This week, Tesla launched its futuristic Cybertruck vehicle, which received mixed reviews. Google launched its latest artificial intelligence (AI) model, Gemini. The US, UK, and Australia announced plans to use AI to keep track of Chinese submarines. Microsoft agreed to offer extended support for Windows 10 users after its end-of-life date. Finally, a new study shows that over two-thirds of all website and application traffic came from malicious bots. Here are the highlights.
#1. Tesla Cybertruck falls short of expectations
Tesla Cybertruck deliveries began for customers who had preordered it since 2019. The futuristic vehicle has a bullet-proof stainless steel exterior and a unique shape, unlike any other brand in the market today. The Cybertruck is an effort to boost Tesla’s brand in the electric vehicle sector.
However, according to a Reuters report, customers are disappointed with the Cybertruck. First, it cost 50% more than expected. The steep price tag of $60,990 is likely to make customers cancel their preorders. It may also turn off new customers. Secondly, experts say that the reputation of Tesla founder Elon Musk has taken a hit ever since he announced the Cybertruck project in 2019. As a result, brand loyalty may decrease and translate to poor vehicle sales.
Mr. Musk said that 250 Cybertrucks will be available in 2023, 75,000 in 2024, and about 250,000 per year after 2025. Analysts say that these targets are ambitious for Tesla, which is facing stiff competition from vehicle brands like General Motors and Ford.
#2. Australia, UK, and US Navies to use AI in the Pacific
The AUKUS Pillar II is a trilateral agreement between the US, UK, and Australia to secure international waters. The military defense leaders from these nations announced that they will integrate artificial intelligence (AI) in their patrol aircraft over the Indo-Pacific region. The main purpose of AI will be to track Chinese submarines with greater accuracy. The AI will be trained on huge volumes of data from underwater detection devices on AUKUS vessels.
This move comes after the US reported increased military activity by China, which is expanding its capabilities to boost their power by sea. A Pentagon report released in October 2023 indicated that China has the world’s largest navy, which includes 370 ships and submarines. AI-powered tools will be added to AUKUS equipment to improve precision targeting and surveillance.
#3. 73% of all web traffic is malicious, says a new study
This week, Arkose Labs released a study called Breaking (Bad) Bots: Bot Abuse Analysis and Other Fraud Benchmarks. The study revealed that 73% of all web traffic from Q1 to Q3 of 2023 was malicious. This traffic was mainly driven by basic bots, intelligent bots, and human fraud farms.
A basic bot performs repetitive tasks like clicking links or automatically filling forms on websites and apps. An intelligent bot can mimic human tasks like typing or scrolling on a website or app. A human fraud farm involves individuals hired to do fraudulent actions manually, such as verifying codes or setting up fake accounts. All these contributed to the alarming rate of cyberattacks this year.
The study also highlighted two trends behind the increased malicious activities. The first is generative artificial intelligence (AI). Human fraud farms increasingly used AI to create flawless phishing emails. They also generated convincing responses on dating apps to perform romance scams. The second is cybercrime-as-a-service (CaaS). This is where bad actors can buy or rent basic or intelligent bots to carry out fraud. This means that cybercriminals no longer need to program their own bots. They can launch sophisticated attacks without any technical skills.
The report also showed that industries like travel and hospitality, retail, technology, and streaming sites were the most targeted with bot attacks. The bots were used to scrape user data, post spam content, or steal company data.
#4. Microsoft offers additional Windows 10 support
In April of 2023, Microsoft announced that the Windows 10 operating system will reach its end of life in October 2025. This means that Windows 10 devices needed to upgrade to Windows 11 because there would be no further security updates, exposing them to cyber risks. This week, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 support would extend for three more years after the 2025 deadline.
This announcement comes after a petition was launched by the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) in October this year. The petition asked Microsoft to extend support for Windows 10 because it would lead to increased electronic waste. It would also become a financial burden for people and organizations, who would be forced to buy new devices compatible with Windows 11.
The Windows 10 extended updates will be available for individual customers rather than businesses. They will also be available at a fee under the Extended Security Updates (ESU) program, although the cost is not yet clear. The ESU will be paid for a year at a time. This is similar to the Windows 7 ESU which extended support for three years.
#5. Google launches Gemini to rival GPT-4
Google launched its latest large language model (LLM) called Gemini. It is considered an alternative to GPT-4, which is OpenAI’s most powerful AI model. According to Google DeepMind, Gemini is better than GPT-4 according to four key benchmarks: general, reasoning, math, and coding. It also beats GPT-4 in terms of image, video, and audio processing. Gemini now powers Google’s AI model, Bard, instead of the previous LLM, LaMDA. OpenAI’s GPT-4 powers ChatGPT.
Gemini is available in three main versions. Gemini Ultra is the strongest model which will be released in 2024. Gemini Pro is currently available for free through Bard. However, it will be available from December 13, 2023, for developers and enterprises through Cloud Vertex AI. The lightweight version, Gemini Nano, is available for Pixel 8 Pro smartphones. This version can function offline. Gemini will be integrated across all Google products over the coming months, including Chrome browser and Google Workspace. It is expected to be a game-changer in the AI market.