Hashtag Trending Dec.4-AWS has ‘choice’ of AI for your infrastructure; Broadcom pushes RTO; Elon Musk drop the F bomb on advertisers

AWS holds their annual re:Invent and announces that “choice” is here on AI for your infrastructure.  Return to office is dead – but not at Broadcom. Elon Musk drops the F bomb on his advertisers. 

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

So, I was away last week in Las Vegas covering AWS’s re:Invent conference. I’ve posted a number of stories on this and I’ll be writing a few more this week, but here’s the news from that conference:

Generative AI is real and it’s being built into corporate infrastructure. 

And this is not a commercial for AWS or any other cloud vendor, but I saw first hand how well integrated AI was going to be in our cloud based infrastructure. I’m not talking about watching keynotes – the folks at AWS granted me some one-on-one interviews with key people in their infrastructure and their AI development, among others. 

And from development of their own AI silicon chip to their infrastructure stack that accommodates a number of different AI models – here’s something you can take to the bank. No one AI model is going to win. Your corporate AI strategy will touch not just the big and well known models. There are going to be a plethora of smaller, focused models that are going to be, at least in certain cases, as effective or even more than the large models we all have top of mind. 

We talk a lot about OpenAI and ChatGPT, but there are also Anthropics CloudGPT, Google’s BARD and now Meta’s Llama and the list keeps growing. 

Anyway, the big news is – AI is being built into cloud infrastructure. Microsoft is a big player and got first mover advantage, but don’t count AWS out on this one. They have a very credible story.

Was that opinion or news? 

And here’s two stories that I picked up on the work from home versus return to office debate. Here’s two views on this.

Stanford economist Nick Bloom says the “Return to Office” movement might be hitting a dead end. Despite efforts by companies like IBM, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Meta to bring employees back to the office, the trend towards working from home (WFH) seems to have stabilized. 

Bloom’s research, along with data from the US Census Household Pulse Survey and commercial property services firm Kastle, indicates a flatlined trend in office occupancy since 2023. 

Interestingly, about 42 per cent of companies have reportedly lost more employees than expected following strict office mandates. As of mid-2023, 28 per cent of full workdays among Americans aged 20-64 were done from home, a significant increase from pre-pandemic levels. The paper “The Evolution of Work from Home” by Bloom and colleagues suggests that remote work offers benefits for both employers and employees, including access to a broader talent pool, reduced turnover, and potentially lower wages due to labour supply effects. This raises questions about the real motives behind the push for office returns, especially when remote work seems to offer several advantages.

Sources include: The Register

And on the other side of the issue, Broadcom’s CEO Hock Tan is shaking things up in the world of work-from-home policies. 

After Broadcom’s $69 billion acquisition of VMWare, Tan didn’t mince words with his new employees: “If you live within 50 miles of an office, you get your butt in here.” 

This directive was part of a meeting following the merger’s completion, which had just received the green light from Chinese regulators. Tan, like many executives, champions in-person work for its benefits in collaboration and company culture. 

Broadcom, known for its rigid stance on remote work even during the pandemic, contrasts sharply with companies like Atlassian, Dropbox, and Airbnb, who continue to support remote work. The tech world watches as Broadcom navigates integrating VMWare’s culture, which included support for employee resource groups (ERGs) and an approach to a more humanistic management style –  a concept Tan humorously called “alien” but is one he says he is “open to considering.” 

But first, Broadcom has to deal with layoffs of VMWare employees before it really deals with merging the two corporate cultures.  Good luck on that one.

Sources include: Fortune

OpenAI has pushed back the launch of its much-anticipated GPT store to early 2024, as revealed in a memo to developers. Initially set for release last month, the store is designed for distributing custom versions of ChatGPT. This delay is a significant shift from OpenAI’s announcement at last month’s DevDay conference. The reason? 

A few “unexpected things” is keeping the team busy. For now, custom GPTs can be shared via direct links, but the store’s launch will enable broader distribution. Additionally, OpenAI plans to share revenue from ChatGPT Plus subscriptions with creators of popular GPTs, though details are still forthcoming. Amidst these developments, OpenAI has experienced some internal turmoil, including the brief firing and rehiring of CEO Sam Altman. The company assures developers of upcoming updates to ChatGPT and expresses gratitude for their efforts in building GPTs.

Sources include: Axios

Google’s ambitious AI model, Gemini, has had its launch postponed to early 2024, as reported by The Information. 

Initially expected to debut in November, Gemini’s release has been delayed due to challenges in handling non-English prompts. Touted as a next-generation, multimodal AI, Gemini is designed to process various types of data, including text and images, and even generate content like websites from sketches or written descriptions. 

Despite the delay, Gemini is rumoured to significantly outperform OpenAI’s GPT-4, leveraging considerably more computing power. Google’s VP Sissie Hsiao has highlighted Gemini’s unique capabilities, such as generating novel images in response to specific requests, a feature not sourced from the internet. Although Google already has its generative AI model Bard, Gemini’s launch is highly anticipated and could potentially shift the balance in consumer awareness and preference in the AI space.

Sources include: Business Insider

Walmart announced it is no longer advertising on social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, now owned by Elon Musk. 

Walmart’s spokesperson stated the decision was based on finding other platforms more effective in reaching their customers. This move comes amid a broader trend of advertisers withdrawing from the platform following Musk’s acquisition in October 2022. The platform has faced challenges in retaining advertisers, particularly due to concerns over increasing antisemitic content.

The situation escalated earlier this month when Musk responded to a user’s false claim about the Jewish community, which referenced the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory. 

Musk later apologized for his post during a New York Times DealBook event but expressed strong disapproval of advertisers suspending their ads, accusing them of “blackmail.”  Actually, he told advertisers to Eff off. 

And in the understatement of the year category, Reuters reported that there are some tensions, with an executive from a major ad-buying agency noting frustration among X’s ad sales representatives following Musk’s comments.

Sources include: Reuters

And that’s the top tech news 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 

And I’ll cover cybersecurity stories that I think are of general interest, but you can keep up todate on cybersecurity with our podcast featuring security journalist Howard Solomon and called CybersecurityToday.  It’s often rated as one of North America’s top 10 tech podcasts. 

I’m your host Jim Love.  Have a marvelous Monday. And it’s great to be back.

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