Social media companies get even lower scores in terms of reputation, Elon Musk muses about developing his own competitor to ChatGPT and why would Alibaba get rid of what seemed to be a highly successful cloud offering?
These top tech news stories and more for Thursday, May 25th , I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada, and Tech News Day in the US.
A recent Axios poll showed that of 100 leading brands, tech companies occupied both ends of the spectrum – in the highest and the lowest scores. Those tech companies with product offerings were among the most highly rated brands while social media companies have lost ground and are at the very bottom of the list.
In fact, the lowest marks in terms of reputation for tech companies went to TikTok at 94th place on the list, Meta at 97th place and Twitter at 98th.
No social media platform rated higher than number 94 out of the 100 companies scored. That put these companies at the same scoring levels as Fox, the Trump Organization and failed crypto exchange FTX.
Meta was the company least trusted by women with only 1 in 5 giving it a high trust rating. Young adult responses were worse. Meta was the second least trusted brand by Gen Z. The only company scoring lower with this group was the Trump Organization.
Clearly Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter had an impact. Twitter’s reputation score was in freefall – moving down the scale 50 places from number 12 last year to number 62 this year. Ouch.
No other company moved more than 22 places on the list.
Curiously, age had a different impact on the scores for TikTok. Boomers gave it a much better rating, almost 20 points ahead of the much younger Gen Z.
The tech companies with the highest scores on this Axios Harris’ reputation scale were Samsung (81), Amazon (80.7) and Apple (80.6). These companies stayed roughly where they were the year before. Sony (79.8), Microsoft (79.7), and LG (78.8) were also in the top 20.
Google was caught somewhere in between. It was 35th on the list – almost in the middle.
Another interesting fact – none of the companies that did huge layoffs this year, other than Twitter, saw any real change in their score that could be attributed to layoffs.
We have a link to the full study and its methodology in the text version at itworldcanada.com/podcasts
Sources include: Axios
A study by Ernst & Young found that 94 per cent of tech leaders are committed to making new investments in new tools and technologies.
In fact, 81 per cent said their company plans to make an innovation-related acquisition in the next six months.
Those findings seem remarkable given the level of economic uncertainty with the retrenchment and cost cutting of major tech companies, the failures of some regional banks, inflation and rising interest rates.
In the no big surprise category, the study found that cybersecurity investments were necessary to weather the current geo-political storms. And, are you sitting down? AI is also a huge part of their planned investments.
In fact, 90 per cent of the tech leaders said their companies “are working on generative AI functionality similar to ChatGPT,” and 80 per cent said they would increase their investment in the coming year with more than half looking to use AI to gain cost efficiencies.
But the study did have some surprises. 78 per cent of those polled thought that remote work positively impacted their company’s innovation goals.
And just to recap the major findings in terms of relative priorities. According to the study, among those planning to increase technology investments:
- 74 per cent have a priority on cybersecurity.
- 62 per cent on big data or analytics.
- 62 per cent mentioned next-generation 5G wireless technologies.
- 58 per cent plan to invest in generative AI solutions.
And although it was last and we thought it had faded from attention
- 52 per cent said they plan to invest in metaverse technologies
Alibaba surprised the market with its announcement that it is going to spin off its 12-billion-dollar cloud business. Alibaba cloud has been a real success story. Its rapid growth was putting it in a league with its American equivalent, Amazon and most industry watchers expected that it would have the same growth and impact on the company as AWS has for Amazon.
Alibaba had invested billions in the cloud offering and was the clear leader in terms of Chinese companies, surpassing its large rivals Tencent and Baidu.
The announcement is a good deal for current shareholders who receive stock in the spin-off cloud offering, but it’s not great news for Alibaba.
The announcement caused an initial drop in Alibaba’s stock price of about 6 per cent.
So why break up the company after all that investment and with that kind of success? The best answer is that the company yielded to pressure from the Chinese government who were growing suspicious of a private company holding and controlling that much data.
The company has been reprimanded for its role in a major leak of data and had been facing real pressures from Huawei and state-run China Mobile who seem to be the favoured alternatives of the Chinese government.
Sources include: Data Center Knowledge
And returning to our discussion on reputations, Elon Musk has been making noises about developing an Artificial Intelligence offering to compete with OpenAI, Microsoft and Google.
Musk was an original founder of OpenAI and never ceases to tell people that. He’s less clear about why he left the company but as OpenAI and Microsoft have more and more dominant in this space, Musk has become more protective of Twitter data and more vocal in warning about AI. In particular, OpenAI.
He’s taken this campaign on a media tour of sorts, appearing on Fox, the BBC and even MSNBC.
Musk has been sounding the alarm, saying, although AI can have real benefits, there’s a “not zero chance” of AI going “Terminator.”
Musk isn’t the only one to warn of the potential dangers of AI. Sam Altman last week proposed that an international agency should be created to inspect and even license those building systems like OpenAI’s GPT-4 and the more advanced versions that are yet to come.
Altman and his other co-founders acknowledge that it’s “conceivable” that AI will exceed human abilities over the next decade. Sundar Pichai from Google agrees with Altman, stating in another an article in the Financial Times, “I still believe AI is too important not to regulate, and too important not to regulate well.
Which brings us to a thought experiment. Just based on what we’ve seen to date, who has the better chance of developing an AI that turns into “the Terminator.” Show of hands. Sam Altman from OpenAI or Elon Musk.
Yeah. Me too.
Sources include: Axios, The Register, BBC and MSNBC and Financial Times
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I’m your host, Jim Love. Have a thrilling Thursday!