New AI model appears – then disappears in a few days. Hashtag Trending for Monday, May 6, 2024

Share post:

A new and powerful AI Model appears and disappears in a few days. Microsoft tells Windows 10 users they are on their own to fix a problem from a recent Microsoft update. Chinese researchers say that their infrastructure has a host of vulnerabilities. And was TikTok user time in decline as the new US legislation was announced?

All this and more on the “Schadenfreude” edition of Hashtag Trending. I’m your host, Jim Love. Let’s get into it.

A new and reportedly powerful artificial intelligence model called “gpt2-chatbot” made a brief appearance over the weekend, amazing users with its capabilities before mysteriously vanishing.

The model emerged on the LMSYS Chatbot Arena platform, an online benchmarking system for testing large language models.

The LMSYS (Large Model Systems Organization) is an open research organization founded by students and faculty from UC Berkeley, UCSD, and CMU that aims to make large language models accessible to everyone by co-developing open models, datasets, systems, and evaluation tools.

According to those able to interact with it, gpt2-chatbot demonstrated skills rivaling or even surpassing OpenAI’s advanced GPT-4.

Users reported the chatbot excelled at solving complex math problems that continue to challenge leading AI offerings. Ethan Mollick, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, was among those who suggested gpt2-chatbot might be superior to GPT-4 based on initial assessments.

However, the model’s origins and true abilities remain an enigma. Some speculate it could represent an early, secretive release from a major AI company like OpenAI itself. This theory gained traction after OpenAI CEO Sam Altman cryptically tweeted quote “I do have a soft spot for gpt2.”

Others believe the gpt2-chatbot may be the work of an ambitious independent AI developer looking to make a splash, or even an elaborate marketing stunt by an unknown entity.

 

Fueling the mystery, the powerful new model disappeared from the LMSYS platform as suddenly as it arrived due to quote “unexpectedly high traffic” according to the platform’s creators.

The debate continues over whether gpt2-chatbot matched the hype as a milestone advancement over cutting-edge language models like GPT-4.5 and Anthropic’s Claude 3 Opus.

Some AI researchers have voiced skepticism, but the brief glimpse was enough to spark fervent speculation about what company or developer was behind this mysterious new model that seemed to push the boundaries of artificial intelligence, at least for a fleeting moment.

Sources include: Independent

Microsoft has decided not to provide an automatic solution for a problem Windows 10 users encountered when installing a security patch for the BitLocker encryption tool.

The issue first cropped up in January when trying to install an update to address a BitLocker vulnerability. For some users, Windows Update would fail with an uninformative error related to insufficient disk space in the recovery partition.

Initially, Microsoft acknowledged the problem and indicated it was “working on a resolution” to be included in an upcoming Windows release.

However, the company has now stated in its Windows Release Health dashboard that, quote: “Automatic resolution of this issue won’t be available in a future Windows update. Manual steps are necessary to complete the installation of this update on devices which are experiencing this error.”

Those manual steps involve a complex process of resizing the recovery partition using the Disk Management tool – something Microsoft itself warned was, quote “not for the faint of heart” when it first provided the workaround.

 

This is a surprise given that a significant number of Windows 10 users encountered this error when the BitLocker patch was first released in January.

With Windows 10 support continuing until October 2025, the decision leaves users of the older operating system to fend for themselves on an issue that hampered patching a serious security vulnerability.

Microsoft has not provided an explanation for why it will not address the recovery partition problem automatically, despite previously indicating plans to do so.

It could be, in part, the stubborn reluctance of users to transition to Windows 11. According to many reports, Windows 11 market share has been actually decreasing while Windows 10 has been increasing.

Windows 10 still has over 70 percent market share with StatCounter reporting Windows 11 at about 26%.

Sources include: The Register and StatCounter

We’ve talked a lot about the vulnerabilities of the infrastructure of Canada and the US, but it turns out a recent study by researchers in China has revealed alarming security vulnerabilities and outdated configurations across nearly 14,000 government websites throughout the country.

The study from the Harbin Institute of Technology examined factors like domain setups, use of third-party code libraries, encryption and content delivery network implementations. Their findings point to substantial cybersecurity lapses that could enable malicious attacks.

A notable issue was over a quarter of the government domains lacking proper DNS configuration, potentially leaving them unreliable or inaccessible. The researchers also found an overreliance on just five DNS providers, representing a widespread single point of failure risk.

Additionally, thousands of the websites used outdated versions of the jQuery code library known to be vulnerable to remote attacks for years. Poor encryption, lack of anti-fraud tokens and other missing security headers were rampant as well.

One of the most concerning discoveries was around 10,000 sites leaking information about private IP addresses, potentially exposing sensitive system architecture details.

The authors concluded that despite their comprehensive analysis, practical solutions to remedy these pressing security gaps remain elusive. They stressed the urgent need for real-time monitoring and diversifying network infrastructure to improve resilience.

The findings highlight worrying lapses in cybersecurity fundamentals across websites run by government agencies in China. This, despite Beijing’s public urgings for improvements in digital services and repeated calls to enhance cybersecurity.

The widespread security shortcomings uncovered could enable the spread of malware or enable cyber attackers to compromise sensitive government sites and data. Security experts say consistent patching and rapidly responding to disclosed vulnerabilities are crucial cybersecurity tenets, even for nation-states.

China has made cybersecurity a national priority, but this latest research suggests the online defenses of its own federal websites have considerable room for improvement.

Might be a little “schadenfreude” and it’s no reason to be complacent,  but it is nice to know that its not just us.

Sources include: The Register

TikTok, the massively popular short-video app, may have already been losing its magical touch with users and creators even before the recent threat of a US ban.

As Congress passed a bill giving ByteDance one year to sell TikTok’s US operations, some long-time users are questioning whether they’d still be on the app a year from now regardless.

 

There are reports that the app’s tightly guarded recommendation algorithm simply doesn’t “hit like it used to.” The delightfully random, endlessly scrollable “For You” feed that hooked millions during the pandemic has grown stale for some.

A great piece in the Guardian this weekend told a story of how one user found she was spending less and less time on the popular app.

It’s hard to get official stats like we can with Western social media platforms, due to the secrecy of Byte Dance, but content creators, the ones who know their traffic, have voiced frustrations over declining views and engagements, despite TikTok’s continued growth in total users.

They suspect the algorithm has been tweaked to prioritize certain content over pure audience interest.

For example, TikTok’s push into e-commerce through a new in-app “Shop” feature has been criticized as an unwelcome intrusion by users seeking lean-back entertainment, not a shopping channel. But creators feel compelled to participate fearing that the algorithm will bury their videos.

The constantly shifting trends and inside jokes have also created a higher barrier to feeling culturally literate on modern TikTok, some users lament.

So even if the US ban is averted, social media analysts suggest TikTok’s dominance as the definitive short-form video platform may be waning, opening space for competitors like Instagram Reels and YouTube shorts.

TikTok has helped create massive demand for seemingly endlessly consumable video content from fickle, mobile-first audiences. But monetizing that demand at scale remains a challenge no competitor has cracked.

Whether TikTok or someone else will crack that code is an open quesiton. But either way, many former TikTok obsessives already sense the magic fading from an app they once couldn’t get enough of, algorithm tweaks and federal bans notwithstanding.

 

And that’s our show.

Hashtag trending goes to air five days a week with a weekend interview show. And we are also on YouTube but not in the short form – yet.

If you catch us on YouTube, it helps if you give us a like or a subscribe and help us build that audience.

Find us at our new home at technewsday.ca or .com – you pick. And you can reach me with comments, suggestions or even criticism at therealjimlove@gmail.com or at editorial@technewsday.ca

You can now find our show notes at our new home on the podcast page of technewsday.ca and play the latest shows there, or on the home page. Yay! One more thing ticked off on the to do list and a great way to start the week.

I’m your host Jim Love, have a Marvelous Monday.

 

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Related articles

Will the “AI bubble” burst? Hashtag Trending for Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Europe may be reigning in big tech, but Canada and the US are struggling, despite public concern.  Analysts...

Who is the real competition for OpenAI? Hashtag Trending for Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Claude 3.5 is giving OpenAI a real run for its money.  It’s a war of the bots –...

Cyber Security Today, July 8, 2024 – New ransomware group discovered, and summer podcast break starts

A new ransomware group is discovered. Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It's Monday July 8th, 2024. I'm Howard Solomon,...

Realizing the costs and impacts of AI and social media: Hashtag Trending in the Summer for Monday, July 8, 2024

Well, I’m back – what did I miss? It seems like we’re discovering the real costs of AI –...

Become a member

New, Relevant Tech Stories. Our article selection is done by industry professionals. Our writers summarize them to give you the key takeaways