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It’s commonly remarked that money is a shared fiction. With cryptocurrencies, the setup is more akin to a shared metafiction, with the genre’s insecurity apparently adding to the thrill. Due to a combination of GameStop-style pumping and boosterish tweets from Elon Musk, the value of Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency founded as a joke, has increased by 8,000% since January. The commodification of cryptocurrency, as it’s been dubbed, is clearly a significant event in the financial world. It’s also significant for the rest of the world. This is especially true in the case of Bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency. Bitcoin, like Dogecoin, has recently risen in value. The potential reward from “mining” bitcoin has risen in tandem with the expense of investing in it. Of all, Bitcoin mining is only a metaphor, but the consequences can be just as harmful as the actual thing.

Bitcoin mining operations utilise roughly a hundred and twenty terawatt-hours of electricity each year, according to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index. This is the total annual home power usage in Sweden as a whole. According to the website Digiconomist, a single bitcoin transaction consumes the same amount of energy as an ordinary American household in a month and emits about a million times the amount of carbon dioxide as a single Visa transaction. Does it make sense to devote a Sweden’s worth of electricity to a virtual currency at a time when the world sorely needs to reduce carbon emissions? The response appears to be a resounding nay. Nonetheless, here we are.

The process of creating and accounting for bitcoin is known as mining. Bitcoin transactions are recorded by a decentralised network called a blockchain, rather than being cleared by a bank. Miners compete by solving cryptographic riddles to register the most recent “block” of transactions. The first person to solve the problem gets awarded with a newly created bitcoin. Today, miners receive 6.25 bitcoins per block, which are worth moreover $300,000 at current exchange rates. Nobody knows who came up with the idea for bitcoin, hence no one knows what went through their heads when the mining procedures were created. However, it appears that the contract was made with equity in mind. Anyone dedicating a processor to the project would have a stake in the outcome just as much as anyone else. But, as is so frequently the case, the ideal was quickly shattered.

Specialized computing devices—so-called mining rigs—were quickly determined to be far more effective at solving these issues. Furthermore, these mining companies benefit from economies of scale in their operations. As a result, the mining process, which was once carried out by a loose federation of apparently independent miners using ordinary computing machines, has been significantly consolidated. Because rig “farms,” which are basically server farms, take a lot of energy, bitcoin mining firms prefer to look for low-cost electricity. In today’s world, China accounts for over 70% of bitcoin mining. Russia, as well as Iran, where electricity is subsidised, is a bitcoin-mining hotspot—there are large operations in Siberia, where low temperatures keep rig farms from overheating.

Finding affordable power in the United States, which accounts for around 7% of global bitcoin mining, can be difficult. Miners “devolved upon” Plattsburgh, New York, some 150 miles north of Albany, which derives much of its electricity from hydroelectric dams on the St. Lawrence River, a few years ago. Although the power is very inexpensive, Plattsburgh will have to acquire additional at higher prices after its allocation is depleted. The cost of electricity in Plattsburgh was so high as a result of bitcoin mining that the city put a moratorium on new mining facilities in 2018.

Greenidge Production Holdings, a vertically integrated bitcoin mining and power generation firm based in Upstate New York, announced plans to more than treble its bitcoin-mining activities in Dresden by the fall of 2021, and then more than double again by the end of 2022. It also said it plans to “replicate its vertically integrated mining approach at other power locations.” Greenidge will have to use more and more natural gas to grow its activities in Dresden, resulting in increased greenhouse-gas emissions. Protests have erupted in the Finger Lakes region as a result of the firm’s ambitions. In retaliation, a hundred demonstrators marched to the plant’s gates. Greenidge’s bid to erect four new facilities at the site to house extra mining rigs was granted by the local planning authority. Members of the planning board admitted that they are aware that bitcoin is a huge waste of energy, but that they are obligated by law.

It is arguable whether this is the case. What is beyond discourse at least should be—is that this is not a topic that should be decided by a local planning board. There is no way for New York, or the United States as a whole, to reach its emissions-reduction goals if outdated power plants are turned into bitcoin-mining operations rather than being shut down. Greenidge may be the first cryptocurrency mining company to operate a “wholly-owned power plant,” but it won’t be the last: Digihost International has already applied to the New York State Public Service Commission for approval to own a natural-gas-burning station in Buffalo.

When the world is already is on the precipice of a global climate crisis, with cities running haywire, spending billions in money to protect them from sea-level rise. Increased emissions are pretty much the last thing we need. While bitcoins have surely taken over the world, we need to take a step back and think about the severe consequences of such crypto-mining quests.

 

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Kamikaze Drones – Latest from Russia Ukraine War Front

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Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are aircraft that do not require a human pilot onboard. They can perform various functions such as reconnaissance, surveillance, communication, or combat support. However, there is a special type of drone that is designed to be used as a weapon itself. These are called Kamikaze drones or loitering munitions. 

Kamikaze drones are aerial weapon systems that can loiter around the target area passively for a while before striking once a target is found. They explode when they contact the target and are loaded with explosives. Because their wings fold out as they are launched, they are also known as switchblades or suicide drones.

Various nations and actors have utilised kamikaze drones in an array of wars and crises. They have benefits like stealth, accuracy, cost-effectiveness, and drawbacks including vulnerability, moral dilemmas, and a finite range. They differ from UAVs in their use, functionality, and design. We shall examine the development, characteristics, uses, and implications of kamikaze drones in contemporary warfare in this article. 

Evolution of Kamikaze Drones

The concept of kamikaze drones is not new. It dates back to World War II when Japan used manned aircraft loaded with explosives to conduct suicide attacks against Allied ships. These were called kamikaze (divine wind) missions, and they caused significant damage and casualties to the enemy. However, the modern version of kamikaze drones emerged in the late 20th century, with the advancement of technology and miniaturization. 

The US was one of the first countries to develop and deploy loitering munitions, such as the Harpy anti-radar drone developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in the 1980s. The Harpy could detect and destroy enemy radar emitters autonomously. Since then, several countries have developed and acquired their versions of kamikaze drones, such as Israel’s Harop and Hero series, Turkey’s Kargu and Alpagu series, China’s CH-901 and WS-43 series, Iran’s Raad-85 and Ababil-3 series, etc. Some of these drones can be launched from ground vehicles, aircraft, ships, or even soldiers’ backpacks.

Kamikazes in the Russia-Ukraine War

In the Russia-Ukraine war, both sides have been using various types of drones and UAVs for surveillance, reconnaissance, communication, and combat support. However, since autumn 2022, Russia has been using a new type of drone that has caused significant damage and casualties to the Ukrainian forces. These are the Iranian-made Shahed-136 kamikaze drones.

What are Shahed-136 Kamikaze Drones?

The Shahed-136 kamikaze drones are loitering weapons that could fly independently or remotely to a target location and then detonate upon collision, destroying both the target and themselves. Russia refers to them as Geranium-2. They contain explosives in a warhead on their nose and are programmed to hover over a target until told to attack. The Shahed-136 has a wingspan of around 2.5m (8.2ft) and is difficult to detect on radar. It has a range of about 2,000 kilometres (1,240 miles) and an endurance of up to ten hours. It has a cargo capacity of up to 50kg (110lb) and a top speed of 250km/h (155mph). It can direct itself to its target using GPS or inertial navigation technologies.

How are Shahed-136 Kamikaze Drones Used by Russia?

Since October 2022, Russia has started utilising Shahed-136 kamikaze drones to target Ukrainian forces along the Donbas front line. Since then, Russia has launched over 300 drone strikes, killing over 200 soldiers and wounding over 500 more, according to Ukrainian sources. Russia has also targeted civilian infrastructure, including power plants, bridges, railroads, and factories. Russia frequently employs swarms of drones to overpower Ukrainian air defences and cause confusion and panic among troops. Drones are also used by Russia to offer real-time intelligence and guidance for artillery and missile attacks. Russia maintains that the drone operations are in response to provocations and violations of ceasefire agreements by Ukraine.

How is Ukraine Trying to Combat Shahed-136 Kamikaze Drones?

Ukraine has been trying to counter the drone threat by using various means such as small arms fire, heavy machine guns, portable anti-air missiles, electronic jamming devices, and counter-drones. However, these methods have proven to be ineffective or insufficient when faced with large numbers or high speeds of drones. Ukraine has also sought international assistance and support to enhance its air defence capabilities and acquire more advanced drones and UAVs. The US has said it is supplying Ukraine with 700 of its Switchblade kamikaze drones, but it is unknown whether any have been used. The US has also provided Ukraine with Javelin anti-tank missiles, radars, communications equipment, and training. Ukraine has also used its kamikaze drones to attack Russian targets in Crimea and inside Russian territory. In autumn 2022, Ukraine used kamikaze drones of some sort to attack a Russian military base in western Crimea, an airbase near Sevastopol, and ships in Sevastopol harbour. In December 2022, Ukraine used kamikaze drones for three separate attacks on airbases at Saratov and Ryazan – both hundreds of miles inside Russian territory.

Development of UAVs and Drones in the India-Pakistan Equation

India and Pakistan are two rival neighbours in South Asia who have been engaged in several wars and conflicts over the years. Both countries have been developing and acquiring UAVs and drone technologies for military and civilian purposes. However, there are some differences in their approaches and achievements in this domain. The following table summarizes the comparison of India and Pakistan in UAV and drone technology:

Aspect Pakistan India
Market size Smaller and more focused on military applications Larger and more diverse with potential use cases in various sectors
Talent pool Smaller and more dependent on foreign partners Larger and more independent with domestic innovation and development
Policy framework Supportive but less transparent and consistent Supportive and more liberal and progressive
Ecosystem Vibrant but less mature and competitive Vibrant and more mature and competitive
Strategic advantage Higher due to geopolitical location and security interests Lower due to geopolitical location and security interests
Import dependence Higher for high-endurance and combat-capable platforms Lower for high-endurance and combat-capable platforms
Cybersecurity threats Higher due to hostile actors and weak systems Lower due to hostile actors and strong systems
Ethical and legal issues Higher due to autonomous targeting and accountability concerns Lower due to autonomous targeting and accountability concerns

 

India has a growing UAV and drone technology industry that is diverse and innovative in various domains and a supportive policy framework and a vibrant ecosystem of drone startups and companies. But with rapidly failing nations as neighbours, India must ensure all border security organizations are adept and capable of utilising these drones to maximum capability. 

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Swarm Drones – A Weapon India Needs Immediately & Abundantly 

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The nation was in awe when 1,000 swarm drones performed a breathtaking display during the Beating Retreat Ceremony in New Delhi on January 29, 2022. Botlab Dynamics produced the programme domestically as part of the Make in India initiative. India became the fourth country to accomplish this achievement with a display of 1,000 locally made swarm drones, giving it a significant foundation in the drone technology industry. We, Russia, and China have also performed swarm drone shows.

What are Swarm Drones, and How do they work?

To achieve their assigned goal or other specific missions, such as targeted strikes or supporting tactical operations, swarm drones are uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) flown in large clusters (or many clusters) in contested, hostile, or hostile airspace. These drones cooperate and are either remote-controlled or driven by onboard processors independently. They could be used effectively for various tasks, including disguising assets on enemy radar, locating enemy radar sites, destroying enemy air defences, and performing simultaneous Suppression/Destruction of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD/DEAD) roles.

A swarm of drones can execute various objectives, including attacks on tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, ammo storage facilities, fuel depots, and terror launch pads. 

Global perspective

The speed of life in this era is relatively rapid. Several well-known swarm technologies exist today, including:

  • The French Icarus project
  • The Russian Lightning
  • The Spanish RAPAZ
  • The UK’s Blue Bearswarm
  • The UAE/South African N-Raven
  • Israel is working on numerous projects, such as Sky Striker. The Israel Defence Forces used a drone swarm in warfare for the first time in May 2021 while battling Hamas. 
  • The Army, Air Force, Navy, and DARPA are exploring different swarm initiatives, with several services working on numerous projects, while the Marine Corps is making headway with kamikaze drone swarms.
  • China has several swarm programmes.

Swarm Drones: China and India

swarm drones china and india

Chinese swarm drone technology has already advanced quickly. The nation published a video depicting a truck-mounted system firing a volley of swarms in 2021. It was the first time a system of this size had ever been used in actual practice anyplace in the globe. The test proved that the entire procedure, including the quick deployment of vehicles, intensive launching, hovering and launching in the air, exact formation, formation change, ground inspection and attack, and precision strike, was capable. 

Regarding India, the Indian Army showcased its drone capabilities on January 15 with the 73rd Army Day, including Kamikaze attacks and strikes using a mothership. In this first-ever demonstration, 75 drones were released from different heights, including smaller quadcopters and larger hexacopters. 13 targets were hit throughout the show, including mock mortar positions, artificial army concentrations, fuel dumps, radar sites, terrorist hideouts, and helipads. The drones were coordinated using area correlation technologies and satellite feeds. With high-impact warheads, these completely autonomous drones can launch missions targeting pre-specified hostile assets up to 50 km inside enemy territory.  In a self-destructive attack, drones can hit objects at a distance of 100 miles. The drones were produced in association with a start-up with headquarters in Bengaluru. The skills they brought to the service were much more than what they demonstrated.

However, it will take time for the new technology to be correctly assimilated and to develop local strategies. Although several drones are currently used for border monitoring and anti-terrorist operations, the drones on show during the Army Day ceremony were highly advanced, autonomous, and armed UAVs.

In November 2021, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) demonstrated a homegrown capability to carry out offensive missions in enemy territory with swarms of drones working in different formations to identify, encircle, and strike targets. The loitering munitions were developed to meet crucial military requirements and keep soldiers safe. The capability display took place on the first day of a three-day defence event in Jhansi related to the ongoing nationwide celebrations of the nation’s 75th anniversary of independence.

Swarm Drones – Future Military Applications

There are numerous potential military uses for a drone swarm, even if drone technology has largely moved away from human-crewed operations for commercial use. They can conduct reconnaissance missions, surveillance, or target hostile personnel or facilities. A drone swarm might also deter an armed conflict by scanning an area for covert weaponry to build barriers or bar entry to specific locations. A group of networked drones might perform better than separately managed drones in several situations.

Conclusion 

One of the most revolutionary inventions of the modern period is still drones. Drone technology is still developing and demonstrating its value in many fields. This technology is expected to remain at the forefront for the foreseeable future thanks to advances in battery performance, better sensors, payloads with extended capabilities, and more perceptive artificial intelligence. But what significant development in UAV technology will come next? Many think that drone swarm technology is the subsequent considerable development for drones. Military leaders worldwide are already interested in technology, and business interest is rising. Swarms are being observed by the advertising and entertainment industries as well. One outstanding example is the record-breaking 3,281 drone display Genesis used to introduce itself to China on April 5, 2021. 

 

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Which is the future of movies: OTT platforms or theaters?

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Looking back over the last few years in India, we can see that OTT providers have been able to deliver high-quality content to our adjacent screens over the Internet, and that the platform subscriber growth rate is now moving toward high levels despite the COVID-19 epidemic lockdown. In addition to using its collection, OTT businesses invest a lot of money in producing their content. Several causes include new technology, declining data costs, and quicker Internet at home and online. The ease of watching video from OTT sources has been made possible by the entertainment oriented design of today’s smartphones, tablets, laptops, and smart TVs.

In India, there has been a steady increase in movie consumption. There is more than enough entertainment to view, and there are people who are passionate about movies. Going to the film has been a terrific way to pass the time. The rivalry is becoming more intense due to the changing times and the rise of OTT platforms and streaming applications in India. The OTT platforms vs. theaters competition are taking place in the race to offer viewers excellent content. The future of movie streaming applications, OTT platforms, and theaters appears bright due to the rise in movie viewers. Users can create a wide range of multimedia content using over-the-top platforms, streaming apps, and streaming media services. It provides broadcast, Internet, cable, and satellite television programming. OTT platforms are becoming increasingly popular due to changing lifestyles and a growth in smartphone usage with low-cost internet connections.

India has one of the highest rates of growth in the world, according to my research. Movies, in particular, are a huge source of enjoyment for Indians. A family outing where they may spend time together is what theater-going represents for Indian families. The future of movies, movie theaters, and OTT platforms is now looking much better with the launch of numerous new movie streaming apps in India.

OTT platforms and streaming apps have tried to expand their following and user base in India. Numerous streaming apps are setting up studios to create more content. Original content is an essential factor that attracts viewers and aids the growth of OTT Platforms in India. Awide range of original web series and films in many genres are available on all streaming apps. Many streaming services also provide programs and movies in regional languages. They collaborate with regional production businesses to create their films and television shows. Many telecom firms have also launched their OTT platforms and streaming apps to provide users with content.

 

Over the past three years, India has seen a double-digit surge in streaming apps. As a result, OTT platforms are competingagainst one another. With so many options available across different apps, viewers may find deciding which one to utilize challenging. Find out which of these two well-liked streaming apps is superior by reading our comparison between them.

 

There are benefits and drawbacks to the battle betweenmovie theaters and streaming apps. While watching a movie in a theater is a beautiful cinematic experience, OTT platforms allow you to enjoy entertainment in the comfort of your own home. They both provide excellent viewing experiences and material. 

 

People used to get excited about watching new movies on the big screen. They still are, but they are now prepared to wait until they are made available on or bought by the OTT platforms. More than ever, several well-known streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Primeare purchasing the digital rights to the highest-grossing movies. Children are crucial to the success of streaming apps. They need relatable, exciting content, which OTT platforms can offer. In contrast to movie theaters, consumers can select to view anything at any time and from any location.

Many producers now opt to broadcast their low-budget movies directly on OTT platforms. Getting movies with a small budget and unknown actors out there can be challenging. Due to India’s lack of theaters, it can sometimes take time to determine a film’s release date. It is better to put them on streaming apps to reduce the expense of printing and advertising and prevent the conflict of release dates. Still, a significant portion of a movie’s earnings come from its theatrical premiere. Nonetheless, it now works to their mutual advantage that movies are released on OTT platforms after they have been seen in theaters. Both producers and OTT media can increase their revenue.

 

In India’s streaming market, movie theaters and OTT platforms offer unique USPs. On the one hand, movie theaters provide the chance to enjoy 3D films with excellent sound and visuals. The language barrier does not exist on OTT platforms, though. The option of subtitles in several languages, including regional ones, is available onstreaming apps in addition to the choice of material in other languages. Also, we can watch tailored content on OTT platforms, whichprovide recommendations based on our viewing preferences.

 

Movie theaters have a fee depending on the film, the time of the performance, and the seats. In contrast, OTT platforms bill customers monthly and annually according to their chosen plans, which offer various features and content. The fact that streaming apps provide a variety of content for users who do not pay for their premium services is an advantage. Thus, OTT platforms are less expensive in terms ofcost. There are more pauses and brseaks when watching movies at home because it is more comfortable. In contrast, there won’t be any interruptions when you watch a movie in a theater.

 

It is encouraging to see how the Indian public perceives the developments in the media and entertainment sectors. According to the Indian market, these applications are revolutionizing the country’s media and entertainment industries. These advancements include accessibility, content effectiveness, affordable media, and creative initiatives. In India, over-the-top applications have a bright future, according to my research. The ease of use and mobility, the variety of content, the prevalence of smartphones, and the cost-effectiveness of the applications are factors that Indian users believe will contribute to their success in this nation. However, OTT services must replicate several aspects of theaters, such as screen size, sound quality, the theatrical experience, and ambiance.

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 I Tried ChatGPT, & Its Okay

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As of November 30, 2022, anyone can use ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer). A chatbot prototype named ChatGPT was made available by OpenAI. The AI-powered chatbot, which can produce code and handle various other sophisticated questions and requests, is gaining more appeal than earlier chatbots.

I wanted to investigate the security implications of the most recent newsworthy development and how it can affect privacy, data, and threat actors because the societal ramifications of AI will continue to evolve as the technology is employed more widely.

Over the years, many of my co-workers have predicted that something will fundamentally alter the security landscape and significantly impact the cyber security business. The likelihood that AI advancements will lead to anything is growing.

Cutting-edge technological advancements frequently make headlines for a short while before fading into academic or commercial applications, but AI is increasingly becoming a normal part of life. Through chatbots, online commerce, fraud detection, and voice assistants, we frequently interact with AI without realizing it. Although security research in this field is expanding, implementing the best practices suggested in that research may need to catch up with current technological advancements.

Despite the fact that ChatGPT, a favorite on the Internet, has grown in popularity over time! But, I have also discovered certain flaws in ChatGPT, a recent creation from OpenAI. ChatGPT content is the issue. 

There are various Flaws of ChatGPT that you could have missed.

Older design: Based on online-accessible training data from 2021, ChatGPT is currently available. There may be slight differences in the outcomes it gives because it is already two years old, and the SAP ecosystem has changed significantly since then. Even more sophisticated ChatGPT-4 is expected to debut in 2023. What enhancements will it make to ABAP writing? Wait and see, then.

Response quality: ChatGPT will inevitably give incorrect responses because it is “simply” a language model. In light of this, it might be wise to rely only partially on its production. I suggest verifying the solutions it offers using one of two trustworthy sources.

There is only text: ChatGPT provides text-based findings. This means that we still require someone to handle non-code setups, fill out customized tables, transport changes, put code into an ABAP editor, and possibly debug to identify issues.

Provide Inaccurate Information: I noticed a couple of situations where ChatGPT’s use was constrained because it couldn’t provide precise answers to the questions. It provides inaccurate and irrelevant text since it is unable to understand and adapt to specific inquiries. This AI model cannot always be relied upon to produce correct results, making its usage or trust risky at times.

Extremely Formal: The bias in ChatGPT’s output prevents it from unwinding and behaving naturally. Instead, it typically gives formal responses. Humans, on the other hand, frequently reply to questions in a less official, more casual manner using everyday language and slang. The answers also lack humor, analogies, and sarcasm, which can make ChatGPT content too formal for a variety of content.

Provides summaries: I feel that ChatGPT’s academic works lacked depth on the subject. ChatGPT summarises the topic without offering any unique viewpoints. People create using knowledge, but they also include their own opinions and experiences.

The inability of language models: to comprehend or interpret word and phrase meaning in the same way that people do is another drawback. They can simply produce text using the patterns and connections they have discovered from training data. This implies that they might not always be able to respond to more complicated or abstract topics in a nuanced or intelligent manner.

What could go wrong with this technology?

Keeping tabs on the enormous number of code vulnerabilities is already a burden for the cybersecurity community. Because AI is quicker and more intelligent than humans at identifying weaknesses, these numbers will rise much further. We could witness the weaponization of freshly discovered vulnerabilities in minutes rather than days if AI coders were combined with them. The impact of this discovery on the development of technology may equal, for example, that of the invention of the iPhone or the widespread use of the Internet. Will a service like ChatGPT have a comparable influence on the kind of inflection they brought about in the years to come? Perhaps even more? ChatGPT’s future success or failure will only become apparent with time.

AI is not yet better or faster, but we anticipate it will be. One day, AI will be able to identify weaknesses, turn them into weapons, and create payloads, all without the help of humans.

Chat-GPT is an excellent first step; it is not a panacea for search or chat. Rather, it is a very significant improvement. Using ensemble methods to go from text to multimodal input and output is what I think the next step will do to really alter the game. Moreover, it should be emphasized that Chat-GPT appears to be getting better as we use it, so many of the points I made above might not be relevant even in a week, based on how quickly I am observing things getting better right now.

“Chat-GPT is a subset of OpenAI’s GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) language model. Like other language models, Chat-GPT is intended to produce text that closely resembles human speech based on the input it gets. It can produce a variety of responses to different prompts and questions because it was trained on a sizable text dataset.

My Honest Verdict

To sum up, Chat GPT is a potent natural language processing technology with a variety of uses. It also has certain drawbacks, such as a limited comprehension of context and background information, a hard time recognizing irony and sarcasm, a lack of common sense and general knowledge, and a restricted capacity to comprehend and react to complex inquiries. Moreover, ethical issues such as bias in training data, misuse and abuse of technology, influence on job displacement, and loss of human interaction, privacy, and security must be taken into account.

Considering what I’ve said thus far, I can categorically state that this software is among the most creative real-world chatbot instances and has a wide range of potential applications. However, I recommend that you consider it as a fantastic and extremely valuable tool that can greatly improve your performance in this area rather than a solution to completely automate your content creation.

In the end, Chat-GPT is a brilliant model that has the potential to generate chaos.

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TikTok- an Intelligence Gathering App?

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In recent years, TikTok has become a global sensation, with millions of users creating and sharing short-form videos on the platform. However, as the app’s popularity has grown, so too have concerns about its privacy and security. With reports of data breaches and potential links to the Chinese government, many are questioning whether TikTok is more than just a harmless entertainment app, but rather an intelligence gathering tool for foreign powers. In this article, we’ll explore the evidence behind these claims and examine the potential risks associated with using TikTok.

Technology advancements have fueled previously unheard-of social and economic growth. However, advanced technology development has also been a part of the fourth industrial revolution. It is causing disruption, new points of vulnerability, and adverse side effects that still need to be fully understood, much less managed. Cybersecurity is a challenge in a digitalized society as global threats increase. Rising dangers include identity theft and fraud, cyberattacks, and intrusions of vital infrastructure, electrical networks, and financial markets. Our lives are now more than ever dominated by communication technologies. It offers countless advantages but also new risks. For instance, the phenomenon of fake news is similar. But digital technology, which has led to the multiplication of information outlets and the growth of social media, is primarily to blame for its pervasiveness today. 

The Rise of TikTok

Zhang Yiming created Musical.ly in September 2016, and in November 2017, Beijing’s Bytedance Technology purchased the app musical.ly and changed the name to TikTok. This app quickly rose to the top spot among Chinese-developed apps in worldwide distribution. 800 million monthly users were  reported as on November 2020, while 738 million first-time installs were anticipated in 2019.  

It is also essential to comprehend why people use TikTok and related subjects. Such comprehension is also necessary in light of recent research findings that TikTok is an effective medium for educating young people about such issues as their health, government information releases, political debates, travel-related information, live online sales, and even educational material. Even video posts have been examined in a radiology-related academic publication.

What Makes TikTok so Compelling? 

First off, unlike other social media, the app’s algorithm offers material to users based on their behavior and data signals rather than on who they choose to follow. This implies that users can skip any other accounts to view a personalized feed of videos based on their interests and behavior each time they log in. Most of the app’s content is short-form video, with the typical video lasting between 21 and 34 seconds and offering regular bursts of excitement. The software also automatically starts playing the following video, so users are repeatedly “pushed” to watch one video after another.

Is TikTok a Terrifying App?

It is no surprise that TikTok, the immensely well-liked entertainment app, has generated some controversy. If you’ve ever used TikTok, you know that it’s a platform for quick, amateur videos, typically featuring young adults lip-syncing to songs or imitating their favorite memes, along with the typical dog and cat videos that are all over the internet. 

Can you guess the minimum age to access TikTok? It is just 13 years!! However parents of young teens can take solace in the fact that at least the minimum age to send direct messages to other users may be 16 years.

What claims have been made against TikTok? There are mainly four charges put up against TikTok: 

  • The personal information TikTok obtains when registering an account can be (mis)used by the Chinese state.  
  • Downloading the app provides you access to Chinese malware. 
  • TikTok is a platform for Chinese influence operations. 
  • Chinese intelligence services use TikTok to gather vital information. 

It’s excellent that Chinese spying and cybersecurity are now important public debate points still; occasionally, it feels more like a robotic repetition of accusations without regard to likelihood rather than thoughtful analysis. If you’ve watched TikTok, you could find it addictive, but there isn’t anything insightful. If the Chinese intelligence agencies were compelled to look for intelligence value in 15-second films of kids lip-syncing, they would be in a terrible position. 

TikTok as an OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) Tool

Since most TikTok users are members of Gen Z, who make up the largest generation on the planet right now, they frequently post pictures and videos of what they do and see on social media. Over 83% of all users of the app have created and shared videos on TikTok, making it possible for anyone to become a content creator. The platform is a wealth of data from the OSINT point of view. OSINT ensures that users constantly obtain the most accurate and trustworthy information accessibly. 

TikTok and Russia- Ukraine War

Since the Russia-Ukraine battle, which is being called the “first TikTok war,” social media has been crucial in helping millions of people stay aware of their surroundings. While social media has long been a place for conflict and unrest to play out, new capabilities like live streaming and the fact that over 61% of Ukrainians own smartphones make it easier than ever to get first-hand accounts of what is happening on the front lines.

Even before the invasion, TikTok was part of a more significant effort to monitor the army buildup near the Ukrainian border, which regular Ukrainian residents shared. Videos on TikTok with the hashtag “#Ukraine” had amassed more than 26.8 billion views as of March 9th, 2022, less than two weeks after the war started. On TikTok, more than any other platform, the conflict had the highest level of engagement with the content.

The Negative Aspect For OSINT Investors

The inability to precisely geolocate videos is one of the problems with using TikTok for intelligence gathering. However, there are still ways for analysts to figure out where the video was shot without location tagging. First, you can narrow your search by looking at the hashtags used in the video title, which occasionally contain identifying information like a city, town, or region. You can find more information by simply reading the comments; there might be other people who are familiar with the location and have left comments on the video.

TikTok as a Source of Information

The Wall Street Journal reports that 40% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 now use TikTok to look for information, which is concerning considering the app’s illustrious history as a disinformation factory. The audience of TikTok is attracted by the fact that anyone may become popular on the app, regardless of the number of followers; therefore, users are encouraged to keep their accounts public. This indicates that there is a tonne of publicly accessible content; still, people continue tremendous favor the usage of pseudonyms, especially when posting about current events like the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. 

 

“The Web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.”

 – Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor of the World Wide Web.

Despite the controversies surrounding the platform, security professionals who disregard TikTok as a significant OSINT source run the danger of failing to detect severe risks to their personnel, property, and reputation. Everything depends on the user’s proper intervention in the application usage that comes into question. 

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