AI NEWS & TRENDS
Microsoft's Bing Chatbot Now Lets You Create Images Via OpenAI's DALL-E
Microsoft has added an AI-powered image creator to its Bing search engine as of March 21. The Bing Image Creator will be powered by an "advanced version" of OpenAI's DALL-E model and will let Bing users create images by simply writing what you want to generate. Microsoft is also bringing this Bing Image Creator to its Edge browser. A new icon will appear in the Edge sidebar that allows you to create images in a text entry prompt. (https://www.theverge.com/2023/3/21/23649943/microsoft-bing-openai-dall-e-image-creator-ai)
ALSO, Microsoft to Add AI Functionality to Excel, Word, Outlook
Microsoft has also unveiled plans to incorporate artificial intelligence into Outlook, PowerPoint, Word, and Excel using the same technology that powers Chat GPT. The company is also rolling out a concept known as Business Chat, which could help users understand Microsoft 365 data and carry out various tasks. (https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/16/tech/openai-gpt-microsoft-365)
How to Use ChatGPT: "Everything You Need to Know"
ChatGPT has been on the minds of many of us in recent weeks, including those leading Google, Microsoft, and Meta, as it became the fastest growing 'app' of all time, even surpassing TikTok. ZDNet has published an article explaining how to use it and what for, https://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-use-chatgpt/
How AI is Saving Homes & Lives in California During Wildfire Season
The state of California is now harnessing a powerful tool to dampen the effects of wildfires, namely artificial intelligence, and specifically machine learning. The abundance of satellite imagery and geo-spatial data makes deep learning a worthy adversary to a mighty foe that is unpredictable and swift. It is still in the early days of AI's fight against fire, but the ability to churn through billions of images both historical and current and pick out telltale patterns that point to potential hotspots gives Californians a potent new weapon against this force of nature. From detection to predictive analysis to preventive action to evacuation procedures, a recent ZDNet article shares some ways that AI is being used in that fight: https://www.zdnet.com/article/how-ai-is-saving-homes-and-lives-in-california-during-wildfire-season/
US Chamber of Commerce Pushes for AI Regulation, Warns It Could Disrupt Economy
As tech companies continue to leverage the powers of artificial intelligence, U.S. regulators are worried that the technology's fortitude will outpace existing laws and provisions. As a result, the US Chamber of Commerce called for AI to be regulated. U.S. lawmakers say that without proper legislative oversight, AI could become a national security risk or a hindrance to educational integrity. Little legislation currently exists to regulate AI, which is a significant concern for US policymakers. Like other aspects of technology, the dangers and pitfalls of an innovative and transformative technology tend to outpace laws.
Following the widespread adoption of ChatGPT, lawmakers are trying to stay on top of the technology's growth and are attempting to foresee the technology's dangers. The US Chamber of Commerce expects AI to contribute $13 trillion in global economic growth and for every business and government agency to use AI by the end of the decade. According to the Chamber's report, AI can increase economic opportunities and income, decrease the costs of medical and scientific trials, and simplify consumer interactions. But the Chamber recognizes that there's an opportunity for jobs to be displaced at the hands of AI and insists the government has a responsibility to ensure citizens are protected. (https://www.zdnet.com/article/us-chamber-of-commerce-pushes-for-ai-regulation-warns-it-can-disrupt-economy/)
Google Announces More AI Partnerships + Launches Open Source Tools to Help Developers Build Digital Health Apps
Google recently announced a slew of new healthcare AI partnerships, as well as an open source tool kit for developing digital health tools and new search functionality. In the AI space, Google said it has been working with the Mayo Clinic for the past three years to research tools for radiotherapy planning during cancer treatment. The partners focused on developing a model that could automatically outline or contour around organs on CT scans, limiting their exposure to radiation. Google said the partners would now focus on further research, model development and commercialization.
Google also partnered with Kenya-based maternal and neonatal health nonprofit Jacaranda Health to investigate how AI tools could improve care for pregnant women. It's also working with Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan to study using AI-embedded ultrasound to find early signs of breast cancer and partnering with South Africa-based Right to Care to provide AI-backed tuberculosis screenings in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In addition, Google launched its Open Health Stack, a suite of open source tools intended to help developers create digital health products in under-resourced areas. (https://www.mobihealthnews.com/news/google-announces-more-ai-partnerships-and-other-health-updates)
Over a Quarter of the 100 Hardest-Working Cities in America are in California
WalletHub, a personal finance website, compared the 116 most-populated cities to determine which are the hardest-working, using direct work factors, including average workweek hours, employment rate and worker engagement, and indirect work factors, including average commute, average volunteer hours and average leisure time per day. According to the analysis, these California cities are among the 100 most hardworking - implying the Bay Area is the "hardest working region," led by #1 San Francisco; San Jose (29); Fremont (31); and Oakland (50). San Diego follows at #61. Orange County cities rank lower: Irvine (67); Santa Ana (70); Anaheim (71); with LA County - Los Angeles (77); Long Beach (78), and Riverside (96) bringing up the rear. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/rankings-and-ratings/100-hardest-working-cities-in-america.html)
Survey: Hiring Outlook Remains Optimistic, but Upskilling is Needed
Despite recent layoffs and ongoing concerns about a recession, employers remain optimistic about their hiring plans for the second quarter of 2023, according to a March 14 report from the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey. Hiring intentions remained unchanged from last quarter - with a seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook of +23%. However, employers said they're still struggling to find the right people. About 77% reported difficulty in filling roles, rising 2% year-over-year and marking a 17-year high in global talent shortages.
The most optimistic outlooks were reported for roles in IT, communication services and finance/real estate. The lowest outlooks were reported in healthcare and life sciences, industrials and materials, and consumer goods and services, though these industries still reported positive hiring trends for Q2. In terms of technical skills, the most-desired roles are in IT and data, engineering, and sales and marketing. For soft skills, organizations placed high value on reliability and self-discipline, resilience and adaptability, critical thinking and analysis, creativity and originality, and reasoning and problem-solving. With the 17-year high in talent shortages, business leaders also remain focused on retention, according to another recent survey, through upskilling, leadership development and employee experience programs. (https://www.hrdive.com/news/hiring-outlook-remains-optimistic-but-upskilling-needed/645313/)
Cost Control Edges Out Cybersecurity as Top Cloud Concern: Report
Controlling costs overtook security as the primary cloud management concern for the first time in over a decade, Flexera found in its recently published State of Cloud report. 82% said managing cloud spend was their top cloud challenge, edging out security and lack of cloud expertise, at 79% and 78% respectively. The software company surveyed 750 cloud decision-makers in late 2022. (https://www.ciodive.com/news/cloud-cost-tops-cybersecurity-tech-skills-flexera/644398/)
What the "New Automation" Means for Technology Careers
"The entire history of software engineering is one of rising levels of abstraction," says Grady Booch, IBM chief scientist of software engineering, and premier thought leader in the technology space. If you have used ChatGPT, you probably gave thought to the construction of your query - but no thought at all about the construction of its supporting infrastructure - servers, databases, networks, or even its large language models. Welcome to the age of abstraction, where one no longer requires in-depth knowledge of the plumbing underneath applications and devices - or, increasingly, even the data science. Some refer to the emerging constellation of technologies - artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced robotics (both software and physical) - as the "new automation," which will handle many rote or low-level tasks, but increasingly taking on more complex jobs. The catch is that it's going to take a range of skills, now in short supply, to effectively introduce the "new automation." (https://www.zdnet.com/article/what-the-new-automation-means-for-technology-careers/)
Holograms at Front Desk to Replace Real People at Some Best Western Hotels
CIC Hospitality is opening 30 boutique Aiden by Best Western hotels in Scandinavia - with front desks manned by holograms. The first hologram system was recently installed in Herning, Denmark. After walking through the front door and past a motion detector, the guest is greeted with a pre-recorded hologram video that's projected into a Holobox, which is 6+ feet tall and 3 feet wide and contains a touchscreen. The guest is then presented with options on the touchscreen and can indicate if help is needed from a live person, in which case a customer service worker is able to connect remotely and appear as a hologram within the box. Having a hologram at the front could be passed off as a gimmick at first, but it plays into the operator's long-term strategy of increasing efficiency while maintaining a personal touch. CIC plans to install the boxes in eight Aiden hotels this year, with the aim to include them at all 30 Aiden hotels coming online in Scandinavia. (https://skift.com/2023/03/08/holograms-behind-the-front-desk-replace-real-people-at-aiden-by-best-western/)
TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS & GOVERNMENT
DOJ Releases Guidance on Driving Compliance-Promoting Behavior
The U.S. Department of Justice, in its continued efforts to drive compliance-promoting behavior, has focused its attention on corporate compensation structures as a way "to shift the burden of corporate malfeasance away from uninvolved shareholders" to those more directly involved in misconduct. In assessing these structures, the DOJ will look for compensation systems that use affirmative metrics and benchmarks to reward compliance-promoting behavior (e.g., promotions, rewards, bonuses), while imposing financial penalties for misconduct to serve as a deterrent that fosters a culture of compliance (e.g., compensation clawbacks or prohibition of bonuses for employees who do not satisfy compliance requirements). In furtherance of this goal, the DOJ also announced its Pilot Program on Compensation Incentives and Clawbacks. (https://www.sheppardhealthlaw.com/2023/03/articles/doj/doj-releases-guidance-on-evaluation-of-corporate-compliance-program-concerning-compensation-and-employee-use-of-personal-devices-and-personal-messaging-applications/)
Biden Requests Significant IT, Cyber Investment Increases for 2023
President Biden's fiscal year 2023 budget request seeks $65 billion for civilian federal agencies - an 11% increase over the $58.4B requested last year - as well as a significant increase in cybersecurity spending. The budget request seeks $10.9B in cybersecurity spending for non-defense agencies, an 11% increase over the $9.8B last year. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency would benefit from that spending increase, with a proposed budget of $2.5B for 2023, a nearly $500 million increase from its current budget.
The administration released several fact sheets outlining the priority areas set to receive funding, including emerging focuses like broadband connectivity and federal information technology systems. Budget requests include: $65B billion in public spending on broadband deployment; $13M for research into advanced communications; $187M for the National Institute of Standards and Technology to focus on crafting new standards for the adoption of critical and emerging technologies such as AI, quantum sciences and biotechnologies; $300M for the Technology Modernization Fund; $7.8B for the Office of Science with the Department of Energy to support research within national laboratories and universities with a focus on quantum information science and AI regarding environmental sustainability, emphasizing data analytics and advanced computing to better prepare for public health emergencies. (https://www.nextgov.com/policy/2022/03/biden-budget-request-boosts-it-spending-significantly/363670/)
After Twitter Layoffs, California Bill Would Strengthen Protections for Workers
State of California lawmakers have introduced a bill that would force employers to give workers more notice of mass layoffs and would extend these protections to contract workers, who currently are excluded under state and federal law. The proposed legislation would require employers who lay off more than 50 workers at a time to give employees 90 days' notice. It would also prohibit employers from pressuring workers to sign away their rights through waivers, nondisclosure agreements or non-disparagement agreements in exchange for severance pay. Curtailing the use of such agreements would be a major development in the tech industry, which has been under fire for tying severance packages to non-disparagement agreements. (https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2023-03-08/after-twitter-layoffs-california-bill-would-strengthen-protections-for-workers?utm_id=89251&sfmc_id=486066)
Congress Urged to Hold US Social Media Companies - Not Just Tik Tok - Accountable
The national-security and mental-health risks posed by TikTok are shared by other social media platforms, according to an advocacy group that's urging Congress to also hold US companies accountable ahead of high-profile testimony from TikTok's CEO. The Tech Oversight Project, a nonprofit, says Meta Platforms Inc., Alphabet Inc.'s Google, Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. employ the same harmful business practices as TikTok and are increasingly copying some of the video-sharing app's design features. All of these platforms have "force fed children dangerous and harmful content with predatory algorithms, aided US adversaries and worked against US national interests at home and abroad, and failed to protect users' personal data," the group says in a memo shared with Bloomberg News.
MEANWHILE, the White House has urged Congress to focus on passing one bipartisan Senate bill that would give the administration the authority to evaluate and mitigate the national security risk of any adversary-owned technology such as TikTok. (https://www.financialexpress.com/brandwagon/tiktok-like-risk-posed-by-all-social-media-platforms-tech-oversight-project-says/3017114/) (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-03-20/tiktok-like-risks-shared-by-meta-google-amazon-and-apple-group-says)