Hashtag Trending Sep.22- OpenAI splurges on Red Teaming; New open source GitHub competitor; Cisco-Splunk deal

OpenAI splurges on Red Teaming as AI regulators intensify scrutiny, one company launches an open source GitHub competitor, Cisco makes a billion dollar acquisition, and Google Maps accused of causing the death of a motorist.

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OpenAI is formally inviting domain experts to join the Red Teaming Network in a bid to improve the safety of its AI models.

Red teaming is not a new initiative. Sam Altman had often spoken about how they took six months for testing the safety of the GPT-4 model before releasing it to the public. Those six months involved red teamers to test the product.

OpenAI’s latest image-generation model DALL-E 3 also involved red teamers. Google and Microsoft have also stressed the importance of red teaming.

So why make the open call for red teaming now?

Well, the announcement comes in less than a week of the AI Senate meeting that convened all AI heavyweights, to discuss AI regulations. 

And OpenAI made similar moves before. Shortly after the first AI Senate meeting that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman attended, the company announced a program to democratize AI rules where it’ll fund experiments on deciding AI system rules. It also launched another cybersecurity grant program of $1 million.

But the latest efforts of red teaming, given it’s nothing new, could also be an attempt to broaden its horizon to include a diverse group of people to help with the model, get various perspectives and continue to brand itself as a company that works for the people.

The call for red teaming also takes safety checks to a higher magnitude, calling it a more formal effort to collaborate with outside experts, research institutions, and civil society organisations.

Source: Analytics India Mag

Software delivery platform, Harness, launched a new open source GitHub competitor called Gitness.

The company always heavily focused on GitOps but never offered its own Git repositories.

CEO and AppDynamics founder, Jyoti Bansal, said, “If you look at any of the git repos, whether it’s GitLab or GitHub or Bitbucket, they don’t have the true one source ethos around them anymore. We strongly believe that Git started as open source, so let’s bring the true open-source ethos back to Git repos.”

Bansal also argued that current Git repo services have become too complicated and bloated. Gitness can run on the smallest virtual machine — or a developer’s laptop — and be set up in a few minutes. 

The company says that since it just started building the service, it was able to integrate some AI functions right from the start. Currently, this includes enhanced search features, and AI-infused tooling for code reviews and other core features of the platform.

Gitness apparently even offers the tooling to make it easy for any company to switch to Gitness.

Bansal explains, for “Someone coming from GitHub to Gitness, the cognitive load of the transition will be extremely, extremely low. In probably 5 to 10 minutes, people will be able to find their way around.”

Source: Tech Crunch

Microsoft hit all headlines with its much awaited Surface-centric hardware event. Microsoft’s next big Windows 11 update, slated for release next week, was definitely a highlight.

The update will include the new AI-powered Windows Copilot feature, which will be all over your operating system.

It brings the same Bing Chat feature straight to the Windows 11 desktop. It appears as a sidebar in Windows 11, allowing you to control settings on a PC, launch apps, or simply answer queries.

Microsoft executives demoed using Copilot to write text messages using data from your calendar, navigation options in Outlook, and more.

This feature might see a bit more success than its defunct predecessor, Cortana, given it’s powered by the same technologies behind Bing Chat, so you can ask real questions and get answers, which of course might not always be accurate.

If you don’t quite like the AI assistant (not that you’ll be able to circumvent it), you can enjoy other features, including a more modern look to File Explorer, a new feature to Stylus which allows you to handwrite with the Surface Pen or another stylus in any text box anywhere in Windows. Or you can enjoy an improved Windows Backup app. Snipping Tool is also getting a new copy text feature that can detect text in screenshots and allow you to share the text in apps. If you use the Photos app for Windows 11, you’ll be able to use a new background blur option with this update.

Microsoft has not confirmed yet when it will ship the changes, so you might need to wait a bit longer for that update to drop.

Source: The Verge

Cisco had a big day, and by that I mean a billion dollar acquisition and juiced up cybersecurity capabilities.

The company announced it will acquire Splunk for a whopping $28 billion. Under the terms of the deal, Cisco is paying a hefty premium of $157 per share. 

The acquisition is the biggest this year, doubling Silver Lake Partners taking Qualtrics private for $12.5 billion in March.

The two companies are buoyed over the deal and of course mentioned AI, “Our combined capabilities will drive the next generation of AI-enabled security and observability.”

Splunk president Gary Steele gushed about the possibilities of the combined companies. “Uniting with Cisco represents the next phase of Splunk’s growth journey, accelerating our mission to help organizations worldwide become more resilient, while delivering immediate and compelling value to our shareholders.”

The deal awaits regulatory approval. If all goes well, it will close sometime in the third quarter next year.

Source: Tech Crunch

T-Mobile customers said they could see other peoples’ accounts and billing information after logging into the company’s official mobile application.

Reports poured in on Twitter and Reddit but some people claimed they’ve been experiencing this throughout the last two weeks.

The exposed information included customers’ names, phone numbers, addresses, account balances, and credit card details like the expiration dates and the last four digits.

​T-Mobile says a cyberattack did not cause this incident, and its systems were not breached. The company says it was a temporary glitch, related to a planned overnight technology update. Despite the wave of reports on social media, the company said it only affected fewer than 100 individuals.

Source: Bleeping Computer

A report released on Wednesday by Climate Action Against Disinformation (CAAD), a coalition of more than 50 environmental groups, ranked several social media platforms on climate misinformation management.

And, X, formerly Twitter, came dead last.

The platforms could receive up to 21 points from categories like transparency, advertising, policy content, etc. X received a single point. The report said the platform lacked clear policies  that address climate misinformation, had no substantive public transparency mechanisms, and offered no evidence of effective policy enforcement.

YouTube came in second to last with 6 points. Meta and Instagram tied at 8 points, TikTok received 9 points. Pinterest came out on top with 12 points.

Source: Gizmodo

Google is being accused of directing a U.S. man named Phillip Paxson via its Maps application to drive off a collapsed bridge, leading to his death.

Paxson’s family filed the lawsuit against Google in civil court in Wake County, North Carolina.

The family alleges that Google negligently failed to show the bridge had fallen nine years earlier. 

And that Paxson, at the time of his death, was expecting to get home from a birthday party but was unfamiliar with local roads. He reportedly drove cautiously, in darkness and rain and unsuspectingly followed Google’s outdated directions to what his family later learned was, for nearly a decade, called the ‘Bridge to Nowhere,’ crashing into Snow Creek, where he drowned.

The suit claims that local residents had repeatedly contacted Google to have them change their online maps after the bridge collapsed in 2013.

The lawsuit is also suing three local companies, arguing they had a duty to maintain the bridge.

A spokesperson for Google said the company was reviewing the allegations.

Source: BBC News

That’s the top tech news stories 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, James Roy. Have a Fantastic Friday!

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