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A Summary of Last Week's Top 10 Tech News
Microsoft To Demo Its New ChatGPT-like AI In Word, PowerPoint, And Outlook Soon
Microsoft plans to integrate OpenAI's language AI technology into its core productivity apps, such as Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook. The company will demonstrate its new ChatGPT-like AI, the Prometheus Model, in the coming weeks. The model has already transformed Bing web searches, and Microsoft wants to expand its integration into other applications. The Prometheus Model is already available in Office web apps through the Bing sidebar integration in Microsoft's Edge browser. This includes a compose tab that previews the work Microsoft has been testing for Word and Outlook. The company is also working on ways to generate graphs and graphics for PowerPoint. Microsoft's quick move with this integration is mainly due to Google's competition.
Microsoft was originally planning to launch its new Bing AI in late February but moved the date forward to this week as Google was preparing its announcements. Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, is keen for the company to be seen as a leader in AI and wants to push AI across Microsoft's products. Analysts estimate that ChatGPT reached 100 million monthly active users after just two months, and more than 1 million people have signed up for the Bing waitlist in 48 hours. Microsoft wants to seize the AI opportunity throughout 2023 and unlock some of the features and power of its Prometheus Model that it hasn't publicly discussed yet. AI is expected to be the big buzzword for the tech industry this year as Microsoft and Google compete for the future of search and AI.
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Meta Found A Leaker Who Disclosed Details About Its Upcoming Vr Headsets To A Youtuber
A leak investigation by virtual reality company Meta revealed that a third-party contractor was the source of unannounced VR headset details published on a YouTube channel by Brad Lynch. The contractor was paid a small sum for sharing the information and has since been cut ties with by Meta. The company's CTO confirmed the outcome of the investigation in an internal post, which suggests the leaked information caused a problem for Meta despite not gaining much attention from traditional news outlets. Brad Lynch, who runs the "SadlyItsBradley" YouTube channel, says he is not getting rich from his reporting and shares ad revenue with his sources. He stated that his videos best showcase virtual, mixed, and augmented reality.
Reddit's Opinion About AI Chatbots
Reddit does not believe AI-powered conversational chatbots like Google's Bard and Microsoft's new Bing will replace human connection. According to a Reddit spokesperson, AI chatbots are still new and being explored and are seen as a tool to complement the community and human connection rather than replace it. Reddit believes that human connection is still essential and that the platform's system of upvoting and downvoting information helps to ensure accuracy. Reddit is also exploring AI chatbot technologies.
Microsoft Might Keep Losing in Search and Still Win
Microsoft announced that it would use artificial intelligence technology from OpenAI to improve its Bing search engine. Although Bing is a distant second to Google regarding market share, the new and improved Bing can potentially increase Microsoft's revenue from advertising. Every percentage point of search share gained equals roughly $2 billion in additional advertising revenue for Microsoft. Additionally, Google's dependence on search advertising may make it more hesitant to embrace AI in its core product, giving Microsoft more freedom to innovate. On the other hand, Zoom Video announced job cuts, laying off 15% of its workforce, despite its free cash flow being 27% of its revenue in the last 12 months and having over $5 billion in cash and marketable securities. The reason for the cuts is unclear, and the company will report its most recent quarterly results on Feb 27.
Reddit’s Ad Gains Could Mean More Cash for Creators
Reddit has seen an increase in advertising spending compared to its competitors, including Meta Platforms, Snap and Pinterest. This could be good news for creators as more are exploring Reddit to interact with their existing communities. From Mekanism, a creative agency, Brendan Gahan has seen creators use Reddit for Ask Me Anything sessions and have specialized discussion forums dedicated to them, which helps to cultivate fandom and drive awareness. However, Reddit still lags behind other social media companies, such as Instagram and TikTok, in developing technology to allow creators to make money directly on the site. Reddit has attempted to reach out to creators, including a Creator Partner Program and a marketplace for non-fungible tokens. Some Reddit communities may not accept explicit promotions by brands or creators, but successful engagement, such as replying to comments or posting on subreddits, is still possible.
Microsoft Kills Its Industrial Metaverse Team After 4 Months
Microsoft has disbanded its "Industrial Metaverse Core" team, which was established four months ago to help customers apply the metaverse in industrial settings. The team, composed mostly of Project Bonsai, has been laid off along with its roughly 100 employees. Project Bonsai is an Azure cloud service that allows engineers to add AI to industrial processes without software development experience. The team worked with customers in various industries, including healthcare, retail, financial services, energy, and manufacturing. The move is part of Microsoft's plan to lay off 10,000 employees and prioritize near-term projects over longer-term ones. After the news was published, Microsoft stated that it is "applying its focus to the areas of the industrial metaverse that matter most to its customers," and that there will be no change in their support. However, it did not comment on the specifics of the staffing changes.
HR Software Startups Enjoy Booming Business Despite Tech’s Hiring Pullback
Human resources software startups like Deel, Rippling, and Pave are thriving even as tech firms are laying off staff. Companies that cut jobs last year are spending more on HR software to track employee performance better and make HR departments more efficient. For example, Sezzle, a buy now pay later firm that laid off 20% of its workforce, is planning to increase its spending on HR technology by 14% this year and buy software that can automate the early stages of the interview process. Other startups such as 6sense, Grammarly, Fireblocks, and Alchemy are also planning to increase their spending on HR software this year. This growth is expected to follow the surge in 2022 for some HR startups and support their high valuations. Venture capitalists remain optimistic about the sector and are excited to invest in HR tech startups. HR tech startups have filled the void left by large companies in the HR software market, with a wave of startups creating multipurpose systems or focusing on specific functions such as hiring and compensation. HR executives are spending more on HR technology due to the savings, elimination of busywork, and improved data organization. This spending increase is also seen in companies that have grown their workforces, as contracts charge per employee.
Google Miscalculates Stock Severance, Apologizes to Laid-Off Workers
Google recently laid off 12,000 employees and provided them with a generous severance package, which was better than other tech companies. However, the company notified some laid-off employees in the US that it had made a mistake in calculating the stock grants they would receive and that the value was overstated. This resulted in some employees receiving tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars less than they were initially told. The number of employees affected by this error is unclear. Despite the error, Google's severance package still remains one of the best in the tech industry, including 60 days of pay, 16 weeks of salary, two weeks for each year of service, vested stock, and job placement services. The layoffs have caused a stir among Google employees who thought the company was insulated from economic problems.
The Top 7 SaaS Products to Manage Your Remote Team and Boost Productivity
Hacker Noon’s Anna Nadeina has given us a list of her top 7 SaaS products that will take your productivity from 0 to 100 faster than you might think. She discusses the top 7 SaaS (Software as a Service) products that can help manage remote teams and boost productivity. The products listed are Asana, Trello, Monday.com, Slack, Zoom, Google Workspace, and Microsoft Teams. Each of these products has its own unique features and capabilities that can help manage remote work effectively and keep teams organized and connected. For example, Asana and Trello offer project management tools, Monday.com provides advanced task management and time tracking, Slack is a messaging and collaboration platform, Zoom is a video conferencing tool, Google Workspace is a suite of productivity tools, and Microsoft Teams is a platform for team communication and collaboration. Anna suggests considering these SaaS products for remote teams looking to improve their productivity and efficiency.
ChatGPT Can Transform the Way Businesses Approach Customer Service
ChatGPT is an advanced chatbot built on GPT-3.5 by OpenAI that can converse with humans in a dialogue form using the Large Language Model (LLM). The more data it is exposed to, its conversational capabilities improve. ChatGPT has various business use cases such as customer service, text generation, sentiment analysis, conversational AI, and virtual assistants. OpenAI has already introduced an upgrade to ChatGPT in GPT-4, which will have 1 trillion parameters, making it faster and smarter. However, ChatGPT has limitations, such as being only able to source information about a company from internet-facing assets and not being fully capable of handling vague customer queries. Companies can build their own AI customer support agent using NLP and NLU to understand the context of customer queries, infused with AI-run search capabilities for a more personalized and faster response.
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