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Digital Insights - 29 September 2023

Need to know

  • Musk announces subscription model for X, but with limited details to date 

  • BBC introduces new social media guidelines for presenters  

  • Indonesia bans direct transactions on social media platforms   

  • Australia faces biggest act of AI copyright theft in history  

Generative AI

Spotify announces AI Voice Translation 

  • This week, Spotify, the music and podcast streaming powerhouse, announced a new AI Voice Translation feature which can translate podcasts into multiple languages using the podcaster’s voice. 

  • The platform has worked with a number of prolific podcasters to make an initial batch of podcasts available in Spanish with French and German to follow. 

  • Spotify founder Daniel Ek sat down for a rare interview with BBC tech correspondent Zoe Kleinman to discuss the platform’s relationship with burgeoning generative AI technology, notably claiming that Spotify will not be banning AI-generated music but caveating that this sort of content should not be generated without the artist’s consent. 

Australia faces biggest act of AI copyright theft in history 

  • Thousands of books from some of Australia’s most celebrated authors have potentially been caught up in what Booker prize-winning novelist Richard Flanagan has called “the biggest act of copyright theft in history”. 

  • The books were pirated by US-based Books3 dataset and used to train generative AI for corporations such as Bloomberg and Meta. 

  • On Thursday, the Australian Society of Authors issued a statement saying it was “horrified” to learn the books were being used without the authors permission.

Executive leadership on social media

A joint study by LinkedIn and Made By Dyslexia finds only 1 in 5 dyslexics feel recognized 

  • Following All for One month in the UK and as Dyslexia Awareness month begins in October, LinkedIn has published in partnership with charity Made By Dyslexia a new study, finding that 88% of dyslexic workers see skills associated with dyslexia (research, creativity and problem-solving) as an advantage.  

  • Made by Dyslexia's founder Kate Griggs wrote on LinkedIn this week that "dyslexic thinking is vital in today's workplace, … but do organisations and employees understand and value [it]?" 

  • In a longer form post, Kate Griggs made a call for UK workers to talk about dyslexia at work, noting the lack of understanding about what dyslexia is and it can be a creative thinking advantage, offering free training via the LinkedIn Learning platform.  


Meta reaches for the stars with its cast of celebrity AI chatbots 

  • Meta has unveiled 28 specialist chatbots based on famous figures such as rapper Snoop Dogg, model Kendall Jenner, tennis player Naomi Osaka and athlete Tom Brady. 

  • Users of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram can chat with the AIs, which will initially be launched in the US. 

  • Meta also promised new tools to let users create their own chatbots. 

  • Meta is not the first social media platform to introduce AI after Snapchat incorporated My AI into its messaging app earlier this year. 

Musk announces subscription model for X, but with limited details to date 

  • Facing cratering advertising revenues due to his erratic stewardship of the platform, X owner Elon Musk has announced that they’ll begin charging all users of X (formerly Twitter) a monthly subscription fee. 

  • Whilst the platform has not yet confirmed whether this will become an official policy, Musk claims that a nominal fee is necessary to prevent bots from proliferating on the platform.  

  • The seemingly impromptu announcement was made last week during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the main topic of which was meant to be an overview of what X was doing to curb antisemitism and other hate speech on the platform.  “It’s the only way I can think of to combat vast armies of bots,” Musk said. “Because a bot costs a fraction of a penny…but if somebody even has to pay a few dollars, some minor amount, the effective cost of bots is very high.” 

  • Depending on the market, Twitter currently charges around $8 USD for ‘Premium X’, formerly Twitter Blue. 

BBC introduces new social media guidelines for presenters 

  • The BBC has introduced new social media rules for its presenters, prohibiting them from party political campaigning or endorsements. However, they will still be able to express views on political issues and policies.  

  • The new code of conduct comes after a review of social media guidance for journalists and presenters and will apply to hosts of “flagship programmes” including Match of the Day, Antiques Roadshow, Dragon’s Den, MasterChef, Top Gear and Strictly Come Dancing.  

  • The review was launched by BBC director-general Tim Davie after the broadcaster’s decision to suspend presenter Gary Lineker for breaching impartiality rules on Twitter. 

Indonesia bans direct transactions on social media platforms 

  • Indonesia’s President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has decided to ban direct transactions on social media platforms in Indonesia, dealing a huge blow to the future of TikTok Shop in its largest market in Southeast Asia. 

  • As a result, TikTok will have to separate its ecommerce unit from its social media platform. Meanwhile, Facebook and Instagram don’t allow direct transactions in Indonesia, exposing them less to regulatory scrutiny. 

  • Regulators in Indonesia have been scrutinizing TikTok over fears that TikTok Shop – a feature integrated into the main app – is monopolizing the market. Jokowi recently said that social commerce platforms like TikTok Shop have played a role in the downslide of SMEs and traditional markets. 

  • A TikTok Indonesia spokesperson said there have been many concerns from sellers seeking greater clarity about the regulations. “While we respect local laws and regulations, we hope that the regulations take into account its impact on the livelihoods of more than 6 million sellers and close to 7 million affiliate creators who use TikTok Shop.” 

A year on an author of the ‘pause AI’ letter reflects on its impact 

  • MIT professor and President of the Future of Life Institute, Max Tegmark, who last year led the publication of a letter which called for a pause on certain AI developments, sat down with outlet Semafor to discuss its impact a year on. 

  • Tegmark states that his intention with the letter was to “legitimize” the conversation about the rate of change in AI and whether certain developments needed to be slowed down. 

  • Looking ahead he expects change will continue at pace with Artificial General Intelligence and Super Intelligence expected to be popularized by the end of the decade.  

  • He also identifies that there will be an ongoing issue with the pace of change of the technology versus that of policymaking, arguing that the sector needs an FDA equivalent body to instill a culture of safety.

September 29, 2023
By Content Digital Data team
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