.

The Biden administration and Congress are mulling over their options, but as usual, the EU is one step ahead with their upcoming AI Act. Meanwhile, tech companies are handing out AI tools like candy at Halloween, making us all need to be sharper about sorting fact from fiction.

As Princeton Professor Arvind Narayanan puts it, we should use the tools we already have, like good ol’ fashioned fact-checking, to deal with this new wave of AI misinformation. So, keep your eyes peeled and double-check anything that seems too wild to be true, especially if it could impact your life or our democracy. It’s a brave new world out there, and we’ve all got to stay sharp.