Former Google CEO urges companies to ensure their AI technology do more good than harm, production of Apple’s M2 chips reportedly halted after decline in Mac sales and IBM’s Model F keyboards are back.


These stories and more on Hashtag Trending for Thursday-April 6th.

I’m your host James Roy – here’s today’s top tech news stories.

Former Google CEO, Eric Schmidt says he can hardly keep up with the rapid developments in AI technology like ChatGPT and stressed the importance of ensuring using these technologies do more good than bad.

During an interview with ABC News on Sunday, Schmidt said , “Imagine a world where you have an A.I. tutor that increases the educational capability of everyone in every language globally. These are remarkable. But, at the same time, we face extraordinary new challenges from these things, whether it’s the deepfakes that you’ve discussed, or what happens when people fall in love with their A.I. tutor?”

He added that he was particularly concerned with AI’s use in biology or in cyberattacks. And that the real problem with AI arises when it’s used to manipulate people’s day-to-day lives, the way they think, their choice and how democracies work.

It’s all about balance, Schmidt suggests.

AI can address big problems that plague today’s society but is capable of extraordinary harms, especially in the political realm. We saw a few months ago, circulating all over the web, a deep fake video of President Biden spewing transphobic discourse. 

Schmidt said that the government should work with private players over AI regulation to ensure guardrails are placed for the betterment of society. He also believes that the tech industry must have an organization to set controls on how this technology is used.

Source: Yahoo

One thing that stands in the way of Google, Microsoft or OpenAI’s promises to increase the safety and accuracy of their AI bots is users pushing past the technology’s boundaries and fully enjoying watching it run amok.

The large language models are trained on vast swaths of internet content, along with all its bias and toxicity. So the tech companies trained their AI engines to observe guardrails.

The technology’s output, however, is unpredictable, running on probabilities rather than rules.

So some users figured out ways for the bot to break out of the guidelines devised by the companies. Others just stumble on absurdities.

Both Microsoft and Google implemented more guardrails after their bots misbehaved, professing love, spreading misinformation and returning stereotypical and biased information.

Snap is the latest to tweak the My AI chatbot it made available six weeks ago, although the company says the bot is returning undesired content only 0.01 per cent of the time.

Snapchat said, “The most common non-conforming My AI responses included My AI repeating inappropriate words in response to Snapchatters’ questions.”

Some users want to test the boundaries of the system. Some see an opportunity for profit. Others see the potential to sow doubt and generate misinformation.

Either way, companies need to build systems strong enough to handle anything a user might type.

Source: Axios

Apple is forced to scale back the production of its M2 chip as it faces a slowdown in Mac sales.

Apple said nothing about the halt in production, which reportedly started in January and February and resumed in March. 

But South Korean tech news platform, Elec, reported via 9to5mac, that it was able to track down other suppliers in the chain who were able to provide information and numbers showing the chip pause during those months.

In its Q1 2023, Apple faced a 30 per cent decline in Mac sales, which the CEO said was expected given the challenging macro-environment.

Plus the Apple M1 lineup might have dampened the excitement of Apple’s M2-series Mac products. 

Users of old Intel-based Macs also might’ve made the upgrade after the launch of the M1 chips, but it would have made little sense for them to spend the same $3000-4000 on a M2-powered Mac, a second time less than two years later for a performance boost of only 10-15 per cent in most cases.

But none of that really explains why chip production was halted, TechRadar suggests – because if a decline was expected, there shouldn’t have been a pause in chip production, as the company would have anticipated the number of chips it needed earlier and ordered fewer wafers with its chip fabricator, TSMC as a result.

This spells trouble as the launch of the new 2023 iMac with a M3 chip, expected later this year, now looks hazy.

Source: TechRadar

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face a rising number of cyberattacks but many remain neglected and underreported.

Many fear the bad press, others just do not have the resources to fight back or safeguard their systems.

FBI supervisory special agent Michael Sohn said at a CNBC event that, “The large businesses continue to invest in their cybersecurity and enhance their cybersecurity posture. So what the cybercriminals are doing is they’re pivoting, they’re evolving and targeting the soft targets, which are the small and medium businesses.”

In fact, according to 2017 data by Score, 43 per cent of all cyberattacks target small businesses and the problem is reportedly getting worse.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Report found the cost of cybercrimes to small businesses reached $2.4 billion in 2021.

But according to a CNBC survey, more than half of SMBs say they are not concerned about being the victim of a hack. They were even confident they could quickly respond to attack. But 42 per cent had no plan.

Bottom line is SMBs need support. 

A spokesperson with the Office of the National Cyber Director told Axios, “We must rebalance the responsibility to defend cyberspace by shifting the burden for cybersecurity away from individuals, small businesses and local governments, and onto the organizations that are most capable and best positioned to reduce risks for all of us”

CISA also outlines practices that small businesses can adopt to enhance their security, like mandating strong passwords, auto-updating software and creating a response plan.

Source: Axios 

Last week, Twitter revealed plans to charge organizations $1000 to obtain their verified organization status and verify other affiliated accounts and individuals for $50 each. 

Brands and companies, if verified will have gold badges and government accounts  will have grey badges.

But New York Times reported that Twitter will waive the fee for its 500 largest advertising clients as well as 10,000 most-followed brands, companies and organizations.

Nonetheless, big media brands and organizations, from the White House, Washington Post, The New York Times to Politico, Buzzfeed and Insider said they are not giving in to Elon Musk’s extravagant rollouts.

Celebrities including “Star Trek” actor William Shatner and NBA player Lebron James have similarly rejected paying for the checkmark.

But the danger remains that this resistance ends up making authority and expertise simply meaningless, and worse, no longer valuable in public discourse.

Source: Axios

Model F labs has good news for retro keyboard fans- IBM’s iconic Model F keyboards are back.

The Model F keyboards were a sensation back in the early 80s.

They introduced buckling spring switches over a capacitive printer circuit board, replacing IBM’s beam spring keyboards and inspiring today’s mechanical switches for its lower-cost design that was also less bulky.

But a decade later, newer technologies outpaced the Model F keyboard. By 1985, IBM was making Model M keyboards with keys featuring a buckling spring over the membrane and lower manufacturing costs.

But the Model F keyboard remained a fan favorite, as it is generally considered lighter than Model M and also more repairable.

And now it’s making a comeback. As of April 1st, Model F Labs claim to have sold nearly $2.5 million worth of keyboards.

The keyboards are built to work with PCs that were barely imaginable in the 80s, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS, connecting via a detachable USB-A cable.

Model F Labs’ website says, “Much of the design follows in the footsteps of old Model F keyboards, though these are not exact replicas of a 4704 banking keyboard or any other old keyboard. The firmware and hardware components are completely modern and do not use IBM chips or firmware.”

It comes in the Classic Style F104 Model F or its smaller version the Ultra Compact F104 Model 4. The smaller version starts at $449.

If Model M is more your style, Model F Labs announced that it’s working on three Model M-inspired designs, including a split, ortholinear keyboard.

Source: Ars Technica

That’s the top tech news for today.  Hashtag Trending goes to air five days a week with the daily tech news and we have a special weekend edition where we do an in depth interview with an expert on some tech development that is making the news. 

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We’ll be back with another episode on Monday. Meanwhile, happy Easter and good Friday!

The post Hashtag Trending Apr.6th-Former Google CEO reflects on generative AI fervor, Production of Apple’s M2 chips halted as Mac sales decline, IBM’s Model F keyboards comeback first appeared on IT World Canada.

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