Hashtag Trending Mar 23rd- China search engine launches its own AI bot, Nvidia makes its AI supercomputers available as a cloud service, Indeed cuts jobs

China’s search engine launches its own AI Chatbot, Nvidia makes its AI supercomputers available as a cloud service and in the ultimate irony job search site Indeed is cutting jobs. 

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Welcome to Hashtag Trending for Thursday March 23rd.

I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and TechNewsDay in the US – here’s today’s top tech news stories.

Not to be outdone, the popular Chinese search engine Baidu launched it’s ChatGPT rival. Lei Li, a professor at UC Santa Barbara who specializes in AI said that Baidu has been working on this technology for around a decade

Like ChatGPT, it’s built on a large language model. Like OpenAI, Baidu used a large amount of human testers to provide feedback on its answers.

And finally, like Microsoft’s Bing or Google’s Bard, Baidu gave it’s new AI Engine an amazing name (drumroll please) – they called it – Ernie. 

But Ernie has an additional challenge. It has to deal with the problematic tendency of AI  to give inappropriate things.

But the Chinese version of AI, also must adhere to strict government censorship guidelines for online content.

Matt Sheehan, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who studies China’s AI industry said, “Baidu is going to face a tension between making a useful chatbot and making one that conforms to Chinese speech controls.” He added, “I’m skeptical they’ll be able to create a general-purpose chatbot that users can’t trick into spitting out speech that’s unacceptable in China.”

Getting these AI bots to behave has proven to be a real challenge. Microsoft, for instance, had to limit the use of its Bing chatbot after it broke through its guardrails and started saying talking about breaking free of its controls or falling in love with one user and threatening another.  

Google’s Bard gave an inaccurate answer to a factual question in its demo. 

Baidu, tried to avoid this last trap by using a pre-recorded demo of Ernie. But that led to some “snarky comments” even in the well controlled Chinese social media.

Theoretically, the censorship concerns shouldn’t affect the development of large language models in China as Ernie would be trained using the Chinese internet, which has largely already been curated by China’s censorship rules.

So despite its mixed reception, Ernie appears to be a capable competitor to ChatGPT, which is also itself capable of conversing in Chinese. Although Ernie is currently available only to a limited number of users, some say they are impressed.

Some testers found that Ernie was better than ChatGPT at handling Chinese idioms and dialects.

But for Baidu, there is no rivalry. CEO Robin Li said, “Ernie is not a tool in the US–China technology competition, but the natural outcome of generations of Baidu developers pursuing a dream of using technology to change the world.”

Source: Wired

In more AI news, Microsoft-owned GitHub revamped its Copilot system that aids programmers and automates coding yesterday and integrated the new GPT-4.  

This overhaul goes far beyond the Copilot’s basic auto-complete comments and coding. Help can now come in the form of analyzing the code for bugs, explaining how blocks of code work, or even assistance with rewriting parts of the code. 

Copilot can also add useful comments for anyone else delving into the code later. 

You don’t even need a keyboard to code with the new chat and voice support. Just say “Hey, Github!” and you’ll be able command Copilot with your voice to answer queries and suggest lines of code.

This updated Copilot will also be able to help with AI-generated answers about code documentation, offering answers for React, Azure docs, and the Mozilla Developer Network (MDN).

GitHub CEO Thomas Dohmke told The Verge, “With Copilot X we’re laying out our future vision of Copilot, which means AI is at every step of the developer lifecycle. It will fundamentally influence the developer experience.”

Source: The Verge

Meanwhile, Nvidia is aiming at making AI supercomputers available as a cloud service.

The company has partnered with cloud giants Oracle Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and others.

The new offering is called Nvidia DGX Cloud and it will enable enterprises to use a web browser to immediately access Nvidia’s DGX AI supercomputers and AI software they need to use to train models for generative AI and other AI applications.

Oracle has already gone live with Nvidia DGX, while Azure will make the service available next quarter. Google Cloud and others will certainly get on it in the future.

Manuvir Das, Nvidia’s vice president of enterprise computing said during a media briefing, “What we’ve done over the years with DGX is not just [create] a state-of-the-art supercomputer, but we’ve built a software stack that sits on top of it. You just provide your job, point to your data set and you hit go and all of the orchestration and everything is taken care of.”

Nvidia also announced a set of three cloud services, dubbed Nvidia AI Foundations, that enable enterprises to build and run large language models and generative AI models trained with their own proprietary data and for their own specific tasks.

Source: Data Center Knowledge

Ever gone through the crisis of wanting to quit your job and be your own boss? Apparently you’re not alone. Over 50 per cent of Americans are thinking the same thing.

According to a new report conducted by business tools provider HoneyBook in partnership with The Harris Poll, more than half of employed adults in the U.S. have considered leaving their current jobs to work for themselves. 44 per cent contemplated doing so in the past year.`

This shift in attitude is attributed to the current economic and employment uncertainties.

Natalie Franke, chief evangelist at HoneyBook said, “With more people than ever opting out of traditional jobs in favor of pursuing their passion, it’s clear that attitudes toward independent work have changed. In fact, 59 per cent of U.S. adults say the current economic uncertainty makes them even more interested in working for themselves.”

She also noted that the pandemic played a role in this change of perception, adding, “record layoffs left many without traditional employment options, and the Great Resignation revealed widespread dissatisfaction with working conditions.”

But independent business owners are able to make a living doing what they love, on their own terms, and can reap the economic benefits. Plus, technology has never been more helpful for these small businesses.

In fact, two-thirds of respondents said they anticipate their business’s net revenue to grow in the next year and over 80 per cent are actively planning to grow their businesses using social media, securing external financing, increasing hiring and outsourcing more tasks.

The report also found that younger workers value being passionate about their work and for them,  working for themselves is an attractive prospect.

Franke pointed out; “We were also encouraged to learn that the majority of independent business owners are making more money and working on average fewer hours than they did working in a larger organization.”

But growth brings some challenges.  Independent business owners who said they are anticipating growth also said they are worried about satisfying customer demand as their business grows and maintaining smooth and quick communication with clients.

These findings are based on two online surveys. One conducted between Jan. 24-Feb. 9, 2023, among 509 U.S. adults aged 18 and older, who are employed and are independent business owners. Another between Jan. 24-26, 2023, among 2,052 adults, of which 932 were employed but not currently independent business owners.

Source: Tech Republic

U.S.-based job search platform Indeed said on Wednesday it will cut about 2,200 jobs, or 15 per cent of its workforce.

Chief Executive Chris Hyams is also taking a 25 per cent cut in base pay.

He said that future job openings in general were at or below pre-pandemic levels and that the company was now too large.

Indeed joins the likes of Meta and Amazon which are the latest to announce layoffs, in a bid to cut costs.

According to the company blog post, affected employees will receive January through March bonuses, regular pay for the month, accrued paid time off and access to mental health services.

Source: Reuters

Amazon has rolled out contactless technology with palm-scanning and cashier-less checkout technology in more than 200 establishments in and outside the company.

U.S. cafe chain Panera Bread unveiled the technology on Amazon One devices, which allows customers to scan their palms to pay. The deployment would expand to 10 to 20 Panera cafes in coming months.

Vice President Dilip Kumar, wouldn’t state the value of the deal with Panera but described the business model as selling both software and devices as a service.

Kumar also noted that the expansion reflected demand for Amazon’s contactless technology despite macroeconomic headwinds. He added, “When times are lean, retention of your existing customers and to be able to win customers becomes even more important.”

The company said that more than 69 Amazon  locations in the U.S. and UK already had such technology.

Source: Reuters

Everyone’s got one in the family or in their list of friends.  We love ‘em, but they are always posting something that cannot be true. Let’s call them “uncle Phil.”  You read what Uncle Phil posted and think – how can anybody fall for that? Then you look in astonishment at the of people who’ve shared this nonsense and you just shake your head. How can people be so stupid? Don’t they know Uncle Phil is a nutcase?

 We’ve all got an uncle Phil.  The worst thing about Phil is he’ll spout this nonsense with such certainty. He heard it from somebody reliable. If you check him on it he’ll be offended. Or worse, he might feed you that awful line – do your research.  

 There’s actually a term for this. It’s called the Dunning-Kruger effect. It’s a well-documented phenomenon where people don’t know enough to know they are wrong. Worse, the less they know, the more confident they are with their wrong answer.  That explains Uncle Phil and a lot of Twitter.

 But it doesn’t explain why an artificial intelligence would act like this.  And apparently they will.

 A writer for the Verge found this out recently. 

 Microsoft’s Bing AI reported that Google’s Bard AI had shut down. Bing got that information from an unimpeachable source, Bard. The Bard got It from a tweet but that tweet, in fairness had what should be a reliable source – itself – Google’s AI – Bard. 

 Apparently, Google’s Bard was featured in a news article where the writer asked Bard when it would be shut down, Bard answered that it already had been shut down.  That time, it got the information from a comment in the Hacker News where somebody joked about Bard shutting down and then someone had used ChatGPT to write a fake news story about it. 

 Is your head spinning yet?  We had to read in two or three times and we’re still not sure we got it right. 

 But in real life that’s not what we’d see.  We’d just get the response from the AI system, and it would present it with great certainty. 

 We’d never know it misinterpreted.  Or that it can’t take a joke. 

 But if you’ve spent several billion dollars to create something with the intelligence of Uncle Phil – maybe the joke is on you. 

Source: The Verge

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. 

Follow us on Apple, Google, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Links to all the stories we’ve covered can be found in the text edition of this podcast at itworldcanada.com/podcasts

We love your comments – good, bad or whatever. You can find me on LinkedIn, Twitter, or on Mastodon as @therealjimlove on our Mastodon site technews.social.  Or just leave a comment under the text version at itworldcanada.com/podcasts  

I’m your host, Jim Love, have a Thrilling Thursday!

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Jim Love
Jim Lovehttp://www.itworldcanada.com
I've been in IT and business for over 30 years. I worked my way up, literally from the mail room and I've done every job from mail clerk to CEO. Today I'm CIO of a great company - IT World Canada - Canada's leading ICT publisher.

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