Hashtag Trending Oct.23 – Major corporations announce tech layoffs; IT contractors have covertly funnelled millions of U.S dollars to North Korea; IBM and AWS have expanded their partnership

Tech layoffs continue to hit hard, remote IT workers in US companies are sending millions of dollars and some trade secrets to North Korea, AWS is training 10,000 IBM consultants as part of a growing partnership between the two giants to deliver AI services and when does a photo clean up become a fake?

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

Last week was a tough one for tech workers as a number  major corporations announced layoffs. Notably, ahead of its sale to Songtradr, Bandcamp saw about 50 per cent of its workforce let go by Epic. Stack Overflow reduced its headcount by 28 per cent, and despite Microsoft’s robust profits, LinkedIn parted ways with approximately 700 individuals, predominantly engineers. Nokia also made significant cuts, laying off 14,000 employees following a dip in profits. And Qualcomm released 1,000 workers last week. Whether it’s still post-COVID financial adjustments, earnings pressures, AI’s role in job displacement or a combination of the three, it would seem that we are still not out of the woods in terms of tech company cutbacks.

Sources: The Register 

The FBI and Department of Justice have revealed that thousands of IT contractors working with U.S. companies have covertly funneled millions of dollars of their earnings to North Korea to support its ballistic missile program. The Justice Department disclosed on Wednesday that these IT professionals, who were dispatched and contracted by North Korea, collaborated remotely with firms in St. Louis and other U.S. locations. They employed false identities to secure these positions, and their wages were subsequently directed to North Korea’s weapons initiatives.

Sources: Yahoo 

IBM Consulting and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have expanded their partnership to integrate new generative AI solutions into three services targeting contact centers and supply chains. This collaboration aims to assist mutual clients in leveraging the benefits of generative AI. As part of this initiative, IBM Consulting plans to train 10,000 consultants on AWS’s generative AI products and will also offer the watsonx.data storage solution as a software-as-a-service on AWS. Enhanced services include “Contact Center Modernization with Amazon Connect,” “Platform Services on AWS,” and “Supply Chain Ensemble on AWS.” These enhancements are designed to streamline operations, improve customer interactions, and optimize supply chain processes.

Sources: Tech Republic

Cloud compute and storage capacity are set to nearly triple in the next six years, driven by hyperscaler data center expansions and upgrades, according to projections from Synergy Research Group. While growth was already expected, the surge in high-intensity generative AI workloads is prompting cloud providers to hasten their expansion plans. John Dinsdale, chief analyst at SRG, highlighted that the changes are more about the capacity and power density of the facilities due to the increasing deployment of GPUs. 

As of mid-2023, the hyperscalers analyzed operated 926 major data centers globally, with plans to open 427 more. The rise in generative AI workloads is intensifying the competition among major hyperscalers like AWS, Microsoft, and Google Cloud, all of whom are committing to infrastructure upgrades to cater to AI compute demands.

Sources: CIO Dive

Google’s recent smartphones, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, have introduced AI-driven features that can alter facial expressions in photos. Using machine learning, the phones can replace a person’s expression from one photo with another from a different image, a feature Google has named “Best Take.” Additionally, the “Magic Editor” allows users to remove, move, or resize elements in a photo, with AI filling in the gaps. These advancements have ignited discussions about the ethical implications of such technology. Some tech commentators have labeled the features as “icky” and “creepy,” expressing concerns about trust in online content. Isaac Reynolds, who leads Google’s smartphone camera development, emphasized that the features aren’t “faking” anything but rather offer a “representation of a moment.”

Sources: BBC 

That’s the top tech news stories for today. For more fast reads on top stories, check us out at TechNewsDay.com or ITWorldCanada.com on the homepage. 

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 Marvelous Monday.

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