Sex workers are cloning themselves with AI to make sexy chatbots


"I want to kiss your body all over," she tells me via voice note, "lick your sweet spots, and make you moan with pleasure." Sounds cool, I respond over text. Then – and I'm embarrassed to admit this – I ask, What are you wearing? "I'm sorry, but I'm just a digital copy of Riley Reid, so I'm not really here in the physical sense," she replies. As I've already kissed and told enough, I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

The Sonos Era 100 is back down to $199 in a new holiday sale


The Sonos Era 100 wireless bookshelf speaker is back down to $199, matching prices found during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That's a discount of around $50, as the MSRP for this speaker is $250. If you squint, it's almost like the holiday spending season never ended. This sale is for the both the black and white colorways, suiting those with diverging aesthetic preferences. The Sonos Era 100 boasts touch controls and voice controls, like many modern speakers.

Engadget Podcast: Our 200th episode celebration


We made it to 200 episodes folks! Remember, that was a pre-pandemic, pre-generative AI world! We also highlight a few guest interviews worth revisiting, like our chats with Bill Nye and Ann Druyan. As for recent news, we quickly recap the OpenAI drama around Sam Altman's ouster, discuss Google's new Gemini AI platform, and chat about the revelation that governments are spying on our push notifications. Cherlynn also details her experience with Apple's Personal Voice feature for iPhones and gives us a demo of her AI-generated digital voice.

Google's NotebookLM Aims to Be the Ultimate Writing Assistant


Steven Johnson has written 13 books, on topics ranging from a London cholera outbreak to the value of video games. He's been a television presenter and a podcast host. He's a keynote speaker who doesn't have to call himself that in his LinkedIn profile. And for over a year now, he's been a full-time employee of Google, a status that's clear when he badges me into the search giant's Chelsea offices in New York to show me what his team has been creating. It's called NotebookLM, and the easiest way to think of it is as an AI collaborator with access to all your materials that sits on your metaphorical shoulder to guide you through your project.

UK competition watchdog to review Microsoft and OpenAI partnership

The Guardian

The UK's competition watchdog has paved the way for a formal investigation into the partnership between Microsoft and ChatGPT developer OpenAI by asking for comments on the arrangement. The Competition and Markets Authority made the announcement on Friday after a bout of leadership and boardroom turmoil at OpenAI, which is based in San Francisco. The company was established as a non-profit entity whose board controls a commercial unit, in which Microsoft is the biggest investor. The CMA said "recent developments" had prompted the organisation to review whether the partnership had resulted in "an acquisition of control". Last month, OpenAI's board fired and then reappointed its chief executive, Sam Altman, and announced the formation of a new board. Microsoft now has a non-voting observer seat on the OpenAI board.

Building blocks of a new metaverse: Lego Fortnite is a delight to play

The Guardian

Whoever had the idea to combine three titans of the modern mass entertainment universe – Lego, Fortnite and Minecraft – into one experience is surely feeling rather smug right now. Launched on Thursday, Lego Fortnite is a new mode available within Fortnite, but it's essentially a whole new game – an open-world crafting survival sim in the unmistakable style of, yes, Minecraft. Players enter a procedurally generated world, unique to them, which somehow combines the aesthetic features of Lego and Fortnite, with its luscious, bright colours and toy-like charm. Like Minecraft, the main draw is the survival mode, where you can explore the wilderness, build houses, grow crops, tend to animals and combat a range of beasties. You start with a very limited set of building instructions and can only make a simple hut, but as you progress, gathering resources such as wood, granite and wool, you get access to more building materials.

The Morning After: A PS1-themed PlayStation 5


This one-of-a-kind PS5 console was customized with the PS1's retro gray finish, and classic quad-color PS logo. Even the DualSense controller was given a late-90s makeover, with a cute plug cover for the PS5's front USB-C port to mimic the first-ever PlayStation's controller. It's a farewell gift for SIE (Sony Interactive Entertainment) President and CEO Jim Ryan, who is retiring in March 2024. At a thank-you party this week, the outgoing PlayStation boss was honored by many industry legends, including the "father of PlayStation" Ken Kutaragi, Gran Turismo's Kazunori Yamauchi, Team Asobi's Nicolas Doucet and, of course, Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida. It was a gaming-heavy 24 hours, actually. Surprise, free DLC, an RPG set on an entirely procedurally generated world and a... Blade game?

The UK's competition regulator is reviewing Microsoft's links to OpenAI


The UK is considering an investigation into Microsoft's partnership with OpenAI to decide if it has resulted in an "acquisition of control" that's subject to antitrust law, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) wrote today. The regulator said it's considering "recent developments," no doubt referring to the Sam Altman CEO ouster drama in which Microsoft played a large role. "The CMA is now issuing an ITC to determine whether the Microsoft/OpenAI partnership, including recent developments, has resulted in a relevant merger situation and, if so, the potential impact on competition," it said in a news release. "The CMA will review whether the partnership has resulted in an acquisition of control -- that is, where it results in one party having material influence, de facto control or more than 50% of the voting rights over another entity." The regulator noted that the "close and multifaceted" partnership includes a multi-billion dollar investment by Microsoft, technology development cooperation and cloud services.

The best Gag City posts on X, in honor of Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday 2


Nicki Minaj say her new album "Pink Friday 2" will transport us to another world, literally. The rapper has referenced the fictional municipality, Gag City, in several posts and her fandom, the Barbz, have taken it upon themselves to make it a digital reality. Using AI software, the fandom has created Gag City from scratch, in the image of Mayor Minaj's pink printed agenda. The Barbz are nothing if not socially savvy, so they've transformed the bit into an organic marketing strategy. The Barbz have secured free promotion for the album by creating virtual Gag City outposts for dozens of brands -- from Urban Decay to MattressFirm -- and then tagging the brands' official accounts on X.

Jordan Peele and Hideo Kojima are collaborating on a horror game


Jordan Peele and Hideo Kojima are collaborating on a video game, bringing the two iconic auteurs together for the first time. It's safe to say that nobody saw this coming. The unlikely duo announced their new game OD during The Game Awards on Thursday night. Kojima is a well-known and widely-respected figure at such events, having designed the first Metal Gear and directed most of the titles in the series. However, Peele's dramatic entrance to the soundtrack of his 2019 horror film Us was an unexpected surprise.