King Mohammed VI Presides over Presentation of Two Moroccan-Made Cars

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI presides over the unveiling of the vehicles. (MAP)
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI presides over the unveiling of the vehicles. (MAP)
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King Mohammed VI Presides over Presentation of Two Moroccan-Made Cars

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI presides over the unveiling of the vehicles. (MAP)
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI presides over the unveiling of the vehicles. (MAP)

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI presided on Monday over the presentation ceremony of a model of the first Moroccan car brand and a hydrogen-powered vehicle prototype. The event was held at the Royal Palace in Rabat.

The projects, developed by Moroccan entrepreneurs, will strengthen the “Made in Morocco” label and establish the country as a competitive hub for automotive production.

Neo Motors has set up an industrial factory in Ain Aouda, southeast of the capital, to manufacture vehicles for the local market and for export, reported the MAP state news agency.

The factory is projected to produce 27,000 cars a year and create 580 jobs. Investment in the project is worth 156 million dirhams ($15.6 million).

In February 2023, the National Agency for Road Safety granted final approval for Neo Motors’ first vehicle. The company launched pre-production, with the plant’s inauguration scheduled for June 2023.

Neo Motors CEO Nassim Belkhayat said the newly unveiled car operates on benzine and is available with three doors, noting that it is the outcome of “the work of an enthusiastic team”.

The vehicle will be sold in the Moroccan market for prices ranging between 170,000-190,000 dirhams ($17,000-$19,000).

The prototype of the hydrogen vehicle, NamX, was designed in collaboration with Italian car design firm and coachbuilder, Pininfarina.

The HUV model will be supplied with hydrogen through a central tank that will be completed by six removable capsules, guaranteeing a battery capacity of up to 800 km and facilitating the hydrogen recharge in a few minutes.

The production of the car will start in late 2026 and will be sold in Morocco and exported to Europe and the US.

On the sidelines of the ceremony, King Mohammed VI honored Belkhayat and NamX President Faouzi Annajah with a medal of intellectual merit.

The ceremony was attended by Minister of Industry and Trade Riad Mazour, who expressed the country’s pride in its latest car innovation.



Meta Plans New Overview for Facebook, Instagram Users, German Regulator Says 

Facebook's Meta logo sign is seen at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. on Oct. 28, 2021. (AP)
Facebook's Meta logo sign is seen at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. on Oct. 28, 2021. (AP)
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Meta Plans New Overview for Facebook, Instagram Users, German Regulator Says 

Facebook's Meta logo sign is seen at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. on Oct. 28, 2021. (AP)
Facebook's Meta logo sign is seen at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. on Oct. 28, 2021. (AP)

Germany's cartel office said Meta plans to introduce a new overview for users of its platforms Facebook and Instagram, in a step towards allaying anti-trust concerns following years of discussions with the regulator.

Meta's accounts center will allow users to make "a largely free and informed decision" about whether they want to use accounts such as Instagram and Facebook in combination or separately, the office said.

"We have updated the Meta account overview to show more transparently how our services work together and give people more control over these features," a Meta spokesperson said.

The company will continue to work constructively with the authority, the spokesperson added.

In 2019, the cartel office sought to ban Meta - then Facebook - from combining user data from several sources without users' consent.

This prompted years of legal wrangling. The European Union's top court is expected to weigh in on the matter in July.

The new feature offered by Meta to manage accounts revises a previous plan that the cartel office described as "seriously deficient" and which it said did not inform consumers in a neutral or transparent way.

The office said its most recent assessment was based on standards developed in 2019 and that it therefore could not rule out that stricter requirements may be needed to satisfy German competition law.

Germany is keeping close watch over Meta after the regulator deemed it of "paramount significance for competition across markets", a classification which gives the regulator more leeway to curb digital companies' market power.


Gulf Countries Address e-commerce Challenges

The Biban 23 Forum, which was recently held in Riyadh, shed light on e-commerce. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The Biban 23 Forum, which was recently held in Riyadh, shed light on e-commerce. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Gulf Countries Address e-commerce Challenges

The Biban 23 Forum, which was recently held in Riyadh, shed light on e-commerce. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The Biban 23 Forum, which was recently held in Riyadh, shed light on e-commerce. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is working on limiting the challenges related to e-commerce in member-states, including legal, regulatory or logistical obstacles that prevent optimal use of the advantages of the sector.

It has called on government and private agencies in the Gulf to intensify efforts and collect the information required to give a clear picture to the decision-makers at the council level.

This comes in conjunction with the growth of e-commerce in the GCC countries, as the sector is expected to reach $50 billion by 2025, according to a report by Kearney Middle East.

According to information obtained by Asharq Al-Awsat, the Saudi private sector is currently preparing an integrated file to list the difficulties it faces in e-commerce, before submitting the data to the General Secretariat of the GCC.

These results would contribute to shedding light on the necessary measures to create an appropriate legislative and regulatory climate that keeps pace with developments in the digital world, and within local, regional and international commercial markets.

E-commerce is a major driver of economic growth and helps in expanding the scope of commercial transactions, bringing them to the largest number of companies and consumers, and providing more opportunities and a broader base for transactions.

The Federation of Chambers of the GCC announced its support for the outcome of the consultative meeting of the ministers of trade and industry and representatives of the Gulf private sector, which was held recently in Amman, calling for completing the implementation of the common market paths and addressing the challenges of intra-trade between the council members.

The federation emphasized the need to adopt the necessary steps to support the implementation of the paths of the Gulf common market, in coordination with the GCC General Secretariat, and to present relevant initiatives and studies.

Hassan Al-Huwaizi, President of the Federation of Gulf Chambers, said at the time that they would work to encourage citizens of the GCC countries to interact more with the electronic platform (Takamol), which aims to address inquiries, observations and proposals related to the common market.


OpenAI Chief Executive Does Not Plan to Take Company Public

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman speaks in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, June 6, 2023. (AP)
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman speaks in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, June 6, 2023. (AP)
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OpenAI Chief Executive Does Not Plan to Take Company Public

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman speaks in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, June 6, 2023. (AP)
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman speaks in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, June 6, 2023. (AP)

Microsoft-backed OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, has no plans to go public any time soon, Chief Executive Sam Altman said at a conference in Abu Dhabi.

"When we develop super intelligence, we are likely to make some decisions that most investors would look at very strangely," Altman said.

"I don't want to be sued by ... public market, Wall Street etc, so no, not that interested," he replied to a question on whether he will take OpenAI public.

OpenAI has so far raised $10 billion from Microsoft at a valuation of almost $30 billion as it invests more on building computing capacity.

"We have a very strange structure. We have this cap to profit thing," he said.

OpenAI started off as a non-profit organization but later created a hybrid "capped-profit" company, that allowed it to raise external funds with a promise that the original non-profit operation still benefits.


Musk Says China Detailed Plans to Regulate AI 

A handout photo released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China shows Tesla CEO Elon Musk (L) shaking hands with China's Foreign Minister Qin Gang during a meeting in Beijing, China, 30 May 2023 (issued 31 May 2023). (EPA/China Foreign Ministry handout)
A handout photo released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China shows Tesla CEO Elon Musk (L) shaking hands with China's Foreign Minister Qin Gang during a meeting in Beijing, China, 30 May 2023 (issued 31 May 2023). (EPA/China Foreign Ministry handout)
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Musk Says China Detailed Plans to Regulate AI 

A handout photo released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China shows Tesla CEO Elon Musk (L) shaking hands with China's Foreign Minister Qin Gang during a meeting in Beijing, China, 30 May 2023 (issued 31 May 2023). (EPA/China Foreign Ministry handout)
A handout photo released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China shows Tesla CEO Elon Musk (L) shaking hands with China's Foreign Minister Qin Gang during a meeting in Beijing, China, 30 May 2023 (issued 31 May 2023). (EPA/China Foreign Ministry handout)

Top Chinese officials told Elon Musk about plans to launch new regulations on artificial intelligence on his recent trip to the Asian giant, the tech billionaire said Monday, in his first comments on the two-day visit.

The Twitter owner and Tesla CEO -- one of the world's richest men -- held meetings with senior officials in Beijing and employees in Shanghai last week.

"Something that is worth noting is that on my recent trip to China, with the senior leadership there, we had, I think, some very productive discussions on artificial intelligence risks, and the need for some oversight or regulation," Musk said.

"And my understanding from those conversations is that China will be initiating AI regulation in China."

Musk, whose extensive interests in China have long raised eyebrows in Washington, spoke about the exchange in a livestreamed Twitter discussion with Democratic presidential hopeful and vaccine conspiracy theorist Robert Kennedy Jr, the nephew of John F. Kennedy.

Musk did not tweet while in China and Tesla has not released readouts of Musk's meeting with officials.

But official Chinese channels said he lavished praise on the country, including for its "vitality and promise," and expressed "full confidence in the China market."

A flurry of Chinese companies have been rushing to develop AI services that can mimic human speech since San Francisco-based OpenAI launched ChatGPT in November.

But rapid advancements have stoked global alarm over the technology's potential for disinformation and misuse.

Musk didn't elaborate on his discussions in China but was likely referring to a sweeping draft law requiring new AI products to undergo a security assessment before release and a process ensuring that they reflect "core socialist values."

The "Administrative Measures for Generative Artificial Intelligence Services" edict bans content promoting "terrorist or extremist propaganda," "ethnic hatred" or "other content that may disrupt economic and social order."

Under Beijing's highly centralized political system, the measures are almost certain to become law.

Musk has caused controversy by suggesting the self-ruled island of Taiwan should become part of China -- a stance that was welcomed by Chinese officials but which deeply angered Taipei.

The 51-year-old South African native described his meetings in China as "very promising."

"I pointed out that if there is a digital super intelligence that is overwhelmingly powerful, developed in China, it is actually a risk to the sovereignty of the Chinese government," he said.

"And I think they took that concern to heart."


Twitter's New CEO Linda Yaccarino Logs 1st Day in Role

FILE PHOTO: A keyboard is placed in front of a displayed Twitter logo in this illustration taken February 21, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A keyboard is placed in front of a displayed Twitter logo in this illustration taken February 21, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
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Twitter's New CEO Linda Yaccarino Logs 1st Day in Role

FILE PHOTO: A keyboard is placed in front of a displayed Twitter logo in this illustration taken February 21, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A keyboard is placed in front of a displayed Twitter logo in this illustration taken February 21, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Twitter's new Chief Executive Officer Linda Yaccarino has begun her role at the social media company, she tweeted late on Monday, about a month after Elon Musk named her as the new CEO.

"It happened — first day in the books!," she tweeted, without providing further details.

Yaccarino, the former advertising chief at NBCUniversal, is taking over Twitter at a time when the social media platform has been trying to reverse a plunge in ad revenue.

Musk, who has served as the CEO since his $44 billion buyout of Twitter last October, previously said that Yaccarino would help build an "everything app".

Former NBCUniversal executive Joe Benarroch also joined Twitter on Monday. He oversaw communication strategy for the Comcast-owned company's Advertising and Partnerships division, reporting to Yaccarino, before joining Twitter.


Apple Unveils a $3,500 Headset as it Wades into the World of Virtual Reality 

Members of the media inspect the new Apple Vision Pro headset during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference on June 05, 2023 in Cupertino, California. (Getty Images/AFP)
Members of the media inspect the new Apple Vision Pro headset during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference on June 05, 2023 in Cupertino, California. (Getty Images/AFP)
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Apple Unveils a $3,500 Headset as it Wades into the World of Virtual Reality 

Members of the media inspect the new Apple Vision Pro headset during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference on June 05, 2023 in Cupertino, California. (Getty Images/AFP)
Members of the media inspect the new Apple Vision Pro headset during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference on June 05, 2023 in Cupertino, California. (Getty Images/AFP)

Apple on Monday unveiled a long-rumored headset that will place its users between the virtual and real world, while also testing the technology trendsetter's ability to popularize new-fangled devices after others failed to capture the public's imagination.

After years of speculation, Apple CEO Tim Cook hailed the arrival of the sleek goggles — dubbed "Vision Pro" — at the company's annual developers conference held on a park-like campus in Cupertino, California, that Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs helped design. The device will be capable of toggling between virtual reality, or VR, and augmented reality, or AR, which projects digital imagery while users still see can see objects in the real world.

“This marks the beginning of a journey that will bring a new dimension to powerful personal technology," Cook told the crowd.

Although Apple executives provided an extensive preview of the headset's capabilities during the final half hour of Monday's event, consumers will have to wait before they can get their hands on the device and prepare to pay a hefty price to boot. Vision Pro will sell for $3,500 once it's released in stores early next year.

“It's an impressive piece of technology, but it was almost like a tease,” said Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen. “It looked like the beginning of a very long journey."

Instead of merely positioning the goggles as another vehicle for exploring virtual worlds or watching more immersive entertainment, Apple framed the Vision Pro as the equivalent of owning a ultrahigh-definition TV, surround-sound system, high-end camera, and state-of-the art camera bundled into a single piece of hardware.

“We believe it is a stretch, even for Apple, to assume consumers would pay a similar amount for an AR/VR headset as they would for a combination of those products,” D.A. Davison Tom Forte wrote in a Monday research note.

Despite such skepticism, the headset could become another milestone in Apple’s lore of releasing game-changing technology, even though the company hasn’t always been the first to try its hand at making a particular device.

Apple's lineage of breakthroughs dates back to a bow-tied Jobs peddling the first Mac in 1984 —a tradition that continued with the iPod in 2001, the iPhone in 2007, the iPad in 2010, the Apple Watch in 2014 and its AirPods in 2016.

The company emphasized that it drew upon its past decades of product design during the years it spent working on the Vision Pro, which Apple said involved more than 5,000 different patents.

The headset will be equipped with 12 cameras, six microphones and a variety of sensors that will allow users to control it and various apps with just their eyes and hand gestures. Apple said the experience won't cause the recurring nausea and headaches that similar devices have in the past. The company also developed a technology to create a three-dimensional digital version of each user to display during video conferencing.

Although Vision Pro won't require physical controllers that can be clunky to use, the goggles will have to either be plugged into a power outlet or a portable battery tethered to the headset — a factor that could make it less attractive for some users.

“They’ve worked hard to make this headset as integrated into the real world as current technology allows, but it’s still a headset,” said Insider Intelligence analyst Yory Wurmser, who nevertheless described the unveiling as a “fairly mind-blowing presentation.”

Even so, analysts are not expecting the Vision Pro to be a big hit right away. That's largely because of the hefty price, but also because most people still can't see a compelling reason to wear something wrapped around their face for an extended period of time.

If the Vision Pro turns out to be a niche product, it would leave Apple in the same bind as other major tech companies and startups that have tried selling headsets or glasses equipped with technology that either thrusts people into artificial worlds or projects digital images onto scenery and things that are actually in front of them — a format known as “augmented reality.”

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been describing these alternate three-dimensional realities as the “metaverse.” It's a geeky concept that he tried to push into the mainstream by changing the name of his social networking company to Meta Platforms in 2021 and then pouring billions of dollars into improving the virtual technology.

But the metaverse largely remains a digital ghost town, although Meta's virtual reality headset, the Quest, remains the top-selling device in a category that so far has mostly appealed to video game players looking for even more immersive experiences. Cook and other Apple executives avoided referring to the metaverse in their presentations, describing the Vision Pro as the company's first leap into “spatial computing” instead.

The response to virtual, augmented and mixed reality has been decidedly ho-hum so far. Some of the gadgets deploying the technology have even been derisively mocked, with the most notable example being Google's internet-connected glasses released more than a decade ago.

Microsoft also has had limited success with HoloLens, a mixed-reality headset released in 2016, although the software maker earlier this year insisted it remains committed to the technology.

Magic Leap, a startup that stirred excitement with previews of a mixed-reality technology that could conjure the spectacle of a whale breaching through a gymnasium floor, had so much trouble marketing its first headset to consumers in 2018 that it has since shifted its focus to industrial, health care and emergency uses.

Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives estimated Apple will sell just 150,000 of the headsets during its first year on the market before escalating to 1 million headsets sold during the second year — a volume that would make the goggles a mere speck in the company's portfolio.

By comparison, Apple sells more than 200 million of its marquee iPhones a year. But the iPhone wasn't an immediate sensation, with sales of fewer than 12 million units in its first full year on the market.


Microsoft to Pay $20M to Settle US Charges of Collecting Children's Data

FILE - A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference, April 28, 2015, at Moscone Center in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
FILE - A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference, April 28, 2015, at Moscone Center in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
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Microsoft to Pay $20M to Settle US Charges of Collecting Children's Data

FILE - A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference, April 28, 2015, at Moscone Center in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
FILE - A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference, April 28, 2015, at Moscone Center in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Microsoft will pay a fine of $20 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it illegally collected and retained the data of children who signed up to use its Xbox video game console.

The agency charged that Microsoft gathered the data without notifying parents or obtaining their consent, and that it also illegally held onto the data. Those actions violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, the FTC stated.

In a blog post, Microsoft corporate vice president for Xbox Dave McCarthy outlined additional steps the company is now taking to improve its age verification systems and to ensure that parents are involved in the creation of child accounts for the service. These mostly concern efforts to improve age verification technology and to educate children and parents about privacy issues, The Associated Pres reported.

McCarthy also said the company had identified and fixed a technical glitch that failed to delete child accounts in cases where the account creation process never finished. Microsoft policy was to hold that data no longer than 14 days in order to allow players to pick up account creation where they left off if they were interrupted.


Apple Shares Notch All-Time High Ahead of Developer Conference

The Apple logo is seen in this illustration taken March 1, 2022. (Reuters)
The Apple logo is seen in this illustration taken March 1, 2022. (Reuters)
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Apple Shares Notch All-Time High Ahead of Developer Conference

The Apple logo is seen in this illustration taken March 1, 2022. (Reuters)
The Apple logo is seen in this illustration taken March 1, 2022. (Reuters)

Apple Inc shares hit a record high for the first time in 17 months on Monday, ahead of an annual software developer conference, although the company's market value remained short of an all-time peak of $3 trillion.

Apple is expected to launch a mixed-reality headset at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) later in the day, which would be its first big move into a new product category since the introduction of the Apple Watch nine years ago.

Shares of the world's most valuable listed company were last up 1.8% at $184.15. They have jumped nearly 40% in 2023, compared with an 11.5% rise in the benchmark S&P 500.

Apple became the only company to hit $3 trillion in market capitalization early last year. It was last valued at $2.89 trillion.

While it is still early days, augmented reality/virtual reality could be the next main platform for Apple's growth, Morgan Stanley analyst Erik Woodring wrote in a note.

"The fact that the company is expected to be the market leading vendor in mixed-reality headsets is what could make WWDC a more significant stock catalyst this year," Woodring said.

The iPhone maker's forward 12-month price-to-earnings ratio is 28.39, compared with the sector median of 12.79.

Apple is among a handful of megacap firms that have underpinned a rally in stocks this year, as the sudden popularity of AI brings the focus back on technology shares following a rout last year.


Here Comes the AI: Fans Rejoice in ‘New’ Beatles Music

Fans surround Beatles Paul McCartney (C) and George Harrison (2R) upon their arrival at Orly airport on June 20, 1965, before their concert at the Palais des Sports the same evening. (AFP)
Fans surround Beatles Paul McCartney (C) and George Harrison (2R) upon their arrival at Orly airport on June 20, 1965, before their concert at the Palais des Sports the same evening. (AFP)
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Here Comes the AI: Fans Rejoice in ‘New’ Beatles Music

Fans surround Beatles Paul McCartney (C) and George Harrison (2R) upon their arrival at Orly airport on June 20, 1965, before their concert at the Palais des Sports the same evening. (AFP)
Fans surround Beatles Paul McCartney (C) and George Harrison (2R) upon their arrival at Orly airport on June 20, 1965, before their concert at the Palais des Sports the same evening. (AFP)

When the Beatles broke up more than 50 years ago, devastated fans were left yearning for more. Now, artificial intelligence is offering just that.

From "re-uniting" the Fab Four on songs from their solo careers, to re-imagining surviving superstar Paul McCartney's later works with his voice restored to its youthful peak, the new creations show off how far this technology has come -- and raise a host of ethical and legal questions.

"I'm sobbing! This is so beautiful!!!" wrote a listener in a typical YouTube comment for a fan-created AI cover of McCartney's 2013 single, "New," which features de-aged vocals and a bridge part "sung" by his great songwriting partner and friend, the late John Lennon.

Equally impressive is a version of "Grow Old With Me," one of the last songs penned by Lennon, which was posthumously released after his 1980 murder and recently remade by an AI creator who goes by "Dae Lims."

With enhanced audio quality, an orchestral arrangement and harmonized backing vocals that evoke the Liverpudlian rockers' heyday, the song's most stirring moment comes when McCartney croons over a soaring melody with poignant lyrics about aging.

"When I hear this, I lose it. I start crying," said music YouTuber Steve Onotera, who goes by "SamuraiGuitarist" and has a million followers, in a recent video discussing the new works' unforeseen sentimental resonance.

After the most influential band in history parted ways acrimoniously, fans were deprived of a final "happy ending," he said. "So when we do get that reunion artificially yet convincingly created by AI, well, it's surprisingly emotional."

AI here, there and everywhere

Like an earlier track called "Heart on a Sleeve" which featured AI-generated vocals of Drake and The Weeknd and racked up millions of hits on TikTok and other platforms, these covers use scraping technology that analyzes and captures the nuances of a particular voice.

The creators would have probably then sung the parts themselves and then applied the cloned voice, in a manner similar to placing a filter on a photograph.

While the results can be astonishing, getting there isn't simple and requires skilled human operators combining new AI tools with extensive knowledge of traditional music processing software, Zohaib Ahmed, the CEO of Resemble AI, a Toronto-based voice cloning company, told AFP.

"I think we're still seeing a very small percentage of the population that can even access these tools," he said. They need to "jump through hoops, read documentation, have the right computer, and then put it all together."

Ahmed's company is one of several offering a platform that can make the technology more accessible to clients in the entertainment sector -- and counts a recent Netflix documentary series "narrated" by late art icon Andy Warhol using its technology as an early success.

For Patricia Alessandrini, a composer and assistant professor at Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, the recent spate of AI tracks represent a coming-of-age for a technology that has been advancing exponentially -- yet largely out of public view over the past decade.

"This is a great example of what AI does very well, which is anything that's resemblance: to train it on something existing," she told AFP.

But, she added, it flounders when it comes to new ideas. "There's really no expectation that it's going to replace the rich history of humans originating art and culture."

Litigation coming

For the music industry, the ramifications are enormous. As the technology progresses, software that will easily allow people to transform their vocals into one of their favorite singers is likely not far away.

"If they're getting paid for their vocal license, hey, everyone's happy," said Onotera. "But what if they're long since passed away? Is it up to their estate?"

AI is already proving a helter-skelter impact on the copyright world.

In the case of "Heart on a Sleeve," Universal Music Group was quick to assert copyright claims and have the track pulled down from streaming services, but that hasn't stopped it popping back up on small accounts.

Marc Ostrow, a New York-based music copyright lawyer, told AFP AI-generated music is a "gray area."

Copyright can be asserted both by songwriters whose material is used, as well as the holders of the master recordings.

On the other hand, AI creators can argue it falls under "fair use" citing a 2015 court ruling that said Google was permitted to archive the world's books, because it wasn't competing with sellers and was displaying only snippets.

Last month, however, the US Supreme Court tipped the balance back the other way in ruling a Warhol print of the late pop star Prince violated the copyright of the photographer who took the original image.

Add to the mix that celebrities can protect their likeness under the "right to publicity," established when Bette Midler successfully sued Ford Motor Company in the late 1980s for using a singer that sounded like her in an ad.

Ultimately, "I think there may be voluntary industry standards... or it's going to be done by litigation," said Ostrow.

Rights holders will also need to think about the negative PR that could come with suing over works that are clearly fan-created tributes and not intended to be monetized.


AI Generated Content Should Be Labelled, EU Commissioner Jourova Says

Vera Jourova, the Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, prepares for a debate on “Foreign interference in democratic processes and election integrity” during a mini plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, 01 June 2023. (EPA)
Vera Jourova, the Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, prepares for a debate on “Foreign interference in democratic processes and election integrity” during a mini plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, 01 June 2023. (EPA)
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AI Generated Content Should Be Labelled, EU Commissioner Jourova Says

Vera Jourova, the Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, prepares for a debate on “Foreign interference in democratic processes and election integrity” during a mini plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, 01 June 2023. (EPA)
Vera Jourova, the Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, prepares for a debate on “Foreign interference in democratic processes and election integrity” during a mini plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, 01 June 2023. (EPA)

Companies deploying generative AI tools such as ChatGPT and Bard with the potential to generate disinformation should label such content as part of their efforts to combat fake news, European Commission deputy head Vera Jourova said on Monday.

Unveiled late last year, Microsoft-backed OpenAI's ChatGPT has become the fastest-growing consumer application in history and set off a race among tech companies to bring generative AI products to market.

Concerns however are mounting about potential abuse of the technology and the possibility that bad actors and even governments may use it to produce far more disinformation than before.

"Signatories who integrate generative AI into their services like Bingchat for Microsoft, Bard for Google should build in necessary safeguards that these services cannot be used by malicious actors to generate disinformation," Jourova told a press conference.

"Signatories who have services with a potential to disseminate AI generated disinformation should in turn put in place technology to recognize such content and clearly label this to users," she said.

Companies such as Google, Microsoft and Meta Platforms that have signed up to the EU Code of Practice to tackle disinformation should report on safeguards put in place to tackle this in July, Jourova said.

She warned Twitter, which quit the Code last week, to expect more regulatory scrutiny.

"By leaving the Code, Twitter has attracted a lot of attention and its actions and compliance with EU law will be scrutinized vigorously and urgently," Jourova said.