Hashtag Trending Jun.8-Open AI talks about GPT-5; Sticker shock on the new Apple Vision Pro; Canadian AI startup develops solution to identify waste and proper disposal

Open AI talks about GPT-5, Sticker shock on the new Apple Vision Pro and a Canadian entrepreneur uses AI to solve a huge mystery – does the coffee cup go into paper or the trash?

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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.

OpenAI, the Microsoft-backed startup, has confirmed that it is not currently training GPT-5, the successor to GPT-4. This announcement comes months after the company pledged to halt work on the project for “some time”, following concerns raised by industry executives and academics about the rapid pace of advancements in large language models. 

Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, stated that the company has much work before starting training on GPT-5, saying the company has new ideas, but are “not close to a start.”  

This statement was made in response to an open letter signed by over 1,100 individuals, including Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak, among others, calling for a pause on the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4. 

Altman emphasized that it took more than six months to prepare GPT-4 for release after its completion. 

In addition, Altman expressed opposition to regulating smaller AI startups, stating that the only regulation OpenAI supports is on itself and other large companies. 

His visit to India is part of a global effort to build confidence in OpenAI’s willingness to work with regulators and to encourage lawmakers to consider the potential abuse and other downsides of AI proliferation.

Sources include: TechCrunch

Reddit, the popular social media platform, is set to lay off approximately 5 per cent of its workforce, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, who obtained a copy of an email sent by chief executive officer Steve Huffman to all employees. Reddit joins a list of tech companies that have been cutting jobs in the past few months.

The move follows attempts to bolster revenue as the company has tried, with mixed success and with some negative reactions, to charge for the use of its API services.  

The cost cutting comes as the company is rumoured to be trying to go public again after delaying an earlier IPO in 2021, which in retrospect, may not have been a great idea despite the market conditions at the time. Its estimated $15 billion dollar valuation in 2021, in the meantime, has declined significantly.  

Sources include: Reuters

Twilio, a leading cloud communications platform, is integrating Google Cloud into Twillio Flex, the company’s contact center, sales and in-app concierge. 

The promise is that Twillio will be able to offer ‘cookie-less’ personalization, which, with the increased awareness of privacy and regulation about how much data is gathered on customers, is the “holy grail” of customer service.

When customer service reps are chatting with a customer, the AI will prompt the call agent based on its study of the customer’s history and prediction of their needs.

One of Twillio’s key clients, Toyota is already using Twillio’s new features to power their Toyota Connected Destination Assist Navigation feature.  Using this, drivers can get assistance twenty-four hours a day in more than 30 languages.

This collaboration comes at a time when businesses are increasingly turning to AI to improve customer service. The integration of Google’s AI into Twilio’s platform will enable businesses to automate routine tasks, freeing up human agents to handle more complex issues. This not only improves efficiency but also enhances the customer experience.

This move by Twilio and Google Cloud is part of a broader trend in the tech industry, where companies are leveraging AI to transform various aspects of their operations. As AI continues to evolve, it is expected to play an increasingly significant role in shaping the future of customer service.

Sources include: Axios

Apple’s latest product reveal, the Apple Vision Pro, has been met with mixed reactions due to its hefty price tag of $3499. The announcement, made during Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, prompted groans, sighs, and even some laughter from the audience according to one report.

The Apple Vision Pro is impressive with incredible resolution and features like eye and gesture tracking for navigation and control. However, the price has raised eyebrows, with some questioning whether the benefits justify the cost.

Despite the initial shock, industry experts predict that the Vision Pro will find some success. 

This announcement is consistent with Apple’s focus on the premium segment of the market. And this strategy has been successful for the tech giant in the past, people may remember the response to the initial premium price of the iPhone was not overwhelmingly positive. Despite that, it remains to be seen how consumers will respond to the Vision Pro’s high price.

Sources include: Business Insider

A Florida man, Onur Aksoy, faces a sentence of between 48 and 78 months for selling counterfeit Cisco equipment. The conviction follows an investigation by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Services.

The defendant, who operated numerous tech resale companies including a number of storefronts on Amazon and Ebay, was found guilty of importing counterfeit Cisco network switches from China and selling them as genuine products. The counterfeit equipment was sold to unsuspecting customers, including businesses and government agencies, causing significant financial losses and potential network security risks.

In addition to the prison sentence, the court ordered the man to pay restitution to his victims and more than 15 million dollars in fines. 

This case highlights the ongoing issue of counterfeit tech products, which not only harm businesses financially but also pose serious security risks. Companies like Cisco invest heavily in ensuring the quality and security of their products, as opposed to the counterfeit equipment which, in this case, resulted in numerous complaints and even some damage to customer’s networks and related equipment.

This activity went on for some time, despite cease and desist requests from Cisco and Aksoy is said to have pocketed at least a hundred million dollars over that time. Those who feel they might have been a victim of Aksoy can consult the Justice Department page – a link is in the text version this podcast at itworldcanada.com/podcasts

Sources include: The Register and Justice Department 

And in the area of innovative uses for AI, a Canadian company has applied AI to solve one of the questions that defeat us all.  When you visit the coffee shop, what bin does your empty cup go into?

Who of us hasn’t looked at the garbage and recycling bins in our offices or even our homes and asked, where does this go?

Intuitive AI, a company based in Vancouver, Canada has launched a new product called Oscar Pocket, and yup, I think its named after the trash can grouch – and like Sesame Street – it has a light hearted approach with some serious learning.

Hass Murad, Co-founder and CEO of Intuitive AI says,  

Everyone understands how important it is to manage our waste properly, but it’s shocking to see the lack of tools or sensors in the industry to help with this. You can only manage what you can measure, and measuring waste has been made virtually impossible by those that currently manage it.  We’ve always wanted to make waste sorting and knowledge accessible across the world for the average consumer and with Oscar Pocket this is what we’re actually doing. Oscar Pocket is like Siri, Google or ChatGPT but for reducing your waste, getting better at composting, finding the best way to dispose of your electronics, or getting tips on living a zero-waste lifestyle.”

Oscar Pocket uses generative AI to recognize a product and provide a simple and creative answer on how to dispose of it.  

And while it solves this simple problem it also helps companies determine what to purchase to reduce their environmental footprint.

And with an estimate that in a global waste market valued at 1.6 trillion in 2020, because of ever-changing regulations, about $300 billion goes to – well, waste.

And solving the annoyance of figuring out what goes where for those people who really want to do what’s right – maybe that has an added benefit of making us a little less of a grouch.

Sources include:  Oscar Pocket Website 

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.

We love to hear your comments.  Find me on Linked In, Twitter or on our new Mastodon site technews.social where I’m @therealjimlove.

Or if that’s too much to remember, just go to the article at itworldcanada.com/podcasts and you’ll find a text version with additional links and references.  Click on the x or check under the article and let’s here your trash talk…or you can say something nice. We read it all and use it to try to serve you better.

Have a Thrilling Thursday!  

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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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