Dear TechAways readers,

I’m Ola, and I’m thrilled to take the reins of this month’s edition of what is personally my favourite tech newsletter. I have to admit – I’m not your typical guest editor. I work as a Policy Analyst at OpenForum Europe, a not-for-profit think tank that advocates for openness in computing. In our work, we try to bridge the gap between open source communities and policymakers by explaining the merits of interaction and discussion to both sides.

The open source landscape is incredibly diverse and comprises entities with (often diverging) interests. Spanning from maintainers – individual developers who keep critical pieces of internet infrastructure running smoothly – to SMEs concerned about competition from companies as they continue to label their services as open source, the one thing uniting the open source ecosystem is its belief in user-centric digital spaces.

In our increasingly polarised world, open source can provide answers to some of the biggest challenges facing Europe in the coming years – obtaining digital sovereignty, winning the race to build and run the most powerful AI models, or closing the digital skills gap.

By opting for open source technologies, European businesses can have a better shot at squaring off against international competition, while simultaneously minimising their dependency on foreign tech. Similarly, investing in open silicon solutions can help the ailing EU semiconductor industry at a moment when geopolitical tensions are spilling over into the supply chain management of this critical tech.

There’s also been a lot of buzz around the opportunities and risks of open source AI, as evidenced by the intense discussions surrounding the exemption of open source AI from certain obligations of the AI Act. While we eagerly await the law’s implementation, we can already see that much work awaits in clarifying its scope and ensuring that it genuinely helps OS entities thrive in the market.

With the European Parliament elections around the corner, this is a great chance for the EU to reassess its digital policy and commit to achieving user-centricity, robust competition and technological innovation by prioritising open source. Because one thing’s for sure: it’s here to stay.

If you’re interested to learn more about our work, don’t hesitate to reach out – otherwise, I’m wishing you all a sunny June. Onto the news!

Love reading out-of-the-Brussels-bubble tech news? Share it with your friends and colleagues. They can subscribe here. Ideas? Suggestions? Comments? Send them our way!


#TechAways is brought to you by SEC Newgate EU’s one and only team featuring Julia Piwowarska, Camilla Frison, Patricia Alonso Castellano, Alice Palumbo and Giuseppe Campa.


Fixing AI one meme at a time 🔧 [Tech Crunch]

In the wild world of AI development, social media users have taken on a new role: AI testers. Armed with sarcastic comments, they test new AI products like ethical hackers, exposing their flaws and immature features. Despite extensive pre-release testing, tech companies often release AI tools that fumble basic tasks, prompting users to share their misadventures online. Recently, AI-powered engine searches have been advising users that running with scissors could boost their cardio and improve their skin tone – information sourced from a comedy blog. Another suggested adding glue to make cheese stick on pizza, based on an old comment by an 11-year-old. These blunders highlight how AI sometimes pulls dubious information from the internet, leading to absurd and sometimes dangerous advice, like incorrect medical tips for snake bites. While these mishaps provide endless entertainment, they also serve as crucial feedback, helping companies refine their systems. Next time you see a ridiculous AI suggestion, remember, you’re not just laughing at it, you’re helping make AI better, one meme at a time!

Farewell to a meme star🐕🌟 [The Verge]

The beloved face that defined memes of the 2010s has passed away. Kabosu, the Shiba Inu behind the Doge meme, lived a long and loving life of 18 years. She brought joy to millions of users, inspiring countless jokes. Kabosu’s life story resembles an internet-age fairy tale – she was a rescue dog adopted by a kindergarten teacher, who kept shared her pet’s pictures through a blog. One day, one of the photos went viral, and soon everyone from government agencies to weather apps was using the Doge meme. Her suspicious, amused, almost human expression even became the logo for Dogecoin, a joke cryptocurrency in 2021.  Kabosu, with her gentle and calm temperament, will be missed by the entire internet community. Rest assured – all dogs go to heaven.

The digital revolution will also rock the world’s energy bill 🔋 [MIT Technology Review]

We are sorry to report that your back-and-forth interaction with generative AI on the expiration date of products in your fridge has consequences for the environment. As it turns out, electricity consumption from data centres, AI and cryptocurrency could reach double 2022 levels by 2026, according to projections from the International Energy Agency. This is worrying because of the ongoing climate crisis (and the perspective of more of our friends becoming crypto bros). AI might also contribute to an increase in emissions, not just energy consumption. While companies make pledges to bring GHGs to zero by the end of the decade, many sustainability reports fall short of the goal, with some executives pointing to AI as a reason. Experts are therefore calling to promote renewable energy as a response to the raise in demand, to keep AI activity as guilt-free as possible.

Shutting the world out with AI headphones 🎧 [MIT TechnologyReview]

In today’s noisy world, tuning out the turmoil can feel like trying to find a quiet moment during Brussels’ farmers protests – essentially impossible. Noise-cancelling headphones help, but they often block out everything, including voices you want to hear. Now, a new AI system called Target Speech Hearing aims to fix this problem. The technology (created by researchers at the University of Washington) can keep a chosen voice clear while silencing all the other sounds. The system is still a prototype, but its creators are working to add it to popular earbuds and hearing aids. Using advanced AI methods, it picks out a specific voice in real-time, allowing for conversations in noisy places and improved focus in meetings. So, next time you want to hear just your friend in a busy café, you might need to ask: “AI, focus on my favourite human!”


In case you haven’t had enough:

  • Dutch cybercops tracked a crypto theft to one of the world’s worst botnets [The Next Web]
  • Email Is Now the Best Social Network [Life Hacker]
  • A root-server at the Internet’s core lost touch with its peers. We still don’t know why [ArsTechnica]
  • How Researchers Cracked an 11-Year-Old Password to a $3 Million Crypto Wallet [WIRED]


About this week’s guest editor, Ola Adach:

I’m a digital policy enthusiast, and this summer I will have been working in the EU bubble for two years. I got my start in consulting, but since then have turned to the other side of the tech industry. My current projects revolve around semiconductors and digital competition. In my free time, I like to cook for my loved ones, use my Cineville Pass to watch obscure movies or crochet useless (but adorable) things.