Congress takes on TikTok, privacy, and AI | The Vergecast

Congress takes on TikTok, privacy, and AI | The Vergecast

Intro (00:00:00)

  • David Pierce introduces the episode and mentions technical difficulties with his camera.
  • He expresses his frustration with the delicate nature of gimbal cameras.
  • There has been a recent surge of bills and legislation in Congress related to technology.
  • Bills include the TikTok ban, digital privacy legislation, and AI regulation.
  • Skepticism exists due to past experiences with grandstanding and ineffective bills.
  • However, the current momentum feels different, with bills gaining traction and potential for becoming law.
  • Lauren Finer, a Verge reporter covering tech bills, joins the discussion.
  • She highlights the significance of the recent legislative activity.
  • Bills include the American Data Privacy and Protection Act, a bipartisan effort for federal privacy legislation.
  • The TikTok ban proposal has gained momentum and could potentially pass.
  • AI legislation is also being considered, with a focus on ethical development and preventing harmful uses.
  • Finer emphasizes the importance of understanding the potential consequences of these bills and ensuring they are well-crafted.

A TikTok ban is very close (00:03:41)

  • The US Senate is considering a bill that would ban TikTok in the United States unless it divests from its Chinese parent company ByteDance within a year.
  • The bill was initially met with concerns about the short divestment timeline, potential constitutional issues, and free speech implications.
  • The House packaged the TikTok bill with high-priority foreign aid bills, addressing some concerns and gaining support from previously undecided lawmakers.
  • The bill passed with overwhelming support in the House and is likely to become law due to its inclusion in a crucial foreign aid package.
  • The Senate is expected to vote on the bill soon.

The American Privacy Rights Act (00:15:51)

  • The American Privacy Rights Act, a bipartisan bill, aims to provide comprehensive privacy legislation in the United States, drawing inspiration from EU and California privacy laws.
  • The bill includes strong enforcement mechanisms, allowing individuals to sue companies that violate their privacy rights and giving companies a chance to correct mistakes before facing legal consequences.
  • The bill targets large companies with over 5 million US users or $250 million in revenue, including big tech platforms and data brokers, and includes provisions for opting out of data collection, civil rights protections, and data minimization.
  • Congress is also considering reintroducing the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPA) and a new privacy bill introduced by Senator Cantwell.
  • The rise of TikTok and its extensive data collection practices have made privacy issues more tangible and pressing, increasing the likelihood of comprehensive privacy legislation this year.
  • The US Congress is addressing concerns related to TikTok, privacy, and artificial intelligence (AI), with the White House issuing an executive order to develop a plan for addressing AI-related issues.
  • Regulating AI as a whole is challenging, so a more targeted approach is needed, similar to regulating specific components of cars rather than the entire vehicle.
  • The establishment of an Artificial Intelligence Safety Institute is seen as a positive step towards addressing AI-related concerns, with specialized agencies potentially better suited to handle certain AI-related matters.

AI at the movies w/Tye Sheridan and Nikola Todorovic (00:31:35)

  • Tai Sheridan and Nicola Todorovich, co-founders of Wonder Dynamics, discussed AI and creativity at The Vergecast panel.
  • Wonder Dynamics develops AI tools for the visual effects industry, allowing filmmakers to easily transform real-life scenes into animated characters.
  • Metaphysic's mission is to make cutting-edge filmmaking technology accessible to filmmakers, especially in post-production.
  • Metaphysic's approach is to extract information from actors' movements and performances, rather than generating art or replacing actors with AI-generated characters.
  • AI-generated art will not completely replace human-created art, but there will likely be a combination of both in the future.
  • Performance art will still be important, as it is difficult to describe with words and convey body movements.
  • Artists should be involved in the development of AI art tools to ensure they are built with the needs of the art community in mind.

Democratizing filmmaking with AI (00:41:42)

  • Democratizing creative tools and platforms through AI allows more people to create content, increasing the potential for discovering original voices and diverse storytelling.
  • AI-powered tools like text-to-speech and speech-to-text improve content localization, making it more accessible to a global audience.
  • Ethical considerations arise with AI-powered dubbing, as actors may prefer preserving their original performances.
  • AI is changing filmmaking production methods, making it easier for individuals to express themselves, but there's no guarantee of quality, and storytelling remains challenging.
  • AI has the potential to reduce production costs, allowing for more experimentation and diverse storytelling, but its impact on certain professions raises concerns.
  • AI is rapidly advancing, and individuals, especially artists, must learn and understand these tools to adapt and survive in the changing landscape.
  • Open and honest discussions are needed about AI's potential benefits and threats, ensuring it complements human creativity and doesn't replace artists' jobs.
  • AI-generated films are gaining box office success, but good storytelling and emotional connection with audiences remain key to success.
  • AI has the potential to democratize filmmaking and storytelling, making it more accessible to a wider range of individuals.
  • Hollywood is resistant to AI due to a lack of understanding and risk management concerns, but it's being tested behind closed doors for practical use cases.
  • Generative AI tools still have limitations in fine-tuning specific details and generating realistic performances, hindering their widespread adoption in filmmaking.
  • Actors are including clauses in their contracts that require the use of VFX to alter their appearance.

The business side of AI in filmmaking (00:58:07)

  • AI in filmmaking can save up to 60-70% in production costs.
  • Savings come from reduced hardware and software costs, as well as faster post-production.
  • The tool is affordable, with prices ranging from $20 to $100 per month, making it accessible to a wider range of users.
  • The goal is to eventually make the tool free, but cloud computing costs prevent this for now.

The Future of movie viewing experiences (01:00:47)

  • Movie viewing experiences will continue to change with new advancements in technology.
  • Interactive mediums, especially for games, are expected to become increasingly popular.
  • Despite the rise of new mediums, traditional movie-going experiences in theaters are unlikely to disappear entirely due to their nostalgic appeal.

Global filmmaking with AI (01:02:01)

  • AI is being embraced by smaller film industries like Nollywood and Bollywood, which lack the resources and expertise of Hollywood.
  • AI-powered tools are democratizing filmmaking, allowing individuals to create high-quality content without significant budgets or equipment.
  • The increased use of AI in filmmaking has led to a surge in film production, with Hollywood producing more films per month than the rest of the industry combined.
  • Language barriers, such as the need for subtitles, can limit the accessibility of foreign films to a wider audience.
  • AI-powered dubbing and subtitling could help overcome language barriers and make foreign films more accessible to global audiences.
  • There is a growing trend of individuals experimenting with AI-powered filmmaking techniques and achieving promising results.
  • The democratization of AI in filmmaking has the potential to disrupt traditional gatekeeping structures and empower new storytellers with efficient storytelling methods.

Bloated messaging apps (Vergecast Hotline) (01:05:29)

  • Messaging apps face challenges in generating revenue solely through messaging services due to the commoditization of texting.
  • Successful messaging companies like WeChat and Snapchat have adopted strategies beyond messaging, such as building ecosystems around messaging or integrating additional features and experiences.
  • Apple is considering transforming its messaging platform into a comprehensive internet platform, allowing users to engage in activities like playing games within the iMessage window without leaving the app.
  • Messaging apps like Signal, WhatsApp, and iMessage may become more valuable as basic and private messaging platforms amidst the push for more interactive features.
  • Apple faces a delicate balance in introducing new features to iMessage without compromising its user-friendly and private messaging experience, as it risks losing users to alternative messaging apps like WhatsApp.
  • The Vergecast predicts an increase in experimentation with interactive features within messaging apps, such as sending games and interactive polls, but expresses skepticism about the integration of AI chatbots in group chats.

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