Hashtag Trending January 26th- Layoffs hit IBM and SAP, smartphone shipments decline, Google shuts down pro-PRC channels

Layoffs hit IBM and SAP, smartphone shipments decline and Google shuts down more than 50,000 pro-People’s Republic of China (PRC) disinformation channels.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Friday, January 27th and I am your host, Ashee Pamma.

IBM announced it is cutting 3,900 jobs as part of asset divestments and after it missed its annual cash target. The layoffs, related to the spinoff of its Kyndryl business and a part of AI unit Watson Health – will cause a $300 million charge in the January-March period, IBM said. Meanwhile, SAP also announced it is laying off 3000 workers. The German software giant said it planned to carry out a “targeted restructuring program” to “strengthen its core business” and improve efficiency. IBM and SAP add to layoffs by major tech companies, including Amazon, Google and Meta who have reportedly shed 48,000 workers since the start of this year.

Source: Yahoo Finance and TechXplore

Worldwide smartphone shipments declined 18.3% year over year to 300 million units in the fourth quarter of 2022 (4Q22), according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. The drop marks the largest-ever decline in a single quarter. Heavy sales and promotions during the quarter helped deplete existing inventory rather than drive shipment growth. Vendors are increasingly prudent with their shipments and planning while realigning their focus on profitability, said Nabila Popal, research director with IDC. Even Apple that seemed immune, suffered a setback in its supply chain with unforeseen lockdowns at its key factories in China.

Source: IDC

Google says it shut down more than 50,000 accounts to combat a campaign called Dragonbridge, promoting pro-People’s Republic of China (PRC) disinformation in 2022 that focused on Taiwan, COVID-19 and U.S. politics. While most of the content pushed out by the disinformation network is “low quality and without a political message”, there was a higher volume of content released last year that was critical of the governments of Taiwan and the U.S. The group typically published content supportive of China’s response to COVID-19 and critical of how the U.S. handled the pandemic as well as the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While much of the content is targeted toward Chinese speakers, some of it is in English and other languages, Google says. Since 2019, has shut down more than 100,000 accounts on YouTube, Blogger and AdSense connected to Dragonbridge actors.

Source: The Record

A British man who planned to have a “robot lawyer” help a defendant fight a traffic ticket has given up the effort after receiving threats of possible prosecution and jail time. Joshua Browder, the owner of AI startup DoNotPay created a platform for people contesting traffic tickets to use arguments in court generated by artificial intelligence. The person challenging a speeding ticket would wear smart glasses that both, record court proceedings and dictate responses into the defendant’s ear from a small speaker. The system relied on a few leading AI text generators, including ChatGPT and DaVinci. Browder said he was threatened with Multiple state bar associations after he offered one million dollars to anyone willing to adopt his technology during a court fight.

Source: NPR

An AI-written speech was read for the first time in Congress. The brief two-paragraph speech read by the Massachusetts Democrat on the floor of the U.S. House on Wednesday was generated by the online AI chatbot ChatGPT, AP News reported. The congress member said part of the decision to read a ChatGPT-generated text was to help spark debate on AI and the challenges and opportunities created by it. He said he doesn’t want to see a repeat of the advent of social media, which started small and ballooned faster than Congress could react.The text generated from his prompt included sentences like: “We must collaborate with international partners like the Israeli government to ensure that the United States maintains a leadership role in AI research and development and responsibly explores the many possibilities evolving technologies provide.”

Source:  AP News 

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Ashee Pamma.


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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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