Hashtag Trending Nov.10-Apple’s co-founder rushed to hospital; Surge in AI engineering job openings; Could a solar storm shut down the internet?

Steve Wozniak is rushed to hospital. A surge in AI Engineering job openings. A robot mistakes a man for a box of vegetables with tragic consequences. And could a solar storm shut down the internet?

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These and more top tech stories on Hashtag Trending

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

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was hospitalized in Mexico City on Wednesday, with initial reports suggesting a possible stroke. Wozniak, after completing his speech at a World Business Forum event, felt unwell – there are reports that this could be a stroke and others report that his condition might actually be a less severe case of vertigo. 

Wozniak, aged 73, is a renowned figure in the tech world, having co-founded Apple in 1976 alongside Steve Jobs. Their innovations in personal computing have made Apple one of the world’s most valuable companies. 

Sources include: Reuters 

In a move that some might find a tad intrusive, Microsoft has updated the OneDrive app in Windows to ask users why they are closing it. Now, when you try to quit OneDrive, you’re greeted with a prompt requiring you to select a reason from options like not wanting it to run all the time, not knowing what OneDrive is, or trying to fix a problem with the app. 

This change echoes a similar feature in Microsoft Edge, where users were asked to explain why they downloaded Chrome. 

This strategy seems to be part of a broader approach by Microsoft to nudge users towards its services, as seen in other areas of Windows like the Settings app and File Explorer, where prompts and notifications encourage the use of OneDrive. This tactic of forcing users to explain their actions has been met with some criticism, or as one source put it – it may not enhance the user experience.

Sources include: Neowin 

The generative AI job market in India is booming, with a number of companies looking for engineering talent:

You may not have heard of Tech Mahindra but it’s a world-wide company with over 30 offices worldwide and it employs over 150,000 people.  And 10 more of them will be generative AI engineers in India. 

Other more well-known companies looking include Unisys, IBM, Deloitte and Lily. 

The sudden explosion of ads for these positions highlight the increasing demand for experts in generative AI and large language models (LLMs) in India’s tech sector.

Curiously these ads are looking for 5 to 10 years’ experience in AI. Where they are going to find that much experience in such a new field makes you wonder if these job requirements were developed by an AI – one that’s hallucinating.  

Sources include: Analytics India Magazine.

The rising demand for AI-focused domain names is driving up prices as one entrepreneur with a start up called Pantry AI discovered. He had to pay $12,000 for the domain Pantry.ai.  

That is apparently considered low compared to other AI domain sales like npc.ai ($250,000) and service.ai ($127,500). The growing popularity of AI in start-ups and technology is causing a surge in domain name values, with the total worth of AI-related domains hitting $20 million this year, up from $7 million last year.

The demand for short, brandable domains with an .ai suffix is soaring, with sales reaching five to six figures. Speculators are also capitalizing on this trend, buying and reselling AI domains for substantial profits.

Experts advise that while a relevant and memorable domain can boost marketing and search result visibility, businesses should be cautious about overspending on AI-related domains unless their company is truly AI-centric.

Sources include: BBC News

In a tragic mishap at a South Korean produce-sorting facility, a robot, usually tasked with moving food packages, fatally crushed a man. The technician was inspecting the robot’s sensors when it mistook him for a box of vegetables and grabbed him, causing severe injuries that led to his death. 

The incident occurred amidst workflow changes aimed at enhancing robot efficiency. This is not the first case of autonomous systems causing harm; a similar incident involved a Cruise robotaxi inadvertently injuring a pedestrian. These events highlight the pressing need for improved safety measures in automated systems.

Sources include: The Register

Bots – automated programs apparently make up close to half of internet traffic these days.  But Bad bots, account for almost 30 per cent of internet traffic, and pose a significant cybersecurity threat, particularly targeting APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). 

A striking example occurred in June 2022, when hackers used bots to attempt over 20 million password resets on Australia’s Media Today platform. These automated programs, capable of speeds and volumes beyond human attackers, are becoming increasingly sophisticated, mimicking human behavior and bypassing traditional security measures. Their primary methods include vulnerability scanning, brute force, and credential stuffing attacks, exploiting weak APIs.

APIs, integral to automated processes and communications, have become prime targets due to their extensive use and relative lack of protection. Attackers exploit under-secured application interfaces and weak authentication policies, leaving APIs vulnerable to data breaches.

To combat these threats, consolidated security solutions like Web Application and API Protection (WAAP) and Web Application Firewall (WAF) services are emerging. These services offer comprehensive defenses against bad bots, including IP reputation checks, rate limiting, signature detection, and behavioral analysis. Additionally, reinforcing security fundamentals such as strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, regular security audits, and training is crucial.

And if you are a fan of security stories, why don’t you also check out my colleague, Howard Solomon’s podcast. Cybersecurity Today.  It’s often listed as one of the top tech podcasts in North America. You can get it on Apple, Google, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts – or just go to itworldcanada.com/podcasts or technewsday.com in the US.

Sources include: Security Brief New Zealand

We did a story this week pointing out that a day without the internet would cost the world over 40 billion dollars. And in case you wondered, what could ever cause that, 

Professor Peter Becker of George Mason University has the answer. He raises an alarming possibility: a solar superstorm could plunge our internet-dependent world into digital darkness for weeks or months. 

The menace lies in coronal mass ejections (CMEs), titanic plasma bursts from the sun, which can warp Earth’s magnetic field. 

This solar temper tantrum isn’t just theoretical; the Carrington Event of 1859 wreaked havoc on the telegraph system, the 19th-century’s internet. Today’s delicate digital infrastructure is even more susceptible. Such a solar outburst could fry electronics, disrupt power grids, satellites, and GPS systems, potentially costing the U.S. economy a staggering $10-$20 billion daily. 

How likely is it? According to the national weather service, 2024 is going to be a peak year for solar activity.

But Becker likens predicting these cosmic outbursts to earthquake forecasting: we know they can happen, but timing remains elusive, with a 10 per cent chance of a major event in the next decade that could severely impact our interconnected world

Sources include: Foxweather

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 

I’m your host, Jim Love – have a Fabulous Friday!  

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