Hashtag Trending Oct.31-White House issues orders to regulate AI; Can open source help combat the monopolization of AI by giants? A new version of the Linux core is out

The U.S. President issues executive orders to regulate AI, while some are asking if Open source can keep AI from being dominated by a few giants. Remote work isn’t going away without a fight.  Linus Torvald says he’s “run out of excuses” and releases a new version of the Linux core.

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

U.S. President Joe Biden is taking proactive steps to mitigate the potential risks of artificial intelligence (AI). He recently signed an executive order aimed at reducing the threats AI might pose to consumers, workers, minority groups, and national security. This order mandates AI system developers, especially those whose systems could impact U.S. national security or public safety, to share safety test results with the U.S. government before public release. The order also seeks to set testing standards and address related risks, including cybersecurity. Biden emphasized the need to govern AI, noting its potential misuse in cyberattacks. This move is part of a broader effort to regulate AI amidst its rapid advancements.

The order also touches on AI-generated content. It goes beyond the voluntary commitments made by AI giants like OpenAI, Alphabet, and Meta Platforms, who earlier pledged to watermark AI-generated content. The Commerce Department, as part of this order, will develop guidelines for content authentication and watermarking to ensure clarity in government communications.

While the White House is taking steps forward, there’s a call for more aggressive legislative action, especially concerning data privacy. The overarching theme is clear: As AI continues to evolve, so must the regulations governing its use.

Sources include: Reuters 

Meanwhile, Open-source AI is emerging as the champion in the tech world, with developers rapidly jumping on the bandwagon. Models like Vicuna and Meta’s Llama-2 are being downloaded millions of times, signaling a shift towards open-source AI. While major providers like OpenAI face competition from the open-source community, Meta has been leading the charge, releasing its technology for public use. This move contrasts with companies like Google and OpenAI, which have kept their tech under wraps.

However, the AI landscape isn’t just about open-source triumphs. Yann LeCun, Meta’s chief AI scientist, warns of a looming threat: the consolidation of AI power in the hands of a few. He accuses AI leaders like Sam Altman of OpenAI and Demis Hassabis of Google DeepMind of “fear-mongering” to maintain control over AI. LeCun emphasizes that the real danger isn’t the hypothetical AI doomsday scenarios but the potential monopolization of AI by a select few, sidelining the open-source community.

In essence, while open-source AI is gaining traction, the battle for control and transparency in the AI realm rages on. The question remains: Will AI remain in the hands of a few, or will the open-source community democratize it?

Sources include: Analytics India Mag

And speaking of open source, Linus Torvalds, the mastermind behind the Linux kernel, has unveiled version 6.6, and it’s packed with features. Notably, the release includes the KSMBD in-kernel server for the SMB networking protocol, enhancing file sharing and inter-process communication. Intel’s Shadow Stack tech, which guards against return-oriented programming attacks, has been integrated, benefiting both Intel and AMD CPUs. Speaking of AMD, the kernel now supports its Dynamic Boost Control tech, optimizing Ryzen CPU performance. This is particularly beneficial for some Linux-shipped Lenovo laptops.

However, an intriguing change is the removal of references to the NSA in relation to the Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) module. Previously dubbed “NSA SELinux,” it’s now simply “SELinux,” likely a nod to the agency’s controversial privacy practices exposed by Edward Snowden.

The kernel’s development has been smooth this year, with five releases in 2023. However, Torvalds hinted that Linux 6.7 might face delays due to his travel plans and the upcoming holiday season, potentially pushing its release to early 2024.

Sources include: The Register 

Microsoft has announced the termination of the Windows Insider MVP program, set to end on December 31, 2023. This decision comes as part of Microsoft’s broader strategy to consolidate its MVP-style programs. Microsoft claims Windows Insider MVPs will not be left homeless but will be nominated for a larger Microsoft MVP Program, which offers similar perks and networking opportunities. 

This move follows significant internal shifts at Microsoft, including the sudden departure of Panos Panay, the former head of Windows and Devices, in September. Panay, reportedly disenchanted with cost-cutting measures at Microsoft, has since joined Amazon. 

The Windows Insider MVPs, essentially a free army of early testers, have been known for their dedication to Microsoft products, and have been pivotal in providing feedback and support to the community. 

As Reddit found out earlier this year, it’s easy to alienate a community of volunteers.  Which leads to the questionwill Microsoft maintain this community of enthusiasts without their own dedicated MVP program?

Sources include: The Register 

In a world where remote work has become the norm, companies are going to great lengths to lure employees back to the office. The New York Times experienced a walkout from tech workers protesting the company’s return-to-office policy. The Times’ Tech Guild, representing over 600 staff members, argued that the new remote-work policies violated the terms set when their union was ratified in 2022.

On the other side of the country, in San Francisco, tech company Expensify took a different approach. They set up an “Expensify Lounge” complete with a full-service bar, hoping to recreate the dot-com era’s adult playground vibe. Despite the allure of cappuccinos delivered to desks and daily champagne sabering, the lounge will shut down after just six months. Expensify’s CEO, David Barrett, declared, “The office is dead,” emphasizing that collaboration and community have evolved beyond traditional office spaces.

Both stories underscore a broader theme: the resistance to returning to the traditional office setup. As companies grapple with this new reality, the question remains: How will the future of work be redefined?

Sources include: Axios 

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.”

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I’m your host, Jim Love – and whether you are at the office at home or remote have a terrific Tuesday.  

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