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Welcome to the June 17, 2024 edition of ACM TechNews, providing timely information for computer professionals three times a week.

Please note: In observance of the U.S. federal holiday Juneteenth National Independence Day, TechNews will not be published on Wednesday, June 19. Publication will resume Friday, June 21.

Pope Francis attends a session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Pope Francis became the first pontiff to address a Group of Seven (G7) summit on Friday, when he warned world leaders that AI must never be allowed to get the upper hand over humanity. The pope said AI represented an "epochal transformation" for mankind, stressing the need for close oversight of the technology to preserve human life and dignity.
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Reuters; Crispian Balmer (June 14, 2024)
The Stanford Internet Observatory has released most of its staff and may shut down. The Election Integrity Partnership, a consortium run by the Observatory and a University of Washington team to identify viral disinformation about election procedures and outcomes in real time, has updated its webpage to say its work has concluded. Ongoing lawsuits and congressional inquiries into the Observatory have cost Stanford millions of dollars in legal fees.
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The Washington Post; Joseph Menn (June 14, 2024)

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott vetoed a data privacy bill that would have been one of the strongest in the country. Vermont’s Governor Phil Scott (pictured) vetoed a data privacy bill that would have let residents file civil lawsuits against companies that break certain privacy rules. Scott said the legislation would have made Vermont “a national outlier and more hostile than any other state to many businesses and non-profits.” The legislation would have prohibited the sale of private, sensitive data. It also would have set limits on the amount of personal data companies can collect and use.
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Associated Press; Lisa Rathke (June 14, 2024)

The integrated platform Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers developed an imaging platform that allows different functional components of the brain to be viewed as a whole. The three-step process involves slicing brain tissue into sections using carefully tuned vibrations, transforming the tissue sections into an expandable tissue-hydrogel to allow for high-resolution imaging, and "stitching" together the tissue slices using a computational tool and mapping cell connections.
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ScienceAlert; Clare Watson (June 14, 2024)
Wells Fargo has fired over a dozen employees for allegedly simulating keyboard activity to make it appear as though they were working. Since the pandemic-era increase in remote work, some companies have deployed advanced tools that monitor keystrokes and eye movements, take screenshots, and record Website visits. Technologies like "mouse jigglers," which make it appear as though workers are using their computers when they are not, allow workers to evade surveillance.
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BBC; Natalie Sherman (June 14, 2024)

computer server is submerged in liquid Researchers are exploring the use of immersion cooling to cut datacenter energy usage. A team at datacenter company Sustainable Metal Cloud developed an immersion-based cooling system that uses polyalphaolefin, a common automotive lubricant. The company’s HyperCube system includes up to 16 oil tanks, each tank containing a server connected to servers in other tanks via standard interconnects, with system-level heat exchangers. Meanwhile, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are testing immersion cooling with a synthetic fluid from Spain's Submer Technologies.
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IEEE Spectrum; Charles Q. Choi; Dina Genkina (June 13, 2024)
Hackers are increasingly targeting research institutions for cyberattacks. These cyberattacks, most involving ransomware, block access to data and programs, impacting student enrollment, delaying research projects, and taking a toll on researchers' mental health. Germany's Berlin Natural History Museum, the U.K.'s British Library and University of Manchester, Carnegie Mellon University, and Stanford University are among the institutions affected in recent years.
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Nature; Diana Kwon (June 13, 2024)

A demonstration of Clearview AI’s facial recognition app Clearview AI has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit by giving Americans whose faces are in its database a 23% stake, worth about $52 million, in the facial recognition startup. The class-action suit accused the company of invasion of privacy for scraping billions of photos from the Web and social media sites to develop a facial recognition app now used by police departments, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI. Court documents indicated the firm would likely go bankrupt before the case made it to trial, necessitating the settlement option, which still needs court approval.
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The New York Times; Kashmir Hill (June 13, 2024)

AI Steve U.K. entrepreneur Steve Endacott created an AI avatar to run for election as a Minister of Parliament (MP) for the Brighton Pavillion constituency in the House of Commons. AI Steve's campaign Website is seeking "creators" to help craft new policies; visitors to the site can click on "Speak to AI Steve" to interact with the bot. If elected, Endacott will attend Parliament in person to vote on policies based on feedback gathered by the AI platform.
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Euronews; Anna Desmarais (June 13, 2024)

A collage of the pet photos sent over laser links NASA recently tested a new two-way, end-to-end Laser Relay System between Earth and the International Space Station (ISS) by transmitting more than 500 images of pets owned by NASA employees to space at a rate of 1.2 gigabits per second. The data was sent from a computer at the Las Cruces, NM, mission operations center to optical ground stations in California and Hawaii. The data was then transformed into infrared light signals before being sent to NASA's Laser Communication Relay Demonstration satellite, and then to an instrument on the outside of the ISS.
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Forbes; Jamie Carter (June 12, 2024)

An ingestible smart sensor University of Southern California researchers developed ingestible sensors that can detect stomach gases associated with gastritis and gastric cancer and allow for real-time location tracking. They also developed a wearable system to track the smart pills via a coil that generates a magnetic field on a t-shirt. The field coupled with a trained neural network allows for tracking of the capsule within the body.
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USC Viterbi School of Engineering; Amy Blumenthal (June 12, 2024)

Nadella at a 2014 event Microsoft's partnership with ChatGPT creator OpenAI was just the beginning of the tech giant's strategy to become an AI powerhouse. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has since begun to aggressively acquire AI talent, tools, and technology. Nadella hired Mustafa Suleyman, a co-founder of DeepMind and Inflection AI, to head Microsoft's AI efforts. Most of Suleyman's Inflection team also joined Microsoft, and the startup's technology was used to develop an in-house AI model to rival OpenAI's.
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The Wall Street Journal; Tom Dotan; Berber Jin (June 12, 2024)
Geospatial Data Science: A Hands-on Approach for Building Geospatial Applications Using Linked Data Technologies
 
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