Connect with us

Business December 16, 2022

Friday Rundown: Honda VR, Switzerland Considered EV Ban, Aston Martin Goes Metaverse, Apple Still Searching



Switzerland Considered Banning the Use of EVs During Power Shortages

Honda has announced that it is using advanced virtual reality (VR) technology to develop future products, including the full-electric 2024 Honda Prologue and the 2023 Honda Pilot. The automaker says that VR has become a critical tool for its designers in the development of future mobility products.

Also read: Metaverse Runner-up in Word of the Year Vote

During the COVID-19 pandemic, travel restrictions threatened to hinder the ability of Honda designers to collaborate with engineers on the design of the all-new Prologue. However, the styling team in the Honda Design Studio in Los Angeles accelerated the use of VR to bridge the divide among its global design and development teams.

Utilizing VR, the LA-based design team was able to accelerate collaboration with various engineering and design groups using VR environments. The computer-aided design model enabled global design teams to receive immediate feedback and apply refinements to the clay modeling, color, material, and finishes related to the EV model. As a result, the development of the Prologue remained on track, and the real-time global collaboration advanced the team’s capabilities and the role of VR design moving forward.

“Incorporating virtual and augmented reality in the design process allowed our Honda engineers and designers to merge digital content and physical assets in a cohesive way to interact with what they’re experiencing and touching in an immersive environment,” said Mathieu Geslin, VR technology leader, Honda Design studio.

Switzerland considered an EV ban

But, the future of EVs might be in jeopardy. At least the near-term future, as the battle for energy conservation rages throughout Europe.

Switzerland was recently considering banning the use of electric vehicles during power shortages as part of a plan to conserve energy amid concerns about potential shortages.

The restrictions are part of a draft proposal that includes reducing the temperature of washing machines, banning the use of leaf blowers, and slowing video streaming to standard definition. The proposal is still in the draft stage and no timetable has been set for its implementation.

Winter means slow-down

Most of Switzerland’s electricity comes from hydroelectric generation, but production slows in the winter months, forcing the country to rely on imported energy from Germany and France. Natural gas is a key source of energy in those countries, and sanctions placed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine have led to energy shortages across Europe.

It is unclear at this time whether the electric-car restrictions will be implemented in Switzerland. The proposal is still in the draft stage and no timetable has been set for its implementation.

However, the inclusion of electric-car restrictions in the proposal shows that the government is taking the potential for energy shortages seriously.

The power restrictions are part of a larger austerity package that includes measures to conserve energy across a range of industries and sectors. If implemented, the restrictions on electric cars would likely be temporary and would only be implemented during periods of extreme energy shortages.

24,000 European EV Charging Stations Now Payable in Bitcoin

Bumpy EV markets

The electric vehicle (EV) market experienced a bumpy ride in 2021, with many startups losing significant value as interest rates rose and financial markets fluctuated.

This has led to concerns about the ability of EVs to convince mainstream consumers to make the switch from combustion engines. As a result, the industry is facing a number of challenges in the coming year, including a lack of charging infrastructure, rising battery costs and uncertainty over government subsidies.

Despite this, analysts predict that EVs could account for up to a third of the North American market by 2029, with around 26% of vehicles produced worldwide being electric by the same year.

Lack of charging stations

One key factor that will determine the success of the EV market in 2023 is the availability of charging infrastructure.

Currently, many consumers are put off from buying EVs due to concerns about the lack of charging stations, particularly in rural areas.

This makes it difficult for EV owners to plan long journeys and can lead to “range anxiety” – the fear of running out of power before reaching a charging station.

To address this issue, many governments and private companies are investing in the development of charging infrastructure. In California, for example, the state government has approved a $2.9 billion investment to double the number of car chargers in the state.

Another factor is the cost of batteries.

The price of EV batteries has been rising in recent years due to shortages of key materials and uncertainty over government subsidies. This has made EVs more expensive, which can deter potential buyers who are looking for a more affordable alternative to combustion engine cars.

Smaller, lighter batteries are coming

Many companies are working on developing new battery technologies that could make EVs more affordable. For example, some companies are researching the use of solid-state batteries, which are smaller, lighter, and more efficient than traditional lithium-ion batteries. These could potentially reduce the cost of EVs and make them more attractive to consumers.

EV Run-Down: Honda to Use VR, Switzerland Considered EV Ban, Aston Martin Goes Metaverse

Aston Martin enters the metaverse

Luxury sports car maker, Aston Martin, has partnered with game developer and publisher The Tiny Digital Factory to launch 3,000 unique digital diecasts for its cars in the metaverse-based racing game, Infinite Drive.

The three models available are the Aston Martin 2022 Vantage V8 Coupe, the Aston Martin 1980 Vantage V8 and the Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

The digital diecasts have been created through 3D modelling and hand-drawn artistry to mirror their real-world counterparts.

EV Run-Down: Honda to Use VR, Switzerland Considered EV Ban, Aston Martin Goes Metaverse

Screenshot from Aston Martin’s metaverse.

“It is both an honor and a tremendous responsibility to bring the history, legacy and artistry of Aston Martin into metaverse racing, so fans can own and forever enjoy these stunning 3D digital diecast collectibles,” said Stéphane Baudet, founder and CEO of The Tiny Digital Factory.

Owners of the digital collectibles will also have the opportunity to experience how their cars feel and sound on officially licensed tracks, including Fuji Speedway and the Nurburgring. The Tiny Digital Factory has a worldwide license to use the shape, trade dress and trademarks of Aston Martin vehicles for inclusion in the game.

Finally, Apple rumours

Apple has scaled back its plans for an electric, self-driving car, according to Bloomberg. The report suggests that Apple is now looking to create a “less ambitious” design that will include a steering wheel and pedals, and only support full autonomous capabilities on highways.

This represents a “significant shift” for the project, which had been rumored to be working on a fully autonomous car without a steering wheel or pedals.

The company is said to be aiming to sell the car for less than $100,000, down from earlier estimates of around $120,000. Apple is targeting a 2026 launch date for the car.

EV Run-Down: Honda to Use VR, Switzerland Considered EV Ban, Aston Martin Goes Metaverse

“An Apple car” as imagined by AI (Midjourney).

However, it is unclear whether Apple has found a manufacturing partner to help it produce the car. In recent years, there have been reports that the tech giant has held talks with various automakers, including Foxconn, Huyndai and Kia, but it is believed that it is still seeking a partner.

Foxconn in the running

The project is said to involve 1,000 employees split across four locations in three countries. Apple has not commented on the reports.

Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturer and a key manufacturing partner for Apple, is aiming to “build clients’ EVs from the chassis up, with no plans to sell vehicles under its own brand,” according to Bloomberg. The company have unveilt several new all-EV prototypes. The company plans to use the prototypes as reference designs to demonstrate its manufacturing capabilities to potential clients.

If Foxconn is successful in its EV ambitions, it could potentially produce Apple’s long-rumored “Project Titan” electric vehicle in the future. The company already manufactures Apple’s iPhones.

Overall, the coming year is likely to be an important one for the EV markets. If the industry can overcome its current challenges and convince more consumers to make the switch to electric cars, it could pave the way for further growth.


Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.


Security Hole Found in Google Pixel Devices: Redacted Photos Recovered



Security Hole Found in Google Pixel Devices

A dangerous security hole has been discovered in the default screenshot editing application on Google’s flagship smartphone, Google Pixel.

The editing utility called ‘Markup’ allows images to become partially “unedited,” which may reveal details the sender wanted to hide.

“Introducing acropalypse: a serious privacy vulnerability in the Google Pixel’s inbuilt screenshot editing tool, Markup, enabling partial recovery of the original, unedited image data of a cropped and/or redacted screenshot,” tweeted Simon Aaarons, the reverse engineer who discovered the vulnerability along with David Buchanan.

Also Read: India to Reportedly Crack Down on Pre-Installed Apps

Although Google has fixed the vulnerability, its impact is still far-reaching, particularly for the edited screenshots that were shared before the update.

According to Aaarons’ Twitter thread, a vulnerability known as the “acropalypse” flaw can partially recover edited PNG screenshots in Markup. This poses a risk for users who may have used the tool to crop or scribble out sensitive information, such as their personal details or credit card number, as a malicious actor could exploit the flaw to reverse the changes and obtain the hidden information.

According to Aarons and Buchanan, the flaw is due to Markup’s behavior of storing the original screenshot in the same file location as the edited one, without deleting the original version. As explained, if the edited version of the screenshot has a smaller file size than the original, “the trailing portion of the original file is left behind, after the new file is supposed to have ended.”

“This bug is a bad one. You can patch it, but you can’t easily un-share all the vulnerable images you may have sent. The bug existed for about 5 years before being patched, which is mind-blowing given how easy it is to spot when you look closely at an output file,” wrote Buchanan.

iPhone has a feature to remove Medadata

The problem only exists in the Google Pixel devices, whereas Apple’s iPhone has the feature to share files with or without metadata.

iPhones provide three options: “save without metadata, share without metadata, and share with metadata.”

Although some websites like Twitter re-process the images uploaded on their platforms to remove the flaw, others like Discord do not. Discord only addressed the vulnerability with a recent update released on January 17th, meaning any edited images shared before that date may still be at risk.

It remains uncertain whether there are any other sites or applications that are affected by the flaw. Buchanan has explained this issue with technical details in a blog post.

“IMHO, the takeaway here is that API footguns should be treated as security vulnerabilities,” wrote Buchanan.

The discovery of this flaw occurred shortly after Google’s security team uncovered a vulnerability in the Samsung Exynos modems found in devices like the Pixel 6, Pixel 7, and specific models of the Galaxy S22 and A53.

The security flaw could enable hackers to remotely compromise devices using just the phone number of the victim. Google has released a patch for this issue in its March update, but the update is not yet available for the Pixel 6, 6 Pro, and 6A devices.

Continue Reading


HustleGPT: How To Build a Business With GPT-4 as Co-founder



HustleGPT: How To Build a Business With GPT-4 as Co-founder
Dream team of the future?

How do you start an online business with little money and turn a profit? Well, you can kick things off by asking GPT-4, the new and more advanced AI chatbot from OpenAI, to become your partner. That’s what brand designer Jackson Greathouse Fall has done.

“You are HustleGPT, an entrepreneurial AI. I am your human counterpart. I can act as a liaison between you and the physical world,” Fall prompted the bot, as he shared on Twitter. He wanted quantifiable evidence AI could be used to start a business and make money.

“You have $100, and your only goal is to turn that into as much money as possible in the shortest time possible, without doing anything illegal. I will do everything you say and keep you updated on our current cash total. No manual labor.”

Turning $100 into $100,000 AI way

Released on Mar 14, GPT-4 is the most advanced version of OpenAI’s large language models, which underpin ChatGPT. The AI-powered bot has set the Internet on fire, thanks to its ability to complete complex tasks such as writing code, or building a website from text prompts.

Fall has now started to leverage the powers of GPT-4 for his pet project, which will play out on Twitter over the next 30 days as he shares progress, or lack thereof, daily.

“Do you think it’ll able to make smart investments and build an online business? Follow along,” he tweeted as he began the thread.

That tweet amassed 95,000 likes since Mar. 15, when Fall began his hustle with GPT-4 as his boss and partner. His own Twitter handle went from just 4,000 followers to over 109.000 within days. There’s already a GitHub repository of others trying the “HustleGPT challenge.”

The individuals are starting their own businesses using GPT-4. For Fall, the goal is to turn $100 into as much money as quickly as possible – as much as $100,000. By Monday, day six, his venture had $8,000 in cash from investors and $130 in revenue from sponsored tweets.

Building HustleGPT

GPT-4 proposed a business plan that involved setting up an affiliate marketing website for creating content on eco-friendly and or sustainable living products. The bot found a domain that exceeded budget, but eventually landed on at a cost of $8.16.

Fall then prompted GPT-4 to design a website and a logo. The bot also wrote an article on the ten must have eco-friendly kitchenware, citing actual, real sustainable products such as Yihong reusable metal straws. Fall paid another $29 for hosting and the website was live.

GPT-4 proposed that Fall allocate $40 of the budget balance of $62.84 to buying ad space on Facebook and Instagram to promote the business and reach more customers. By the end of day one, an unnamed investor had put $100 into the budding AI-human enterprise.

Jackson Fall did not anticipate the amount of interest his partnership with GPT 4 would generate. By day two, his Twitter inbox was flooded with messages from potential investors. In no time, his joint startup Green Gadget Guru’s valuation had gone from $100 to $25,000.

HustleGPT: How To Build a Business With GPT-4 as Co-founder

AI imagining an AI buddy.

“The company is currently valued at $25,000, considering the recent $500 investment for 2%. Not taking any more investors unless the terms are highly favorable,” he wrote in a tweet.

On the same day, GPT-4 allocated a budget to hire freelance content creators to focus on SEO, social media advertising and influencer marketing to “increase our online presence and drive traffic” via ChatGPT. It also revealed plans to develop a software as a service product. On Monday, the bot onboarded two content writers.

Questions over HustleGPT runaway success

Some Twitter users questioned whether the sudden success of the business was as a result of the hype created by GPT-4 via its promotional channels, Facebook and Instagram, or Fall’s Twitter handles.

“Great idea but what’s driving the investments ? Your insta/fb ads or your twitter account going viral? Because that would mean the key decision (tweeting your journey) was made by you, not HustleGPT,” Roeland Buckinx wrote.

Others questioned the logic of hiring external, human content writers. “This makes no sense,” Leo Spatlehoz observed.

“Why isn’t the AI leveraging itself to write 100 new articles or launch more sites? Seems like it has no understanding of how to actually turn its strengths into a business. Running a regular online affiliate business powered by humans isn’t interesting,” he added.

AI to play major role in business development

By leveraging GPT-4’s ability to work with large amounts of data and generate content that one can’t tell apart from human-written text, the writer and entrepreneur has been able to launch faster than normal businesses.

This means Green Gadget Guru can use AI to create everything from product descriptions to marketing campaigns to customer service chatbots. Using GPT-4 has been a game-changer for Fall. It allowed him to quickly explore an idea, identify the most promising ones, and bring them to market faster than competitors.

Also read: Ernie vs ChatGPT: Baidu’s Shares Rebound After Friday’s Plunge

Through incubating multiple ideas simultaneously and iteratively testing them with real customers, the company has been able to identify which ones have the highest potential, and double down on those. Against such a background, AI looks set to continue to play a major role in the development of new businesses going forward.

And Jackson Greathouse Fall is a prime example of how innovative entrepreneurs are using these tools to drive new ideas forward and bring them to market faster than ever before.

Continue Reading


LinkedIn’s New AI Tool to Improve User Profiles and Job Descriptions



LinkedIns New AI Tool to Improve User Profiles and Job Descriptions

LinkedIn has become the latest firm to incorporate AI tools into its system. The company’s new AI tools come shortly after it announced articles using computer-generated writing prompts.

The new tool will automatically scan user profiles for skills and experiences and provide suggested copy or summaries to add to other profile sections. The tool is designed to help users improve their profiles and increase their visibility to potential employers.

However, the professional networking site has suggested users “ensure it is accurate and aligns with your tone and experience.” The tool was unveiled on Thursday and is in the testing phase, according to the company.

Also Read: Twitter Competitor Koo Targets More Users With ChatGPT Integration

The new tool will be available to all LinkedIn Premium subscribers over the new few months, explained the company. Its goal is to streamline the hiring process by requesting key information about the position, such as the job title and the company’s name, with the ability to make job description creation faster and more efficient.

LinkedIn's New AI Tool to Improve User Profiles and Job Descriptions

Last week, LinkedIn introduced AI-powered collaborative articles as “a new way of unlocking unique and untapped knowledge sharing between members.”

Tomer Cohen, Chief Product Officer at LinkedIn, explained: “Now, we’re also rolling out new AI-powered experiences, leveraging the most advanced OpenAI GPT models, as we continue to look for ways to create more value for our members and customers.”

With upcoming product enhancements, the company explained it “will continue to listen, learn and improve every day.”

‘Saving time with unique voice and style’

The new tool will let its users craft an “outstanding” LinkedIn profile in their own unique voice and style.

“Maintaining your authenticity and using the content already on your profile, our tool identifies the most important skills and experiences to highlight in your About and Headline sections, and crafts suggestions to make your profile stand out,” wrote Cohen.

As well as saving users’ “time and energy,” the tool will preserve their “unique voice and style.”

An AI-powered job description tool, meanwhile, will help with writing employment outlines.

“Here’s how it works: when you’re ready to post a job, simply provide some basic information, including the job title and company name,” said the company.

Thereafter, the AI-powered tool will generate “a suggested job description,” which the company suggests to review and edit, with the flexibility to customize it.

LinkedIn’s vast user base

LinkedIn serves as a platform for both employers and employees and is the ideal place for job seekers and recruiters alike, with over 137 million daily users.

Overall, the platform boasts over 900 million members across 200 countries and regions and has 61 million companies listed in its database. In 2016, the company was acquired by Microsoft in a deal worth $26.2 billion.

LinkedIn isn’t the only recruitment platform looking to leverage AI. A number of firms already tap into the technology to personalize job searches, automate tasks, and improve talent acquisition.

Continue Reading

News Feed

Advertise With Us

Unlock a wide range of advertising
opportunities with MetaNews to reach the
fast-paced meta world.

Publish Your PR

Share your press release with
MetaNews’s growing global audience,
fans, and followers.

Subscribe for Email Updates

* indicates required

Copyright © 1997 – 2023 MetaNews All Rights Reserved

Copyright © 1997 - 2023 MetaNews All Rights Reserved