AI NEWS & TRENDS
AI is a Lot Like Streaming - the Add-ons Add Up Fast
Streaming-only channels are producing some truly exceptional content. But keeping up adds up. Now, we're starting to see the same trend in the world of AI - many services, each with their own fees. There are two classes of AI you're going to be paying for in the coming years (if you're not already shelling out for AI right now). You'll be paying for standalone AI services, such as ChatGPT Plus and Midjourney, and you'll be paying for AI add-ons for any cloud service that can find an excuse to bolt AI on to their offerings. (https://www.zdnet.com/article/ai-is-a-lot-like-streaming-the-add-ons-add-up-fast/)
Tech Execs Warn Lawmakers to Keep AI "Under the Control of People"
Microsoft President Brad Smith testified that a "safety brake" is specifically needed for AI systems that manage critical infrastructure like power grids and water systems. Smith testified alongside William Dally, the chief scientist and senior VP of Nvidia, and Boston University law professor Woodrow Hartzog. Dally told senators that "keeping a human in the loop" is critical to ensure the robots don't run amok. (https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/congress-ai-artificial-intelligence-hearing-rcna104501)
California to Set Guidelines for Public Sector Generative AI; Federal AI Safety Push Moves Forward
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed an executive order to launch a study into the development, use and risks of AI, and to develop a process for the evaluation and deployment of the technology across the state. Gov. Newsom included a list of requests for state agencies in the executive order with accompanying time frames. Within 60 days, the California Department of Technology along with other agencies will draft a report to Newsom detailing the most significant, potentially beneficial use cases for deployment of generative AI tools in California. By January 2024, California government agencies will issue general guidelines for public sector generative AI procurement, use and training requirements, according to the executive order. (https://www.ciodive.com/news/California-executive-order-generative-AI-Zoom-FTC/693012/)
MEANWHILE, 8 More Companies Join White House AI Safety Push: Eight additional software and technology companies have agreed to participate in a White House initiative on AI risk management. Adobe, Cohere, IBM, Nvidia, Palantir, Salesforce, Scale AI, and Stability committed to test AI products before releasing them to the public, share information on AI risk management and prioritize research on the public-facing risks of AI. The new group of companies join Amazon, Anthropic, Google, Inflection, Meta, Microsoft and OpenAI, which in July made a similar voluntary pledge toward curbing AI risk. (https://www.ciodive.com/news/white-house-AI-salesforce-nvidia-IBM/693604/)
AND, DHS Unveils New Guidelines on AI Use: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will not collect or disseminate data used in artificial intelligence activities and will ensure all facial recognition technologies will be thoroughly tested as part of a new set of AI guidelines released recently. The new DHS policies, developed by a department task force on AI, are part of the broader Biden administration aim to manage the risks of the technology. The department also announced that Chief Information Officer Eric Hysen will serve as its first chief AI officer. He will promote AI innovation and safety at DHS, and advise Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and department leadership on AI issues. (https://thehill.com/policy/technology/4204733-dhs-unveils-new-guidelines-on-ai-use/
TECH INDUSTRY & GOVERNMENT
A Key Question in Google's Federal Trial: How Formidable is Its Data Advantage?
In the federal government's first monopoly trial of the modern internet era, a central character has emerged: data. Its role, its use and its power are key issues in the Justice Department's case against Google. The government claims that Google bribed and bullied smartphone producers to be their featured search engine, funneling far more data to Google and cutting off competitors. Data, the government says, drives the flywheel of Google's success. Each search query adds data, which improves search results, attracting more users who generate still more data and ad revenue. And Google's ever-growing data advantage, the government asserts, is an insurmountable barrier for rivals.
The government's case is not that Google violated the law in becoming a search giant. Instead, the government claims that after Google became dominant, the company broke the law with its tactics to defend its monopoly. Contracts with industry partners to be their default search engine were the weapon - exclusive deals that froze out rivals, the government claims. So Google is now protected from competition behind a fortress built with data.
Google replies that the government's case is an artifice of misleading theory unsupported by the facts. The government has chosen to "ignore inescapable truths," John Schmidtlein, Google's lead lawyer, asserted in his opening statement. Those truths, according to Google, are that the company holds its leading position in search because of its technical innovation. It competes with others for default-placement contracts and wins mainly because Google is the best search engine. Those contracts, Google argues, help reduce prices for smartphones and benefit consumers. (https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/18/business/google-antitrust-trial-data.html)
A Year After CHIPS Act Passage, Firms are Starting to Take Advantage
A year after President Biden signed into law the $52 billion CHIPS Act that offers computer chip companies billions of dollars in subsidies to expand their manufacturing operations in the U.S., some companies are starting to submit their applications for the funding. The act was designed to reestablish the U.S. semiconductor manufacturing supply chain in the face of geopolitical concerns over China, especially its aggressive military stance on Taiwan, the disputed island nation where a large percentage of the world's high-end microprocessors are made. (https://www.timesunion.com/business/article/year-chips-act-passage-firms-starting-take-18359885.php)
New U.S. Partnership with Vietnam to Explore Semiconductor Supply Chain Opportunities
The U.S. State Department is partnering with the Government of Vietnam to explore opportunities to grow and diversify the global semiconductor ecosystem under the International Technology Security and Innovation (ITSI) Fund, created by the CHIPS Act of 2022. Vietnam shows promise as a partner in ensuring the semiconductor supply chain is diverse and resilient. The partnership is beginning with a review of Vietnam's current semiconductor ecosystem, regulatory framework, and workforce and infrastructure needs. The outcome of this review will inform potential future collaboration on developing this critical sector.
The CHIPS Act of 2022 created the ITSI Fund, which provides the U.S. Department of State with $500 million ($100M per year over five years, starting in FY 2023) to promote the development and adoption of secure and trustworthy telecommunications networks and ensure semiconductor supply chain security and diversification through new programs and initiatives with U.S. allies and partners. (https://www.state.gov/new-partnership-with-vietnam-to-explore-semiconductor-supply-chain-opportunities/)
CTA Calls Tech 8th Pillar of Human Security at UN Assembly
The Consumer Technology Association announced the addition of technology as the eighth pillar of the Human Security for All (HS4A) initiative for having the potential to improve the human experience. "Technology is making our world a better place to live for literally billions of people, and we are only just scratching the surface of what's possible," said CTA CEO Gary Shapiro during the 78th session of the UN General Assembly. UN secretary general's envoy on technology Amandeep Singh Gill also spoke, highlighting the efforts of the HS4A campaign, and advocated for a public-private advisory board to develop an AI and technology governance framework. (https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/health-tech/un-official-tech-leaders-tout-power-data-ai-improve-global-health-sustainable)
MORE TECH INDUSTRY NEWS & TRENDS
US Hospitals Paid $100M to Russian Ransomware Hackers
The Justice Department revealed U.S. hospitals have paid millions of dollars in ransom to a cybercriminal network with suspected ties to Russian intelligence, according to CNN. The FBI has been investigating the ransomware gang for years, and the Justice Department indicted nine members on Sept. 7, offering multimillion dollar rewards for tips leading to the alleged criminals, who are still at large. According to the indictment, the men are accused of using TrickBot to hack computers and Conti to lock them until ransom was paid. The group has targeted around 300 organizations in the U.S., including hospitals. Even after the cyberattack is resolved, costs are high to restore IT systems.
Healthcare companies overall are spending more than any other industry to recover from cyberattacks, according to an IBM analysis reported by The Wall Street Journal. Healthcare companies spend on average nearly $11 million to recover from a cyberattack, compared to around $6 million for financial companies and $3 million for retailers. The report also noted there have been more than 400 cyberattacks on healthcare companies and 61 million people have had their medical data stolen or exposed online in 2023 so far, which is up from previous years. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/cybersecurity/us-hospitals-paid-100m-to-russian-ransomware-hackers.html)
EDITOR'S NOTE: After reading the above article, ABL Member Oli Thordarson, CEO of Alvaka, commented, "I can concur that our healthcare cases have been among our highest billing and generally about twice the billing expense of clients in non-healthcare sectors."
Apple Patent Suggests Augmented Reality Info on Windshields
A recent patent filing indicates Apple may be looking into an augmented reality system that projects information onto car windshields. The patent application describes using sensors such as visible-light cameras, infrared cameras, radar, and ultrasonic or lidar units, to build a three-dimensional picture of the environment around the vehicle. Geographical positioning data could be incorporated as well, the application says. Using this data, the system would then overlay information in such a way that it would appear to be populating the environment itself in true AR style, rather than appearing as flat displays on the windshield. In the application, Apple suggests some possible uses, like highlighting signs with relevant information, or outlining a destination that may be obscured by buildings. Apple also suggests using the system to cajole drivers into being more cautious - virtual speed bumps could be projected onto the road if the driver is going too fast, encouraging them to slow down. It could even work with adaptive suspension to simulate the feeling of passing over speed bumps, Apple suggests. The patent application doesn't offer much detail on the hardware that would make this possible. Apple isn't the only company thinking of turning windshields into display screens. AR tech was featured on two concept cars from Mercedes and Volkswagen that debuted at the recent 2023 Munich auto show. (https://www.motorauthority.com/news/1140733_apple-investigates-augmented-reality-windshield)