🤖📈 Insights on the state of generative AI from McKinsey. How the Cold War shaped modern tech and why it matters. Mobile game funds anti-military resistance in Myanmar.
Happy September, Bizarro readers.
Here are this edition’s top stories:
🤖📈 Insights on the state of generative AI from McKinsey
🎮💾 How the Cold War shaped modern tech and why it matters
📱🇲🇲 Mobile game funds anti-military resistance in Myanmar
Happy reading and have a wonderful weekend!
📰 From the Newsroom
According to McKinsey's 2023 report, which gathered responses from 1,684 participants across various industries and regions, generative AI is increasingly becoming a focal point for both technological innovation and business strategy. While high-performing companies continue to lead in adoption and investment, the AI landscape remains complex, featuring challenges in strategy, models, and talent management. Amid this complexity, AI is also expected to have a significant impact on workforce composition and the nature of work itself.
High-performing organizations are outspending their peers on AI, allocating more than 20% of their digital budgets on these technologies. These frontrunners are using AI capabilities across multiple business functions and are particularly adept at dealing with more advanced challenges related to model performance and re-training.
Despite the buzz around generative AI, overall AI adoption rates remain steady at around 55%. Most organizations continue to focus on one or two business functions for AI implementation, with less than a third using AI across multiple areas. However, over two-thirds of respondents plan to increase AI investments in the coming years.
The workforce impact of AI is expected to be substantial but nuanced. While generative AI is predicted to decrease workforce size in service operations, it is more commonly seen as an augmentation tool rather than a replacement. In the high-performing companies, there is an expectation to re-skill more than 30% of the workforce due to AI adoption.
As generative AI offers transformative potential, the question of how best to adopt, scale, and manage these technologies looms large. Organizations will need to balance between capturing immediate value from existing AI applications and the transformative promise of generative AI. Navigating this complex terrain will require not just technological investments but also strategic vision, a focus on talent, and an evolving understanding of AI's impact on the workforce.
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From the iconic ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 gaming consoles to today's digital landscape, the Cold War era was instrumental in shaping the pioneers of modern technology. As this generation of tech-savvy individuals continues to innovate, new challenges arise that demand our attention.
Early game systems like the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 served as more than just entertainment; they were the foundation for many who learned to code and contributed to the tech world we know today.
While the physical threats of the Cold War era have receded, a "Second Cold War" looms in the digital realm. Cybercrime, state-sponsored cyber warfare, and privacy concerns are the new battlefields that we must navigate.
Science fiction's Terminators may not be at our doorsteps, but the real threats are increasingly digital. From the rise in online fraud to the potential for data monopolization by industry giants, the cyber realm is the new frontier for criminal activity.
As we grapple with these emerging digital threats, the onus falls on both the tech industry and governments to invest in robust cybersecurity measures. Are we prepared for the challenges that our increasing reliance on digital technology presents? 🤔
Ko Toot, an IT professional from Myanmar, created an app-based mobile game to raise funds and awareness for the anti-military resistance following the 2021 coup in his homeland. Angered by the military's detainment of his friends and countless innocent civilians, he decided to contribute to the movement using his IT skills.
The game, initially named “The PDF Game”, lets players assume roles of People’s Defence Forces (PDF) soldiers and undertake missions resembling real-life events in Myanmar. It is free but includes in-game ads to generate revenue.
According to Ko Toot, the game has generated at least $508,000, with monthly earnings between $70,000 and $80,000. These funds are channeled to local PDFs for arms, humanitarian aid, and support for children displaced by the conflict.
Despite facing some obstacles like removal from Apple's App Store due to sensitive content policies, the game has been downloaded almost one million times, and it continues to gain traction. The Myanmar military has criticized the game, but Ko Toot remains undeterred.
Ko Toot's innovative mobile game is a compelling example of how creativity in the hands of a committed individual can make an enormous impact. Not only has the game provided vital funding for those resisting the military coup, but it has also raised global awareness of the ongoing crisis in Myanmar. By channeling his creativity into this unique digital platform, Ko Toot has undoubtedly changed the lives of countless people ensnared in the conflict.
⛓️ Ten Must See Links of the Month
A former employee of OpenSea (an NFT marketplace) was sentenced to three months in prison after being convicted in the first-ever insider-trading case involving digital assets.
The Aurora, developed by the German Aerospace Center DLR, is a revolutionary multipurpose spaceplane that merges aircraft and rocket technologies to offer low-cost, safe access to space, with flight operations set to begin in 2026/2027.
A multidisciplinary team of scientists and philosophers has developed a 14-point checklist to evaluate the potential consciousness of AI models, concluding that current systems like ChatGPT are unlikely to be conscious.
IBM Research Europe has developed a 64-core mixed-signal in-memory computing chip using phase-change memory devices, which will likely speed up computations and reduce energy use in deep learning algorithms.
Google's Gemini AI, incorporating GPT-4 and AlphaGo-inspired techniques, aims to challenge ChatGPT's dominance by leveraging multimodal capabilities, a wealth of proprietary data from Google services, and the expertise of Google's combined Brain and DeepMind research teams.
A group of academics has developed a deep learning-based acoustic side-channel attack that can decipher laptop keystrokes with 95% accuracy using a nearby phone, posing significant risks to user privacy and security.
In the latest example of why relying solely on AI to generate content is a bad idea, the Columbus Dispatch, owned by USA Today publisher Gannett, has suspended its AI-powered sports writing after the bot produced poorly written and sometimes incoherent articles about local sports events.
📽️🎞️ Forget AI. Gene editing is still our most powerful — and dangerous — technology. Journalist and author Walter Isaacson explains why in five minutes.
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🎤 It’s How They Said It
"If at first you don’t succeed, call it version 1.0.”
– Author Unknown
🧮 The Numbers Game
82% is the size of the drop in daily active users for Meta's Threads app, falling from a peak of 44,000,000 to 8,000,000 as of July 31.
56% of all ERC-20 token listings (ERC-20 is a technical standard used for smart contracts on the Ethereum Blockchain) on major crypto exchanges since January 2021 have shown evidence of insider trading.
50 platforms were targeted by China, in what Meta described as the "largest known cross-platform covert influence operation in the world." Meta’s investigation resulted in the removal of 7,704 Facebook accounts, 954 Pages, 15 Groups, and 15 Instagram accounts.
$925,000 is the average total compensation for a typical software engineer at OpenAI LLC with 10 years of experience - according to tech industry salary tracker Levels.fyi.
⚒️ Tools and Resources
🖼️ Image of The Month
Google’s generative AI (SGE) feature has been catching some serious flack for repeatedly showing a certain leader in various search results, including for the queries greatest world leaders (seen below), most effective leaders, and inspirational world leaders.
💬 Word of The Month
"Jugaad" (जुगाड़) is a Hindi term that captures a universal spirit of ingenious problem-solving. Rooted in the Indian approach to improvising quick, effective solutions with limited resources, jugaad is innovation at its most agile. It represents the art of "making do," turning constraints into opportunity through lateral thinking.
In the tech world, where challenges are complex and resources often stretched, the concept of jugaad can be a game-changer. It's not about the flashiest tech or the most sophisticated algorithm; it's about cutting through complexity to find surprisingly simple solutions. Whether you're rigging a last-minute fix for a coding issue or hacking together a prototype, you're embracing the essence of jugaad. So, the next time you're up against a wall, maybe what you need isn't more resources, but a touch of jugaad.
📊 Results of Last Month’s Polls
Last month’s poll were a clear indicator that the Bizarro Devs audience does not have faith and trust in emerging cryptocurrencies - even ones backed by big name heavyweights like OpenAI. Can anyone blame you, though? Besides the privacy factor, which the majority of you voted as your reason for “nay”, there is the obvious possibility that Worldcoin will go the way of Terra, Solana, or any of the other cryptos that tanked after riding a wave of hype.
As for the smart city concept - it seems like a great idea. I can see why the overwhelming majority of you would be open to having it be adopted in your own cities. No argument there. The only thing I’m wondering is where the 3% that voted against it live?
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Until next time,