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NASA Astronauts Arrive For Boeing’s First Human Spaceflight

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The location is Cape Canaveral, Florida. On Thursday, the two NASA astronauts designated for Boeing’s inaugural manned space mission arrived at the launch site approximately one week before their planned departure.

Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams have been selected as test pilots for Boeing’s Starliner capsule, marking its inaugural crewed mission following significant delays. On Thursday, they traveled by air from Houston to Kennedy Space Center.

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NASA Astronauts Arrive For Boeing’s First Human Spaceflight

Scheduled for launch on May 6 using an Atlas rocket, the Starliner spacecraft will go to the International Space Station for a week-long test mission. Boeing is endeavoring to close the gap with SpaceX, which has been conducting manned space missions for NASA since 2020.

Boeing’s two earlier Starliner test flights were unmanned. The initial launch in 2019 was unsuccessful in reaching the space station due to software malfunctions and other technical issues. Boeing replicated the demonstration in 2022. In more recent times, the capsule encountered problems with its parachutes and had to address the issue of flammable tape that needed to be eliminated.

Wilmore emphasized that this is a test flight intended to uncover any anomalies.

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NASA Astronauts Arrive For Boeing’s First Human Spaceflight

Do we anticipate flawless execution? “This is the inaugural manned voyage of the spacecraft,” he informed the press. “I am confident that we will discover information.” This is the reason why we engage in this activity.

NASA enlisted the services of SpaceX and Boeing ten years ago, allocating billions of dollars to facilitate the transportation of personnel to and from the space station. Despite the space station’s planned closure by 2030, the space agency remains enthusiastic about procuring capsules from two rival businesses to transport its astronauts.

“That is of utmost importance,” Wilmore remarked.

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NASA Astronauts Arrive For Boeing’s First Human Spaceflight

Wilmore and Williams are set to become the inaugural astronauts to embark aboard an Atlas rocket since NASA’s Project Mercury in the early 1960s.

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

Business

Is That ‘Her’? OpenAI Pauses A ChatGPT Voice After Some Say It Sounds Like Scarlett Johansson

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GPT-5 Release Date Everything you need to know about OpenAI’s Next Chatbot

NEW YORK — After some users claimed that one of OpenAI’s ChatGPT voices resembled Scarlett Johansson—who was well-known for lending her voice to a fictional, and at the time futuristic, AI assistant in the 2013 movie “Her”—the company said it intends to stop using the voice.

OpenAI posted on the social media site X Monday that it is “working to pause” Sky, one of the five voices that ChatGPT users can select from. The business claimed to have “heard questions” and wanted to respond regarding how it chooses the realistic audio options for Sky, its main artificial intelligence chatbot.

In a companion blog post explaining the selection process for ChatGPT’s voices, OpenAI also quickly refuted the rumors circulating on the internet about Johansson.

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Is That ‘Her’? OpenAI Pauses A ChatGPT Voice After Some Say It Sounds Like Scarlett Johansson

“Sky’s voice is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson but belongs to a different professional actress using her own natural speaking voice,” the business stated. “We believe that AI voices should not deliberately mimic a celebrity’s distinctive voice.” It said that for privacy concerns, it could not provide the names of its voice performers.

Based in San Francisco, OpenAI remained silent about the reasons it continued to choose to suspend Sky’s use.

In September, OpenAI initially released ChatGPT’s speech capabilities, featuring all five voices and letting users converse with the AI assistant. Previously exclusive to premium customers, “Voice Mode” will now be free for all mobile app users, according to OpenAI’s announcement in November.

Additionally, ChatGPT’s interactions are becoming increasingly complex. Last week, the most recent version of OpenAI’s generative AI model was believed to be able to identify people’s moods and even imitate human cadences in spoken responses.

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Is That ‘Her’? OpenAI Pauses A ChatGPT Voice After Some Say It Sounds Like Scarlett Johansson

The most recent model, GPT-4o, according to OpenAI, is faster than earlier iterations and has real-time reasoning capabilities for text, audio, and video. During a demonstration during OpenAI’s May 13 unveiling, the AI bot conversed in real time and responded to requests for “more drama” and other emotions in its voice. It also attempted to infer an individual’s emotional state from a selfie video of their face, provided assistance with language translations, solved math problems step-by-step, and more.

The abbreviation “omni,” GPT-4o, isn’t yet generally accessible. Over the next few weeks and months, it will gradually become available to a restricted group. The model’s text and picture features are already starting to be made available, even to ChatGPT’s free users. However, the new voice mode will only be accessible to ChatGPT Plus members who have paid for it.

The capabilities of these recently revealed features have prompted even more comparisons to Spike Jonze’s dystopian romance “Her,” which centers on an introverted man (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with an AI-operating system (Johansson), leading to several complications. However, most people still need to have a chance to use these features.

On the day of GPT-4o’s announcement, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman also seemed to take advantage of this, merely publishing the term “her” on the social media platform X.

Many people who saw the model’s presentations last week also noticed that certain exchanges had an oddly flirty tone. A female-voiced ChatGPT commends an employee in one video that OpenAI aired for “rocking an OpenAI hoodie,” In another, the chatbot responds to praise by saying, “Oh stop it, you’re making me blush.”

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Is That ‘Her’? OpenAI Pauses A ChatGPT Voice After Some Say It Sounds Like Scarlett Johansson

This has generated discussion about the gendered approaches critics claim tech corporations have long employed to create and interact with voice assistants—a practice that predates the most recent wave of generative AI, which enhanced the capabilities of AI chatbots. 2019 saw the “hardwired subservience” inherent in default female-voiced assistants (such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa), even in the face of sexist taunts and abuse, according to the UN culture and science body.

In a story this week, Desi Lydic, senior correspondent for The Daily Show, remarked of GPT-4o, “This is clearly programmed to feed dudes’ egos.” “It’s obvious that a man created this technology.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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Small, Well-Built Chinese EV Called The Seagull Poses A Big Threat To The US Auto Industry

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Livonia, Michigan —The Seagull, a small, low-cost electric automobile, has American automakers and politicians concerned.

The vehicle, which Chinese automaker BYD unveiled last year, costs about $12,000 in China, but it drives smoothly and has a level of craftsmanship that is comparable to three times more expensive electric vehicles made in the United States. A shorter-range version costs less than $10,000.

Tariffs on imported Chinese vehicles are expected to keep the Seagull away from American shores for the time being, and if imported, it will most certainly cost more than $12,000.

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Small, Well-Built Chinese EV Called The Seagull Poses A Big Threat To The US Auto Industry

However, the quick introduction of low-cost EVs from China has the potential to shake up the global auto industry in ways not seen since Japanese manufacturers erupted onto the scene during the 1970s oil crisis. BYD, which stands for “Build Your Dreams,” could be disastrous for the US auto industry.

“Any car company that isn’t paying attention to them as a competitor will be lost when they enter their market,” said Sam Fiorani, vice president of AutoForecast Solutions near Philadelphia. “BYD’s entry into the US market is not a question. “It’s a when.”

Politicians and businesses in the United States already perceive Chinese EVs as a potential threat. On Tuesday, the Biden administration will likely impose 100% tariffs on imported electric vehicles from China, citing a threat to American jobs and security.

According to a study by the Alliance for American Manufacturing, government subsidies for Chinese electric vehicles “could end up being an extinction-level event for the U.S. auto sector.”

Earlier this year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk warned industry analysts that Chinese EVs are so good that, without trade obstacles, “they will pretty much demolish most other car companies in the world.”

Outside China, EVs are often expensive, catering to a higher-income niche market. However, Chinese businesses that still need to be worldwide household names are providing affordable solutions that appeal to the masses, just as the United States, Europe, and many other nations are pushing a shift away from gasoline-powered vehicles to combat climate change.

“The Western markets have not democratized EVs. “They gentrified EVs,” said Bill Russo, founder of Shanghai-based consultancy Automobility Ltd. “And gentrification limits the market size. China is all about democratizing electric vehicles, ultimately leading Chinese companies to success as they expand globally.”Inside a massive garage in an industrial location west of Detroit, Caresoft Global disassembled and reassembled a bright green Seagull purchased in China and delivered to the United States.

Company President Terry Woychowski, a former chief engineer on General Motors’ large pickup trucks, described the car as a “clarion call” for the United States auto industry, years behind China in developing low-cost EVs.

Following the breakdown, Woychowski, who has been in the car industry for 45 years, expressed concern about whether American automakers can adapt. “Things will have to change in some radical ways in order to be able to compete,” he stated.

There is no single miracle that explains how BYD can produce the Seagull so cheaply. Instead, Woychowski described the complete vehicle, which can travel 252 miles (405 kilometers) on each charge, as “an exercise in efficiency.”

Higher labor costs in the United States are one factor to consider. BYD can keep costs down due to its competence in manufacturing lithium iron phosphate batteries, which are primarily used in consumer products. They are less expensive but have a shorter range than most modern lithium-ion batteries.

Woychowski explained that Americans are still discovering how to build cheaper batteries. Ford is constructing a lithium iron phosphate battery facility using technology from China’s CATL.

BYD manufactures several parts, such as electric motors, dashboards, bodywork, and headlights. It also has the advantage of massive size, with 3 million vehicles sold worldwide last year.

“By having that all in-house and vertically integrated, there’s an incredible advantage that they have,” Woychowski stated.

BYD designs all of its cars with cost and efficiency in mind. For example, the Seagull has only one windshield wiper, eliminating one motor and one arm, saving weight, money, and labor during installation.

According to Woychowski, automakers in the United States rarely design automobiles in this manner, resulting in higher engineering expenses. Hoses, for example, must meet long-standing combustion engine standards for strength and the capacity to convey fluid under high pressure, many of which are unnecessary in electric vehicles.

seagull

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Small, Well-Built Chinese EV Called The Seagull Poses A Big Threat To The US Auto Industry

The weight reductions accumulate, allowing the Seagull to travel further per charge with a smaller battery. For example, the Seagull that Caresoft tested weighs 2,734 pounds (1,240 kilograms), around 900 pounds less than a Chevrolet Bolt, GM’s slightly larger electric vehicle.

To stay up, Detroit must swiftly re-learn a lot of design and engineering while discarding traditions developed over a century of vehicle production. He said the problem will be deciding which procedures to preserve for safety and quality and which to eliminate because they are unnecessary.

“You’re going to have to come and be extremely serious about this, and you better park your paradigms at the door,” Woychowski stated. “Because you’re going to have to do things differently.”

Despite its simple form, the Seagull exudes quality. The doors close solidly. The gray synthetic leather seats include stitching that matches the body color, a characteristic often found in more costly vehicles. The Seagull “Flying Edition” reviewed by Caresoft includes six airbags, rear disc brakes, and electronic stability control.

A reporter’s brief drive around connected parking lots revealed that it runs quietly and can manage bends and bumps like more expensive electric vehicles.

While the acceleration isn’t as impressive as other EVs, the Seagull is quick and would easily enter a freeway in heavy traffic. Woychowski claims the top speed is limited to 81 mph (130 km/h).

BYD would have to adapt its vehicles to meet US safety regulations, which are more strict than those in China. Woychowski says Caresoft still needs to do crash tests, but he estimates that doing so would cost $2,000 more for the Seagull.

BYD sells the Seagull, renamed the Dolphin Mini in some overseas markets, for almost $21,000 in four Latin American nations, more than twice the price here. The greater price includes transportation costs but also reflects the potential for bigger profits in less competitive markets than China.

In Europe, BYD sells larger models like the Seal, which starts at 46,990 euros ($50,000) in France. According to the China Passenger Car Association, the Chinese manufacturer’s top two overseas markets in the first two months of this year were Thailand and Brazil.

BYD manufactures electric buses in California and told the Associated Press last year that it is “still in the process” of determining whether to sell automobiles in the United States. Two firm executives stated in media interviews earlier this year that it is considering sites for production in Mexico, but only for the Mexican market.

seagull

Pixabay – VOR News Image

Small, Well-Built Chinese EV Called The Seagull Poses A Big Threat To The US Auto Industry

The company does not sell cars in the United States, owing mostly to 27.5% tariffs on Chinese vehicle sales when they arrive at ports. When Donald Trump was president, he imposed the majority of the tariff, 25%, which remained in place under Joe Biden. Trump claims that Biden’s push for electric vehicles will kill American manufacturing jobs, transferring the work to China.

The Biden administration has supported legislation and policies to establish a US EV manufacturing base, and it has not ruled out additional tariffs to keep the Chinese out. The administration is also looking into cars built in China that could collect sensitive information.

Some members of Congress are asking Biden to prohibit imports of Chinese vehicles, while others have proposed even higher duties. This includes vehicles manufactured in Mexico by Chinese businesses, which would now be imported essentially tariff-free.

Ford CEO Jim Farley has seen Caresoft’s work on the Seagull and seen BYD’s quick growth worldwide, particularly in Europe, where he previously ran Ford’s business. He’s planning to change his company. He told analysts earlier this year that a small “skunkworks” team is developing a new, small EV from the bottom up to keep prices low and quality high.

According to Farley, Chinese manufacturers sold essentially no EVs in Europe two years ago but now account for 10% of the electric vehicle industry. They may export around the world and possibly sell in the United States.

Ford is preparing to counteract that. “Don’t take anything for granted,” Farley said. “This CEO doesn’t.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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China Launches 3-Member Crew To Its Space Station As It Seeks To Put Astronauts On The Moon By 2030

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The location is Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China. On Thursday, China successfully deployed a three-member crew to its orbiting space station as part of its ambitious initiative to send astronauts to the moon by 2030.

The Shenzhou-18 spacecraft launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, located on the periphery of the Gobi Desert in northern China. It was propelled by a Long March 2-F rocket at precisely 8:59 p.m. (1259 GMT).

china

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China Launches 3-Member Crew To Its Space Station As It Seeks To Put Astronauts On The Moon By 2030

The spacecraft’s three-member crew will replace the Shenzhou-17 team, which has been working aboard China’s Tiangong space station since October last year.

The China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) organized a send-off ceremony for the Shenzhou-18 crew on Thursday. The ceremony included flag-waving youngsters and patriotic music. The three astronauts were getting ready to board the spacecraft.

The trio consists of Commander Ye Guangfu, a seasoned astronaut who participated in the Shenzhou-13 mission in 2021, and two novice spaceflight pilots, Li Cong and Li Guangsu, who are 34 and 36 years old.

Their arrival at the space station is anticipated approximately six-and-a-half hours after the launch.

China constructed its own space station after being denied participation in the International Space Station, primarily due to the United States’ apprehensions regarding the Chinese military’s role in the project. For the current year, the Chinese space station has planned two missions for cargo ships and two for manned spaceflights.

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China Launches 3-Member Crew To Its Space Station As It Seeks To Put Astronauts On The Moon By 2030

The Shenzhou-18 mission will last approximately six months on the space station. According to Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the CMSA, the crew will conduct scientific testing, install equipment to protect against space debris, undertake payload experiments, and promote science education, among other activities.

In addition, Lin stated that China is actively striving to eventually grant foreign astronauts and space tourists access to its space station.

“During a press conference on Wednesday, he stated that we will expedite the research and promotion of involving foreign astronauts and space tourists in flights on China’s space station.”

The nation is strategizing a mission to retrieve samples from Mars by approximately 2030, along with three lunar probe missions in the upcoming four years. Additionally, it aims to deploy astronauts on the moon by 2030.

In 2003, China successfully carried out its inaugural crewed space mission, making it the third nation, following the former Soviet Union and the United States, to independently send an astronaut into space.

china

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China Launches 3-Member Crew To Its Space Station As It Seeks To Put Astronauts On The Moon By 2030

Due to its expenditures, supply networks, and capabilities, the U.S. space program will likely maintain a substantial advantage over China’s. Nevertheless, China has made significant advancements in space exploration by successfully retrieving lunar samples after several decades and landing a rover on the relatively unexplored far side of the moon.

The United States has set a goal to return a crew to the moon’s surface by the conclusion of 2025 due to a renewed dedication to manned missions. Private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin will support this endeavor.

SOURCE – (AP)

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