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Tech News: Microsoft, OpenAI and Other News

Windows 11 24H2 Blocks Third-party UI Customization Tools

According to Neowin, Microsoft has intentionally blocked some well-known third-party UI customization tools in the upcoming Windows 11 24H2 release. Currently, the tools known to be affected include StartAllBack and ExplorerPatcher, both of which have the primary function of restoring the old style taskbar and start menu. Running these tools on 24H2 will see a warning that says “This app cannot run because it causes security or performance issues on Windows” and asks users to contact the developer for an updated version. In reality, however, the block is based on the filename, and the exe program can be used as usual by changing its name to something else. Additionally, 24H2 was found to include a feature flag that prevents older versions of the taskbar that remain in Windows 11 from being enabled by default. This could indicate that Microsoft plans to completely remove the old taskbar in future versions of Windows 11.

OpenAI Used Millions of Hours of YouTube Video to Train Models, Report Says

According to a report in the New York Times, OpenAI used a large amount of YouTube videos transcribed through Whisper in order to meet the massive amount of material needed for GPT-4 training. By the end of 2021, OpenAI realized that it had exhausted all well-known English corpora in the process of training its AI models, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter. To get more material, OpenAI developed Whisper, a speech-to-text model that transcribes videos captured from YouTube into text for training. Co-founder Greg Brockman was personally involved in video capture, eventually transcribing over a million hours of YouTube video for GPT-4 training.

This practice is a gray area, as YouTube’s terms of use prohibit the use of its videos for “standalone” applications, as well as access to its videos “by any automated means.” OpenAI employees are aware of the risks, but believe that the use can be covered by the fair use doctrine. In response, a Google spokesperson said it was unaware of OpenAI’s practices, but that YouTube prohibits unauthorized crawling or downloading of content. The report also noted that the material gap is a common challenge for major AI vendors. For example, Meta even explored acquiring Simon & Schuster (one of the six largest publishers in the U.S.) last year in order to license training for long-form works, according to internal meeting notes. Research organizations estimate that tech companies could run out of high-quality training data online as early as 2026, as training models consume data faster than the Internet can generate it. In response, companies like OpenAI are looking into using AI-synthesized text to train new models, but the effects and risks of this circular approach are still inconclusive.

Apple Allows Game Emulators on App Store
On April 5, Apple again updated its App Store review guidelines to allow music streaming apps in the European Union market to direct users to purchase services through external websites and, for the first time, to allow emulators on the App Store.

The changes to streaming apps come in the context of an antitrust action in the EU last month, when Apple was found to have abused its dominant position in the market for the distribution of music streaming services and fined €1.8 billion. The updated Article 3.1.1(a) provides that music streaming apps in ‘certain territories’ may include a link to the developer’s website (including a purchase button) after the application, informing the user of how to make a purchase or inviting the user to fill in an email address for a payment link.

The changes regarding emulators are not limited to the EU. The updated Section 4.7 states that “Retro Game Console Emulator Apps” may offer downloads of games, provided that the developer is responsible for the compliance of all downloads and that the downloads are also subject to the App Store’s privacy and content rating requirements. Previously, the App Store has never officially allowed emulator apps, and many developers have attempted to disguise their apps as regular apps, only to be discovered and removed from the store.

Other news
According to a paper published by Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of CAS, Peking University, China University of Science and Technology (CUIST), and Zero-One-One-One, it has developed a high-quality command fine-tuning dataset in Chinese called COIG-CQIA, which is designed to provide high-quality command fine-tuning data for the Chinese Natural Language Processing (NLP) community in a way that is consistent with the behavior of human interactions.The Chinese corpus of COIG-CQIA is derived from the Zhihu high-liked answers, Douban, Xiaohongshu, and from the results of using this dataset to fine-tune the Yi-34B model of zero-one-everything, the corpus of the retarded bar had the best training results. The researchers speculate that this may be because the highly-liked posts from the retarded bar usually have linguistic features such as puns and multiple meanings, which may help improve the model’s logical reasoning.

Apple has struck a deal with photo library Shutterstock to license millions of images for use in training AI models, according to Reuters. The value of the deal is estimated at $25-$50 million. Several other major tech companies, including Meta, Google, and Amazon, have also struck similar deals with Shutterstock.

Apple could launch the new iPad Pro and iPad Air in the second week of May, according to Mark Gurman, who claims that Apple’s retail stores are expected to receive promotional materials for the new products later this week. Expected to be announced are: (1) two new iPad Pros with M3 chips, OLED displays, thinner cases, narrower bezels, optional frosted screens, front-facing camera moved to the long side, and possible MagSafe support; (2) two new iPad Airs, including the first 12.9-inch iPad Air with an M2 chip and landscape front-facing camera; and (3) a new Wonder Keyboard for the iPad Pro. A new, subtly controlled keyboard for the iPad Pro, with an aluminum enclosure and larger trackpad; and (4) a new Apple Pencil, with possible support for “squeeze” gestures, and eventually VisionOS. In addition, a new entry-level version of the iPad and an iPad mini could be released by the end of the year. The iPad (11th gen) will be priced even lower than the 10th gen, which will launch in 2022, while the iPad mini (7th gen) will be largely unchanged, except for an upgraded processor.

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