Hashtag Trending July 27 – Electric vehicle myth debunk; AI speech tool to spreads fake news? And Telsa gets tricked by moon

A new study debunks a longstanding electric vehicle myth, AI speech recreation tools have some experts worried, and Tesla’s automated cars hit a snag.

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It’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Tuesday, July 27, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

A new study from the International Council on Clean Transportation appears to have debunked a long-held myth about electric cars. The study, published last week, found that electric cars do not pollute as much as gas-powered cars due to a “dirty power grid”. The ICCT found that an electric car’s lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions was up to 69% lower in Europe compared to an equivalent gas-powered vehicle. While other parts of the globe were not quite as efficient as Europe, the study noted that the global electrical grid’s continued decarbonization is likely to further widen the gap going forward. The study also noted that, despite the impressive gap, greenhouse emissions from across the globe would still need to fall significantly to reach a level in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

An emerging AI technology that allows its users to emulate human speech is leaving some fearful of the repercussions. Following a story of a man using a tool called Project December to recreate his deceased fiance in chatbot form, the creator of the AI tool is concerned it may be used to spread misinformation. Project December, which is powered by the AI model GPT-3, is considered to be some of the most sophisticated language-based AI programming to date. Despite that, experts fear that the tool could be used going forward to spread misinformation en masse, making it difficult to tell what content is real and what is fake. The company behind the tool, OpenAI, is currently staggering the project’s release, while restricting access to “give people time” to learn the “societal implications” of the new technology.

And finally, Tesla’s self-driving vehicles have hit a proverbial bump in the road due to the colour of the moon. Tesla recently announced that any Tesla user can subscribe to receive their fully self-driving features earlier this month, however, a video from one Twitter user with the handle @JordanTeslaTech has revealed a troubling, if humorous, bug in their system. The Twitter video, posted last Thursday, shows the Tesla car mistaking the full moon in the horizon ahead for a yellow traffic light and repeatedly attempting to slow down. In the shot, the moon is directly ahead of the user, while its colour and distance give an understandable impression to the AI driving technology that a traffic light is coming up ahead. It is unclear at this point in time if Tesla is aware of the issue and plans on releasing a fix for the bug.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Friday at 3 pm. Thanks for listening, I’m Tom Li.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT Business. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at tli@itwc.ca.

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