Hashtag Trending Jun.15- AWS suffers outage; Reddit’s advertisers suspend ad buys amid protest; Can AI reunite the Beatles?

AWS suffers a major outage, Reddit’s advertisers suspend ad buys during the moderator’s protest and can AI do what no human has been able to do – and reunite the Beatles?

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

Amazon Web Services (AWS), a major cloud computing service, experienced a widespread outage on Tuesday afternoon, affecting numerous major websites. The outage, which lasted about two hours, was traced back to an issue with a subsystem responsible for capacity management for AWS Lambda, a service that allows customers to run computer programs without managing underlying servers.

The outage had a significant impact across the internet, affecting media news sites like The Associated Press and The Boston Globe, and disrupting operations just as former President Donald Trump was being arraigned in a Miami court. Food ordering apps such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell were also affected, along with other services like Nike, Hulu, DoorDash, and Delta.

While AWS has stated that the issue is largely resolved, the outage is reminiscent of a similar incident that occurred in December 2021, during the peak of Amazon customers’ Christmas purchases. The recent disruption underscores the reliance of many businesses on cloud services, and the potential impact of such outages.

Sources include: BBC News

Close to 8,000 communities on Reddit have gone dark in protest of the platform’s plans to charge for access to its data, causing concern for marketers who rely on these communities for advertising reach. According to Similarweb, more than 49 per cent of Reddit’s traffic comes from search engines, and with so many subreddits currently dark, the reach of ads within these communities could be significantly impacted.

The marketing team lead at hotel comparison site RatePunk, has suspended all advertising and content marketing activities on Reddit until the blackout resolves itself or Reddit changes its policy about the third-party API apps. Casey Jones, founder and head of marketing and finance at the global digital marketing company CJ&CO, has also reallocated their Reddit budgets to other platforms like Meta and TikTok.

The protest was sparked by Reddit’s decision to monetize its data by charging third-party apps for API access. These apps are developed largely by small tech entrepreneurs and their apps are favourites of Reddit users and moderators. This has led to the shutdown of several third-party apps that relied on Reddit’s API, such as Apollo, Reddit is Fun, Reddplanet, and Sync.

Karim Salama, founder of web and digital marketing agency e-innovate, pointed out that if users are protesting against how the platform is run, this could lead to a negative association with ads that appear on it. Jones noted that the blackout could affect the perception of Reddit as a reliable platform for advertising.

Despite the ongoing protest, Reddit has not indicated any change in its stance on charging for access to its APIs. However, marketers are hopeful for a resolution within a matter of days.

Sources include: Digiday

Meta and Microsoft have joined the Partnership on AI group, which is working on a framework to promote responsible practices in the development, creation, and sharing of media created by AI. This announcement was shared with the public on Wednesday in a story on Axios.

Both tech giants, who are advancing their respective generative AI projects, plan to meet later this month to discuss recommendations and case studies. The group is focusing on the technical, legal, and social implications of AI-generated work.

Nick Clegg, president of global affairs at Meta, expressed his enthusiasm about joining the cohort of supporters of Partnership on AI’s Responsible Practices for Synthetic Media. He stated, “We’re optimistic about the developments in this space and about using this technology to bring more tools for creative expression to our community.”

Claire Leibowicz, head of AI and media integrity at the Partnership on AI, highlighted the reach of Meta and Microsoft, stating, “These companies have both the expertise and the access needed to reach users all around the world and help them learn to discern AI-generated images, video, and other media as synthetic media’s prevalence grows.”

Founding members of the framework, which was first launched in February, include Adobe, Bumble, OpenAI, TikTok, BBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Company, and WITNESS, a human rights and technology group. Adobe’s Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI), which allows the provenance of an image to be tracked over time, is considered a separate but complementary initiative to the new framework.

Sources include: Axios

Accenture, a leading tech consulting firm, has announced plans to invest $3 billion over the next three years to double its AI workforce to 80,000 people. This comes after the company eliminated 19,000 jobs earlier this year – primarily HR, finance, and legal staff – which may be an indication of the types of roles that Accenture feels might be replaced or made more efficient with the use of AI.

Julie Sweet, Chair and CEO of Accenture, stated in a recent announcement that the investment is necessary as “Companies that build a strong foundation of AI by adopting and scaling it now, where the technology is mature and delivers clear value, will be better positioned.” Despite ongoing debates about the maturity of AI and unresolved ethical and copyright issues, Accenture is confident in its decision to expand its Data & AI unit.

The company also introduced its AI Navigator for Enterprise platform, a tool designed to assist clients in integrating generative AI tools into their products and services. In addition, Accenture’s Center for Advanced AI will conduct research and development to enhance technological capabilities within its own organization and others.

Paul Daugherty, Group Chief Executive, Accenture Technology, predicted, “Over the next decade, AI will be a mega-trend, transforming industries, companies, and the way we live and work, as generative AI transforms 40 percent of all working hours.”

The expansion of the Data & AI team to 80,000 people puts it at just over 10 percent of Accenture’s total workforce, which consists of 738,000 staff working in over 120 countries. 

Sources include: The Register

It’s been a long and winding road to get to this point, but Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney has embraced artificial intelligence technology to create what he calls the group’s “final” song. In a recent interview, McCartney revealed that he used AI to extract the voice of the late John Lennon from an old demo to complete the track, which is expected to be released this year.

The song is believed to be a 1978 composition from Lennon titled “Now And Then.” McCartney received the demo from Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, in 1994. It was part of a tape labelled “For Paul” that Lennon had made before his death in 1980.

McCartney, along with Ringo Starr and the late George Harrison, had previously attempted to finish the “Now And Then” demo in the mid- 1990s, but the effort was unsuccessful. McCartney explained that the AI technology allowed them to separate Lennon’s voice from the piano, enabling them to mix the record as they would normally do.

This is not McCartney’s first use of AI. He previously used the technology to “duet” with Lennon during a recent tour. The news of McCartney’s use of AI comes shortly after “Black Mirror” creator Charlie Brooker shared his less successful experience with AI in writing an episode of his hit sci-fi series.

For John Lennon fans who feel that his untimely death deprived us of decades more of his creative genius we can only say – “the men from the press, we wish you success.”

Sources include: HuffPost

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 

Hashtag Trending goes to air five days a week with a special weekend interview episode called Hashtag Trending, the Weekend Edition.  You can find us on Google, Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. We’re also on YouTube five days a week with a video newscast, only there we are called Tech News Day. Check us out. Give us a like.

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And especially to those who’ve had a hard day’s night, take that sad song and make it better – and have a thrilling Thursday!

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