Hashtag Trending Jun.29-Subreddit with 7 milllion members leave Reddit; University students prove voice id can be easily faked; EU “crash testing” AI

Leaders of a subreddit with 7 million members leaves Reddit, a group of university students prove that voice id is easily faked and the European Union is “crash testing” Artificial Intelligence – buckle up for these and more top tech news stories from Hashtag Trending and Tech News Day. I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US.

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In a significant move, Mojang, the developer of Minecraft, has decided to cease posting official content on Reddit. This decision comes in response to Reddit’s recent changes to its API and the subsequent handling of protests by subreddit moderators. The announcement was made by a Reddit user named sliced_lime, who is believed to be Mojang’s Mikael Hedberg, the Minecraft Java Tech Lead. 

The changes to Reddit’s API have been controversial, leading to widespread protests across many subreddits. In response, some subreddit moderators have turned their communities private or marked them as NSFW, effectively preventing Reddit from selling ads on those pages. Reddit’s reaction to these protests, which included pressuring and even replacing disgruntled moderators, has sparked Mojang’s decision to withdraw from the platform.

The most significant impact of this move will be the end of official changelog threads on the subreddit, which boasts 7.4 million Minecraft fans. These threads allowed players to review updates in detail and provide direct feedback to the developers. However, players are still encouraged to post unofficial update threads and can reach Mojang through their feedback site or social media.

This decision by Mojang is a notable development, considering the size and influence of Minecraft. It draws parallels to advertisers leaving Twitter following Elon Musk’s controversial leadership takeover. It remains to be seen whether Reddit’s leadership will respond to this development and if other Microsoft studios will follow Mojang’s lead.

Sources include: PC Gamer

The European Union is taking a proactive approach to ensure the safety of artificial intelligence (AI) innovations before they reach the market. The trade bloc has launched four permanent testing and experimental facilities across Europe, investing €220 million ($240 million) into the project. These centers, both virtual and physical, will provide a space for technology providers to test AI and robotics in real-life settings within various sectors, including manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture and food, and cities, starting from next year.

The aim is to foster the development of “trustworthy artificial intelligence”. Lucilla Sioli, director for artificial intelligence and digital industry at the European Commission, emphasized the importance of these facilities in mitigating key risks such as disinformation introduced by AI. 

These facilities are being likened to a digital version of the European crash test system for new cars. They will act as a “safety filter” between technology providers and users in Europe, and will also contribute to shaping public policy. This initiative complements existing regulations like the EU’s AI Act.

Sources include: Data Center Knowledge, Bloomberg News

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have discovered a method to bypass voice authentication security systems with a success rate of up to 99 per cent after only six attempts. Voice authentication, which uses a unique “voiceprint” to verify client identities, is increasingly used in remote banking, call centers, and other security-critical scenarios.

The researchers have developed a method that can fool most voice authentication systems by identifying the markers in deepfake audio that indicate it is computer-generated. They then created a program that removes these markers, making the audio indistinguishable from authentic audio. In a recent test against Amazon Connect’s voice authentication system, they achieved a 10 per cent success rate in one four-second attack, with this rate rising to over 40 per cent in less than 30 seconds. For some less sophisticated systems, they achieved a 99 per cent success rate after six attempts.

Andre Kassis, a Computer Security and Privacy Ph.D. candidate and the lead author of the study, argues that while voice authentication is better than no additional security, the existing spoofing countermeasures are critically flawed. The research, titled “Breaking Security-Critical Voice Authentication,” was published in the proceedings of the 44th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy.

Sources include: Tech Xplore, Bloomberg News

A recent study by Gartner reveals that 81 per cent of large enterprise CIOs plan to increase their IT headcount in 2023, despite things like advances in AI. This is due to the fact that full-time IT employees perform 56 per cent of the work related to digital transformation, with another 21 per cent done by IT contractors or part-time employees

The study also found that while AI and automation account for just over 9 per cent of the work done under the IT purview today, 46 per cent of CIOs plan to automate some or all of their workflow to free up IT time. However, the impact of AI on the global job market is predicted to be “neutral” in the next several years due to enterprise adoption lags, implementation times, and learning curves.

The most in-demand IT skills, according to CIOs at large enterprises, are cybersecurity, cloud platforms, and customer or user experience. Nearly half (47 per cent) of the surveyed CIOs plan to invest in training programs to upskill and reskill IT staff, and 46 per cent plan to establish fusion teams, which include technical and business personnel and focus on cross-disciplinary business success.

Sources include: Gartner

Despite the hype surrounding the metaverse, businesses are not rushing to adopt it, according to another study by Gartner. The report, titled “Emerging Tech: Adopter Anti-patterns – Metaverse Use Cases Are Plagued by Low Adoption,” identifies several issues that deter users from adopting this new technology. 

Virtual reality (VR) use cases in non-gaming environments are failing to live up to customer expectations for scale, and immersive meetings using avatars are not yet compelling enough to create sustainable metaverse experiences. Furthermore, users complain that VR experiences are physically uncomfortable, and many worry about privacy and security. The cost of VR hardware is another deterrent.

The study, based on interviews with 52 metaverse providers and analysis of 170 adopter implementations, found that Generation Z, the only cohort tuning into these experiences, is not enthusiastic about them. Gartner’s researchers found 85 per cent “are really not that interested in brands operating in metaverses” while 43 per cent “say they are staying away from the metaverse because they don’t understand it.”

Gartner recommends would-be buyers look beyond metaverse hype and instead ask what value they can derive from using these immersive technologies. Based on this document, that value might not be easily found.

Sources include: Gartner

That’s the top tech news stories for today.

Links to all of the stories can be found in the text version of this podcast at itworldcanada.com/podcasts 

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I’m your host, Jim Love. Have a Thrilling Thursday!

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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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