Here we are with a new one hd rewindthe appointment in which we tell you the most significant news and curiosities of the week in a different key. We are in the eighth week of 2023. Although it is a summary, the resulting article is often not short. So here is an index to comfortably juggle the various topics.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE CONTINUES TO DISCUSS
Artificial intelligence continues to occupy much of the tech industry conversation. The advent of so-called “generative AI”made famous by software such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT (chatbot) and DALL-E (images), is seen as both a potential serious threat and a potential gold mine – for both legitimate and more, shall we say, questionable purposes (as the whole business of fake books on Amazon written by ChatGPT has shown).
The week actually started for the “flesh and blood team”: a human being managed to beat the AI at a game of Go after years of defeats at very high levels (especially “thanks” to the efforts of DeepMind, one of the many subsidiaries of Alphabet). There is one small detail, though: winning strategy theory (14 games won out of 15) it was tuned… By another AI system, trained to find weaknesses in the strategy of KataGo, which in the meantime has become one of the strongest software in this specific game. However, the implementation was 100% human, and not even a renowned champion, but an amateur.
Then came the creator of ChatGPT and CEO of OpenAI, Sean Altman, to spread more than a dark cloud on the future of artificial intelligence (but more of ours, in fact): in a series of tweets, Altman said that in this particular sector we really need, Really work to prevent potential disasters with clear laws and stakes, shared as much as possible at an international level.
Meanwhile, the “powered by AI” version of Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, and of the Edge browser has started circulating in the Preview version also on mobile, after a first debut on desktop. In general, the feedback is positivealways bearing in mind the pioneering nature of the initiative at this stage. Among other things, Bing’s AI is also arriving on Skype: it can be added to group chats as if it were any user and it can be questioned on various topics, exactly as it happens through the search engine.
Bill Gates, who has some history with Microsoft (just as founder and CEO for more or less 25 years) believes that AI could be the next big wave of technological innovation, as smartphones, internet and PCs were before it, and more generally the most important thing of this decade. Google, according to Gates, has been somewhat taken aback, and its supremacy for the future may not be so obvious.
It may be true, but in the meantime the innovation bill is high: according to the latest estimates, the use of AI chatbots in search engines increases their operating costs tenfold, nothing less. In this sense, it is interesting to observe two initiatives that aim to “democratise”, at least a little, technology: first, the Hugging Face community has entered into a partnership with Amazon Web Services, second, Qualcomm is working to bring generative AI to Android devices natively.
ITALY VS TECH, BETWEEN HACKER ATTACKS AND DOUBTS ABOUT SPID’S FUTURE
The Italian public administration, often criticized for its relationship, shall we say, far from idyllic with technology, has had to deal with a pro-Russian hacker attack: on Wednesday several institutional websites, including those of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Defense and the Carabinieri, were taken offline for some time by a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack conducted by the NoName57 group(16). The group protests against the sixth package of military assistance promised by Italy to Ukraine.
The sites were up and running reasonably quickly and there have been no further attacks, thankfully. However, other headaches of a technological nature come from the SPID, or the Public Digital Identity System. The contracts with the 11 managers who are responsible for providing access credentials (for example Poste, TIM, InfoCert and so on) – expired on December 31st, and April 22nd 2023 is the last date to find a new agreement. Otherwise, after that date, virtually all services that use the SPID will cease to function – or at least require an alternative authentication system.
The problem is that although it is widely used, widespread and generally appreciated (even considering the various competitors from all over Europe) there are many criticisms maintenance costs, which according to the managers could increase dramatically. So far there has been 1 million euros on the plate to be divided among all the managers involved, the new request is for a good 50 million. It is true that the CIE (Electronic Identity Card) exists as an alternative, which promises to be even easier for the citizen and above all cheaper to manage, but the feeling is that not everything is fully mature yet.
TECH SECTOR IN DIFFICULTY BETWEEN LAYOUTS AND INCREASES
The period of economic difficulty in the tech sector has still brought various bad news: there have been layoffs at Ericsson, Google has closed another startup in the field of robotics, PosteMobile has announced some increases and TIM has tried to “sweeten the pill” of latest remodeling with a little free Giga. Amazon has also raised the prices of several products, including the Echo and Fire TV.
In all of this there is a counter-current voice: Netflix, which in some markets has even lowered the prices of some subscriptions. Needless to say, Italy is not among the lucky countries. Luckily Iliad will take care of us with 130 Giga (in 4G) at € 8.99 per month, but only for the next two weeks!
THE WEEK OF MOTORS
Thanks to Filippo Vendrame’s “wrist” for the selection.
NEWS AND VIDEOS OF THE WEEK