Hashtag Trending Aug.17- Are AI chatbots truly intelligent?; Amazon, Netflix, Meta, Nvidia compete for top generative AI talent with six-figure salaries; Drama between Microsoft and OpenAI intensifies

Top physicist deems chatbots as mere media sensationalism, overshadowing quantum computing; tech giants offer six-figure salaries to snag top generative AI talent and the relationship between Microsoft and OpenAI gets more complicated.

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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 guest host James Roy. Happy Thursday!

In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, leading physicist Michio Zaku dismissed AI chatbots as “glorified tape recorders” that simply rearranges existing Internet content.

He acknowledged that chatbots are great for content generation but he underscored their limitations in distinguishing truth from fiction and accurate data from misinformation.

Former Google AI researcher, Meredith Whittaker echoed these criticisms to NBC’s Meet the Press in May, saying that what chatbots are doing is not intelligence, but rather “a sort of warped mirror of what’s on the internet for the last 20 years…designed to spit out things that seem plausible.”

Zaku, instead sees true potential in quantum computing, which he believes, holds the potential to solve the most complex problems that even the most advanced supercomputers would struggle with. He says that its parallel processing is akin to the human brain’s complex simultaneous reactions.

A.I leaders, like Google and Microsoft, have fortunately invested heavily in building the most powerful “universal gate” machines in a bid to see their quantum computers surpass the abilities of the most advanced digital computers around.

Source: Fortune

The generative AI frenzy is not slowing anytime soon. Giants like Amazon, Netflix, Meta are paying big, six-figure salaries to snag top generative AI talent.

There’s not an adequate supply of experienced AI professionals while demand is ballooning.

According to data from Indeed, obtained by the Wall Street Journal, the number of listings related to generative AI on the job site quadrupled, since the beginning of this year.

And, offering competitive salaries to woo skilled workers is the key to cashing in on the hype around the technology. At the same time, companies are also warming up to the idea that understanding generative AI tools may improve products and boost productivity.

Netflix, last month made headlines for offering up to $900,000 for an AI-focused product manager role. Amazon posted a job listing for a senior manager in applied science and generative AI who could land a salary as high as $340,300.

Workers with not more than a college degree can even cash in.

Meta is, for instance, is seeking college grads for a generative AI research engineer with an annual salary as high as $137,000.  Chip giant Nvidia posted an entry level job opening for a generative AI research scientist, with a salary of over $150,000.

Non-tech companies like Capital One, dating app Hinge, and Walmart are also pouncing on the generative AI buzz by offering similar six figure salaries. 

Source: Business Insider

The drama between Microsoft and OpenAI continues to brew. On Tuesday’s episode, we highlighted their complex relationship with Microsoft’s releasing Azure ChatGPT at the same time as OpenAI prepares its own enterprise solution.

While announcing Azure ChatGPT, Microsoft took a dig at OpenAI’ ChatGPT, saying, “ChatGPT risks exposing confidential intellectual property. One option is to block corporate access to ChatGPT, but people always find workarounds.” This post has now been deleted. 

Sam Altman then clarified in a Twitter post that OpenAI doesn’t use API-submitted data to train or improve models unless a user explicitly opt-in.

Reportedly, Microsoft has now even deleted the Azure ChatGPT repository and claimed in an interview with Analytics India Mag that “there is no product known as ‘Azure ChatGPT’ currently being offered by Microsoft.”

But the announcement already casted an unfavourable light on OpenAI with Azure ChatGPT being presented as a secure and private solution tailored for enterprises and assuring data security.

Analytics India Mag suggests that the strained relationship may be because of the partnership between Meta and Microsoft. The collaboration between the two may be creating a competitor for OpenAI’s closed-source models. By leveraging Meta’s Llama 2, Microsoft could reduce its reliance on OpenAI. And that’s despite Microsoft making it clear that Azure will be OpenAI’s exclusive cloud provider, when it injected millions into the company, at the start of the year.

Or, Microsoft is just trying to wield more control. Elon Musk claimed in the past “Microsoft has a very strong say, if not directly controls, OpenAI at this point.” In response, Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella said that it is factually not correct to claim that Microsoft controls OpenAI.

Source: Analytics India Mag

Microsoft says it will process and store your conversations with Bing in a bid to monitor and prevent abusive or harmful uses or outputs of the service.

That’s unless you’re an enterprise user. 

The policies are a little more obscure for its Microsoft 365 Copilot which does store your information even if it doesn’t appear to use customer data or prompts for training.

Microsoft also introduced more policies, slated to take effect Sep.30, including prohibition from reverse engineering or extracting data from the AI services as well as using that data to create, train or improve another AI service. The user will also be solely responsible for responding to any third-party claims regarding their use of Microsoft’s AI services.

Meta, Google, OpenAI and Anthropic have also adopted rules preventing developers from using data generated by AI models to train other systems but it’s not clear how this can be enforced, especially as more text on the internet is written by machines, with everyone scraping resources to train their own models.

Source: The Register

A recent survey by Envoy and Hanover Research revealed that a concerning 80 per cent of execs regret their return-to-office strategy.

They said that they would have dealt with it differently if they had access to workplace data to inform their decision.

The report notes that limited perspectives and individual biases can turn out to be costly, especially when employees come and go at different times, making it impossible for workplace managers to know how many people are onsite on any given day, and how to best allocate space and resources across the organization.

The report is filled with quotes from building managers, catering crew, facilities and real estate managers hoping their bosses would stop throwing them into the deep end by not providing data on who will be in when.

This report comes at a time when companies like Zoom and Amazon are striving to bring workers back in the office. Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg said that engineers perform better in person and IBM’s Arvind Krishna claimed he is concerned for the careers of remote workers.

Google appears to differ on the logistics of its return, having spent half a billion exiting real estate contracts after axing 12,000 jobs.

Either way, we can only hope that execs put their minds into determining the real objectives and outcomes behind bringing workers back in the office, instead of just following what others are doing.

Source: The Register

Self-driving Cruise cars caused a bizarre traffic jam in San Francisco last Friday, a day after it got the green light, from the California Public Utilities Commission, to offer fare-charging driverless rides in the city at any hour of day.

The CPUC’s decision drew the ire of local residents and groups who worry about the impacts driverless robotaxis could have on public safety, such as blocking access for emergency services.

Videos posted on Twitter show multiple Cruise robocabs, stalled, with their hazard lights blinking in the city’s North Beach area, causing cars driven by humans to be halted too. 

Reports suggest that around 10 Cruise cars were involved in the buildup, which is said to have lasted for about 15 or 20 minutes.

Cruise, which is owned by General Motors, and Waymo, owned by Google, said a large festival triggered wireless bandwidth constraints causing delayed connectivity to its vehicles. 

Cruise said that it was investigating what happened and working on solutions to stop it from happening again.

Source: Business Insider

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.

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

I’m your host, James Roy. Have a Thrilling Thursday!

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