Many technology leaders agree that while AI can be hugely beneficial to humans, it can also be misused or through negligence harm humanity. But looking to governments to solve this problem without guidance would be foolish, because politicians often don’t even understand the technology they’ve used for years, let alone something that’s just hitting the market. I have come

As a result, when governments act to mitigate a problem, they may do more harm than good. For example, it was right to punish the old Shell Oil Company for abuses, but breaking up the company shifted control of the oil from the United States to parts of the world that are not friendly to America. There was the improvement of consumer electronics, which shifted the market from the US to Japan.

The US has grabbed onto the technological leadership by the skin of its teeth, but there is no doubt in my mind that if governments act without guidance on how to regulate AI, they will shift the opportunity to China. That’s why Microsoft’s recent report titled “Governing AI: A Blueprint for the Future” is so important.

The Microsoft report defines the problem, outlines a reasonable path forward that won’t undermine US competitiveness, and addresses concerns surrounding AI.

Let’s talk about Microsoft’s blueprint for AI governance, and we’ll end with our Product of the Week, a new line of trackers that can help us keep track of the things we often have trouble finding .

EEOC Example

It is foolish to demand regulation without context. When a government reacts tactically to something it knows little about, it can do more harm than good. I started with some contradictory examples, but perhaps the ugliest example was the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Congress established the EEOC in 1964 to rapidly address the very real problem of racial discrimination in jobs. There were two basic causes of workplace discrimination. The most obvious was racial discrimination in the workplace that the EEOC could and did address. But an even bigger problem existed when it came to discrimination in education, which the EEOC didn’t address.

When businesses hired based on merit and used any methodology that the industry at the time had scientifically developed to reward employees with positions, raises, and promotions based on education and achievement When you did, you were asked to improve your company’s diversity by closing programs that often hired inexperienced minorities.

The system failed minorities by placing inexperienced minorities in jobs they weren’t well trained for, which only reinforced the belief that minorities were somehow inadequate, when in fact, they didn’t have equal opportunities for education. were given and counseling. This position was true not only for people of color but also for women, regardless of color.

Looking back now we can see that the EEOC didn’t really fix anything, but it did transform HR from an organization focused on caring and nurturing employees to an organization focused on compliance, which often meant covering up employee issues . than to address the problems.

Brad Smith Steps Up

Microsoft President Brad Smith strikes me as one of the few technology leaders who thinks broadly. Instead of focusing almost exclusively on tactical responses to strategic problems, he thinks strategically.

Microsoft’s Blueprint is such a case that, because most people are going to the government saying “you should do something”, which can lead to other long-term problems, Smith has set out to find what he thinks is a solution. What should look like, and that flashes it turned out elegantly in a five-point plan.

He begins with a provocative statement, “Don’t ask what computers can do, ask what they should do,” which reminds me of John F. Kennedy’s famous line, “Don’t ask what your country can do for you.” What can you do for your country, ask what you can do for your country. Smith’s statement comes from a book he co-authored in 2019 and has been referred to as one of the defining questions of this generation Was.

This statement brings into context the importance and need of protecting human beings and makes us think about the implications of new technology to ensure that our use of it is beneficial and not harmful.

Smith continues to talk about how we should use technology to improve the human condition as a priority, not just reduce costs and increase revenue. Like IBM, which has undertaken a similar effort, Smith and Microsoft believe that technology should be used to improve people, not replace them.

He also, and this is very rare these days, talks about the need to anticipate where technology needs to be in the future so that we can proactively and strategically anticipate problems rather than just respond to them. The need for transparency, accountability and assurance that the technology is being used legally are all important to this effort and are well defined.

5-point blueprint analysis

Smith’s first point is to implement and build on a government-led AI security framework. Too often, governments fail to realize that they already have some of the tools needed to solve a problem and waste a lot of time effectively reinventing the wheel.

Influential work has been done by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the form of the AI ​​Risk Management Framework (AI RMF). It’s a good, though incomplete framework. Smith’s first point is to experiment and build on that.

Smith’s second point is the need for effective security brakes for AI systems that control critical infrastructure. If an AI that is controlling critical infrastructure gets derailed, it can cause massive damage or even mass death.

We must ensure that those systems have extensive testing, thorough human oversight, and are tested against not only likely but unlikely problem scenarios to make sure AI doesn’t jump in and make it worse. Will do

The government will define the classes of systems that will require guardrails, provide direction on the nature of those protective measures, and require that the relevant systems meet certain security requirements – such as data centers tested and licensed for such use only. to be posted in

Smith’s third point is to develop a comprehensive legal and regulatory framework for AI based on technology architecture. AI is going to make mistakes. People may not like the decisions the AI ​​makes even if they are correct, and people may blame the AI ​​for things the AI ​​had no control over.

In short, there will be a lot of litigation to come. Without a legal framework covering responsibility, rulings are likely to be varied and contradictory, making any resulting remedy difficult and very costly.

Thus, there is a need for a legal framework so that people understand their responsibilities, risks and rights to avoid future problems, and find a quick legal remedy if a problem does result. This alone could reduce what would potentially become a massive litigation load as AI is now very much in the green when it comes to legal precedent.

Smith’s fourth point is to promote transparency and ensure academic and non-profit access to AI. It makes sense; How can you trust something you don’t fully understand? People don’t trust AI today, and without transparency they won’t trust it tomorrow. In fact, I would argue that without transparency, you shouldn’t trust AI because you can’t verify that it will do what you want.

In addition, we need academic access to AI to ensure that people understand how to properly use this technology when entering the workforce and to ensure that nonprofits, especially organizations that focus on improving the human condition have effective access to this technology for good.

Smith’s fifth point is to advance new public-private partnerships to use AI as an effective tool to address inevitable societal challenges. AI will have a massive impact on society, and ensuring that this impact is beneficial and not harmful will require focus and oversight.

He explains that AI may be a sword, but it can also be effectively used as a shield which is more powerful than any existing sword on the planet. It should be used everywhere to protect democracy and fundamental rights of the people.

Smith cites Ukraine as an example where the public and private sectors have come together effectively to create a powerful defense. He believes, as do I, that we must emulate Ukraine’s example to ensure that AI reaches its potential to help move the world toward a better tomorrow.

Finale: A Better Tomorrow

Microsoft isn’t just going to governments and asking them to act to solve a problem that governments don’t yet fully understand.

It is laying out a framework for that solution, and must clearly assure that we mitigate the risks around the use of AI and have the tools and systems in place to address problems when they do occur. Remedies are available, not the least of which is an emergency stop switch that allows a derailed AI program to gracefully terminate.

Whether you’re a company or an individual, Microsoft is providing an excellent lesson here in how to find leadership to solve a problem, not just toss it at the government and ask them to fix it. Microsoft has outlined the problem and provided a well thought out solution so that the problem doesn’t become a bigger problem than it already is.

Nicely done!

tech product of the week

Pebblebee Trackers

Like most people, my wife and I often misplace stuff, which most often happens when we run out of the house and put something down without thinking about where we put it. Are.

Plus, we have three cats, which means the vet visits us regularly to take care of them. Many of our cats have found unique and creative hiding places so that they don’t get nailed or mated. So, we use trackers like Tile and AirTag.

But the problem with AirTags is that they really only work if you have an iPhone, like my wife, which means she can track things, but I can’t because I have an Android phone. Is. With the Tiles, you must either replace the device when it dies or replace the battery, which is a pain. Therefore, when we need to search for something, the battery often runs out.

The Pebblebee works like the other devices that differ yet because it’s rechargeable and will work with either Pebblebee’s app, which runs on both iOS and Android. Or will it work with native apps in those operating systems: Apple Find My and Google Find My Device. Sadly, it won’t do both at the same time, but at least you get a choice.

Pebblebee Trackers

Pebblebee Trackers: Clips to keys, bags and more; Tags for luggage, jackets, etc .; and cards for wallets and other narrow places. (Image credit: PebbleB)

When trying to locate the tracking device, it beeps and lights up, making it easier to find things at night and less like a bad game of Marco Polo (I wish smoke detectors did this) .

Because the Pebblebee works with both Apple and Android and you can recharge the battery, it serves a personal need better than the Tile or Apple’s AirTag — and it’s my product of the week.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.

I just finished a series of CES previews by PC vendors, and I can easily say that with the products I saw, Lenovo is likely to win at CES this year. I can’t tell you why or what they’re announcing, but it got me thinking about why CES might be more important than I thought if Lenovo’s using it like that.

I’ve never been a fan of CES because it comes too early for back-to-school or the next holiday shopping season. In addition, it spoils the holidays for those who have to dress up to attend the event, and with a tri-monster underway, it could affect attendees for the worse. People in my age group (my wife would suggest I add the word “advanced”) should participate remotely, as I would because of the risk of serious illness.

But after watching Lenovo’s pitch for its announcement at CES next month, I realize that for those who truly innovate, CES has the potential to set the bar for the rest of the market and take an undisputed leadership position for 2023. Might be the perfect show for that.

Let’s talk about CES and market leadership this week, and we’ll close with our product of the week, a new two-card line of graphics cards by AMD that’s blowing everything else out of the water at the moment.

problems with innovation

We love to talk about innovation, but innovation refers to finding a problem that we cannot fix using existing approaches and technologies. After decades as an analyst, it seems to me that most innovation is more about trying to fix a problem than an existing tool that generally works better.

When innovation emerges, it is because it solves a problem that existing tools either cannot handle or does it in a better way than traditional tools. In other words, innovation for its own sake is stupid. However, when applied to an unsolved or poorly solved problem, innovation can be disastrous if people are convinced that it brings vastly better results.

resistance to change

This brings up the second problem with innovation: it requires high marketing, because with all the hype around innovation, we don’t like change.

We get comfortable with things and can get upset when faced with change. To some extent, it is related to age. The younger you are, the more likely you are to accept and even inspire change. The older you get, the more you cherish stability and tradition. But regardless of age and tolerance for innovation, if someone can’t show you why the innovative product is better in a compelling way, young people probably won’t buy it either.

risk factor

Finally, innovation is risky. When it comes to long-lasting products, you know a lot about what the market currently accepts because the existing product is selling. But when you innovate, you’re guessing what buyers want that they’re not getting, and the risk that you can be wrong increases astronomically.

This introduces risk because you can be wrong. Your company should be tolerant of risk-taking because, despite being written about the need to take risk, most companies reward risk-taking rather than risk-taking.

For example, I once met with the CEO of Ford, who talked about changing Ford’s culture about risk-taking, but then pointed out that if someone took a risk with Ford’s pickup truck, the F-150, That was Ford’s mainstay, and got it wrong, they would be shot.

Obviously, he didn’t understand the risk-taking at all because the message he was conveying was that Ford really wasn’t willing to support it. The F-150 would stand as an example to others, even if whatever the CEO said, he was not on board with the idea.

In short, you either support risk-taking or you don’t. Granted, risks have to be justified, but if you focus on limiting risk-taking, you will kill innovation. (I should point out that the CEO I met was forced out of Ford several years ago.)

Setting the Bar for Tech Innovation

CES is arguably the place to take the biggest risks because it’s the first major technology show of the year. It set the bar for the year in technological innovation in some markets, including automotive. While we don’t think of it as an auto show, when it comes to technologies like in-car entertainment and autonomous driving, this is where you see those advancements firsthand. Even focused car shows are subject to CES.

Historically, tech vendors haven’t really geared up for their most innovative pushes in January, so it’s not until mid-year that we see the most interesting stuff. As mentioned, this year, I think Lenovo will overwhelm other vendors as much as it did with its Threadripper workstations and aggressive use of water cooling in the professional space. By showing it off at CES instead of later in the year, marketing (which is working impressively) should have the resources to do the heavy lifting.

Used right, a company can put up a tough fight at CES and be the talk of the industry for next year if it rocks hard enough. Granted, it comes with risk because if the market doesn’t agree with where you innovated, you could dig a hole that will take time to dig out. I’m a big believer in swinging for the fences because if you don’t, you’ll never be able to hit that home run.

Lenovo has been moving steadily towards market leadership of late. The shots it’s taking are risky, but it’s shown it can execute, so keep your eyes on Lenovo. I think you will look at the company differently after the show.

wrapping up

I have a newfound respect for CES, and I think about how it could be even more powerful than it currently is. Being the first major tech show of the year, it sets the bar if the presenting vendors aggressively pursue innovative solutions to problems that have not only not been addressed but were not even known to customers that they had.

Done right, a vendor in a variety of markets, including automotive, appliances, personal technology, PCs, and, increasingly, robotics, can tear apart its competitors like Apple did a few decades ago with smartphones and rule the market. Was.

Lenovo is taking that shot this year, and keep an eye out for Lenovo when it gets off the floor at CES. I think it will surprise the market and show how other vendors can use the show to get ahead of their competitors. So just like that, I get to what CES should always have been: the one show to rule them all (Gollum says “hi”).

tech product of the week

AMD RX 7900 XT/XTX graphics card

AMD woke up the gaming world with two graphics cards, the RX 7900 XT and 7900 XTX, that are priced well above their suggested retail price, which sadly has largely sold out and is going for a hefty premium. have been

They look great in a case and show how far AMD has come in the competitively priced GPU space.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX Graphics Card

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX Graphics Card | Image credit: AMD

These are truly impressive graphics cards, enhanced by a software driver solution that makes management easy for both professional and amateur gamers alike.

gamers choice

I’ve been watching gaming forums where the dialogue about AMD (both CPU and GPU) has gone from viewing the company as a value player in the space to being the king of performance. I’m a little surprised on the CPU side, not because AMD’s Threadripper CPU isn’t awesome, but because gaming largely depends on GPU performance these days. But many gamers are making fun of their peers who are no longer running AMD CPUs, which shows how much AMD’s image has changed over time.

Utilizing a balance of absolute performance, plug-and-play installation ease, high color accuracy and advanced chiplet technology, these cards set a new bar for gamers, and gamers love them so much they bought out the existing supply Is. So, you might want to wait a little longer before buying one of these cards as prices are getting worse due to lack of supply.

Unlike some other more expensive competing parts, these do not require special connectors, fit most cases, and consume very little power, which helps us keep our rising energy costs down.

If you love gaming and want the best performance for the money at anywhere close to suggested retail, these new AMD cards are a tremendous deal and represent a potential new era for AMD as a power player in the GPU space. We do. At the same time, they were a wake-up call for Nvidia, which went in a very different direction.

In conclusion, like the market, I’m very impressed with the AMD RX 7900 XT and 7900 XTX cards, making them my products of the week.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.

For most of us the metaverse is mostly hype about the promise of a new internet that we can explore virtually. As it is currently implemented, the world of the Metaverse network is reminiscent of the pre-Internet. It is represented by a group of very different and unique efforts than the post-Netscape Internet that seems more like a walled garden approach than today’s Netscape Internet.

Implementations range from useful – like those using Nvidia’s Omniverse – to promises of “something” from Meta (formerly known as Facebook) that, at least now, mostly disappoint. It is believed that disappointment is more likely to be caused by higher expectations than any sluggishness by the meta. This is often a problem with new technologies where expectations are dashed and then people become overwhelmed with the results.

Now, with the announcement of the Metaverse Standards Forum last week, it looks like the industry is headed for a bigger problem with the Metaverse, which is the lack of interoperability and Internet-like standards that could allow for a much more seamless future. . metaverse

Let’s talk about how important this movement is this week. Then we’ll close with our product of the week, a mobile solar solution that could help avoid the ecological and power outage problems that states like California and Texas are expected to experience as climate change damages their electric grids. makes it less reliable.

current metaverse

Currently, the metaverse isn’t as much of a thing as it is a lot of things.

The most advanced version of the Metaverse today is Nvidia’s Omniverse. The equipment is used to design buildings, train autonomous robots (including autonomous cars), and form the foundation for Prithvi-2, which is designed to better simulate and predict the weather – both To provide early information of major weather events and to design potential measures for global climate change.

While many people think the metaverse will grow to replace the Internet, I doubt it will or will happen. The Internet organizes information relatively efficiently. Moving from a test interface to a VR interface can slow down the data access process without any offsetting benefits.

The Metaverse is best for simulation, emulation, and especially for tasks where the use of virtual environments and machine speed can solve critical problems more quickly and accurately than existing alternatives. For those tasks, it is already proving itself valuable. While it will likely develop into something more like the holodeck in “Star Trek” or the virtual world depicted in the movie “The Matrix,” it hasn’t yet.

what do you need now

What we can do now is to create photorealistic images that can be explored virtually. But we can’t make realistic digital twins of humans to populate the metaverse. We can’t yet build the device of the human body so you can experience the metaverse as if it were real, and our primary interface, VR glasses, are big, bulky and create the 3D glasses that the market previously rejected. , on the contrary look much better .

These problems are not cheap or easy to fix. If they were to be solved uniquely for each of the Metaverse instances, then the evolution of the Metaverse and our experience in it would be years behind, not decades.

What is needed is the level of collaboration and collaboration that has now built the internet to focus on building the metaverse, and that is exactly what happened last week.

Acclaimed Founding Member

The formation of the Metaverse Standards Forum directly addresses this interoperability and standards problem.

Meta and Nvidia are both on this platform, including who’s who of the tech companies — except for Apple, a firm that generally wants to go it alone. Heavy hitters like Microsoft, Adobe, Alibaba, Huawei, Qualcomm and Sony are participating, along with Epic Games (Metaverse promises a future where you can play in the digital twin of your home, school or office).

Existing standards groups including the Spatial Web Foundation, the Web3D Consortium and the World Wide Web Consortium have also joined.

Hosted by the Khronos Group, membership to MSF is free and open to any organization, so look for companies from multiple industries to be listed. The forum meeting is expected to begin next month.

This effort should significantly increase the pace of progress for the Metaverse and make it more useful for more things; Nvidia is using it successfully for today and is reaching a future where we can use it for everything from entertainment and gaming to creating our own digital twins and the potential for digital immortality.

Wrapping Up: The Metaverse Grows Up

I hope that the formation of the Metaverse Standards Forum will accelerate the development of the Metaverse and move it towards a common concept that can interoperate between providers.

While I don’t believe it will ever replace the Internet, I do think it could evolve into an experience that, over time, we can largely live and play with for most of our lives, Can potentially enrich those lives significantly.

I envision virtual vacations, more engaging remote meetings, and video games that are more realistic than ever, all due to better collaboration and an effort to set standards that will benefit the mixed reality market as a whole.

The Metaverse is coming and, thanks to the Metaverse Standards Forum, it will arrive faster and it could have been better.

Technical Product of the Week

Sesame Solar Nanogrid

Those of us who live in states where electricity has become unreliable due to global warming and poorly planned electrical grids expect some serious problems in extreme weather.

Companies and institutions have generator backups, but gas and diesel shortages are on the rise. So, not only are these generators likely to be unreliable when used for extended periods, they are anything but green and will exacerbate the climate change problem they are supposed to mitigate.

Sesame Solar has an institutional solution to this problem, a large solar-generating trailer that also carries a hydrogen fuel cell to generate electricity at night or on cloudy days.

The trailer can also process and filter local water, which can relieve residents from weather or crisis-related water shortages.

It appears that Sesame Solar does a better job of mitigating power outages without producing greenhouse gases that will exacerbate the problem. As a result, the Sesame Solar Nanogrid is my product of the week.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.