Deceptive AIs, busy trustbusters and Apple’s pricey big bet
To their credit, artificial intelligence companies and researchers are looking more deeply at the unintended consequences of generative AI.
This week, Anthropic showed how AI can be taught to deceive, though it didn’t offer a solution to that alarming possibility. OpenAI did announce tools to reduce the potential for AI to produce election-influencing misinformation, though it’s not clear why they will be any more successful than Meta Platforms efforts to rein in the problems with social media.
At the same time, investors continue to pour more money into the market and companies keep pushing ahead — including toward the Holy Grail of artificial general intelligence — as OpenAI and Meta and others aim to get to human-level AI, for better or worse.
Meantime, the tech industry as a whole seems to be in a holding pattern, as some companies such as Google continue to lay off workers in the face of what they view as macroeconomic uncertainty. But by most accounts, the economy is surprisingly steady and even improving on metrics such as inflation and, of course, the stock market, and new consumer confidence numbers back up the better vibes. Gartner even anticipates surprisingly strong growth this year, though as theCUBE Research analyst Dave Vellante will note in his weekly Breaking Analysis this weekend, a cautious outlook remains before sentiment improves for the second half of the year.
Antitrust continues to be a trend into the new year, as Apple ran into a buzzsaw over its Watch and Amazon’s acquisition of iRobot looks all but dead.
But Apple is moving on, and today you can finally pre-order its Vision Pro “spatial computing” headset if you have a few thousand bucks to spare.
This and other news will be discussed in John Furrier’s and Vellante’s weekly podcast theCUBE Pod, out this afternoon on YouTube. And don’t miss Vellante’s weekly deep dive Breaking Analysis, this week on the outlook for tech spending this year.
Here’s a sampling of this week’s news:
The ups and downs of AI
There’s more work and research on the unintended (or worse, intended) consequences of AI:
But that’s scarcely stopping any investment. Wow, that’s a lot of AI horsepower: Meta plans to buy 350K Nvidia GPUs to build artificial general intelligence
In the cloud and enterprise
An awfully big deal to get so little attention: Synopsys to buy Ansys for $35B in engineering software megadeal
Seems a bit optimistic? Gartner sees healthy 6.8% growth in 2024 IT spending
A cloud case study by Paul Gillin: Dow’s customer experience overhaul yields tripling of online sales
Quantum seems to be getting more interest lately: Quantum computer developer Quantinuum raises $300M at $5B pre-money valuation
What an awful disaster of an IT project: Japanese IT firm says it has a ‘moral duty’ to compensate those hurt in Britain’s Post Office scandal
TheCUBE Research’s new analyst Shelly Kramer offers her predictions for what’s coming or needs to come in network and application security: Five network security predictions for 2024
Elsewhere around tech
Still seems like a lot of friction here: price, configuration choices, must have an iPhone or iPad even to order, heavy… and what’s the killer app? If this is the next iPhone, there’s a lot of iteration to come: Apple opens pre-orders for the Vision Pro mixed reality headset
Signs of life — a bit — in startupland: Venture capitalists show renewed interest in startups, marking positive shift in late 2023
I wouldn’t point to this as a sign of IPOs returning just yet: Two years after filing IPO paperwork, Reddit reportedly preparing to go public in March
And you can be sure Google isn’t alone here. If nothing else, big tech is using the doldrums as an convenient reason to get rid of people they didn’t really want: Google announces yet more layoffs, this time affecting its advertising business units And there’s more to come: Google CEO Sundar Pichai warns more job cuts will be necessary to achieve ‘ambitious goals’ this year
Size matters, and not in a good way, in antitrust:
Big antitrust messes for Apple: Apple proposes Apple Watch redesign to avoid import ban
Shares of iRobot plunge as report claims EC set to block $1.7B Amazon takeover Though as The Information’s Martin Peers noted, a cost-cutting Amazon may actually be fine with losing a company whose business has plummeted anyway.
Though in other ways, size doesn’t hurt: IDC: Apple sold more smartphones than Samsung for the first time in 2023
Former Meta Platforms/Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is now stepping off Meta’s board to become an informal adviser (from the Wall Street Journal).
Nineteen-year Amazon veteran John Felton is Amazon Web Services’ new chief financial officer, reporting to Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky.
Ashish Dhawan, formerly AWS’ managing director and worldwide head of enterprise workload sales, is new senior vice president of NetApp’s global cloud sales (from CRN).
DigitalOcean appoints Paddy Srinivasan its new CEO, replacing Yancey Spruill.
Intel hires a former McAfee and Trellix executive Brett Hannath as its new chief marketing officer (from CRN).
What’s coming next
Coming next week: After Netflix kicks off tech earnings season Tuesday, IBM follows Wednesday and Intel comes Thursday.
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