Geekly Update - 13 June 2024

Category: Tech-News

Would you vote for an AI chatbot if it was running for mayor of your town? What happened when a group of teens traded their smartphones for basic dumbphones? And how would an extra thumb make you more productive? Get answers in today's Geekly Update... it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. This issue is guaranteed to make you 146% smarter -- you'll see why. Read, think, and comment!

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

Victor Miller is campaigning to become mayor of Cheyenne, Wyoming, with a unique twist: he proposes that decisions will be made by an AI bot named VIC (Virtual Integrated Citizen), which is based on ChatGPT technology. Miller believes VIC can offer superior ideas and legal understanding compared to current public officials. Despite this innovative approach, legal hurdles arise because electoral laws require candidates to be "qualified electors," meaning real persons. To navigate this, Miller technically appears on the ballot, with "Vic" being an abbreviation of his full name, Victor Miller. Wyoming's secretary of state, Chuck Gray, has expressed concerns about VIC's candidacy, emphasizing the need for a real person to hold office under current laws.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles has introduced Mobile ID, a digital version of state-issued driver's licenses, learner permits, or IDs accessible via smartphones. This Mobile ID can be utilized at various airports nationwide and at any establishment that opts to accept it. Why does this make me want to run away fast?

Geekly Update 06-13-2024

If your recoil at the thought of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 11 Recall feature, which saves screenshots of everything you do, you should know that your Windows 10 or 11 computer already has an activity tracker that keeps tabs on what apps, services, files, and websites you interact with. This article shows the steps to turn off the "Activity history" feature, and clear your activity history.

If you miss your old-school analog film camera, you might be interested in MiNT’s Rollei 35AF camera. It uses 35mm film, but gets a tech boost from the lidar-based autofocus capability. Where's the nearest Fotomat?

Sadly, a growing number of young Americans are getting their news from TikTok. Why is that sad? According TheVerge, "the news users see on TikTok is just as likely to come from influencers or celebrities as it is from journalists — and it’s far more likely to come from total strangers."

In a BBC project looking at young people’s smartphone habits, ten teenagers participated in a five-day digital detox, swapping their smartphones for basic Nokia handsets. Accustomed to constant internet access and social media use, they found the experience challenging yet surprisingly liberating. Some struggled with the absence of online connectivity and the fear of missing out on social interactions. However, many reported positive outcomes such as improved sleep, increased productivity, and renewed creativity. The experiment sparked conversations with parents and prompted reflections on their smartphone habits. Despite initial apprehensions, most expressed interest in reducing screen time even after the detox concluded.

At WWDC 2024, Apple introduced a suite of AI features branded as Apple Intelligence, set to enhance iPhone, iPad, and Mac experiences. These include improved photo editing capabilities like object removal, AI-driven Siri enhancements allowing for more natural interactions and context retention, and systemwide AI text generation for tasks such as summarizing emails and messages. Additionally, Apple unveiled Image Playground for creative projects, integration of ChatGPT for conversational AI, and emphasized that Apple Intelligence processes data on-device for privacy and security.

If you've ever felt like you were all thumbs, you might be a candidate the controllable prosthetic extra thumb developed by Cambridge researchers. They say the "third thumb" could improve the quality of life for healthy individuals, and also provide people with disabilities with new ways to interact with their environment.

Support for Windows 10 will end in about a year, and many see Windows 11 as a usability and privacy nightmare. The wattOS Linux distribution has a Windows-like interface that's simple and easy to use, and could be the solution for anyone who is considering an alternative to Windows.

And finally, this week's Just Here For The Headline item:
Taylor Swift's Scotland Fans Danced So Hard They Set Off Earthquake Monitors.

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 13 June 2024"

Posted by:

13 Jun 2024

I read the article about teenagers going for ten days without using a smart telephone.I am of the opinion that there needs to be restrictions on social media and telephone use.

It is up to parents to facilitate and implement these restrictions.These are their kids and you would think parents would want the best for their offspring.

Posted by:

13 Jun 2024

Re: The British Phone Experience. "Some struggled [. . . .] many reported positive outcomes . . . " --- Bob, the sample size was 10. Ten. For 5 days. Five.

Somehow, I don't think there's much statistical validity that can be generalized. Interesting, though, that the only to comments so far about about the BBC study of pone use, and not the AI 'candidate'.

Long-Long time passenger, rare poster. Keep rockin' it Bob!!!

EDITOR'S NOTE: I think the "some struggled" is a massive understatement. Based on my observations, teens and 20-somethings are so addicted to their phones, that taking them away even for a few minutes causes intense anxiety. To them it must feel like depriving them of air.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 13 June 2024 (Posted: 13 Jun 2024)
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