Hashtag Trending Jun.14-CEO Huffman says not to wear Reddit gear in public; Salesforce announces what they call more transparent AI; OpenAI drops price in response to competition

CEO Huffman says not to wear Reddit gear in public,  Salesforce announces what they call a more transparent and trusted AI and OpenAI drops its prices in response to competition.

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These and more top tech news stories from Hashtag Trending and Tech News Day. I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US.

Salesforce has unveiled what they are calling a significant advancement in the AI field, that aims to improve trust and transparency in AI decision-making. Called “Einstein Guided Selling”, this feature promises to make AI-generated insights safer and more explainable for businesses.

Chief AI Scientist at Salesforce, Richard Socher, said, “Our customers want to understand why an AI model is giving a certain prediction.” Einstein Guided Selling provides a simplified explanation for each AI prediction, hopefully making complex AI processes easier to understand and validate.

Salesforce wants to incorporate this feature across all of its cloud platforms, providing customers with clearer and more transparent AI-based solutions. They hope this will allow users leverage these insights to make better, more informed decisions in their businesses.

This move comes amid increasing regulatory scrutiny of AI systems and their often-opaque decision-making processes. Salesforce hopes their offering will be seen as a significant step in fostering transparency and accountability in the AI space, giving them a competitive advantage.

Salesforce also hopes this will demonstrate their commitment to responsible AI use. The company wants its AI models to be seen as unbiased, accurate, and explainable, and improve overall user trust in their technology.

Salesforce is looking to position itself as a leader in the AI industry and challenging the other tech giants to focus on transparency-driven features. 

Sources include: Axios

In a bold move to challenge Nvidia, the market leader in artificial intelligence (AI) chips, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has announced that production of its new AI chip, the MI300X, which will ramp up in the fourth quarter of this year. This was revealed by AMD Chief Executive Lisa Su at an event in San Francisco. 

Lisa Su, AMD Chief Executive, stated, “There’s no question that AI will be the key driver of silicon consumption for the foreseeable future.” The MI300X chip will boast 192 gigabytes of memory, surpassing any current Nvidia chip, a crucial performance measure for handling large AI systems.

Despite this announcement, Nvidia’s shares jumped 3.9 per cent to $410.22, marking the first chipmaker to end a trading session with a market capitalization above $1 trillion. AMD, however, saw a drop of 3.6 per cent in its shares. 

AMD also revealed a system that combines eight of its MI300X chips into a single computer, directly competing against similar offerings from Nvidia. The company has also started shipping high volumes of a general-purpose central processor chip called “Bergamo” to companies like Meta Platforms. 

Despite these advancements, Nvidia continues to dominate the AI computing market with an estimated 80 per cent to 95 per cent market share. AMD’s challenge lies not only in hardware performance but also in convincing the market that its software solution is competitive with Nvidia’s.

Sources include: Reuters

A recent study by security company BlackFog reveals a concerning trend: over half of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the U.S. and U.K. have fallen victim to a successful cyberattack in the past year. 

Dr. Darren Williams, the founder and CEO of BlackFog, stated, “Cybercriminals naturally gravitate towards targeting organizations with the lowest level of protection, and this typically means small to medium businesses come under fire.” The most significant impact of these attacks was business downtime, with 58 per cent of the 400 IT decision-makers surveyed reporting this consequence. Additionally, 39 per cent of respondents lost customer data due to a cyberattack, and one-third reported a loss of customers.

Interestingly, attackers often targeted the same businesses multiple times, with 87 per cent of IT decision-makers stating they experienced two or more successful attacks in the past year. BlackFog noted that 89 per cent of all attacks they studied involved data exfiltration of some kind.

The study also highlighted the challenges SMBs face in staying safe from cyberattacks. Many IT decision-makers (41 per cent) at SMBs said a lack of knowledge of what cyberthreats might impact their business was the biggest challenge to effective protection. 

When choosing IT partners, more than one-third of respondents (38 per cent) chose high security standards as the main determining factor. Williams advised businesses to ask potential vendors about their strategies to prevent data exfiltration and to move on if the answer is merely ‘firewall.’

Sources include: TechRepublic

Reddit forums remain closed for the second full day.  r/iphone and others still show the message “r/forum-name is a private community.  The message goes on to say that the forum is “private in protest against Reddit’s changes to API – do not send us a modmail, join out Discord” and they give the url of the group on Discord or their Twitter url.

A visit to the Discord site shows that thousands of people are joining the Discord chats. The initial forum announcement makes it seem like these popular forums are in it for the long haul.  The message states: 

This announcement isn’t specifically regarding the Discord server but it will be impacted over the next couple days with our subreddits, r/iPhone and r/iOS, shutting down (going private) indefinitely in response to a controversial policy change made by Reddit. Due to the subreddits shutting down indefinitely, there is likely to be a burst of new people joining over the next couple of days. Please be welcoming and respectful and try your best to introduce those who may not have used Discord before, to the platform. Even if it is perhaps a ‘dumb’ question. The moderators are aware of what is happening and will be keeping more of a watchful eye over the next couple days. 

For those wanting to know more about the protest, there is another post which also indicates the shut down on Reddit is “indefinite.”

And the announcements from the forum look a lot like the stories you would see on Reddit.  

This could be a real challenge to Reddit if its major subreddits establish themselves on Discord or other platforms. 

A note on just how intense this struggle could be. CEO Steve Huffman said in an internal memo that people should be mindful of wearing Reddit gear in public, as “some folks are really upset, and we don’t want you to be the object of their frustrations.”

Actually Steve, it looks like the people on the Discord forum are pretty calm, but when your major moderators bail on you, yeah, I think you can say they are “really upset.” 

Source:  Discord 

In a significant development, regulators in the U.S. have requested a judge to block Microsoft’s proposed $69bn (£56bn) acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the publisher of the popular Call of Duty game. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) argues that the deal, which would be the largest in the history of the video games industry, could “substantially lessen competition” in the sector. 

This move follows the U.K.’s decision to block the deal over similar competition concerns, while the EU approved it. A trial in the U.S. is set to begin in August. 

Microsoft president Brad Smith, in response to the FTC’s announcement, said Microsoft welcomed the “opportunity to present our case in federal court” in its attempt to persuade U.S. regulators to allow the deal to be completed. He added, “We believe accelerating the legal process in the U.S. will ultimately bring more choice and competition to the market.”

The proposed acquisition has divided global regulators, and for the deal to proceed, it needs approval from regulatory bodies in the U.K., the EU, and the U.S. 

The purchase of Activision, which also makes Candy Crush, is seen as crucial for Microsoft, which is trying to compete with its main competitor, Sony. Microsoft is betting big on its Xbox Game Pass service, which has been described as the “Netflix of games”, believing the future of gaming lies in players having subscriptions to libraries and streaming games through “cloud gaming”, rather than making one-off purchases.

Sources include: BBC News

OpenAI, a leading player in the generative AI space, is introducing new features to its text-generating models while also reducing pricing. The company announced the release of new versions of GPT-3.5-turbo and GPT-4, its latest text-generating AI, with a capability called function calling. This feature allows developers to describe programming functions to the AI models, which then create code to execute those functions. 

OpenAI explains in a blog post, “Function calling allows developers to more reliably get structured data back from the model.” This can help create chatbots that answer questions by calling external tools, convert natural language into database queries, and extract structured data from text.

In addition to the function calling, OpenAI is introducing a version of GPT-3.5-turbo with a greatly expanded context window, which refers to the text the model considers before generating any additional text. This new version offers four times the context length of the original GPT-3.5-turbo at twice the price.

On a positive note, OpenAI is reducing pricing for the original GPT-3.5-turbo by 25 per cent.

Sources include: TechCrunch

And that’s the top tech news stories for today. 

Links to all of the stories can be found in the text version of this podcast at itworldcanada.com/podcasts 

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Jim Love
Jim Love
I've been in IT and business for over 30 years. I worked my way up, literally from the mail room and I've done every job from mail clerk to CEO. Today I'm CIO and Chief Digital Officer of IT World Canada - Canada's leader in ICT publishing and digital marketing.

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