Vietnam arming up to serve in US chip war on China

AsiatimesSamsung, Intel, Amkor Technology and others pouring billions into Vietnam’s chip industry as China decoupling gathers pace

By PHAN LE And HAI THANH NGUYEN

NOVEMBER 16, 2022


Samsung’s plant in Thai Nguyen Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Samsung

The CEO of Samsung Electronics met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and announced a US$850 million investment to manufacture semiconductor components in Thai Nguyen province on August 5, 2022.

The investment will make Vietnam one of only four countries – alongside South Korea, China and the United States – that produce semiconductors for the world’s largest memory chipmaker. Vietnam’s selection over more developed locations speaks volumes about the country’s rising importance in the semiconductor value chain.

Tiếp tục đọc “Vietnam arming up to serve in US chip war on China”

Internet đã đưa người Việt đi xa đến đâu?

Sau 25 năm vào Việt Nam, Internet đã đưa người Việt đi xa đến đâu?

DT – Các báo cáo mới nhất cho biết Việt Nam hiện có gần 70 triệu người dùng sử dụng Internet trên khắp lãnh thổ. Con số này tương đương với hơn 70,3% trên tổng dân số và cao hơn mức trung bình của thế giới (62,5%).

Đối với thế hệ trẻ hiện nay, Internet đã trở thành một phần quen thuộc, không thể thiếu trong đời sống. Không ai có thể phủ nhận được vai trò và tầm quan trọng của Internet đối với cuộc sống hiện đại ngày nay. Dù vậy, không phải ai cũng có thể biết được quá trình mà Internet “bước chân” vào Việt Nam và dần trở nên phổ biến như hiện tại.

Tiếp tục đọc “Internet đã đưa người Việt đi xa đến đâu?”

Bảo vệ dữ liệu cá nhân: Cơ quan nhà nước cần làm gương

TS – Tống Khánh Linh

Chừng nào vẫn còn khoảng trống chính sách về quyền kiểm soát dữ liệu, chừng đó các cơ quan nhà nước vẫn chưa chú trọng nghĩa vụ – trách nhiệm của mình đối với dữ liệu cá nhân của người dân.

Người dân làm các thủ tục qua cổng dịch vụ công ở TP. Hồ Chí Minh. Ảnh: Thành ủy TP. Hồ Chí Minh.

Vào năm 2020, tỉnh Đồng Tháp thông báo rằng có hiện tượng sử dụng không đúng mục đích thông tin cá nhân của người dân phản ánh kiến nghị qua tổng đài 1022 – nơi để người dân phản ánh, góp ý, kiến nghị về hiệu quả dịch vụ công, tiếp cận thông tin, chính sách của tỉnh. Điều này không chỉ ảnh hưởng đến người dân phản ánh, kiến nghị mà còn cả quá trình tương tác với người dân của tỉnh.

Trong khi Chính phủ Việt Nam nỗ lực ngăn ngừa các đơn vị tư nhân lạm dụng khai thác dữ liệu cá nhân thì dường như lại quên nhìn lại chính mình – các đơn vị nhà nước trong việc sử dụng và quản lý các dữ liệu cá nhân của người dân. Tiếp tục đọc “Bảo vệ dữ liệu cá nhân: Cơ quan nhà nước cần làm gương”

Mạng trong nước “lép vế” trước các nhà mạng nước ngoài ​ ​

SGGPO  Thứ Ba, 1/11/2022 10:20

Các quy định pháp luật hiện hành chủ yếu tập trung quản lý rất chặt các mạng xã hội trong nước. Một số quy định đã trở nên lạc hậu, bất cập, khiến cho các mạng xã hội trong nước gặp nhiều khó khăn. Các dịch vụ mạng xã hội nước ngoài chi phối đến gần 70% thị phần doanh thu quảng cáo trực tuyến.

Bộ trưởng Bộ TT-TT Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng

Bộ trưởng Bộ TT-TT Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng

Báo cáo trả lời chất vấn vừa được Bộ trưởng Bộ TT-TT Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng gửi đến ĐBQH nêu nhận định, các quy định pháp luật hiện hành chủ yếu tập trung quản lý rất chặt các mạng xã hội trong nước. Một số quy định đã trở nên lạc hậu, bất cập trước sự phát triển rất nhanh của Internet và công nghệ, khiến cho các mạng xã hội trong nước gặp nhiều khó khăn trong việc thu hút người dùng, phát triển kinh doanh.

Mạng nước ngoài chiếm gần 70% thị phần

Tiếp tục đọc “Mạng trong nước “lép vế” trước các nhà mạng nước ngoài ​ ​”

Vietnam preparing rules to limit news posts on social media accounts – sources

By Fanny Potkin and Phuong Nguyen, Reuters

A man uses an iPad device in a coffee shop in Hanoi
A man uses an iPad device in a coffee shop in Hanoi, Vietnam May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Kham/File Photo

SINGAPORE/HANOI, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Vietnam is preparing new rules to limit which social media accounts can post news-related content, three people familiar with the matter said, as authorities tighten their control over news and information sources in the country.

The rules, expected to be announced by the year-end and with details yet to be hammered out, would establish a legal basis for controlling news dissemination on platforms like Facebook and YouTube while placing a significant moderation burden on platform providers, two of the sources added.

Tiếp tục đọc “Vietnam preparing rules to limit news posts on social media accounts – sources”

Chipping away at China

Matt Haldan, SCMP, Global Impact 20 August 2022
.
The chip war between Washington and Beijing has never felt so real as it has in the past few months, which has seen a deluge of news related to the semiconductor industry as the United States seeks to reshore fabrication and China vies for technological self-sufficiency. 

Not since the early days of the chip shortage in 2020 has there been so much related news, although that now feels like a teaser for what was to come.

The biggest news for the US this month was President Joe Biden signing the Chips and Science Act. The new law will pump US$53 billion into the domestic chip industry, incentivising companies to build and expand fabrication capacity in the country. Tiếp tục đọc Chipping away at China

Vietnam has major data leak problem, citizens suffer

VNE – By Luu Quy   August 19, 2022 | 09:00 pm GMT+7

Vietnam has major data leak problem, citizens suffer

An incoming call with an unknown caller from outside of Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Luu QuyMinh Huy, a university student in Ho Chi Minh City, said he and his family have been terrorized by phone calls demanding repayment of loans he never took.

Someone has been calling Huy repeatedly over the past month, saying he owed money with high interest that will balloon to tens of millions of dong (VND10 million= $427.26) if it is not paid back quickly. When he denied ever using the service, the caller brought out a screenshot of an apparent contract with accurate personal information like ID card numbers, phone numbers and email addresses, even relevant information on Huy’s family members.

“This is information I’ve shared with multiple services online when I signed up for various accounts, but I have never submitted them to any credit service,” Huy said.

Tiếp tục đọc “Vietnam has major data leak problem, citizens suffer”

Forever young, beautiful and scandal-free: The rise of South Korea’s virtual influencers

Updated 31st July 2022

An image of Rozy, a virtual human created by South Korean company Sidus Studio X.

Credit: Sidus Studio X

[TĐH: Nhiều companies chế tạo nhiều “người số” (digital human) để làm “influencers” (người có ảnh hưởng) trên Internet, nói đủ thứ chuyện hấp dẫn người xem, để tạo lợi nhuận cho công ty. Các bạn đừng thấy clip của cô cậu nào xinh đẹp, ăn nói cực kì lưu loát, và nói toàn những điều hấp dẫn mà tin đó là người thật, chuyện thật. Be smart!]

Written byJessie YeungGawon Bae, CNNSeoul, South Korea

She’s got more than 130,000 followers on Instagram, where she posts photos of her globetrotting adventures. Her makeup is always impeccable, her clothes look straight off the runway. She sings, dances and models — and none of it is real.

Rozy is a South Korean “virtual influencer,” a digitally rendered human so realistic she is often mistaken for flesh and blood.

“Are you a real person?” one of her Instagram fans asks. “Are you an AI? Or a robot?”

According to the Seoul-based company that created her, Rozy is a blend of all three who straddles the real and virtual worlds.

She is “able to do everything that humans cannot … in the most human-like form,” Sidus Studio X says on its website.

That includes raking in profits for the company in the multibillion-dollar advertising and entertainment worlds.

Since her launch in 2020, Rozy has landed brand deals and sponsorships, strutted the runway in virtual fashion shows and even released two singles.

China cosmetic surgery apps: Swipe to buy a new face

And she’s not alone.

The “virtual human” industry is booming, and with it a whole new economy in which the influencers of the future are never-aging, scandal-free and digitally flawless — sparking alarm among some in a country already obsessed with unobtainable beauty standards.

How virtual influencers work

The CGI (computer-generated imagery) technology behind Rozy isn’t new. It is ubiquitous in today’s entertainment industry, where artists use it to craft realistic nonhuman characters in movies, computer games and music videos.

But it has only recently been used to make influencers.

Sometimes, Sidus Studio X creates an image of Rozy from head to toe using the technology, an approach that works well for her Instagram images. Other times it superimposes her head onto the body of a human model — when she models clothing, for instance.

An image of Lucy, the Korean virtual human used by Lotte Home Shopping.

An image of Lucy, the Korean virtual human used by Lotte Home Shopping. Credit: Courtesy Lotte Home Shopping

South Korean retail brand Lotte Home Shopping created its virtual influencer — Lucy, who has 78,000 Instagram followers — with software usually used for video games.

Like their real-life counterparts, virtual influencers build a following through social media, where they post snapshots of their “lives” and interact with their fans. Rozy’s account shows her “traveling” to Singapore and enjoying a glass of wine on a rooftop while her fans compliment her outfits.

Older generations might consider interacting with an artificial person somewhat odd. But experts say virtual influencers have struck a chord with younger Koreans, digital natives who spend much of their lives online.

Lee Na-kyoung, a 23-year-old living in Incheon, began following Rozy about two years ago thinking she was a real person.

Rozy followed her back, sometimes commenting on her posts, and a virtual friendship blossomed — one that has endured even after Lee found out the truth.

“We communicated like friends and I felt comfortable with her — so I don’t think of her as an AI but a real friend,” Lee said.

Dior hosts runway show in South Korea for the first time

“I love Rozy’s content,” Lee added. “She’s so pretty that I can’t believe she’s an AI.”

A profitable business

Social media doesn’t just enable virtual influencers to build a fanbase — it’s where the money rolls in.

Rozy’s Instagram, for instance, is dotted with sponsored content where she advertises skincare and fashion products.

“Many big companies in Korea want to use Rozy as a model,” said Baik Seung-yup, the CEO of Sidus Studio X. “This year, we expect to easily reach over two billion Korean won (about $1.52 million) in profit, just with Rozy.”

He added that as Rozy grew more popular, the company landed more sponsorships from luxury brands such as Chanel and Hermes, as well as magazines and other media companies. Her ads have now appeared on television, and even in offline spaces like billboards and the sides of buses.

Lotte expects similar profits this year from Lucy, who has brought in advertising offers from financial and construction companies, according to Lee Bo-hyun, the director of Lotte Home Shopping’s media business division.

The models are in high demand because they help brands reach younger consumers, experts say. Rozy’s clients include a life insurance firm and a bank — companies typically seen as old-fashioned. “But they say their image has become very young after working with Rozy,” Baik said.

It also helps that, compared to some of their real-life counterparts, these new stars are low-maintainance.

It takes Lotte and Sidus Studio X between a few hours and a couple of days to create an image of their stars, and from two days to a few weeks for a video commercial. That’s far less time and labor than is required to produce a commercial featuring real humans — where weeks or months can be spent location scouting and preparing logistics such as lighting, hair and makeup, styling, catering and post-production editing.

And, perhaps just as important: virtual influencers never age, tire or invite controversy.

Lotte decided on a virtual influencer when considering how to maximize its “show hosts,” said Lee.

South Korean men lead the world’s male beauty market. Will the West ever follow suit?

Lotte Home Shopping hires human hosts to advertise products on TV — but they “cost quite a lot,” and “there will be changes when they age,” Lee said. So, they came up with Lucy, who is “forever 29 years old.”

“Lucy is not limited to time or space,” he added. “She can appear anywhere. And there are no moral issues.”

A question about beauty

South Korea isn’t the only place to have embraced virtual influencers.

Among the world’s most famous virtual influencers are Lil Miquela, created by the co-founders of an American tech startup, who has endorsed brands including Calvin Klein and Prada and has more than 3 million Instagram followers; Lu of Magalu, created by a Brazilian retail company, with nearly 6 million Instagram followers; and FNMeka, a rapper created by music company Factory New, with more than 10 million TikTok followers.

But there’s one major difference, according to Lee Eun-hee, a professor at Inha University’s Department of Consumer Science: virtual influencers in other countries tend to reflect a diversity of ethnic backgrounds and beauty ideals.

Virtual humans elsewhere have a “uniqueness,” while “those in Korea are always made beautiful and pretty … (reflecting) the values of each country,” she added.

An image of Rozy, the virtual influencer developed by Sidus Studio X in South Korea.

An image of Rozy, the virtual influencer developed by Sidus Studio X in South Korea. Credit: Sidus Studio X

And in South Korea — often dubbed the “plastic surgery capital of the world” for its booming $10.7 billion industry — there are concerns that virtual influencers could further fuel unrealistic beauty standards.

Younger Koreans have begun pushing back against these ideals in recent years, sparking a movement in 2018 dubbed “escaping the corset.”

This ‘imperfect’ virtual influencer is challenging beauty standards in China

But ideas of what is popularly considered beautiful in the country remain narrow; for women, this usually means a petite figure with large eyes, a small face and pale, clear skin.

And these features are shared by most of the country’s virtual influencers; Lucy has perfect skin, long glossy hair, a slender jaw and a perky nose. Rozy has full lips, long legs and a flat stomach peeking out under her crop tops.

Lee Eun-hee warned that virtual influencers like Rozy and Lucy could be making Korea’s already demanding beauty standards even more unattainable — and heightening the demand for plastic surgery or cosmetic products among women seeking to emulate them.

“Real women want to become like them, and men want to date people of the same appearance,” she said.

An image of Lucy, the Korean virtual human used by Lotte Home Shopping.

An image of Lucy, the Korean virtual human used by Lotte Home Shopping. Credit: Courtesy Lotte Home Shopping

The creators of Rozy and Lucy reject such criticism.

Lotte representative Lee Bo-hyun said they had tried to make Lucy more than just a “pretty image” by crafting an elaborate back story and personality. She studied industrial design, and works in car design. She posts about her job and interests, such as her love for animals and kimbap — rice rolls wrapped in seaweed. In this way, “Lucy is striving to have a good influence in society,” Lee said, adding: “She’s giving a message to the public to ‘do what you want to do according to your beliefs.'”

Baik, the Sidus Studio X CEO, said Rozy isn’t what “anyone would call beautiful” and that the firm had deliberately tried to make her appearance unique and veer away from traditional Korean norms. He pointed to the freckles on her cheeks and her wide-set eyes.

“Rozy shows people the importance of inner confidence,” he added. “There are other virtual humans that are so pretty … but I made Rozy to show that you can still be beautiful (even without a conventionally attractive face).”

‘Digital blackface’

But concerns go beyond Korean beauty standards. Elsewhere in the world there is debate over the ethics of marketing products to consumers who don’t realize the models aren’t human, as well as the risk of cultural appropriation when creating influencers of different ethnicities — labeled by some as “digital blackface.

Facebook and Instagram’s parent company Meta, which has more than 200 virtual influencers on its platforms, has acknowledged the risks.

‘Beauty is freedom’: The North Korean millennials wearing makeup to rebel against the state

“Like any disruptive technology, synthetic media has the potential for both good and harm. Issues of representation, cultural appropriation and expressive liberty are already a growing concern,” the company said in a blog post.

“To help brands navigate the ethical quandaries of this emerging medium and avoid potential hazards, (Meta) is working with partners to develop an ethical framework to guide the use of (virtual influencers).”

But one thing appears clear: the industry is here to stay. As interest in the digital world booms — ranging from the metaverse and virtual reality technologies to digital currencies — companies say virtual influencers are the next frontier.

An image of Rozy, the virtual influencer developed by Sidus Studio X in South Korea.

An image of Rozy, the virtual influencer developed by Sidus Studio X in South Korea. Credit: Sidus Studio X

Lotte is hoping Lucy will move from advertising to entertainment, perhaps by appearing in a television drama. The firm is also working on a virtual human that will appeal to shoppers in their 40s to 60s.

Sidus Studio X has big ambitions, too; Rozy will launch her own cosmetics brand in August, as well as an NFT (non-fungible token), and the firm hopes to create a virtual pop trio to take on the music charts.

Baik points out that most fans don’t meet real celebrities in person, only seeing them on screens. So “there is no big difference between virtual humans and the real-life celebrities they like,” he said.

“We want to change perceptions of how people think of virtual humans,” Baik added. “What we do isn’t to take away people’s jobs, but to do things that humans can’t do, such as work 24 hours or make unique content like walking in the sky.

Cho Eun-young contributed to this report.

Forced to Scam: Cambodia’s Cyber Slaves

Al Jazeera English – 15 – 7- 2022

Chinese cyber-scam operations are stealing tens of billions of dollars from victims around the world.

But few realise that thousands of those perpetrating these frauds are victims too.

Young men and women are enslaved, tortured and forced to scam in countries like Cambodia.

In an exclusive report, 101 East investigates Chinese cyber-slave syndicates operating in Cambodia and exposes the powerful and politically connected people protecting them.

Forced to Scam: Cambodia’s Cyber Slaves | 101 East Documentary

The semiconductor problem

The military relies on advanced semiconductors. The U.S. doesn’t make any.

Chips on display in Taiwan.
Chips on display in Taiwan.Credit…Ann Wang/Reuters
David Leonhardt

By David Leonhardt

NYTimes – July 14, 2022

The most advanced category of mass-produced semiconductors — used in smartphones, military technology and much more — is known as 5 nm. A single company in Taiwan, known as TSMC, makes about 90 percent of them. U.S. factories make none.

The U.S.’s struggles to keep pace in semiconductor manufacturing have already had economic downsides: Many jobs in the industry pay more than $100,000 a year, and the U.S. has lost out on them. Longer term, the situation also has the potential to cause a national security crisis: If China were to invade Taiwan and cut off exports of semiconductors, the American military would be at risk of being overmatched by its main rival for global supremacy.

Tiếp tục đọc “The semiconductor problem”

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: a seductive idea requiring critical engagement

Published: June 8, 2022 2.58pm BST The Conversation

Authors

  1. Ruth Castel-Branco, Research Manager, University of the Witwatersrand
  2. Hannah J. Dawson, Senior Researcher, Southern Centre for Inequality Studies, University of the Witwatersrand

Disclosure statement

The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Partners

University of the Witwatersrand

University of the Witwatersrand provides support as a hosting partner of The Conversation AFRICA.

View all partners

CC BY NDWe believe in the free flow of information
Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons licence.

Technological innovation can indeed be beneficial for the working class. Photo by JNS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Narrative frames are fundamental to unifying ideologies. They frame what is possible and impossible, which ideas can be accepted and which must be rejected. In her book, Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics, storyteller and political analyst Nanjala Nyabola examines the framing of the Fourth Industrial Revolution narrative in this light.

Tiếp tục đọc “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: a seductive idea requiring critical engagement”

bot

By

What is a bot?

A bot — short for robot and also called an internet bot — is a computer program that operates as an agent for a user or other program or to simulate a human activity. Bots are normally used to automate certain tasks, meaning they can run without specific instructions from humans.

An organization or individual can use a bot to replace a repetitive task that a human would otherwise have to perform. Bots are also much faster at these tasks than humans. Although bots can carry out useful functions, they can also be malicious and come in the form of malware.

Tiếp tục đọc “bot”

Campuchia và Bakong

Thư Kỳ – 18/01/2022 09:49

(KTSG) Có lẽ chúng ta sẽ nghe nói nhiều về Bakong trong thời gian tới – đây là đồng tiền kỹ thuật số do Ngân hàng Trung ương Campuchia phát hành, vừa được báo Nikkei (Nhật) trao giải một trong những sản phẩm và dịch vụ xuất sắc nhất năm 2021 vào tuần trước.

Campuchia khám phá các giao dịch xuyên biên giới thông qua Bakong -  CryptoLeakVN

Tháng 10-2020, Ngân hàng Quốc gia Campuchia trở thành một trong những ngân hàng trung ương đầu tiên trên thế giới phát hành đồng tiền kỹ thuật số quốc gia hoạt động trên nền tảng chuỗi khối (blockchain).

Tiếp tục đọc “Campuchia và Bakong”

Xếp hạng dữ liệu mở Việt Nam tốt hơn Thái Lan, Lào, Campuchia

VNN – 17/11/2021    16:56 GMT+7

Theo dữ liệu của Open Data Watch, trong khu vực Đông Nam Á, đối với xếp hạng về dữ liệu mở Việt Nam tốt hơn Thái Lan, Lào, Đông Timor và Campuchia.

     Xếp hạng dữ liệu mở Việt Nam chỉ tốt hơn Thái, Lào, Campuchia - VietNamNet
Xếp hạng về dữ liệu mở giữa các quốc gia tại khu vực Đông Nam Á năm 2020. Số liệu: Open Data Watch

Việt Nam mạnh về hạ tầng nhưng yếu về chính sách

Đó là nhận định được đưa ra bởi Ngân hàng Thế giới trong một hội nghị vừa được tổ chức mới đây về dữ liệu mở. 

Trong bảng xếp hạng về dữ liệu mở năm 2020 của Open Data Watch, Singapore hiện đứng hàng đầu trên thế giới, tiếp đó là một số quốc gia châu Âu như Ba Lan, Phần Lan, Đan Mạch, Thụy Điển… 

Tiếp tục đọc “Xếp hạng dữ liệu mở Việt Nam tốt hơn Thái Lan, Lào, Campuchia”