Hashtag Trending Jan.9- Apple quietly integrating AI; Microsoft to train 100,000 Indian developers in AI; New ransomware attack strategies sink to new lows

A tale of two strategies – Apple’s stealth approach to AI and Microsoft’s move to upskill India’s developers to use AI. If you thought ransomware attacks on hospitals and ambulance dispatch was as low as it can get – the latest strategies sink even lower.

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

While other tech giants are making noise with their AI advancements, Apple is taking a different approach. Apple has been quietly integrating AI into its products and services without much fanfare. 

From its neural engine in iPhones to advanced algorithms in the Apple Watch, the company is using AI but not doing much in the way of publicizing it. 

Apple’s strategy seems to focus on seamless integration, ensuring that AI enhancements are not disruptive but rather an organic part of the user experience. 

This differs from competitors who often highlight AI as a major selling point. But is this a lack of progress or just “stealth marketing” from Apple. The company is notorious for its secrecy in product development.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO has said that AI work is “going on” but not much more than that. 

Which leaves us all reading the tea leaves and looking for hints. 

We know, for instance, that Apple has been courting publishers at the same time OpenAI is out there, only Apple seems to be looking for media partners ahead of any big release.

In October, Apple and Columbia University released an open-source multi-modal language model called Ferret which raised some interest due to the potential for local models to power small devices. 

Apple also released two research papers on new techniques for 3-D avatars and more efficient language model inference which could be seen as driving more immersive experiences – again from a focus in the papers on using these on regular devices without using too much memory.

And the big open question is, when – or will we – see these in Apple products?  

Will “slow but steady” win the race? 

And the one question that everyone wants answered, when is Apple going to replace the old structure of Siri with a new, generative AI model?

Sources include: Analytics India

Microsoft has launched a program called “AI Odyssey” to train 100,000 Indian developers in artificial intelligence by 2024. 

AI Odyssey includes a series of workshops, webinars, and hackathons, focusing on areas like machine learning, data science, and AI ethics. 

The program aims to train developers with the skills needed to drive innovation in AI. 

Microsoft’s program reflects the increasing demand for AI skills in India, which was and remains a powerhouse in outsourced development. 

But that huge workforce, many of whom support legacy systems from the west could be threatened by AI’s coding ability.  

With what everyone sees now as a brilliant investment in AI with OpenAI, is this the next strategic move for Microsoft? Yes, it has a positive impact on the Indian tech sector as they help develop new skills. But it also strengthens Microsoft’s position in a key global market. 

Sources include:  Analytics India

A troubling new trend in cybercrime is gaining traction, as extortionists are increasingly using “swatting” as a tactic. 

Swatting involves making a hoax call to emergency services, typically reporting a serious but fabricated incident, to draw a large police response to a victim’s address. 

This dangerous and disruptive practice has now evolved into a tool for cybercriminals seeking ransom from individuals and businesses, threatening them with swatting if their demands are not met. 

When my sister found out she had a potentially life-threatening cancer and was forced to wait in Sarnia and London’s hospitals for hours because of recent ransomware attacks, I thought I’d seen the lowest it can get. Who slows down surgery for those who need it quickly to have a chance at living?

Recently cybercrooks have been doing this to patients from stolen hospital data. Apparently, following them home and scaring the life out of these people – victimizing them twice – is the next trend.  

I make no further predictions on how low these predators can go. 


Volkswagen is set to change the in-car experience by integrating ChatGPT into its voice assistant system. This was announced at CES, and Volkswagen hopes to make the car’s voice assistant more conversational, intuitive, and helpful. 

The company is betting that ChatGPT will allow for more fluid and human-like interactions. 

This marks a significant step in the automotive industry And where others are still testing it, or offering an alternative to existing voice driven systems, Volkswagen has gone all in, a bold move for the company that has had some serious setbacks in terms of image and sales. 

Whatever they do has to be better than the frustration of dealing with systems that cause more distraction than they prevent.  

Sources include: The Verge

There was a story that made the news this morning about a plane which had a door seal blow out in mid-air. No one was injured, thankfully, although I may never take a seat on the exit door again. 

But when someone found the door seal, they also found an iPhone that got sucked out of the plane. And the phone still worked. 

That tied in with the story I did yesterday on nostalgia for for pre-internet and pre-digital devices. There was a famous commercial for an analogue watch called Times, with the slogan “takes a licking, and keeps on ticking.” 

Well falling from 30,000 feet or whatever and still being able to take a call? I think the digital age has us beat on that one.

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 

I’m your host, Jim Love. Have a Terrific Tuesday. 

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
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