Hashtag Trending Dec.12- Telepathic communication with ChatGPT; BlackBerry not spinning off IoT business; Microsoft agrees to union contract terms – IT World Canada

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A company claims it’s achieved telepathic communication with ChatGPT. BlackBerry backs down on spinning off its IoT business. One in five teenagers is using social media almost “constantly.” And did you ever think you see a union at Microsoft? And one that is negotiating the use of AI? 

These and more top tech stories on Hashtag Trending

I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US.

I know what you are thinking. Well, I don’t really, but if you think this is nuts, I wouldn’t blame you. 

I don’t believe in telepathy.  But if you can think something and it can be interpreted by another intelligence, even if that is artificial intelligence, what else do you call it. 

A company called MindPortal has announced the successful development of a non-invasive method for telepathic communication with ChatGPT. 

Their innovation allows users to form complete sentences in their minds and transmit them directly to ChatGPT, which, if it’s true, is significant milestone in human-AI interaction.

Based in London and San Francisco, MindPortal, is a pioneer in non-invasive brain-computer interfaces. 

It revealed its optical brain-computer interface on December 8, 2023. 

This interface enables users to interact seamlessly with ChatGPT using imagined speech. 

The project, supported by notable investors like Kleiner Perkins, 7percent Ventures, Learn Capital, Y Combinator, and prominent individuals including Luke Iseman, Julie Zhuo, Dan Siroker, and James Park, was developed by a top-tier scientific team from Oxford University, Cambridge University, Imperial College London, and advisors from DARPA.

Ekram Alam, CEO and co-founder of MindPortal, expressed the significance of this achievement, stating, “For the first time, we have enabled telepathic communication between humans and AI.” This technology translates a user’s thoughts into text, allowing real-time dialogue with ChatGPT, including follow-up questions.

Key breakthroughs of MindPortal’s technology include:

– translating brain activity related to thought into human language.

– using optical sensors in a non-invasive device to decode complex human language.

– thought-to-text from imagined speech without physical speech movements or sub-vocalizations.

– the ability to decode complete sentences in real-time, not just single words, without post processing.

In short? A direct brain-interface communication with a large language model AI, establishing a new standard for human-AI interaction.

If it’s true, this is an incredible breakthrough, and I hope it is, if only for how it could make life easier for those who have severe mobility issues. 

And I don’t want to trivialize the last point because it’s incredible. But having done that, I’d be very happy if I never had to try to type something on a virtual keyboard on my smartphone. Just sayin’

For more information, visit MindPortal’s website 

BlackBerry Ltd. has announced it is not going to spin off its internet-of-things (IoT) division as previously planned. Instead, the company will restructure to retain this unit alongside its cybersecurity segment. This decision aims to ensure both divisions operate independently and maintain profitability and positive cash flow. The news led to a 3.6 per cent drop in BlackBerry’s shares in premarket trading in New York.

In a further development, BlackBerry appointed John Giamatteo as the new CEO. Giamatteo, who has been serving as the president of BlackBerry’s cybersecurity business since 2021, brings extensive experience from his previous roles, including as president and chief revenue officer at McAfee Corp. and positions at other tech firms. BlackBerry is also in the process of selecting a consulting firm to assist with the reorganization.

Sources include:  Bloomberg’s article dated December 11, 2023

A recent Pew Research Center report reveals that nearly one in five teens is almost constantly on YouTube or TikTok, highlighting the significant role of social media in the lives of the younger generation. This finding is crucial amid ongoing discussions about the potential mental health impacts of such heavy social media usage.

The survey, which included 1,453 teens aged 13-17, found that internet use remains high, mirroring last year’s data and showing a substantial increase from the 2014-2015 survey. 

Nearly half of the teens reported using the internet almost constantly, a significant jump from 24 per cent in the earlier survey. 

YouTube remains the most popular platform among teens, with 90 per cent usage and 71 per cent accessing it daily. Other widely used platforms include TikTok (63 per cent), Snapchat (60 per cent), and Instagram (59 per cent), while Facebook (33 per cent) and Twitter (20 per cent) see declining usage.

For the first time, Pew included BeReal, an app promoting real-time photo sharing, in their survey, finding that 13 per cent of teens use it. A separate Gallup poll found that teens spend an average of 4.8 hours daily on social media, with older teens and girls being the heaviest users.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has warned about the dangers to kids’ mental health, ranging from sleep disruptions to suicidal thoughts. However, many teens also report that social media improves their lives by providing entertainment and reducing loneliness.

The Pew report also examined teen social media use by gender, race, age, and household income, revealing diverse patterns across these demographics. 

Sources include: Axios article on Pew Research Center’s findings and the Pew Study in full.

And let’s finish off with two Microsoft stories. 

Just when you think they’d weathered the worst crisis ever in their AI business….

Microsoft faces a potential investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding its significant investment in OpenAI. The FTC’s inquiry centers around antitrust concerns, given OpenAI’s non-profit roots and Microsoft’s substantial funding, which exceeds $10 billion. 

This funding is vital for powering AI model training and integrating ChatGPT into Microsoft’s product portfolio. 

Microsoft’s chief communications officer, Frank X Shaw, emphasizes that Microsoft does not own OpenAI but is entitled to profit shares. 

The FTC’s scrutiny aligns with its ongoing investigation into OpenAI’s ChatGPT for privacy and reputational issues, and its past scrutiny of Microsoft’s business practices, notably the $69 billion Activision Blizzard deal. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is also conducting a consultation on Microsoft’s relationship with OpenAI, examining potential competition impacts.

Sources include: The Register 

Microsoft has agreed to union contract terms – no, this is not a hallucination. 

The agreement concerns the use of artificial intelligence. It marks the first instance of collective bargaining in the company’s U.S. history. 

The agreement, reached with the Communications Workers of America union, applies to several hundred employees at Microsoft’s game studio ZeniMax. 

It includes clauses that demand AI systems to be fair and empowering, offering workers a means to raise concerns if Microsoft falls short in these areas. The contract also mandates Microsoft to notify the union when implementing AI or automation technologies that could affect workers. 

Additionally, Microsoft has partnered with the AFL-CIO, America’s largest union federation, to facilitate an open dialogue about AI’s impact on workers. 

This could be historic in how large tech companies deal with AI. 

Sources include: Engadget

And that’s what’s trending today.

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

You can get us anywhere you get audio podcasts and there is a copy of the show notes at itworldcanada.com/podcasts 

I’m your host Jim Love.  Have a Terrific Tuesday.

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