Tech Headlines of the Week: GTA6, Google’s AI & Genetic Data Breaches

Key Takeaways

This week's tech headlines feature Google's cutting-edge AI model, Gemini, Bitcoin's impressive resurgence, and impactful innovations in AI and accessibility.

In the world of technology, each week brings a fresh wave of innovation and developments that shape the digital landscape.

The past week has been nothing short of eventful, from groundbreaking artificial intelligence (AI) models to the resurgence of cryptocurrencies and the introduction of game-changing tools for tech professionals.

Join us as we explore the latest tech headlines, from artificial intelligence and cybersecurity to the exciting world of gaming and digital accessibility.

OpenAI vs. Google: The Battle for AI Supremacy Heats Up

This week, Google unveiled Gemini, its cutting-edge multimodal AI model capable of comprehending and working with text, images, video, audio, and code.

With Gemini Ultra, Gemini Pro, and Gemini Nano, Google offers a range of versatile models catering to different tasks and devices. Notably, Gemini has already been integrated into Google’s Bard chatbot, and Gemini Nano will soon power summary and smart-reply features on the Pixel 8 Pro.

As we delve deeper into Gemini’s capabilities, it becomes evident that OpenAI now faces a formidable competitor in AI innovation and integration. With the stage set for an exciting period of competition and innovation between these tech giants, the more cautious techies here will nervously hope this won’t be another project like Google+, Stadia, or Google Glasses that will eventually disappear.

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Google Gemini AI Reactions – Strong Praise, But Questions to Answer (Techopedia)

Bitcoin tops $44,000

After a tumultuous 19 months that followed the crypto market crash triggered by the Terra LUNA controversy in 2022, Bitcoin has made an impressive recovery. Its price has surged to over $44,000, marking a significant rebound and a 175% increase. This resurgence of Bitcoin and the record-breaking gold prices this week highlight the financial landscape’s dynamic nature and the continued evolution of digital currencies in the global economy.

Bitcoin Bull Run 2024: Are You Ready For The Rally? (Techopedia

The AI Copilot Redefining CIO Responsibilities

As the role of the CIO becomes increasingly complex in the digital transformation era, startup Asato introduces a groundbreaking AI-powered copilot tailored specifically for CIOs. Sundari Mitra, Asato’s CEO and co-founder, highlights the challenges faced by CIOs dealing with data sprawl and decentralized IT assets. Asato’s platform, backed by a $7.5 million seed financing round, leverages AI and knowledge graphs to automate the discovery and contextualization of IT assets, providing insights and progress tracking. 

By addressing the need for streamlined IT management, Asato aims to empower CIOs to navigate the complexities of their infrastructure effectively, ultimately saving costs and enhancing decision-making. This innovative solution is set to reshape the CIO’s role in the digital age.

Asato: A new AI copilot for CIOs (VentureBeat)

IBM and Meta Join Forces: Launching the AI Alliance for Responsible Innovation

In a significant move, IBM and Meta have partnered with over 50 founding members and collaborators to inaugurate the AI Alliance, an international initiative focused on promoting AI’s responsible and open development. The rapid proliferation of generative AI applications has escalated concerns about ethics and societal implications. This alliance aims to bridge the gap between technology companies, startups, academia, research institutions, and government bodies to foster open innovation in AI science. 

This collaborative effort reflects a commitment to harness AI advancements for the greater good while ensuring responsible and inclusive innovation in the AI landscape.

AI Alliance: More Than 50 Organizations Cast Wide Safety Net (Techopedia)

Empowering Voices: Apple’s Commitment to Accessibility

In a touching tribute to inclusivity and accessibility, Apple released a poignant short film ahead of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The film shines a spotlight on Apple’s groundbreaking Personal Voice accessibility feature, introduced in iOS 17, which empowers users facing the risk of losing their Voice due to conditions like Parkinson’s disease, ALS, and vocal cord paralysis. 

Personal Voice allows individuals to preserve their unique Voice digitally, offering solace and identity retention for those grappling with the fear of losing a vital part of themselves. By making this feature available to all iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma users, Apple extends a lifeline of support and reassurance to anyone who may require it, whether temporarily or for the long term. 

How to use Personal Voice on iPhone with iOS 17 (Engadget)

23andMe Data Breach Exposes Ancestry Data of Millions

Many struggle to think of gift ideas for their family members, and they might think of purchasing a DNA kit to help them explore their family history during the holiday season. But we have already warned of the dangers of allowing genetic privacy to become a commodity. So maybe you should think twice before sharing your family’s DNA.

However, this week, our worst fears were confirmed with the revelations that genetic testing giant 23andMe confirmed a data breach impacting a staggering 6.9 million individuals, far beyond their initial estimate. This incident underscores the pressing need for stringent safeguards to protect the privacy and security of genetic data in an increasingly interconnected world.

23andMe confirms hackers stole ancestry data on 6.9 million users (TechCrunch)

Best Tech Skills to Learn in 2024

As the new year approaches, it’s a prime moment to evaluate the relevance of your programming and tech skills and consider upskilling for optimal career prospects.

With many industries at your disposal, the question arises: which ones are set to dominate in 2024 and beyond?

Top 10 Tech Skills to Learn in 2024 to Make a Six-Figure Salary (Techopedia)

Meta’s AI Art Generator: Trained on 1.1 Billion Social Photos

Meta has launched the “Imagine with Meta AI” website, offering a standalone experience for creating images using its Emu image-synthesis model. Initially available only within messaging and social networking apps, this technology can generate images from written prompts. Meta used 1.1 billion publicly visible Facebook and Instagram images to train the AI model. 

Each generation on the website creates four 1280×1280 pixel images, saved in JPEG format with a watermark logo. While the AI model can produce aesthetically novel results, it filters out specific content, but once again, it raises concerns about potential misuse and ethical considerations in AI image synthesis.

Meta’s new AI image generator was trained on 1.1 billion Instagram and Facebook photos (Ars Technica)

Tom Petty, The Unexpected Star of GTA 6’s Teaser Trailer

The Grand Theft Auto franchise, a gaming icon since its debut in 1997, recently unleashed the much-anticipated trailer for Grand Theft Auto 6. What sets this teaser apart is its choice of soundtrack—a 1980s Tom Petty classic, “Love Is A Long Road.”

While the trailer has already garnered over 100 million views, it’s not the only thing soaring. Spotify reported an astonishing 36,979% increase in streams for the track since the trailer’s release on Tuesday. 

GTA 6: Streams soar for 70s rocker Tom Petty thanks to trailer (BBC)

Exploring the Best Films to Understand AI

As you relax this weekend, why not explore some of the finest AI-themed films that shed light on how AI functions in today’s era of ChatGPT, MidJourney, and other AI tools? Over 50 years of AI in cinema have evolved from classics like ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ to modern gems like Spike Jonze’s ‘Her.’ These movies take on new meanings in a world of large language models (LLMs) and generative AI.

Whether unraveling the intricacies of machine learning or offering cautionary tales about the power of technology, our selection of films has something for every AI enthusiast and curious viewer.

10 Best Films to Understand How AI Works (Techopedia)

The Bottom Line

This week’s tech headlines have showcased the ever-evolving landscape of innovation, from Google’s Gemini AI model promising intense competition in AI to the resurgence of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. As CIOs gain new allies in AI-powered copilots and ethical considerations drive the formation of the AI Alliance, the tech world is actively shaping a dynamic and responsible future. 

Meanwhile, the intersection of accessibility and technology takes center stage with Apple’s Personal Voice feature, offering hope and identity preservation. However, caution is urged, exemplified by 23andMe’s data breach, emphasizing the urgent need for robust privacy safeguards in our interconnected digital age. Each headline makes the message clear: tech’s potential is limitless, but responsible innovation remains paramount.

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Neil C. Hughes

Neil is a freelance tech journalist with over two decades of IT experience. Celebrated as one of LinkedIn's Top Voices in technology and recognized by CIO Magazine and ZDNet for his influential insights, Neil has contributed to publications like INC, TNW, TechHQ, and Cybernews while also hosting the popular Tech Talks Daily Podcast.