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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Top 5 stories of the week: ChatGPT, CES and cybersecurity advice from AWS


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Happy second full week of 2023. While our poor colleagues in California saw rain, more rain, and extended power outages, the news from CES in Las Vegas was hot, hot, hot.

But first, senior writer/editor Sharon Goldman broke the news that ChatGPT might be coming to Microsoft Office as soon as March this year. Will it be more helpful than the much-aligned Clippy? Stay tuned.

Our second and third top stories are wrap-ups from CES. In the first, our intrepid (and very tired) lead writer Dean Takahashi reviews the top 18 things he saw from the 3,000 exhibitors at the event. In the second CES story, Goldman highlights the AI and ML news from CES, and what it means for enterprises.

Our fourth story of the week is also from the AI beat. This one, though, is a little less optimistic, as it shows that AI companies aren’t immune to the effects of the current economic downturn.

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Finally, our fifth story is from our security beat. Writer/editor Taryn Plumb interviewed security leaders from AWS to get their predictions for 2023. Spoiler alert: Zero trust might be mentioned.

Here are the top five stories for the week of January 9th.

Over the weekend, The Information reported that Microsoft is looking to add OpenAI’s chatbot technology — currently ChatGPT, soon to be GPT-4 — to its Office suite of productivity technologies, including Word, Outlook and PowerPoint. And late today, Semafor reported that Microsoft, which invested $1 billion in OpenAI in 2019, is in talks to invest another $10 billion in the company.

The stream of Microsoft news made me wonder: How would these apps-on-steroids, used by billions of companies globally, change how we work? Especially once Google gets fully in the game, integrating its own generative AI capabilities into Google Workspace? Will AI become as mundane in our day-to-day work lives as the humble spreadsheet?

The CES 2023 tech trade show was in full gear in Las Vegas last weekend, drawing lots of crowds back to the biggest North American tech trade fest.

At or ahead of CES 2023, I recorded around 80 press events, interviews, and sessions. I walked 87,447 steps over five days — or more than 38.81 miles. I wrote 43 stories. I gave two interviews. And moderated one panel. My feet hurt.

This year featured nearly 3,000 exhibitors, up from 1,900 in 2021 and down from 4,000 (in-person) in 2020. Here are the 18 things that caught my eye.

Since CES is owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association, it makes perfect sense that it is focused on consumer tech. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t significant enterprise business takeaways, particularly around artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

That is particularly true in a year when few technologies are garnering as much hype as AI and ML — particularly when it comes to generative AI, including DALL-E and ChatGPT.

We asked for feedback from vendor experts about the most important AI and ML takeaways they saw coming out of CES 2023.

In April 2021, data labeling service Scale AI had a $7 billion valuation and a CEO, Alexandr Wang, who was known in Silicon Valley as “the next Zuckerberg.”

But last night, Insider’s report that the unicorn company had laid off 20% of its 700-person staff sent shivers down the spines of those who thought AI was generally immune to the current wave of tech layoffs. Especially at this red-hot AI moment when Microsoft is reportedly in talks to invest $10 billion in OpenAI, and buzzy generative AI startups like Jasper and Stability AI are boasting about raises over $100 million.

Last year (2022) was an unprecedented one for cybersecurity, in both good and bad ways. On the positive side, we saw increased use of passwordless and multifactor authentication (MFA) and zero-trust methods. On the negative, the cost of data breaches reached an all-time high and we saw the rise of commoditized cybercrime (ransomware-as-a-service) and massive breaches of Twitter, WhatsApp, Rockstar and Uber.

What might we see in 2023? VentureBeat posed this question to several AWS security leaders. Here are their top cybersecurity predictions for 2023.

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