Hashtag Trending Aug.15-IBM unveils a prototype “brain-like” chip; Most Americans want greater regulation of AI; Tech firms cut back on remote work job listings

IBM announces a prototype of a brain-like analogue chip.  Most Americans want greater regulation of AI, Tech firms are cutting back on remote work job listings and is Threads unravelling as Musk and Zuckerberg pursue their feuding?

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These stories and more as we bring you the top tech news stories on today’s Hashtag Trending.  

I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US. Happy Tuesday. 

IBM has unveiled a prototype “brain-like” chip that could make artificial intelligence (AI) more energy-efficient. The new chip uses components called memristors, which are analogue and can store a range of numbers, unlike traditional digital chips that store information as 0s and 1s. This analogue approach, similar to the way synapses work in the human brain, allows for superior energy efficiency. IBM’s scientist Thanos Vasilopoulos believes this could enable “large and more complex workloads” to be executed in low-power environments like cars, mobile phones, and cameras. Additionally, cloud providers could use these chips to reduce energy costs and carbon footprints. While the technology shows promise, challenges remain, including material costs and manufacturing difficulties. IBM’s prototype could eventually lead to longer battery life and new applications in phones and cars, and even save energy in data centers.

Sources include: BBC News

A recent poll conducted by the Artificial Intelligence Policy Institute reveals that the majority of Americans are concerned about AI and want federal regulation. The poll, which surveyed 1,001 U.S. registered voters, found that 62 per cent are somewhat or mostly “concerned” about AI, with 86 per cent believing that AI could accidentally cause a catastrophic event. This concern has led to calls for safety measures, including slowing down AI development and establishing regulations. Specifically, 56 per cent of voters support a federal agency regulating AI, while 82 per cent say they don’t trust tech executives to regulate AI themselves. Additionally, 72 per cent of voters would rather see AI development slow down, compared to 8 per cent who want it to speed up. These sentiments align with the views of tech leaders and even President Joe Biden, who have spoken about the dangers of AI and the need for regulation.

Sources include: ZDNet

Microsoft has introduced Azure ChatGPT, a private and secure alternative to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, specifically tailored for internal enterprise use. This new offering allows companies to utilize ChatGPT without exposing intellectual property or connecting to OpenAI. Azure ChatGPT is hosted locally with access to the Azure cloud, providing built-in data protection, complete isolation from OpenAI, and integration with internal services. 

Microsoft highlights three key benefits: privacy, control, and value, including the ability to integrate with services like ServiceNow. Azure ChatGPT is released on GitHub under an MIT license, allowing commercial use, modification, and redistribution. To use it, users need a Microsoft Azure account, an OpenAI API key, and access to Microsoft’s OpenAI services with current GPT models. 

This move by Microsoft comes as OpenAI prepares its own enterprise solution, reflecting a complex relationship between the two companies.

Sources include: The Decoder

Tech firms are cutting back on all-remote job listings, with the share of fully remote positions dropping to 18.6 per cent in May from a post-pandemic peak of 24 per cent last August, according to research by real estate services firm JLL and labor analytics firm Lightcast. 

While many companies are shifting to hybrid work models, the decline in remote job listings suggests a trend towards more in-office work. 

Katy Redmond, a managing director at JLL, notes that advertising a job as remote makes it hard to backtrack, so companies are defaulting to in-office postings for flexibility. The change reflects challenges in productivity and onboarding with remote work, though Redmond believes remote work won’t entirely disappear. Big tech companies like Amazon are enforcing stricter in-office work requirements, while others, like Harley-Davidson, continue to embrace remote work.

Sources include: CIO Dive

The Internet Archive, a digital library providing free access to various media, has reached an agreement with publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, John Wiley & Sons, and Penguin Random House in a case related to its Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) service. The Archive was found guilty of copyright infringement for lending free digital copies of books during the pandemic, a decision it plans to appeal. 

The consent judgment requires the Internet Archive to pay an unspecified sum to the publishers if the appeal fails. 

The Archive’s founder, Brewster Kahle, argues that the case represents an “unprecedented” attack on libraries and emphasizes the importance of libraries being able to “own, preserve, and lend digital books” outside temporary licensed access. 

So it’s more of a truce than an agreement, but it raises the stakes on the appeal that will answer whether an entity like the Internet Archive is a library that can freely lend digital works or a copyright infringer. The answer could have a big impact on not only the archives, but those who use them for information and perhaps even things like AI training.  

Meta’s social media app Threads, once hailed as a Twitter alternative, has experienced a significant drop in popularity. According to a report by Sensor Tower, the platform has seen a nearly 70 per cent decline in the number of daily active users, falling from 44 million on July 7 to 13 million today. Additionally, the average daily time spent on the app by users has plummeted from 19 minutes on its launch day to just four minutes. Despite hitting 100 million sign-ups within a week after its launch on July 5, Threads lacks certain features of Twitter, such as desktop functionality and the ability to search for topics instead of users. Meta executives have expressed plans to introduce new features to retain users on the platform. Meanwhile, Twitter’s owner Elon Musk has been making sweeping changes of his own to the Twitter platform, prompting some users to seek alternatives.

Sources include: Hindustan Times, TechSpot

Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk’s highly publicized feud over a supposed cage fight continues to make headlines, but it seems the bout is unlikely to happen. The two billionaires have been at odds since June, with Musk challenging Zuckerberg to a cage fight over the launch of Twitter competitor Threads. Despite UFC President Dana White offering to make the fight a legitimate charity match, Musk has been hesitant to commit, citing the need for an MRI scan and possible surgery. Zuckerberg, who has had mixed martial arts training, has expressed frustration with Musk’s lack of seriousness, stating, “If Elon ever gets serious about a real date and official event, he knows how to reach me.” Meanwhile, Musk has made light of the situation, even offering a “practice round” in Zuckerberg’s backyard. The entire affair has left many confused and skeptical about whether the fight will ever take place.   Sorry, woke myself up there.

Sources include: The Register

Those are the top tech news stories for today.  Hashtag Trending goes to air 5 days a week with a special weekend interview show we call “the Weekend Edition.”

You can get us anywhere you get audio podcasts and there is a copy of the show notes at itworldcanada.com/podcasts 

If you want to catch up on these and other news more quickly, you can read these stories and more at TechNewsDay.com and some more of them at ITWorldCanada.com on the home page.

It’s always great to hear from you.  It lets me know we are on the right track. Or possibly, on the wrong track.

So please go to the article at itworldcanada.com/podcasts –  and you’ll find a text edition there. Click on the x or the check mark but tell me what you think.  I promise, we won’t challenge you to a cage match.

To those who have reached out – my sincere thanks. I answer each and every email that comes to me. It is so great to hear from you. 

I’m your host, Jim Love. Have a Terrific Tuesday!

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Ashee Pamma
Ashee Pamma
Ashee is a writer for ITWC. She completed her degree in Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. She hopes to become a columnist after further studies in Journalism. You can email her at [email protected]

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