OpenAI traffic declines for the first time, the Transportation Security Agency wants to expand facial recognition to all US airports, another colossally influential Reddit forum is pulling back … and oh, don’t spend that 300k salary you are going to make as a prompt engineer – just yet…
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.
OpenAI’s ChatGPT, has experienced its first-ever monthly dip in traffic in June, according to analytics firm Similarweb. The data shows a 9.7 per cent decrease in worldwide desktop and mobile traffic to the ChatGPT website from May, and a 5.7 per cent drop in unique visitors. The time spent by visitors on the website also declined by 8.5 per cent.
Despite this dip, ChatGPT remains one of the fastest-growing consumer applications ever, boasting over 1.5 billion monthly visits and ranking among the top 20 websites globally. It even surpasses Bing, Microsoft’s search engine that uses OpenAI’s technology.
Several factors could be contributing to this decline. The launch of ChatGPT’s iOS app in May could be diverting some traffic from the website. The summer break for schools might also be a factor, with fewer kids seeking homework help.
The slowdown might also be a blessing in disguise, helping control the cost of running ChatGPT, which requires intensive computing power to answer queries. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has described the cost of running the services as “eye-watering”.
Despite the dip, ChatGPT continues to generate revenue through its premium subscription, where users can pay $20 a month to access OpenAI’s more advanced model, GPT-4. About 1.5 million people have signed up for the subscription, according to estimates from YipitData. Based on that, OpenAI has projected $200 million in revenue this year.
Sources include: Reuters
The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) in the United States plans to expand its facial-recognition program to 430 domestic airports within the next decade. The program, which uses Idemia’s biometric technology, is currently being trialed at two airports across the country. The TSA claims that the system has improved identity verification efficiency without infringing on travelers’ privacy rights.
However, the program has faced criticism from privacy and civil-rights organizations, which argue that the software amounts to large-scale surveillance that does little to stop terror in the skies. Despite these concerns, the TSA plans to continue its expansion, stating that the program is about transportation security.
The TSA’s facial recognition technology scans a passenger’s face and automates the process of checking that the person showing up to catch a flight is who they say they are, that they are the person expected to be there, and that they’re not subject to any additional security checks or barred from flying entirely.
Despite the benefits touted by the TSA, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has urged Congress to suspend TSA’s use of facial-recognition technology and supported a group of senators earlier this year who called for an end to the pilot program. EPIC cites not just privacy but also bias concerns — the technology has been known to misidentify women and people with darker skin — as well as a lack of regulatory oversight.
The TSA has responded to these concerns, stating that live photos and ID photos are overwritten by the next passenger’s scan and are purged when the officer logs off or turns off the machine. The agency also claims that their assessment has revealed that the algorithm they are using is top of the line for accuracy across race, gender, and ethnicity. However, these assessments are not public, so their findings cannot be independently verified.
Sources include: The Register
In a quiet move, Twitter has removed the login requirement for viewing tweets. This change comes just days after the platform began enforcing users to log in to view tweets. The shift was noticed when tweet previews began appearing in Slack and WhatsApp, and Twitter previews were visible on iMessage.
The login requirement was initially introduced as a “temporary emergency measure” to prevent data scraping, according to a tweet from Elon Musk. However, Twitter has not made an official announcement about the removal of the login requirement or provided details on what measures it has taken to prevent data scraping.
This move comes as Meta is set to launch its own text-based app, Threads. Interestingly, Threads also briefly allowed users to view posts on the web without logging in before pulling the links. It is expected that people will be able to see Threads posts without an account when the app officially launches.
Over the weekend, Musk also implemented read limits of 1,000 posts per day for unverified users and 10,000 posts per day for verified users as a measure to combat data scraping. According to a company blog post, this change has affected a “small percentage of people” and the effects on advertising have been minimal.
Sources include: TechCrunch
Reddit’s popular Ask Me Anything (AMA) feature, with over 22 million subscribers, is undergoing a significant change. The moderators of the r/IAmA subreddit, which has hosted AMAs with high-profile figures like Barack Obama and Bill Gates, have announced they will no longer perform their usual duties. This includes soliciting celebrities for AMAs, coordinating with PR teams, maintaining a scheduling website, and running various bots.
This comes in the wake of Reddit’s controversial API pricing changes, which have upset a large portion of its user base and led to the closure of many third-party Reddit apps. The r/IAmA subreddit will continue to exist, but its moderators warn that most of what makes it special will be undermined. They will leave proof and requests for verification up to the community and limit themselves to removing rule-breaking material.
While Reddit may have won the battle for the revenue from API traffic, this move suggests they might lose the war in terms of their ability to maintain a volunteer army of content providers. The transition marks a significant shift for a subreddit that has attracted global attention and brought in visitors who weren’t previously regular Reddit users. With moderators stepping away from their duties and being replaced “as needed,” the future of Reddit’s AMAs is uncertain.
Sources include: ArsTechnica
Generative AI has the potential to revolutionize various sectors, but its adoption in businesses is being hindered by a significant skills gap and trust issues, according to a survey of over 2,000 sales and service professionals. The survey revealed that more than 50 per cent of these professionals don’t know how to extract maximum value from generative AI.
The survey found that only 41 per cent of employees are currently using or planning to use generative AI. Marketing leads the adoption with 51 per cent, followed by Sales at 35 per cent and Service at 24 per cent. Despite the deterministic nature of service transactions, which makes them ideal for AI adoption, the service sector lags behind.
The biggest obstacle to the adoption of generative AI is the skills gap. Most sales and service professionals do not know how to get the most value out of generative AI at work. This skills gap is compounded by the fear of job losses, with 48 per cent of service and 39 per cent of sales professionals worrying that they will lose their jobs if they don’t learn how to use generative AI at work.
Trust issues also pose a significant challenge. The survey found that 63 per cent of employees expect generative AI learning opportunities from their employers, and 67 per cent say their employer does not provide generative AI training. Both sales and service professionals agree that a trust gap exists in business with respect to the adoption of generative AI.
In conclusion, while generative AI holds immense potential, businesses need to invest in training their employees and building trust to fully leverage its benefits.
Sources include: ZDNet
Prompt engineering, the darling of the AI world, is facing a sunset. Why? Three big reasons. First, AI is getting smarter, fast. It’s beginning to understand our words and phrases, reducing the need for finely tuned prompts. Second, AI is already crafting its own prompts. With advancements in AI like GPT-4 and the upcoming GPT5, the machines are frankly taking over. Lastly, prompts aren’t one-size-fits-all. They’re custom-made for specific AI models and versions, limiting their versatility.
But don’t fret, there’s a new skill on the horizon that’s set to withstand the test of time – problem formulation. It’s all about how we humans identify, analyze, and define problems. Once we can illustrate the problem, AI will provide the most efficient way to counter it.
So, while prompt engineering may have been the hot topic, it’s time to shift our focus to problem formulation. It’s the bigger picture, the broader strokes. Without a well-defined problem, the best-crafted prompt is just a beautiful set of words.
Sources include: Medium
And I missed something in a story that we covered yesterday. It came up in a Mastodon post on technews.social where someone referred to Threads, the new Twitter competitor and quoted a line in a story about it saying “it (Threads) “hoovered up your data.” It started me thinking – I missed that line the first time I read the story. We put up with Instagram and Facebook having huge amounts of our lives and our data. But in a world where AI can analyze like never before, do we really want another social media site where we share our personal conversations with an AI engine? I don’t have the answers, but it sure makes you think…
That’s the top tech news stories for today.
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