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This is your daily dose of ☕️ Techpresso, where you get the latest tech news of the day effortlessly.

Here's the latest tech news from the last 24 hours:

🚀 Meta's new Threads app hits over 30 million signups
📉 First-ever monthly drop in traffic for ChatGPT
🎵 Spotify stops App Store payments for legacy subscribers
🧠 OpenAI doubles down on superalignment research
🚗 Volkswagen to start testing self-driving vehicles in the US

🚀 Meta's new Threads app hits over 30 million signupsLINK

  • Mark Zuckerberg's new app Threads has quickly become a major competitor to Twitter, attracting 22 million users within 12 hours of its launch.
  • Despite this initial surge, Threads still significantly trails Twitter in overall user count, which boasted an estimated 330 million monthly active users in the first half of the year.
  • Analysts suggest Threads could become the most popular text-based social media app due to growing dissatisfaction with Twitter under Elon Musk's leadership.
  • 📉 First-ever monthly drop in traffic for ChatGPTLINK

  • ChatGPT's desktop and mobile traffic experienced its first decline, dropping 9.7 percent globally and 10.3 percent in the U.S. between May and June, with unique visitors and average time spent on the site also falling.
  • Factors potentially contributing to this decline include the launch of the ChatGPT app for iOS which might have reduced traffic from mobile and desktop browsers, and the summer break which could have led to fewer students using the AI for study purposes.
  • Increased traffic to AI chatbot alternatives like Character.AI and Google Bard may also account for some of the drop in ChatGPT's numbers, even as generative AI continues to gain popularity.
  • 🎵 Spotify stops App Store payments for legacy subscribersLINK

  • Spotify is discontinuing the option for existing subscribers who pay through Apple’s App Store, moving them to free accounts at the end of their current billing cycle, and requiring them to purchase a paid plan through the Spotify website.
  • The company's decision stems from ongoing disputes with Apple over App Store fees, and is part of Spotify's broader effort to ensure a consistent, high-quality subscription experience for all users.
  • Spotify, which has more than 500 million monthly active users and over 210 million premium subscribers, previously disabled the in-app purchase option on iPhones in 2016, but this latest move impacts those who were still paying via the App Store.
  • 🧠 OpenAI doubles down on superalignment researchLINK

  • OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, is creating a new research team, the Superalignment team, to ensure its artificial intelligence remains safe for humans and to develop techniques for controlling potentially superintelligent AI.
  • The team's objective is to create a "human-level" AI alignment researcher using a large amount of compute power, starting with training AI systems using human feedback, then training them to assist human evaluation, and finally training them to conduct alignment research.
  • Critics such as AI safety advocate Connor Leahy express concerns that an initial human-level AI could potentially cause damage before it can be directed to address AI safety problems, and suggest that alignment issues should be resolved before developing human-level intelligence.
  • 🚗 Volkswagen to start testing self-driving vehicles in the USLINK

  • Volkswagen has launched an autonomous vehicle testing program in Austin, Texas, using a fleet of 10 all-electric ID Buzz vehicles equipped with Mobileye's technology, under a new subsidiary called Volkswagen ADMT.
  • The program begins with a couple of vehicles in July and plans to expand to all 10 by year's end; these autonomous vehicles, equipped with cameras, lidar, radar, and self-driving software, will initially collect data and have a human safety operator at the wheel.
  • While Volkswagen isn't planning a dedicated ride-hailing service, it plans to sell an autonomous vehicle service – self-driving ID Buzz vans and fleet management software – to companies for delivery or ride-hailing services, with a goal of commercial operations in Austin by 2026.
  • Other news you might like

    Tesla faces potential fines if it doesn't provide the NHTSA with information about its Autopilot systems for a safety probe, stemming from crashes involving stationary first responders' vehicles.LINK

    Decentralized social network Bluesky, backed by Jack Dorsey, partners with Namecheap to offer paid domain services for user verification, steering away from ad-based monetization.LINK

    The Canadian government and major corporations halt advertising on Meta platforms in response to Meta's refusal to pay news publishers under the Online News Act. LINK

    AI-assisted songs are Grammy-eligible, but only human creators can win; the decision emphasizes AI as an enhancing tool, not a replacement for human creativity. LINK

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