Hashtag Trending Jul.21-Drop in ChatGPT’s performance; Apple threatens to pull iMessage and FaceTime in UK amid privacy dispute; An AI learning from South Park

This weekend I have the first of a series of in person interviews I’ve done with leaders in the Linux community. For those who have been following the conflict with Red Hat’s new policies, these interviews may provide some good background. Even if you haven’t followed this story, these are incredibly interesting people who are part of the open source community.  Our first interview is with Gregory Kurtzer, founder of Rocky Linux.

Hashtag Trending, the weekend edition is available on Saturday morning.

It’s official – a study measures the drop in ChatGPT’s performance over the past months.  Apple threatens to pull iMessage and FaceTime from the UK over a privacy dispute and are you comfortable with AI learning from South Park?

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These and more top tech news stories on Hashtag Trending.  

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

What many power users have complained about has been documented in a study by researchers at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley. OpenAI’s ChatGPT-3.5 and GPT-4 models have shown significant fluctuations in performance over a three-month period. 

The study found that the models’ abilities to solve mathematical problems, generate code, and perform visual reasoning varied greatly between March and June.

For instance, GPT-4’s ability to correctly identify whether an integer was a prime number dropped from 97.6 per cent accuracy in March to just 2.4 per cent in June. Conversely, GPT-3.5 improved its performance on the same task from 7.4 per cent in March to 86.8 per cent in June.

The researchers also found that the models’ coding capabilities declined over the same period. The number of directly executable scripts generated by GPT-4 dropped from 52 per cent to 10 per cent at one point, and similarly decreased from 22 per cent to just 2 per cent for GPT-3.5.

It has long been rumoured that this drop in performance could be resulting from a restructuring of the way ChatGPT calculates, aimed at reducing the amount of computational resources required. 

But there is another possibility. The team also reported that they found evidence that the responses were “less verbose” and the model was less likely to answer inappropriate questions. It is also known that changing the behaviour of the model in one area, e.g. trying to have less inappropriate behaviour can affect other areas such as performance on various tasks. Given that OpenAI is often “less than open” on what it does behind the scenes we can only guess and keep an eye out for performance issues. 

But this lack of transparency may affect the adoption of AI tools as businesses integrate it more and more into their core activities. The next story shows something we are seeing more and more as ChatGPT is becoming integrated into even large businesses.

Sources include: The Register

Mercedes-Benz Group AG is piloting the use of ChatGPT to streamline its production process, including quality management. The German automaker is partnering with Microsoft to test the use of the technology for tasks such as error identification and analysis in the manufacturing process. Following a successful pilot run, Mercedes-Benz plans to roll out ChatGPT in its manufacturing sites worldwide.

In addition to its manufacturing operations, Mercedes-Benz is also integrating ChatGPT into voice control in its vehicles through another partnership with Microsoft. The automaker has already rolled out this feature to 900,000 vehicles in the U.S. equipped with its MBUX entertainment system.

In its Mercedes Benz’ factories, ChatGPT’s voice-based interface will allow employees without programming backgrounds to leverage data analysis tools and evaluate process production data stored in Mercedes-Benz’s digital ecosystem. The company aims to help employees make strategic decisions regarding the production process faster.

Sources include: CIO Dive

Apple is threatening to remove its communication services, iMessage and FaceTime, in the UK in response to a proposed surveillance bill. The UK government is seeking to update the 2016 Investigatory Powers Act, which governs how security agencies can interfere with privacy to obtain investigatory information. Apple has expressed strong opposition to the proposed legislation, stating it would rather remove its services than weaken their security.

The tech giant has also voiced concerns over other provisions of the proposed legislation, such as having to inform the UK’s Home Office of any new product security features before they’re released and having to comply with changes like providing a backdoor to end-to-end encryption. Apple argues that these provisions would intentionally weaken security for its customers.

The Home Office maintains that the legislation is designed to protect the public from criminals and terrorists. However, no decisions have yet been made, and the proposed legislation is still under an eight-week consultation period. Other tech companies, including the encrypted messaging app Signal, have also threatened to leave if the new rules are approved.

Sources include: Mashable

YouTube, Google’s video streaming platform, has increased the prices of its monthly and annual premium plans in the United States by $2 to $13.99 per month and up $20 on its annual plan to $139.99. This is the first time the company has raised prices since the subscription service was launched in 2018. The price hike comes as YouTube continues to add more features and exclusive content to its premium service, which offers ad-free viewing, background play, and access to YouTube Music Premium. The price increase is expected to affect both new and existing subscribers although existing subscribers who signed up more than five years ago will apparently get an additional three months before the new price kicks in.

Although this a relatively minor charge, and the first increase since the service was launched in 2018, it does point out one of the issues with subscriptions for software vs simple purchase. Once these subscriptions become part of our habits, it’s relatively easy for a company to increase prices. 

In a recent meeting of CIOs that I attended, a number of those present were complaining that their software costs were increasing between 7 and 35 per cent for software-as-a-service and cloud offerings. We saw an example yesterday as well where Microsoft announced price hikes for the new AI driven features in its software. 

While an individual with a slight increase in a subscription may only take a minor hit, across hundreds and even thousands of users, even small increases can have an impact. 

Sources include: Reuters

And in the “this time you’ve gone too far” category,  Fable Studio, the creators of Showrunner AI, have showcased their program’s ability to generate short episodes of “South Park” from a single prompt. This technology could potentially allow fans to bring their own ideas to life, but it also raises questions about the role of original creators in their franchises.

Showrunner AI was demonstrated by creating a “South Park” episode about an AI wanting to take control of the show from its creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. 

The creators of “South Park” have no affiliation with Showrunner AI and did not endorse this use. Fable Studio clarified that the “South Park” imitations were strictly to demonstrate their product’s capabilities, and Showrunner AI won’t be generating “South Park” episodes.

But the launch of Showrunner AI comes amid a Hollywood writers and actors strike, partly due to concerns about AI engines generating new content from their work. Edward Saatchi, who runs the creative studio behind Showrunner AI, sides with the creators and believes that now is the time for them to set limits on what technology can do.

But we have an even bigger issue. Do we really want an AI learning from South Park?  Any Kennys out there afraid to go near their computer?  Just askin’

Sources include: Axios

And that’s the top tech news stories for today

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I’m your host, Jim Love. Have a Fabulous Friday!

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Jim Love
Jim Lovehttp://www.itworldcanada.com/
I've been in IT and business for over 30 years. I worked my way up, literally from the mail room and I've done every job from mail clerk to CEO. Today I'm CIO of a great company - IT World Canada - Canada's leading ICT publisher.

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