Adobe Lightroom’s new Generative Remove AI tool makes Content-aware Fill feel basic – and gives you one less reason to use Photoshop

One of Adobe Lightroom's most used editing tools, Content-aware Fill, just got a serious upgrade in the AI-powered shape of Generative Remove. The Adobe Firefly tool is branded “Lightroom's most powerful remove tool yet” and after a quick play ahead of its announcement, I'd have to agree. 

Compared to Content-aware Fill, which will remain in Adobe's popular photo organizer and editor, Generative Remove is much more intelligent, plus it's non-destructive. 

As you can see from the gif below, Generative Remove is used to remove unwanted objects in your image, plus it works a treat for retouching. You simply brush over the area you'd like to edit – whether that's removing a photo bomber or something as simple as creases in clothing – and then the new tool creates a selection of smart edits with the object removed (or retouch applied) for you to pick your favorite from.

If I was to use Lightroom's existing Content-aware Fill for the same image in the gif below and in the same way, or even for a much smaller selection, it would sample parts of the model's orange jacket and hair and place them in the selection. I'd then need to repeatedly apply the tool to remove these new unwanted details, and the new area increasingly becomes an artifact-ridden mess.

Adobe Lightroom Generative Remove tool

(Image credit: Adobe)

Put simply, Lightroom's existing remove tool works okay for small selections but it regularly includes samples of parts of the image you don't want. Generative Remove is significantly faster and more effective for objects of all sizes than Content-aware Fill, plus it's non-destructive, creating a new layer that you can turn on and off.

From professionals wanting to speed up their workflow to simply removing distant photo bombers with better results, Generative Remove is next-level Lightroom editing and it gives you one less reason to use Adobe Photoshop. It is set to be a popular tool for photographers of all skills levels needing to make quick remove and retouching edits.

Generative Remove is available now as an early access feature across all Lightroom platforms: mobile, desktop, iPad, web and Classic.

Adobe Lightroom Generative Remove tool

(Image credit: Adobe)

Adobe also announced that its Lens Blur tool is being rolled out in full to Lightroom, with new automatic presets. As you can see in the gif above, presets include subtle, bubble and geometric effects to bokeh. For example, speckled and artificial light can be given a circular shape with the Lens Blur bubble effect.

Lens Blur is another AI-tool and doesn't just apply a uniform strength blur to the background, but uses 3D mapping in order to apply a different strength of blur based on how far away objects are in the background, for more believable results.

It's another non-destructive edit, too, meaning that you can add to or remove from the selection if you're not happy with the strength of blur applied or if background objects get missed out first time around – for instance, it might mistake a lamp in the image above as a subject and not apply blur to it.

Having both Generative Remove and Lens Blur AI-tools to hand makes Lightroom more powerful than ever. Lens Blur is now generally available across the Lightroom ecosystem. Furthermore, there are other new tools added to Lightroom and you can find out more on the Adobe website.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Another big reason to install iOS 17.4 right now – it fixes two major security threats

Apple has just launched iOS 17.4, and right now everyone’s attention is focused on how it lets you run third-party app stores on your iPhone – although only if you're in the European Union. But there’s another important reason you should upgrade: it fixes two extremely serious security flaws.

In a new security post (via BleepingComputer), Apple says that iOS 17.4 and iPadOS 17.4 resolve two zero-day bugs in the iOS kernel and Apple’s RTKit that might allow an attacker to bypass your device’s kernel memory protections. That could potentially give malicious actors very high-level access to your device, so it’s imperative that you patch your iPhone as soon as possible by opening the Settings app, going to General > Software Update and following the on-screen instructions.

These issues are not just hypothetical; Apple says it is “aware of a report that this issue may have been exploited” in both cases, and if a zero-day flaw has been actively exploited it means hackers have been able to take advantage of these issues without anyone knowing. With that in mind, there’s every reason to update your device now that Apple has issued a set of fixes.

Apple says the bugs affect a wide range of devices: the iPhone XS and later, iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2nd generation and later, iPad Pro 10.5-inch, iPad Pro 11-inch 1st generation and later, iPad Air 3rd generation and later, iPad 6th generation and later, and iPad mini 5th generation and later. In other words, a lot of people are potentially impacted.

Actively exploited

holding an iphone

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Zero-day flaws like these are usually exploited in targeted attacks, often by sophisticated state-sponsored groups. Apple didn’t share any details of how or when these vulnerabilities were put to nefarious use, nor whether they were discovered by Apple’s own security teams or by external researchers.

Apple devices are known for their strong defenses, but are increasingly falling under hackers’ crosshairs. Recent research suggests that there were 20 active zero-day flaws targeting Apple products in 2023 – double the number of the previous year. According to BleepingComputer, three zero-day attacks on Apple devices have been patched so far in 2024.

This kind of exploit demonstrates why it’s so important to keep all of your devices updated with the latest patches, especially if they include security fixes. Leaving yourself vulnerable is a dangerous gamble when there are extremely sophisticated hacking groups out there in the wild. With that in mind, make sure you download the latest iOS 17.4 update as soon as you can.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Windows 11’s latest update reportedly fails to install for no reason, and some users are getting really frustrated

Windows 11’s latest patch, the cumulative update for January, is failing to install for some users, and compounding the misery is that the reason for this spanner in the works can’t be discerned.

This is update KB5034123 and the trouble is that the installation process is failing, in some cases repeatedly, with the usual unhelpful error codes.

As Windows Latest pointed out, some of those include error ‘0x80188309’ and apparently more common is ‘0x800f081f’, although whatever string of characters happens to be spewed out, it’s unlikely to be of any use.

The only thing to be done with these stop codes is to search the web for them and see if there are any mentions of the specific issue in question, and possible workarounds or solutions, but in this case, there’s no apparent cause yet pinpointed.

There are reports of installation failure with Windows 11’s January update across Microsoft’s Feedback Hub and Reddit, and Windows Latest noted that it has received a bunch of reports from ‘many users’ claiming that it’s ‘nearly impossible’ to install KB5034123.

There are also some folks who are reporting that they are getting the same type of failure, namely that the update starts to download, reaches partway through (25% in many cases), and then Windows Update comes up with a failure message, offering to try again. However, retrying produces the exact same problem, and that’s pushing the boundaries of patience for some people, as you might imagine.

As a final note, some of those who are successfully installing the January update are finding that the patch is causing audio to stutter and glitch, and Windows Latest itself encountered this problem when viewing Netflix and playing games.

This might be a more isolated issue, though we have seen a scattering of complaints elsewhere about bugs with audio, graphics corruption, and mouse-related hiccups with KB5034123. Until they are reported with more prevalence, though, take them with a pinch of salt.


Analysis: A possible solution?

As a possible workaround, Windows Latest advises trying an in-place upgrade of Windows 11 (using the Media Creation Tool). Following that, whatever issue is buried in your OS might be fixed, so patch KB5034123 may then install successfully.

However, as this is a clunky and somewhat involved process, with no guarantee it will work in the end, it seems a drastic step to us. Rather than go this route, we’d recommend hanging on for now to see what Microsoft has to communicate on this issue – speaking of which, we’ve got in touch with the company to find out. If we hear back, we will of course update this article.

While it’s far from ideal to be without a cumulative update – mainly because you’re lacking the latest security fixes – it’s probably the lesser of two evils right now. As opposed to messing with in-place upgrades and hoping, rather blindly (let’s face it), that this may fix whatever issue is triggering the installation failures.

Note that these Windows 11 installation problems were first observed just after the January update was released (two weeks back), but they were very scattered in nature – and now they are distinctly more commonplace. Hopefully Microsoft will be investigating the matter as we type this.

You might also like…

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

ChatGPT use declines as users complain about ‘dumber’ answers, and the reason might be AI’s biggest threat for the future

 

Is ChatGPT old news already? It seems impossible, with the explosion of AI popularity seeping into every aspect of our lives – whether it’s digital masterpieces forged with the best AI art generators or helping us with our online shopping.

But despite being the leader in the AI arms race – and powering Microsoft’s Bing AI – it looks like ChatGPT might be losing momentum. According to SimilarWeb, traffic to OpenAI’s ChatGPT site dropped by almost 10% compared to last month, while metrics from Sensor Tower also demonstrated that downloads of the iOS app are in decline too.

As reported by Insider, paying users of the more powerful GPT-4 model (access to which is included in ChatGPT Plus) have been complaining on social media and OpenAI’s own forums about a dip in output quality from the chatbot.

A common consensus was that GPT-4 was able to generate outputs faster, but at a lower level of quality. Peter Yang, a product lead for Roblox, took to Twitter to decry the bot’s recent work, claiming that “the quality seems worse”. One forum user said the recent GPT-4 experience felt “like driving a Ferrari for a month then suddenly it turns into a beaten up old pickup”.

See more

Why is GPT-4 suddenly struggling?

Some users were even harsher, calling the bot “dumber” and “lazier” than before, with a lengthy thread on OpenAI’s forums filled with all manner of complaints. One user, ‘bitbytebit’, described it as “totally horrible now” and “braindead vs. before”.

According to users, there was a point a few weeks ago where GPT-4 became massively faster – but at a cost of performance. The AI community has speculated that this could be due to a shift in OpenAI’s design ethos behind the more powerful machine learning model – namely, breaking it up into multiple smaller models trained in specific areas, which can act in tandem to provide the same end result while being cheaper for OpenAI to run.

OpenAI has yet to officially confirm this is the case, as there has been no mention of such a major change to the way GPT-4 works. It’s a credible explanation according to industry experts like Sharon Zhou, CEO of AI-building company Lamini, who described the multi-model idea as the “natural next step” in developing GPT-4.

AIs eating AIs

However, there’s another pressing problem with ChatGPT that some users suspect could be the cause of the recent drop in performance – an issue that the AI industry seems largely unprepared to tackle.

If you’re not familiar with the term ‘AI cannibalism’, let me break it down in brief: large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT and Google Bard scrape the public internet for data to be used when generating responses. In recent months, a veritable boom in AI-generated content online – including an unwanted torrent of AI-authored novels on Kindle Unlimited – means that LLMs are increasingly likely to scoop up materials that were already produced by an AI when hunting through the web for information.

An iPhone screen showing the OpenAI ChatGPT download page on the App Store

ChatGPT app downloads have slowed, indicating a decrease in overall public interest. (Image credit: Future)

This runs the risk of creating a feedback loop, where AI models ‘learn’ from content that was itself AI-generated, resulting in a gradual decline in output coherence and quality. With numerous LLMs now available both to professionals and the wider public, the risk of AI cannibalism is becoming increasingly prevalent – especially since there’s yet to be any meaningful demonstration of how AI models might accurately differentiate between ‘real’ information and AI-generated content.

Discussions around AI have largely focused on the risks it poses to society – for example, Facebook owner Meta recently declined to open up its new speech-generating AI to the public after it was deemed ‘too dangerous’ to be released. But content cannibalization is more of a risk to the future of AI itself; something that threatens to ruin the functionality of tools such as ChatGPT, which depend upon original human-made materials in order to learn and generate content.

Do you use ChatGPT or GPT-4? If you do, have you felt that there’s been a drop in quality recently, or have you simply lost interest in the chatbot? I’d love to hear from you on Twitter. With so many competitors now springing up, is it possible that OpenAI’s dominance might be coming to an end? 

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Vivaldi browser is coming to your car, for some reason

Picture this: You're driving along and your passenger asks a question you don't know the answer to. Now, most people would pull out a smartphone and Google it, but not Vivaldi: the privacy-focused browser company is putting its software in cars.

Through a partnership with Swedish electric carmaker Polestar, Vivaldi will become the first browser available on Android Automotive OS, starting now in Europe, North America, and the Asia Pacific, beating even Chrome to the punch. 

“We have listened to our owner community, and it’s great that we could answer their desire for a browser with Vivaldi as a nice Christmas present,” says Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO. “Now there is basically no limit to the web content you can explore in Polestar 2 – even some of your favourite streaming platforms.”

Has science gone too far?

This is all well and good until you consider the fundamental strangeness of having a fully capable web browser in your car, a vehicle that is mostly meant to get you from A to B. Vivaldi says the browser can only be used when parked, but it seems like it could be a temptation too far.  

According to Vivaldi CEO Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner, the partnership came about due to the synergies between Vivaldi and Polestar making sense. 

“We are really proud to introduce our browser to a car for the first time and specifically with a brand like Polestar. Our technological and sustainability ambitions are well aligned,” he said. 

“We value transparency, privacy, and responsible innovation – including the fact that we have our servers in Iceland, one of Polestar’s newest markets. Like Polestar, we are a challenger brand, and we take a Scandinavian approach to design, that is based on trust and listening to our users.”

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Microsoft Teams update will make your life harder, but for good reason

Microsoft is set to roll out an update for collaboration platform Teams that will add a layer of friction to using third-party app integrations, but for good reason.

According to a new entry in the company’s product roadmap, Microsoft Teams users will soon have to manage permissions manually for each third-party app they want to use via the web client.

“In order to better secure Microsoft Teams third-party applications that request native device permissions – such as camera, microphone or location access – we will be requiring users to manually opt-in for these permissions per app in the Microsoft Teams web browser experience,” wrote Microsoft.

This is already the case across the Microsoft Teams desktop and mobile clients, the roadmap entry goes on to explain.

The new web client permissions system is still under development, but should take effect for all users by February next year.

Microsoft Teams apps

Since the start of the pandemic, collaboration software vendors like Microsoft, Zoom and Slack have worked hard to expand upon in-built functionality (video conferencing, VoIP, messaging, file-sharing etc.) with third-party integrations.

In Microsoft’s case, the company is aiming to turn Teams into a central hub for work, by building as wide a range of functionality into the platform as possible, from cloud storage and CRM to project management, calendering and more.

Only last week, Microsoft revealed it is developing a new-look app store that should make it easier to identify the most useful third-party integrations on a per user basis.

As the number of Teams applications grows, however, the likelihood one might be abused for cybercriminal purposes rises too. To nip any potential issues in the bud, Microsoft will soon require users to manually specify app permissions across all Teams clients (desktop, mobile and now browser).

Of course, the measure won’t stop users from giving malicious apps access to their webcam and audio feed, but at the very least it will force people to think twice about which apps they engage with.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More