🤖💀 New AI algorithm can predict life events and even death. Forrester releases its 2024 predictions report. Booking.com has been the recent target of cyberattacks.
Dear Bizarro Readers,
January is upon us and we’ve got some very futuristic stories lined up for you. In some ways, it felt that way almost every issue last year, but it only speaks to the rapid pace at which technology is progressing. One quick look at the image of the month in this issue and that reality will sink in right away. The same goes for the first of our top three stories this month. Speaking of which...
Here are the top stories:
🤖💀 New AI Algorithm Can Predict Life Events and Even Death
📋📊 Forrester Releases Its 2024 Predictions Report
🏨🦹 Booking.com Has Been the Recent Target of Cyberattacks
Let’s get into it.
📰 From the Newsroom
More than two decades ago, Tom Cruise starred in "Minority Report," a film where the plot focused on using predictive technology to preemptively stop crimes. Fast forward over twenty years, and researchers have developed an AI model, life2vec, which echoes these once-fictional concepts.
Life2vec works by analyzing extensive data about people's lives.
After training on patterns in the data, life2vec is then able to predict outcomes like personality traits and even time of death with remarkable accuracy.
The technology is groundbreaking, but it raises significant ethical questions about data privacy, bias, and the impact on individuals' lives.
This advancement in AI, reminiscent of concepts explored in "Minority Report," not only marks a significant technological milestone but also prompts critical discussions about the societal and ethical implications of using AI to predict personal life events.
Forrester, a renowned market research company, has published their predictions for the coming year, offering a deep dive into trends that are poised to shape the business and technological landscapes in 2024. The report provides a strategic perspective on key areas of focus for businesses in the upcoming year, making it an essential read for leaders and decision-makers across various industries. Some of the key highlights include:
Europe will outpace the U.S. in flexible working in 2024, with 40% of Europeans working remotely at least some of the time. In 2023, the Netherlands led Europe in remote work support, with 74% of Dutch workers being allowed to work remotely last year.
Buyers aged 25 to 44 will dominate business buying teams in 2024. This will prioritize personal interactions with product experts, necessitating alignment of offerings and experts earlier in the sales process.
The global average customer experience (CX) is projected to improve in 2024, driven by generative AI helping to enhance service agents' capabilities. Customers can expect faster responses, better first-contact issue resolution, and overall clearer communication.
In closing, these highlights are just a glimpse into the wealth of compelling insights found within Forrester's report. We encourage you to delve deeper into the report itself to read about the other transformative trends and critical insights that await us in 2024.
Planning a vacation soon? Regardless of which rental website you plan on using to secure your stay, it's crucial to be aware of recent cybersecurity breaches that have been targeting Booking.com customers via their hotel partners.
Since at least March of 2023, cyber-criminals have been offering up to $2,000 for login details to hotel admin systems so they could gain access to customer information.
Cybersecurity experts have clarified that while Booking.com's platform itself remains secure, criminals have found methods to infiltrate the administrative systems of individual hotels utilizing their services.
These attacks, involving malware, have led to the manipulation of Booking.com's systems, allowing attackers to trick customers into making payments to them, rather than to Booking.com.
While these attacks were specific to Booking.com, it’s unclear whether similar attacks are in process or being planned against other vacation rental platforms. Therefore, it’s important to stay vigilant when planning your next getaway.
⛓️ Ten Must See Links of the Month
In a historic milestone, NASA recently transmitted an ultra-high definition video of a cat named Taters from the Psyche spacecraft, located 19 million miles away from Earth.
Scientists have created a synthetic fiber that mimics polar bear fur, producing a sweater thinner than a down jacket yet equally warm.
Recently, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission reprimanded U.S. pharmacy, Rite Aid, for wrongly identifying innocent shoppers as theft suspects using facial recognition software and banned Rite Aid from using it for five years.
A new system dubbed “Glaze” subtly alters artwork so that it appears unchanged to human eyes but looks drastically different to AI models. Glaze’s goal is to prevent unauthorized replication of an artist's unique style by generative AI.
Users have recently reported that something seems to be off about ChatGPT lately. The number of complaints have been so high that OpenAI was even forced to address them, but swore that they hadn’t done anything to the algorithm since November 11th, 2023.
A Tesla driver has been ordered to pay $23,000 restitution for a 2019 fatal crash in Los Angeles. What’s unique about this case is that it’s the first time that U.S. felony charges have been brought against a driver using Autopilot software. It has also resulted in a recall of more than two million Teslas.
Frontier is a mega supercomputer that contains more than 9,400 nodes, with each node representing a 150-teraflop computer. After breaking a computing record in May of 2022 to become the world’s fastest computer, it recently broke that previous record by doing 9.95 quintillion calculations per second.
📽️🎞️ Werner Vogels, Chief Technology Officer of Amazon, shares his annual outlook related to tech topics, with Forbes Assistant Managing Editor, Diane Brady.
The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine-learning tools like ChatGPT has had a significant impact on web development and programming, but will AI replace developers?
Researchers are creating AI computers powered by human brain cells, using brain organoids as a biological alternative to traditional electronic computers, potentially offering greater efficiency and processing power with less electricity usage.
🎤 It’s How They Said It
“The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time.”
– Tom Cargill of Bell Labs
🧮 The Numbers Game
95 percent more ransomware attacks were reported in 2023 than in 2022, as detailed in a recent report by Corvus Insurance (a leading cyber insurance underwriter).
$4,450,000 USD was the average cost of a data breach across the globe in 2023, as reported in IBM's Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023. This represents a 15% increase over the past three years.
400 percent was the size of the increase in enrollments in the U.S. National Security Agency’s no-cost cybersecurity services to their Department of Defense contractors in 2023. Enhanced security for a $0 investment sounds like a great deal.
⚒️ Tools and Resources
This month’s tools are focused on making coding fun for those who want to learn or brush up on their CSS or SQL skills.
Flexbox Froggy: Help Froggy and friends in this fun, free game by writing CSS code. Each of the 24 levels teaches a different aspect of using Flexbox and it’s perfect for beginners or anyone looking to sharpen their Flexbox skills. Start playing and see how quickly you can get Froggy to the lily pad!
SQL Murder Mystery: In this interactive mystery game, players use SQL commands to solve a murder that occurred in “SQL City” on January 15, 2018. It’s aimed at those who have some level of comfort with SQL already, but want to brush up on their skills. The game challenges players to explore a database, uncover clues, and identify the murderer. It is built using SQLite and provides a fun and practical way to apply SQL knowledge.
🖼️ Image of The Month
MidJourney, which has been arguably the most impressive of the AI image generators to date, recently launched the 6th version of their tool.
The six images above represent a visual timeline of the same prompt, and the result of that prompt, as generated by the first version all the way to this most recent version.
It’s worth noting that version 5 had a few mini iterations before the launch of version 6, but this collage is still more than enough to showcase how quickly the technology has improved in such a short timespan. For all of the images, including the missing ones from the various version 5 releases, please see this Tweet.
💬 Word of The Month
"Fingerspitzengefühl" (German): This word captures the essence of intuition and experience blending together seamlessly. In the tech realm, fingerspitzengefühl is that rare skill that enables you to navigate the subtle complexities of system design or user experience with a seemingly effortless touch. It gives you the ability to approach complex situations with a nuanced understanding and a tactful instinct.
📰 Bizarro Job of The Month
We searched the web far and wide for bizarro job openings and while there are plenty of listicle-style articles that describe weird jobs, it is a lot harder to find an actual company that is accepting applications to any of those weird jobs.
After searching long and hard, we stumbled upon Same Ole Line Dudes, who - at least according to their website - do seem to be open to hearing from interested applicants.
From their website:
We are currently based in New York City, but have plans to expand. Interested parties should email a resume to email@example.com with the city you live in IN THE SUBJECT.
The job itself is to literally stand in line - hence the name of the company. Not the most fun job in the world, but definitely not that difficult, and weird enough to qualify as our bizarro job of the month.
🧑🏻💻👨🏽💻👩🏼💻 Tell a Friend or Colleague
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Until next time,