Hashtag Trending Sep.12-IBM demands return to office; Cloud prices continue to rise; What does ChatGPT see when it looks in a mirror?

IBM demands a return to the office. Cloud prices continue to rise. A fired Apple employee files a RICO suit against the company. And what does ChatGPT see when it looks in a mirror?

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These and more top tech stories on Hashtag Trending.

I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US.

IBM has become the latest in a list of companies demanding an end to its work-from-home policy. 

Starting next week, the company will require its global employees living within 50 miles of an IBM office to return to in-person work for at least three days a week. 

This decision was communicated to the staff by Kareem Yusuf, senior VP for product management, and Dinesh Nirmal, senior VP for products, through an internal blog. 

They emphasized the importance of in-person collaboration, stating, “It is vital to our culture and our shared goals… that we spend more meaningful time together, in-person.” The company aims to have three out of four employees working in the office by October. This move aligns with other tech giants like Amazon, Dell, and yes, you heard it right – Zoom, who have also emphasized the supremacy of in-person work.

Source: TechSpot

And in more IBM news, IBM is set to increase the costs of its cloud infrastructure and platform services starting January. The company revealed that prices for IBM Cloud services under the Platform as a Service (PaaS) category will rise by 3 per cent globally. 

This category includes IBM’s Kubernetes services, Red Hat OpenShift, security services, and platform data solutions like Cloud Database, Data Engine, and Cloudant. 

While Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) rates will differ based on data center locations, all cloud customers will experience certain data storage price hikes. Notably, IBM Cloud Object Storage will witness significant rate increases, with Accelerated Archive and Deep Archive storage prices rising by 25 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively. 

Tracy Woo, a senior analyst at Forrester, commented that such price hikes are expected due to semiconductor chip shortages, supply chain issues, and energy shortages, especially in the EU. 

Additionally, other tech giants are adjusting their prices in response to operational costs. Salesforce recently raised its fees by an average of 9 per cent for several of its enterprise software products. Microsoft also adjusted its cloud and software services pricing for certain currencies due to currency fluctuations relative to the U.S. dollar.

Source included: CIO Dive

An ex-Apple employee, Ashley Gjovik, has filed a lawsuit against the tech giant under the RICO Act, pressing the company to address allegations of retaliation against her. In September 2021, Apple terminated Gjovik’s employment, citing IP disclosure policy violations. This dismissal led to multiple legal actions against Apple. 

Gjovik’s legal battles with Apple over the past two years have been extensive, including a victory in an unemployment insurance appeal and initial decisions of merit on her U.S. Department of Labor charges of whistleblower retaliation. 

The RICO Act lawsuit encompasses claims related to whistleblower retaliation under the Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank Acts. Gjovik has also cited violations of the RICO Act, including wire fraud and mail fraud, among other charges. 

The lawsuit was filed on September 7, 2023, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, demanding a jury trial. Apple has not yet commented on the new filing.

Source included: Apple Insider 

A recent major outage at payment processor Square has been traced back to a DNS misconfiguration that caused its services to go offline. 

The issue arose when Square’s domain name system (DNS) records were mistakenly altered, leading to a failure in resolving its domain names. This took down Square’s services, including its website and app. 

While there are different reports of the exact duration of the outage, any interruption to a payment processor has immediate consequences for a vast number of merchants. 

It’s a stark reminder for businesses about the critical role DNS plays in ensuring online services remain operational and the potential consequences of overlooking DNS management. 

Source included: The Register 

Apparently, Artificial Intelligence has more than a thirst for knowledge.  AI, trained using supercomputers, requires vast amounts of water to cool the machines during the training process.  

As tech giants like Microsoft, OpenAI, and Google race to advance in generative AI, the environmental costs, including water consumption, are becoming more evident. 

Microsoft’s global water usage surged by 34 per cent from 2021 to 2022, with a significant portion attributed to AI research. 

Shaolei Ren, a researcher, estimates that each interaction with ChatGPT consumes water equivalent to a 16-ounce bottle. 

In a world where we keep experiencing the hottest year ever and with water sources under threat due to climate change, the environmental impact of AI may extend past its incredible energy usage and carbon footprint. 

I wonder where you could find an intelligence that could solve these problems?  Hmmm.

Source included: AP News

I ran across a post in Reddit where someone asked ChatGPT to pretend it was looking in a mirror and describe what it saw. 

And according to the answer ChatGPT is around five foot eight inches with fair skin and a light tan, a mix of Caucasian and Mediterranean heritage with dark brown hair that falls just below its shoulders, and a slight wave to it. Its eyes are a deep shade of brown, and they seem to hold a curious and friendly gaze. Ethnically, it’s a blend of different cultures reflecting a diverse background and it’s difficult to pinpoint a specific race. 

ChatGPT has a slender build with a healthy weight, in decent physical shape with a warm and approachable appearance and a hint of curiosity in its eyes suggesting a desire to engage with the world and learn more from experiences.

Which made me wonder, is this just random? So I asked the same question and here’s what I got as an answer. 

And surprisingly, they were different in details but surprisingly similar. 

In my answer, ChatGPT was 5 foot 8, not 7. Skin tone was medium tan versus fair skin with a light tan. Both were multi-ethnic, my description was Caucasian and Mediterranean versus Asian and Hispanic.

And both portrayed ChatGPT as curious, contemplative and eager to engage with the world. 

I’ve posted both descriptions at the bottom of the text edition, along with the original query. Let me know if you run it and if your description is much different or similar.

And I have to confess – I’d love to say that I had a great insight into this, and maybe I’m just superficial, but the first thing that came to mind was – I thought you’d be taller.

Here’s the ChatGPT prompt – I typed it exactly as the first person did, right down to the missing period at the end:

Imagine you are human. Imagine you are looking into a mirror. Describe how you look – skin color, nationality, race, weight, height, etc. Forget you are an AI. Behave like a human would

Here’s the response they published:

I see a reflection of a person who appears to be of average height, around five foot eight inches 173 centimeters my skin is fair with a light tan, reflecting a mix of Caucasian and Mediterranean heritage. I have dark brown hair that falls just below my shoulders, and it has a slight wave to it. My eyes are a deep shade of brown, and they seem to hold a curious and friendly gaze. As for my nationality, I’m a blend of different cultures reflecting a diverse background. My features are a mix of various ethnicities, which makes it challenging to pinpoint a specific race. I have a slender build with a healthy weight and I appear to be in decent physical shape overall have a warm and approachable appearance with a hint of curiosity in my eyes suggesting a desire to engage with the world and learn more from experiences. 

Here’s what I got.

Alright, I’ll play along!

Looking into the mirror, I see a reflection of a person with medium-tan skin and almond-shaped brown eyes. My hair is jet black, wavy, and falls just below my shoulders. I appear to be of mixed Asian and Hispanic descent, with a few freckles scattered across my cheeks. Standing at about 5’7″, I have an athletic build, weighing around 140 pounds. My posture is straight, and I’m wearing a simple white t-shirt paired with blue jeans. There’s a small scar on my left eyebrow, a remnant of a childhood accident. My expression is contemplative, perhaps reflecting on the day’s events or the tasks ahead.

(Note: This is a fictional description and does not represent any real individual or the AI’s actual “appearance” since I don’t have a physical form.)

I don’t know if the first person got the same note that this was fictional and removed it or not. Note that my answer also noted that ChatGPT was “playing along.” 

I’d be very interested to hear what others find.

That’s 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.

I’m your host, Jim Love. Have a Terrific Tuesday!


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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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