Bard, but for teenagers

Of all the major AI players; ChatGPT, Llama 2, Grok, Google’s Bard is probably the one getting the least fanfare. It might have something to do with the $100 million stuff-up that sent the search giant’s AI marketing efforts into the toilet. That might not be the case for much longer, after Google’s announcement that it would be expanding the LLM’s (large language model) access to teenagers in “most countries”.
Google first opened Bard’s doors to teens in the US back in September – giving them better results, additional information and links. Getting into Bard as a teen is as simple as the account reaching the minimum age requirements (differs from country to country) and having English set as their primary language.
We’re sure Google has good intentions here, but it does raise questions about Bard and how the youths will use it. Google has already addressed the issues of inappropriate content having put the “appropriate safeguards” in place before release and training Bard to recognize age-gated responses and block them.
But using Bard as intended could potentially help children breeze through their schoolwork – with Bard’s abilities extending to helping them “brainstorm science fair project ideas” or solving maths questions on the spot by uploading an image into the LLM. Heck, it’ll even show its working. Where was Bard ten years ago?
To better help younger users on how to use Bard responsibly, teens will see this video during their onboarding process to get them up to speed sooner.
Starship is (definitely) a go

Earlier this week, SpaceX announced that it was ready to launch its Starship rocket – the most powerful ever built – upwards this Friday, pending approval from regulators. It took a bit of doing, but the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has officially given SpaceX the nod to move forward with the launch.
“The FAA determined SpaceX met all safety, environmental, policy and financial responsibility requirements,” the agency said in a statement. Considering Elon Musk’s standing amongst U.S. government officials we’re surprised there was any red tape in the first place.
You can expect to see Starship’s attempt to leave Earth from SpaceX’s facility near Boca Chica, Texas this Friday, 17 November at 07:00 CST. Any South Africans hoping to catch a glimpse of Starship’s potentially explosive second attempt will need to clear their calendars for 15:00 on Friday, 17 November.
Despite Starship’s first “rapid unscheduled disassembly” during its first launch attempt in April, SpaceX feels confident it has resolved the issues that caused things to go south last time. “The second flight test will debut a hot-stage separation system and a new electronic Thrust Vector Control (TVC) system for Super Heavy Raptor engines, in addition to reinforcements to the pad foundation and a water-cooled steel flame deflector, among many other enhancements,” it said.
You can watch the livestream – going live roughly 35 minutes before the launch – here, or on SpaceX’s account to see if the company can put its money where its mouth is.
Samsung’s next Galaxy Buds could complete the trio in 2024
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro 2
Stuff likes stuff. Obviously. Specifically, we’re big fans of anything to do with audio. Samsung’s efforts in that department are some of the best in the biz after the release of the Galaxy Buds Pro 2 that hit shelves in August 2022. The South Korean conglomerate skipped a Buds 3 release in favour of the Galaxy Buds FE this year, but it’s looking like that won’t be the case for 2024.
That’s according to SamMobile, which believes the company is working on a sequel to its high-end Buds in the form of the Buds Pro 3. For the moment, not much is known about what sort of upgrades they’ll see, though SamMobile is eyeing up a 2024 release alongside the next Galaxy Flip and Fold devices, which usually land in the middle of the year.
While SamMobile’s reports will remain unverified until Samsung gets around to making the Buds 3 Pro official, it’s not difficult to guess that the company is building up to the next generation of its audio catalogue. Don’t expect any major upgrades where the tech is concerned, with all the usual bumps in sound quality, battery life and noise cancellation.
#Threads is getting some much-needed #changes

Being a Twitter killer isn’t easy, apparently. Threads, Meta’s answer to Twitter (now, hasn’t had the most auspicious of beginnings. Until recently, the most requested feature was to allow users to delete their accounts (without also nuking their Instagram account). It isn’t giving up the battle, however, as the social media newcomer finally adds hashtags.
Kind of. Threads has begun testing the ability to tag topics on the app, making navigation that much simpler. The difference is that while users tag specific words with a ‘#’ precursor, it won’t show up for other users on the app. Instead, it’ll turn the word into a clickable blue-texted hyperlink when seen in a Thread.
If you’re still loyal to Threads, you’ll need to wait to give the feature a whirl. Unless you’re reading from Australia, where Meta will first trial the feature before rolling it out globally based on user feedback. Zuckerberg’s announcement on the app mentioned that the feature would be coming to more countries “soon.”
Whether it’ll be enough to get the app back to the sort of numbers it was hitting during its first week of life… remains to be seen.