Developments to the Online Safety Bill

  • In the past few days, there have been ongoing changes to the Online Safety Bill and its development.
  • The culture secretary has said that she is “not ruling out” more changes to the Online Safety Bill after 43 Tory MPs backed a plan to make social media bosses face prison if they fail to protect children from damaging online content.
  • MPs also said that the bill should tighten proposed reforms to prevent streaming sites like Spotify being abused by those who wish to groom children.
  • To read more about the Online Safety Bill, go to the BBC, the Guardian and Yahoo websites.

VALL-E’s voice deepfakes spark concern

  • New voice synthesis machine learning model VALL-E has sparked concern over the possibility of fast and easily made deepfakes.
  • Voice replication apps have been around for years, however VALL-E uses a different approach to creating voices.
  • It has new methods which allow it to create “high-quality personalised speech” from using only 3 seconds of audio from a speaker.
  • The AI generated audio maintains accent, tone, timbre and even the “acoustic environment”.
  • The concern is the potential for scams and impersonation through using the AI generative app.
  • For more on this story, please visit the Tech Crunch website.

School absences in December almost double the annual rate to illness spike

  • The absence rate was 14.3% across all state schools in December, an increase from 7.8% across the year.
  • Government figures suggest that this is nearly double the annual rate, as a result of flu and other seasonal illnesses.
  • Separate data showed there were 721,301 calls to the NHS 111 services in the same week.
  • For more, go to the Express and Star’s website.