Microsoft ties exec comp to security: Hashtag Trending, Wednesday, May 8, 2024

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Microsoft executives may lose bonuses if the company is hacked, Apple unveils its M4 chip in the iPad Pro, a new company leverages AI to reportedly find millions in savings on Software as a Service and Elon Musk tells you how much AI is used at Starlink and Space-X. Spoiler alert? None.

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

In a move aimed to address criticism at numerous cybersecurity failures, Microsoft has announced what it calls its Secure Future initiative. The tech giant stated that this initiative will place security at the forefront of all its operations and product development.

In the company’s blog post, they declared, and I quote, “Security above all else is the guiding principle that will drive every aspect of our work.”

Microsoft has made announcements like this before, but this time there are indications that they have really got the message.

A blog post by Charlie Bell, Executive Vice President for Microsoft Security has a long list of initiatives, all of which are credible and necessary, many of which one would have expected would already be in place, but there is an added note of how seriously Microsoft is taking this new plan.

According to that same post, the company will be tying executive compensation directly to meeting stringent security goals. As stated in the post, and I quote, “Executive compensation will be tied to better security across our entire technology stack and trusted cloud offerings.” End quote.

Sources include: Microsoft News

Apple unveiled its new M4 chip today and as had been rumoured, the M4 will launched in the iPad Pro line, and not yet in the MacBook Air.

The company boasted that this marks “the biggest day for iPad since its introduction.”

The M4 processor, built using an advanced 3-nanometer process, packs a punch with 10 cores – four performance cores and six high-efficiency cores. Apple claims the M4 can deliver the same performance as the M2 while using just half the power.


But what really caught the tech world’s attention is the M4’s enhanced neural engine, capable of a staggering 38 trillion operations per second. This supercharged AI processing power could open up new possibilities for the iPad Pro.

Apple CEO Tim Cook stated, “This is the biggest day for iPad since its introduction.”

The new iPad Pro comes in 11-inch and 13-inch models, with the larger version touted as Apple’s thinnest product ever. These are not the bargain brand with prices starting at $999 for the 11-inch model and $1299 for the 13-inch variant.

Apple also refreshed its iPad Air lineup, now offering a larger 13-inch option alongside the standard 11-inch model. These feature the M2 chip and double the base storage of their predecessors. The 11-inch iPad Air starts at $599, while the 13-inch model is priced at $799.

The question now will be what the company will do with its laptops, which traditionally would have been featured with the newest chip technology. But Apple missed a major update last year for the iPad line and appears to be trying to make up for it.

Sources include: MacRumours and others

We’ve talked about risking software as a service costs and apparently, some enterprising entrepreneurs have heard that message as well. A YC-backed startup called CloudEagle is promising to help enterprises significantly reduce their SaaS expenditures, in some cases by as much as 90%.

According to Prasanna Naik, co-founder of CloudEagle and a former Airbnb and Oracle executive, and this is a quote, “A customer who spends between $1 and $2 million on SaaS applications can see 30% to 90% savings using CloudEagle.”

CloudEagle’s claims to be using generative AI and machine learning techniques. With access to data from thousands of companies and a vast database of over 250,000 SaaS applications, CloudEagle has built a powerful recommendation engine. This engine suggests the most suitable applications based on factors such as an enterprise’s use case, current tech stack, industry, employee base size, and growth projections.

The company is also utilizing generative AI to enable users to check simple things like – do employees even need or even use a particular subscription software. It also keeps track of expirations and other details directly through a Slack chatbot.

CloudEagle is positioning itself as a comprehensive solution for enterprises seeking to optimize their SaaS expenditures and streamline their software management processes.

In a world where SaaS applications are becoming the way software for businesses is delivered, CloudEagle’s could be hitting a real sweet spot in the drive to manage SaaS and Cloud spending. The company has ambitious plans for growth including developing their own large language model.

And with their starter package priced at 2,000 per month USD, they are clearly serious about their ability to deliver costs savings.

Love to hear from any listeners about this topic.

Sources include: CloudEagle and Analytics India

And in answer to the question, is Microsoft trying to tank Windows 11 a new report has surfaced about a default feature in Windows 11 Pro that can significantly impact the performance of solid-state drives or SSDs.

According to extensive testing by the folks at TomsHardware, the BitLocker software encryption activated by default in Windows 11 Pro is causing massive reductions in SSD speeds, up to a staggering 45% in some applications.

The culprit behind this slowdown is the constant encryption and decryption of data on the SSD during read and write processes, which burdens the processor and takes a toll on overall system performance.

Interestingly, many modern SSDs support hardware-based encryption, offloading the encryption tasks to the drive itself. However, Windows 11 Pro opts for its own software-based BitLocker encryption, likely for greater control over potential vulnerabilities.

According to the article, in some cases this encryption is set by default, so users may not even be aware it is slowing them down. If you are wondering, there’s a link to the Tom’s Hardware piece in the show notes.

Sources include: Tom’s Hardware

And a little bit of good news about Google. In a move aimed at tackling housing insecurity, Google is co-funding a $2.8 million guaranteed income pilot program in California’s Bay Area.

The tech giant, through its philanthropic arm, is partnering with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, a research center based at MIT, to provide 225 families with $1,000 per month for an entire year.

This no-strings-attached cash assistance is targeted at families on the verge of homelessness, who have recently participated in non-profit housing programs and are nearing the end of their housing subsidies.

Another 225 families will serve as a control group, receiving just $50 per month over the same 12-month period.

The “It All Adds Up” program aims to test whether this guaranteed basic income can help secure long-term housing for the participating families. Notably, over 70% of the enrolled families are headed by single mothers of color with young children under five.

NYU’s Housing Solutions Lab will analyze the pilot’s results, assessing the impact not just on housing stability but also on participants’ overall health and financial outcomes.

This initiative is part of Google’s $1 billion commitment to addressing the housing crisis in the San Francisco Bay Area, where a stark divide exists between the immense wealth of tech giants and their well-paid employees, and the many locals struggling to afford basic living expenses.

Universal basic income programs have surged in popularity as an innovative tool for combating poverty, with data showing that participants overwhelmingly spend the funds on essentials like food, housing, and transportation.

Support or disdain for these programs tends to be driven by ideology versus data predictably with those on the so-called left support them and those on the so called right opposing them. And it’s unlikely to change minds that are already made up. But for the rest of us, this pilot could provide valuable insights and real data into this huge and growing problem of housing insecurity.

Sources include: Yahoo Tech and Business Insider

And in a somewhat surprising revelation, Elon Musk stated that his space company SpaceX uses “basically no AI.”  He mentioned this during a recent interview at the Milken Global Conference in Los Angeles.

Despite the current AI frenzy gripping the tech industry, Musk claims that current AI systems haven’t proven useful for SpaceX’s needs. Here’s what he had to say, and I quote:

“I’ll ask it questions about the Fermi Paradox, about rocket engine design, about electrochemistry. And so far, the AI has been terrible at all those questions. So there’s still a long way to go.”

Musk also clarified that even Starlink, SpaceX’s internet satellite business and a major driver of the company’s valuation, does not utilize AI technologies. His exact words were:

“Starlink does not use AI.”

However, Musk did acknowledge that he’s not opposed to using AI if a suitable application arises, stating, “I’m not against using it. Just, we haven’t seen a use for it.”

While SpaceX and Starlink may not be leveraging AI yet, Musk’s electric vehicle company Tesla extensively uses more conventional AI in its driver assistance features, though he did not mention Tesla during the interview.

Despite his reservations about current AI capabilities, Musk believes that more than 99% of intelligence will eventually become “digital” rather than “biological.” However, he emphasized the importance of developing AI systems that are beneficial to humanity and do not spread misinformation. Although he did downplay the doomsday vision of AI, stating that he listened to podcasts about the fall of civilization to help him fall asleep.

Sources include: Axios

And that’s our show.

Hashtag trending goes to air five days a week with a weekend interview show. We’re on YouTube, it helps if you give us a like or a subscribe and help us build that audience.

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I’m your host Jim Love, have a Wonderful Wednesday.












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