Google jumps on the conversational AI frenzy, software supply chain attacks surge, and
an Ohio study finds Reddit’s readers favour stories that are more accurate, while Twitter
users seem to prefer fake news.
Welcome to Hashtag Trending – today’s top tech news stories for Tuesday, February 7,
Google issued a code red last week to boost the company’s AI strategy following
Microsoft’s C$10 billion investment in the chatbot, ChatGPT.
Google desperately needs to take a bite out of the buzz surrounding conversational AI
technology, driven by OpenAI’s ChatGPT and its wild popularity. The tech giant
announced three AI-related projects, including Bard, a conversational system
conceptually similar to ChatGPT and based on Google's LaMDA large language model,
trained on dialogue to allow free-flowing, open-ended conversations. Google also
announced plans to integrate LaMDA alongside search results to help offer a narrative
response to queries that do not have one clear answer. Finally, Google will develop
APIs that will allow users to dive into its large language model, starting with LaMDA.
These announcements though potentially visionary, still seem timid and almost late to
the game, given how OpenAI confidently leapfrogged Google, ironically, by using the
very technology that Google pioneered.
Up until now Google has been cautious, despite pressures to move fast. There have in
the past been embarrassing episodes with AI. Microsoft pulled an earlier experiment with
a twitter bot called Tay when the programming gave some very disturbing misogynist
and racist remarks it apparently learned from Twitter users.
TechCrunch suggests that Google will likely record conversations with users “to make
sure Bard’s responses meet a high bar for quality, safety, and groundedness in real-
As big companies tread lightly, smaller AI companies, with a clean slate and lower
accountability are gaining traction. Investors are flocking to AI stocks following
ChatGPT’s viral success. Software firm C3.ai rose 11 per cent, analytics firm BigBear.ai
jumped nearly 21 per cent and conversational artificial intelligence company
SoundHound surged 40 per cent In recent trading.
Gartner expects that by 2025, 45 per cent of organizations globally will have
experienced a software supply chain attack, a three-fold jump from 2021.
The historic SolarWinds hack in 2020, put supply chain attacks at the forefront of
security conversations, but today the threat is at an all-time high.
The thing with these attacks is that, when one system is hit, a chain of customers and
organizations linked to it get compromised, making it extremely lucrative and more
damaging than any other type of cyberattack.
Plus the definition of supply chain attacks is no longer limited to malware being injected
into a compiled object or deliverable, but also into the tooling used to build them, as
seen with recent attacks on code repositories like GitHub.
Fairly or not, open source software has taken a real hit to its reputation as a result.
But there are some organizations attempting to fight back.
Neatsun Ziv, CEO of startup Ox Security, launched OSC&R (Open Software Supply
Chain Attack Reference) to give enterprises a common framework, language and tools
to measure the risk to supply chains, understand attack tactics and track threat group
The framework encompasses 9 key areas including and outlines the techniques and
processes used by attackers, from initial access to defense evasion.
Supply chain security vendor Chainguard and CISA have also taken steps to address
growing supply chain attacks.
Dell Technologies has slashed 6,650 jobs as it faces plummeting sales of PCs.
The company announced the shakeup in a blog post yesterday, saying that impacted
employees will hear from their leaders and that they will receive support as they
transition to their next opportunities.
It is not clear yet which departments have been impacted, nor the extent of support that
laid off employees will receive.
Among major companies, Dell has been suffering the most with the slump in the PC
market, facing a 37 per cent decline in sales in 2022.
In comparison, rival HP saw a 29 per cent decrease in sales and announced plans to
lay off 4000-6000 workers in November of last year.
Dell’s round of layoffs are just more bad news for the the tens of thousands of
employees that have been affected by the spate of big tech layoffs.
Samsung Electronics has shifted production of its Galaxy S23 flagship smartphone and
other high-end models to India, despite fierce competition from Chinese manufacturers.
Samsung is another of a increasing number of high tech companies moving from China
to India and that strategy appears to be paying off, not only by appeasing a US market
increasingly suspicious of, or reluctant to buy, Chinese technology.
In the 24 hours after the launch of Samsung Galaxy S23 series, Raju Pullan, the
country’s president of Samsung’s mobile business, said the company got orders for
about 140,000 devices for around 14 billion rupees or $169 million USD.