AI Lab Midjourney Pauses Service After Users Generate Realistic Deepfakes of Trump, Pope

Last Updated: March 31, 2023, 00:19 IST

Doctored images of the former US president Donald Trump has gone viral on Twitter. (AFP)

Doctored images of the former US president Donald Trump has gone viral on Twitter. (AFP)

Midjourney responded to a request Thursday for a trial with a message saying it could not be provided and to try again another day

Research laboratory Midjourney has paused free trials of its image-generation software after users cranked out realistic deepfakes including of former US president Donald Trump getting arrested and Pope Francis in a puffer jacket.

Midjourney responded to a request Thursday for a trial with a message saying it could not be provided and to try again another day.

The imagery created using the artificial intelligence platform, particularly those of Trump and the pontiff which went viral, have put a spotlight on the San Francisco-based lab.

“Due to a combination of extraordinary demand and trial abuse we are temporarily disabling free trials until we have our next improvements to the system deployed,” Midjourney founder David Holz said in a post this week on the company’s Discord channel.

The service generates realistic looking images based on written prompts made by users.

It launched in test mode in mid-2022, with the independent lab consistently upgrading the software.

Users have praised a freshly released version of Midjourney for improved realism in produced images.

Along with putting the brakes on new free trials, Midjourney banned certain words, such as “arrested,” from being used to prompt image creation.

On Thursday Midjourney denied a request by AFP to generate an image of the former president being arrested in front of Trump Tower in New York.

“The word ‘arrested’ is banned,” a message from Midjourney stated.

“Circumventing this filter to violate our rules may result in your access being revoked.”

Billionaire mogul and Twitter owner Elon Musk and a range of experts called on Wednesday for a pause in the development of powerful artificial intelligence systems to allow time to make sure they are safe.

An open letter, signed by more than 1,000 people so far including Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, was prompted by the release of artificial intelligence platform GPT-4 from Microsoft-backed firm OpenAI.

Canadian AI pioneer Yoshua Bengio, who signed the letter, warned during a virtual press conference in Montreal that “society is not ready” for this powerful tool, and its possible misuses.

“Let’s slow down. Let’s make sure that we develop better guardrails,” he said.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)

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Dell Launches Inspiron 14 And 14 2-in-1 Laptops In India: Price, Specifications And More

Both the laptops sport a 14-inch 16:10 display. (Image: Dell)

Both the laptops sport a 14-inch 16:10 display. (Image: Dell)

Dell has released a new lineup of Inspiron laptops in India, including the Inspiron 14 and Inspiron 14 2-in-1 models. The devices are powered by 13th Gen Intel Core and AMD Ryzen 7000 series processors.

Dell has introduced a new range of Inspiron laptops that includes the Inspiron 14 and Inspiron 14 2-in-1 models in India. These newly released laptops are equipped with 13th Gen Intel Core and AMD Ryzen 7000 series processors, resulting in enhanced performance and connectivity.

Additionally, the laptops come with Dolby Atmos spatial audio integration, displays featuring a 16:10 screen aspect ratio, and Dell ComfortView, which reduces harmful blue light emissions.

Dell Inspiron 14, Inspiron 14 2-in-1 Specifications and Features

Dell Inspiron 14 series laptops get a selection of 13th Gen Intel Core and AMD Ryzen 7000 series processors, and feature WiFi 6E for quick downloads. Dell has also bundled ExpressCharge to fast charge the laptops to 80% in an hour. And, with Thunderbolt 4 port, users can use an external display using a display adapter.

The new laptops sport a 14-inch 16:10 display, with the Inspiron 14 2-in-1s being especially useful for sketching, designing, and streaming. These new laptops come equipped with a 360-degree hinge that enables users to effortlessly switch between four distinct modes, namely tablet, laptop, tent, and stand. The Inspiron 14 2-in-1 laptops, apart from touch screens, also feature an optional active pen stylus that does not require any pairing.

The standard Inspiron 14 is offered with DDR5 memory, while the Inspiron 14 2-in-1 offers the option to choose between—both DDR5 and DDR4 configurations.

Dell Inspiron 14, Inspiron 14 2-in-1 Pricing and Availability

Customers can buy the new lineup from April 7 onwards from Dell Exclusive Stores (DES) and select large format retail outlets. The Inspiron 14 model starts at Rs 64,990, and Inspiron 14 2-in-1’s Intel variant starts at Rs 79,990. The AMD edition of the Inspiron 14 2-in-1 model is priced at Rs 82,190.

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Samsung T7 Shield Compact SSD With 4TB Storage Launched In India: Price, Features

Last Updated: March 30, 2023, 14:52 IST

Samsung T7 series offers performance and durability

Samsung T7 series offers performance and durability

The latest storage model of the T7 Shield series in India promises performance and durability.

Samsung has launched the 4TB variant of the compact T7 Shield SSD in the Indian market this week. The T-series storage devices have been known for their compact design, lightweight dimensions and fast performance.

The company launched the 1TB and 2TB SSDs of this series last year and now people wanting more storage can consider buying the 4TB variant. Samsung claims the T7 Shield SSD has the size and weight of a credit card, allowing you to carry all this storage in your pocket. The T7 Shield works with a myriad of devices, including phones and professional cameras.

Samsung T7 Shield 4TB SSD India Price

Samsung T7 Shield 4TB SSD model is priced between Rs 30,000 to Rs 35,000 and you can buy it in blue, grey and red colours. Samsung is offering the new model via its online store and retail stores across the country. You get it with a 3-year warranty.

Samsung T7 Shield 4TB SSD Features

Samsung’s T-series SSDs are built for rough conditions. It offers dust, water and even shock resistance that keeps all your data secure. As we said, it is as small as a credit card, and ideal for heavy users, especially pro-photographers who shoot a lot outside in straining conditions and need to transfer data quickly.

Speaking of which, the 4TB SSD provides read and write speed of 1,050 MB/s and 1,000 MB/s, respectively. The company says with these speeds you can download a 5GB 4K quality video in around 8 seconds, and 4.4 seconds gets you a 3GB full HD quality video. The SSD can work on PCs with Windows 7 or later versions, macOS 10 or higher and Android versions as well. The drive weighs 98 grams and gets IP652 rating for durability.

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The Best Gaming-Focused Phone Under Rs 30,000

iQOO Neo 7 5G is not a phone that tries to do everything; but it does one thing very well. That is, being a smartphone designed for gaming, iQOO Neo 7 delivers on many fronts, and makes a sensible trade-off—especially considering its affordable price.

Having used the phone for more than a month, I can say with confidence, if you want a gaming phone under Rs 30,000, with reliable performance and a functional design, the iQOO Neo 7 can be a worthy choice.

This is our review of the iQOO Neo 7 5G.

The back panel is quite resistant to fingerprints. (Image: Shaurya Sharma/News18)

Performance: Doesn’t Break a Sweat

iQOO Neo 7’s performance is its main selling point. With the Dimensity 8200 SoC and 12GB RAM, the phone is very fast. I never experienced a lag—whether gaming or doing regular tasks.

For gaming, especially, the phone is a great choice! You can enjoy a smooth 90fps in games like Call of Duty Mobile and the phone can handle heavy workloads for a long time. The longest I played COD Mobile was about 45 minutes at a time, and I did not notice many frame drops.

The iQOO Neo 7 performs well in synthetic benchmarks.

Dimensity 8200, which powers the device, is a 4nm chip, and based on my testing, it sits somewhere in-between the snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and the mighty 8 Gen 2 in terms of gaming.

Sure, it does warm up a bit, but what phone doesn’t, right?

Display, Speakers and Media Consumption

The iQOO Neo 7’s display may not be the best in its class, but it’s still good. With rich blacks thanks to the 120Hz AMOLED panel, and great viewing angles, the display is quite nice. The outdoor brightness, which the brand says is up to 1300 Nits, was enough for me to see the display in bright Rajasthan sun.  What I really appreciate are the slim bezels and the flat display. As a gaming-focused device, the flat display avoids the problem of accidental touches that some high-end flagships from a certain *Galaxy*, ahem, have.

iQOO Neo 7’s 6.78-inch AMOLED panel, for the price, is quite nice. (Image: Shaurya Sharma/ News18)

Speakers, however, need some improvement. Even though they have stereo speakers—one in the ear piece and another on the bottom, the stereo separation, mids and lows are not very good. The speakers are loud enough but lack crispness. For gaming, I did not mind the speakers much as I could hear the footsteps in games clearly. Call quality was also excellent. I could hear the other person well, and they said I sounded good too. So, no issues here.

Camera: Has Potential, but Could Be Better

The iQOO Neo 7 has a dual camera setup on the back—a 64MP main sensor and a secondary ‘bokeh’ sensor. Even though this setup has fewer lenses than the iQOO Neo 6 (which had both wide and ultrawide angle lenses), the image quality from the iQOO Neo 7’s main camera is good for the price.

iQOO Neo 7’s 64MP sensor captures good details in the shadows. (Image: Shaurya Sharma/News18)

The dynamic range in most cases is accurate, with balanced HDR, and highlight roll off is well done. I compared it with the Samsung Galaxy S23, which is a much more expensive device, and I was surprised that I could barely see a difference in terms of details.

In extreme low-light, the images can look slightly washed out. (Image: Shaurya Sharma/News18)

The photos in indoor artificial lighting also come out sharp. The 4k30 video is not very impressive though. It lacks detail, overexposes highlights and is quite shaky.

The front camera, which is a 16MP, will suit the casual selfie taker, but if you like natural shots, without the extra beautification and skin smoothening and restructuring, the iQOO Neo 7 is not the phone for you.

One can achieve shallow DoF thanks to the large sensor. Also, the selfies can look a bit over sharpened.

In Portrait mode, it adds an extra layer of sharpening, which is not very appealing. But considering that the average user does not mind skin smoothening, or even prefers it, I would say, the phone is fine for that.

Here are some more camera samples:

In tricky lighting, unless you tap to focus, the highlights can be blown out. (Image: Shaurya Sharma/News18)
Minimal lens flare is a good thing. (Image: Shaurya Sharma/News18)

Battery Life and the Charging Experience are top notch 

The iQOO Neo 7 did well in the battery department. The phone has a great standby time, and it also lasts a long time—almost a day and a half—for heavy users. And, the best part is—you can charge it very fast if you run low on battery using the 120W fast charger that comes with the phone.

The bundled 120W fast charger is a nice touch.

I could easily charge it from 10% to full in less than 30 minutes. As for the screen-on time, I got around 7.5 hours when off the charger for about a day and a half. I think, the way iQOO has optimized the Dimensity 8200 here plays a key role in ensuring good battery life.

Design: Plastic, but should You care?

The build is mostly plastic, and it does not feel very premium for a phone around Rs 30,000 but is that really important? I mean, if you are looking for a good gaming phone, that is functional, the design should not stop you from buying the device. But, if you prefer premium materials like glass and metal, avoid the iQOO Neo 7.

Image: Shaurya Sharma/News18

The plastic construction does not feel low quality, though, and it actually looks like glass, and resists fingerprints, thanks to the matte finish. Also, it does not get damaged easily. I did not see any deep scratches on the back, or even the display glass for that matter.

Software: A ‘Funtouch’ That Will Grow on You

As a Pixel user, I like my stock Android, and stock-like UIs from other OEMs like Motorola, and even though I may have started the review period with a bias against iQOO’s Funtouch OS, which is based on Android 13—my opinion has changed. I actually like the ‘fun’ touches that iQOO has added—especially the gaming features.

Features like the Ultra Game Mode, which allows things like Frame-rate priority, minimized disturbance, and others like various customization features where you can change touch screen animations, ambient light effects, and even charging animation—make the iQOO Neo 7—a dream for Android power users.

So yes, while I may not need all the features, I’m sure, enthusiasts will enjoy them.

However, one thing I hate about the software experience is the pre-installed apps, which include apps like Byjus, and so on. The hot apps are also annoying, personally. Thankfully, you can uninstall the apps if you want to, which you definitely should. iQOO, please remove these apps.

Verdict: A Reflection of Practicality 

The iQOO Neo 7 is a phone that focuses on gaming performance, and it does that very well. With a fast and reliable processor, a smooth and functional display, a decent main camera, and a long-lasting and quick-charging battery, the phone delivers on its promise. It may not have the most premium design or the best speakers or the most versatile camera setup, but it makes a sensible trade-off for its price. If you are looking for a gaming phone under Rs 30,000, the iQOO Neo 7 is a worthy choice.

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Redmi Note 12 4G And Redmi 12C Launched In India: Price And More Details

Last Updated: March 30, 2023, 20:34 IST

Redmi Note and Redmi devices offer 4G networks and carry a big screen.

Redmi Note and Redmi devices offer 4G networks and carry a big screen.

The new 4G phones from Xiaomi look to offer options for buyers who don’t mind using a 4G device when after 5G has launched.

Xiaomi has added two new 4G phones in the Indian market this week, focusing on those who still prefer quality features over 5G support. The company has launched the new Redmi Note 12 4G and the Redmi 12C budget device in the country which looks to compete with a host of new products launched this month. The company has focused on packing a large capacity battery, a big screen and reliable cameras.

Redmi Note 12 4G And Redmi 12C Price In India

Redmi Note 12 4G price in India starts at Rs 14,999 for the base 4GB + 64GB variant, going up to Rs 16,999 for the 6GB + 128GB variant. Redmi 12C costs Rs 8,999 for the base model and you have to pay Rs 10,999 for the 6GB + 128GB model. Xiaomi will start selling these phones from April 6 onwards.

Redmi Note 12 4G And Redmi 12C Specifications

Redmi Note 12 4G uses the Snapdragon 685 chipset with up to 6GB RAM. You get 4G support only, so don’t buy the phone if you want to use 5G in the near future. It sports a 6.67-inch AMOLED display with support for Full HD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate screen. It has a triple camera system at the back with a 50MP primary sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle sensor and 2MP macro sensor.

The front of the phone gets a 13MP shooter. Redmi Note 12 4G packs a 5000mAh battery that supports 33W charging speed. This Redmi Note gets the MIUI 14 version which is based on Android 13 OS.

As for the Redmi 12C, this budget phone has a large 6.71-inch HD+ display with a water drop notch. It is powered by MediaTek Helio G85 processor with up to 6GB RAM and 128GB storage which is further expandable.

The fingerprint sensor is at the back, you have the striped-styled design on the back panel. You have dual cameras of 50 MP and 2MP sensors, and a 5MP camera on the front. Redmi 12C also gets a 5000mAh battery but only with 10W charging speed but you have the microUSB port.

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Google Says Microsoft Cloud Practices Are Anti-Competitive

Last Updated: March 30, 2023, 16:34 IST

Google's Cloud business is a direct rival to Microsoft

Google’s Cloud business is a direct rival to Microsoft

Alphabet’s Google Cloud has accused Microsoft of anticompetitive cloud computing practices and criticised imminent deals with several European cloud vendors, saying these do not solve broader concerns about its licensing terms.

BRUSSELS:Alphabet’s Google Cloud has accused Microsoft of anti-competitive cloud computing practices and criticised imminent deals with several European cloud vendors, saying these do not solve broader concerns about its licensing terms.

In Google Cloud’s first public comments on Microsoft and its European deals its Vice President Amit Zavery told Reuters the company has raised the issue with antitrust agencies and urged European Union antitrust regulators to take a closer look.

In response, Microsoft referred to a blogpost in May last year where its president Brad Smith said it ‘has a healthy number two position when it comes to cloud services, with just over 20 percent market share of global cloud services revenues’.

“We are committed to the European Cloud Community and their success,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Reuters on Thursday.

There is intense rivalry between the two U.S. tech giants in the fast-growing, multi-billion-dollar cloud computing business, where Google trails market leader Amazon and Microsoft.

The sector has recently drawn greater regulatory scrutiny, including in the United States and in Britain, because of the dominance of a few players and its increasingly critical role as more and more companies shift their services to the cloud.

Microsoft has offered to change its cloud computing practices in a deal with a few smaller rivals which in turn will suspend their antitrust complaints, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters this week.

The move will stave off an EU investigation.

“Microsoft definitely has a very anti-competitive posture in cloud. They are leveraging a lot of their dominance in the on-premise business as well as Office 365 and Windows to tie Azure and the rest of cloud services and make it hard for customers to have a choice,” Zavery said in an interview late on Wednesday.

“When we talk to a lot of our customers, they find a lot of these bundling practices, as well as the way they create pricing and licensing restrictions, make it difficult for them to choose other providers,” he added.


Zavery said individual deals struck with several smaller European cloud vendors only benefit Microsoft.

“They’re selectively kind of buying out those ones who complain and not make those terms available to everyone. So that definitely makes it an unfair advantage to Microsoft and ties the people who complained back to Microsoft anyway,”

“Whatever they’re offering, there should be terms across for everybody, not just for one or two they’ve chosen and pick, and that shows you that they have so much market power they can kind of go and do those things individually.”

“My point to the regulators would be that they should look at this holistically, even though one or two vendors might settle doesn’t solve the broader problem. And that’s the problem we need to really resolve, not individual vendors’ problems.”

The European Commission declined to comment.

Microsoft still faces another EU antitrust complaint from CISPE, whose members include Amazon. The trade group has rejected the Microsoft’s changes.

Zavery dismissed the suggestion that the issue is merely a spat between Google and Microsoft.

“The question is not about Google. I just want to make it very clear. It’s the cloud. The premise with cloud was to have an open, flexible way to deploy your software and have customers more choices so that they can run their software in any place they choose to in a much more easy way,” he said.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)

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Twitter CEO Elon Musk Is Now The Most-Followed Person On Twitter

Last Updated: March 30, 2023, 18:27 IST

Musk paid $44 billion to buy Twitter last year

Musk paid $44 billion to buy Twitter last year

Musk seems to have got some of his money back from the $44 billion deal for the platform.

The Twitter acquisition has helped its CEO Elon Musk become the world’s most followed person on the platform, as the Chief Twit on Thursday dethroned former US President Barack Obama as the most followed person on Twitter.

The billionaire who bought Twitter for $44 billion last year now has 133,068,709 followers, compared to Obama’s 133,042,819, according to the follower counts.

Top celebrities like Justin Bieber with over 113 million Twitter followers and Katy Perry with over 108 million followers are at the third and fourth most-followed spots, respectively.

Musk reached the 100 million followers-mark in June last year and since then, there has been a meteoric rise in his popularity.

While Obama hardly tweets, especially promoting a key social cause or highlighting his work as the US President, Musk keeps tweeting left, right and centre on nearly all the topics that trend in the world.

Musk in February said he was making his Twitter account private to see if it improves reach.

“Made my account private until tomorrow morning to test whether you can see my private tweets more than my public ones,” he posted.

This meant the only people able to see the billionaire’s tweets were his followers and no one was able to retweet Musk’s tweets either.

It came amid complaints from users that their tweets were not being seen by as many people as they used to.

Musk later removed the private setting from his account.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)

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Apple Could Bring eSIM Variants Of iPhone 15 Series To More Countries In 2023

Last Updated: March 30, 2023, 17:11 IST

iPhone 15 series eSIM variants mean no physical SIM

iPhone 15 series eSIM variants mean no physical SIM

Apple introduced the eSIM-only variants in limited markets with the iPhone 14 series last year.

iPhone 15 series with eSIM-only variant could reach more countries when it launches in 2023 as per new reports. Apple introduced the first-of-kind eSIM iPhone 14 models in the US last year, which means you don’t have any physical SIM slot on the device.

And this week’s report hints that Apple will expand the support for eSIM-only iPhones with the iPhone 15 series this year to countries like France and some other parts of Europe. It is unlikely that Apple will launch this variant in Asian markets, where eSIM penetration is still low. eSIM has been around for sometime now and the first iPhones to get eSIM support (dual connectivity) were the iPhone X and Xr.

Gradually, we have seen the likes of Samsung and Google introduce eSIM tech into their premium devices for consumers across all markets. eSIM basically gives you a digital SIM registration for another mobile number, and telcos are trying their best to simplify the process of getting an eSIM. Adoption of eSIM in countries like India is negligible and we are some way from seeing the technology make its way to mid-range devices.

Coming to the iPhone 15 series, Apple is likely to launch them at its usual September timeline this year. The company is rumoured to have four variants, which includes the vanilla model, Plus, Pro and the Pro Max. Some reports even suggest that the Pro Max could be called Ultra but we don’t see that happening. It is also said that all the iPhone 15 models will feature the Dynamic Island notch, however, the Pro variants will still carry the ProMotion high-res refresh rate screen.

Apple is also expected to bring USB C for charging the iPhone 15 series, as the company is being compelled thanks to changing rules in Europe and other markets. Apple has already confirmed the dates for the WWDC 2023 conference which starts on June 5 and will be an online event this year as well.

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Krafton Partners With UniPin To Offer Secure Transactions And Rewards For Road to Valor: Empires Players

Road to Valor: Empires is a real-Time PvP strategy game. (Image: Krafton/Google Play)

Road to Valor: Empires is a real-Time PvP strategy game. (Image: Krafton/Google Play)

KRAFTON has collaborated with UniPin to offer a seamless transaction experience for its real-time PvP Strategy game, Road to Valor: Empires.

In a new collaboration aimed at enhancing the player experience for Road to Valor: Empires, KRAFTON has collaborated with UniPin to offer a seamless transaction experience. UniPin, as the official distribution partner of Road to Valor: Empires, will provide players a secure top-up process, whether they choose to transact online or offline.

This partnership will also allow players to buy in-game packs and receive exclusive rewards and discounts on UniPin’s platform. The developer claims that through this partnership, the in-game purchasing process for players will become user-friendly and hassle-free.

“With this collaboration, we’re bringing a seamless and secured payment experience to our community, ensuring that players can fully immerse themselves in the game, and enjoy an unparalleled experience. Our goal has always been to provide our players with the best possible gaming experience, and this partnership allows us to welcome our players with exciting new rewards,” said Siddharth Mehrotra, Head- Business Development, KRAFTON, Inc. India

Road to Valor: Empires is a casual real-time PvP Strategy game—where players can embark on missions, build armies, and battle mythical soldiers and warriors. Additionally, the game offers personalized game rooms for players to play with friends, and a Hindi user interface to enhance accessibility and appeal to the Indian market. The game is now available to download and play on both Android and iOS.

“Considering the market potential for mobile games in South Asia, UniPin’s expertise to facilitate seamless game top-ups and KRAFTON’s experience and leadership in mobile gaming, this partnership would delight gamers with the easiest, safe & most convenient top-up flow across online & offline distribution channels of UniPin.” said Akshay Sethi, Regional Director for UniPin South Asia.

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