Hashtag Trending Jan.19-Impact of AI on employment headlines at Davos; New study shows how much data is shared with Facebook; Starlink announces pricey Gigabit internet

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Where does Open Source fit into the global AI picture? Davos is abuzz with concerns about AI. A new study shows just how much data is shared with Facebook, Starlink announces Gigabit internet but it comes with a steep price, and your smart headphones might be raising eyebrows – literally.

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All this and more in this edition of Hashtag Trending. I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US.

At this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, a crucial question looms large: Will AI reshape the future of employment? The discussions, drawing top academics, business leaders, and government representatives, are centered on the potential impact of generative AI on job markets.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman reassures that AI, in its current state, isn’t replacing jobs but enhancing productivity. It’s viewed more as a powerful tool that magnifies human capabilities, allowing people to perform their jobs better.

A PwC survey of over 4,700 CEOs reveals a split in perception. While 45 per cent believe their business models might not survive the rise of AI in the next decade, 60 per cent expect AI to make their companies more efficient, especially in tasks like email response, report analysis, and presentation drafting.

The International Monetary Fund predicts that up to 60 per cent of jobs in developed countries may be impacted by AI, with both high and low-skilled positions affected. While AI integration could enhance productivity for half of these jobs, the rest may see reduced labour demand, lower wages, and even job disappearance.

The discussions at Davos reflect a global concern about AI’s disruptive potential. While some, like Bill Gates, see AI as a path to greater productivity and reduced work hours, others, including the United Nations Secretary-General, warn of the technology’s social and human rights implications.

Sources include: The Register

Analytics India published a list of the top 7 AI apps on Hugging Face. 

For those who don’t know it, Hugging Face is an open-source data science and machine learning platform that serves as a hub for AI experts and enthusiasts. It allows users to host, collaborate on, and deploy machine learning models, as well as to train and run AI applications. Often referred to as the “GitHub of machine learning. 

The top 7 applications on the platform are an impressive showing of what is available as open source AI. 

Three of the top seven are what some might see as novelties. One is for the generation of 3D shapes. Another transforms pictures into Anime. Another generates comic books. 

But some of these are more serious and potentially powerful tools which are available to anyone. 

IP-Adapter-FaceID ensures consistent and accurate face generation by utilising a face recognition model to extract a unique face ID embedding from a provided portrait photo.

Int float/e5-mistral-7b-instruct is built on the European Mistal AI model, an impressive open source model that rivals results from ChatGPT. This application is used for creative writing tasks like composing poems, code, scripts, musical pieces, emails, and letters. 

Pharma Clip uses CLIP models, natural language predictor models, to help you investigate chemical compounds and their properties. It’s a tool for drug discovery and research.

Open Voice is purportedly a very sophisticated text to speech generator.

The point is that while we spend a great deal of time focused on proprietary models from OpenAI, Google and others, there is an increasingly, I can only call it, sophisticated set of open source offerings that are making their way into usage and Hugging Face is increasingly becoming a place to watch for open source AI development.

Sources include: Analytics India

A study by Consumer Reports and The Markup has unveiled the sheer magnitude of data sharing with Facebook by companies. For the average solo Facebook user an AVERAGE of 2,230 companies, and sometimes over 7,000, are involved in handing over personal information.

This research, involving 709 volunteers over three years, revealed that more than 186,000 organizations passed data about individuals to Facebook’s parent company, Meta.

It’s not just a handful of companies; it’s thousands, each contributing to the vast pool of information that Facebook collects.

For many users, the extent of this data sharing remains unseen and often unacknowledged.

The study does provide a link to a tool that I didn’t know about that allows you to download the information that Facebook has on you.  It might be interesting to see. 

There’s a link to the full study and the tool in the show notes at itworldcanada.com/podcasts.  And remarkably, you can download the study without giving up your personal information. 

Sources include: Consumer Reports

SpaceX’s Starlink is taking internet connectivity to new heights with its latest offering, the “Community Gateways.” Designed for internet service providers (ISPs), this program promises to deliver gigabit speeds to remote areas, albeit with a hefty price tag.

The program requires a substantial upfront investment of $1.25 million. In exchange, SpaceX provides not just a satellite dish but an entire facility capable of receiving up to 10Gbps broadband speeds from its fleet of satellites.

The ‘Community Gateways’ aren’t for average consumers; they’re aimed at ISPs seeking to expand high-speed broadband access in hard-to-reach areas. This business program is a strategic move to bridge the digital divide in remote locations.

Starlink’s first Community Gateway, built for the residents of Unalaska, an island near Alaska, is a testament to the program’s potential. Local ISP OptimERA is using the gateway to significantly enhance broadband for its customers, providing 10 gigabits of symmetric uplink and downlink throughput and maintaining over 99 per cent uptime.

By offering fiber-like speeds through satellite connectivity, Starlink’s Community Gateways represent a significant leap in providing internet access to underserved regions. While the cost is high, the impact on remote communities could be transformative.

Sources include: PC Magazine

Smart headphones might be playing a surprising role in what can only be called eyebrow transformations. A study by the International Beauty and Wellness Council (IBWC) found that 80 per cent of respondents reported significant changes in eyebrow shape and density, sparking curiosity and extensive research.

It turns out, the secret to fuller brows might just be sitting on your ears. The infrared sensors in smart headphones are suspected to stimulate hair growth, thanks to their proximity to the eyebrow area.

Josh Gordon from Geonode explains that the infrared light emitted by these headphones could be increasing blood circulation and stimulating cell activity in dormant hair follicles, leading to lush, full eyebrows.

While the survey suggests a fascinating correlation, it’s crucial to remember that more research is needed to establish a definitive cause-and-effect relationship. But just to be sure I’ll be wearing my headphones on the top of my head for a while – just in case.

Credit: Geonode

And that’s our show for today. Join us tomorrow for a great weekend interview.  I have the author of a new book called the Algorithm with award winning journalist and NYU professor Hilke Schellmann. It’s one of the most thought provoking books on AI that I’ve read. I hope you’ll like the conversation.

Hashtag Trending goes to air 5 days a week with a special weekend interview show we call “the Weekend Edition.” 

We love your comments. Send me a note at jlove@itwc.ca or leave a comment at the bottom of the show notes posted on itworldcanada.com

I’m your host Jim Love.  Have a Fantastic Friday.

The post Hashtag Trending Jan.19-Impact of AI on employment headlines at Davos; New study shows how much data is shared with Facebook; Starlink announces pricey Gigabit internet first appeared on IT World Canada.


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