Daily Tech Digest - April 14, 2024

Why small language models are the next big thing in AI

The complexity of tools and techniques required to work with LLMs also presents a steep learning curve for developers, further limiting accessibility. There is a long cycle time for developers, from training to building and deploying models, which slows down development and experimentation. ... Enter small language models. SLMs are more streamlined versions of LLMs, with fewer parameters and simpler designs. They require less data and training time—think minutes or a few hours, as opposed to days for LLMs. This makes SLMs more efficient and straightforward to implement on-site or on smaller devices. One of the key advantages of SLMs is their suitability for specific applications. Because they have a more focused scope and require less data, they can be fine-tuned for particular domains or tasks more easily than large, general-purpose models. This customization enables companies to create SLMs that are highly effective for their specific needs, such as sentiment analysis, named entity recognition, or domain-specific question answering. 

Navigating the AI revolution

Regulatory bodies like the European Union (EU) closely monitor data center energy usage through the Energy Efficiency Directive. This directive mandates that data center operators with a total rated power of 500 kilowatts or above are required to publicly report their energy performance data annually. An integral aspect of sustainability involves addressing 'Scope 3 emissions' under the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. While there’s a significant focus on Scope 1 and 2 responsibilities, which measure emissions from a data center’s own operations and electricity usage, Scope 3 emissions encompass the broader environmental impact of indirect emissions generated by data center operations outside its premises. ... The rise of AI technologies presents challenges and opportunities for the data center industry. By incorporating track busway solutions into data center infrastructure, operators can address the challenges posed by escalating power densities while contributing to significantly reducing Scope 3 emissions. This will position data centers to meet the demands of AI-driven workloads while ensuring their facilities’ continued reliability and energy efficiency.

Large language models generate biased content, warn researchers

Dr. Maria Perez Ortiz, an author of the report from UCL Computer Science and a member of the UNESCO Chair in AI at UCL team, said, "Our research exposes the deeply ingrained gender biases within large language models and calls for an ethical overhaul in AI development. As a woman in tech, I advocate for AI systems that reflect the rich tapestry of human diversity, ensuring they uplift rather than undermine gender equality." The UNESCO Chair in AI at UCL team will be working with UNESCO to help raise awareness of this problem and contribute to solution developments by running joint workshops and events involving relevant stakeholders: AI scientists and developers, tech organizations, and policymakers. Professor John Shawe-Taylor, lead author of the report from UCL Computer Science and UNESCO Chair in AI at UCL, said, "Overseeing this research as the UNESCO Chair in AI, it's clear that addressing AI-induced gender biases requires a concerted, global effort. This study not only sheds light on existing inequalities but also paves the way for international collaboration in creating AI technologies that honor human rights and gender equity. ..."

Enterprise of the Future: Disruptive Technology = Infinite Possibilities

In the current state, employees are required to navigate multiple enterprise application interfaces and browse many systems to get information for their day-to-day activities. It could be a simple activity such as fetching clarification on leave policies, checking for the leave balance or reporting an incident to have a laptop or printer issue fixed. To accomplish their daily responsibilities, employees often end up searching for standard operating procedures and other relevant data and knowledge. In general, to perform their day-to-day tasks, they must go through multiple enterprise application interfaces. This often results in a steep learning curve for the employees, necessitating them to remember where specific data and information resides, to understand the functionality of multiple enterprise applications and master the way they operate. This fragmentation of information across different data sources and the labyrinth of applications that need to be navigated to perform daily activities leads to inefficiencies and confusion that ultimately impact productivity. Moreover, changes within an organisation necessitate training on new systems and new ways of working, requiring employees to learn and adapt continuously.

The state of open source in Europe

Europe is renowned for regulations, and the past year has resulted in several large policy frameworks that influence tech — the Cyber Resilience Act (CRA), the Product Liability Directive, and the EU AI Act. With lots of information to digest and react to, both FOSDEM and SOOCON held deep-dive sessions. Over the past year, the CRA has been of the most concern to open-source communities, as it puts responsibility for harm caused by software into the hands of creators. For open-source software, this is complicated, as who is really responsible? The creator of the open-source software or its implementor? Many open-source projects have no legal entity that anyone can hold “responsible” for problems or harm. ... “‘Open-source software and hardware’ used to be enough to encompass the community and its aims and concerns. Now it’s ‘Open-source software, hardware, and data’.” An Open data movement, that aims to keep public data as freely accessible as possible, has existed for some time. The EU alone has nearly 2 million data sets. However, this past year saw the open-source community have to care about the openness of data in completely new ways.

Elemental Surprise: Physicists Discover a New Quantum State

“The search and discovery of novel topological properties of matter have emerged as one of the most sought-after treasures in modern physics, both from a fundamental physics point of view and for finding potential applications in next-generation quantum science and engineering,” said Hasan. “The discovery of this new topological state made in an elemental solid was enabled by multiple innovative experimental advances and instrumentations in our lab at Princeton.” An elemental solid serves as an invaluable experimental platform for testing various concepts of topology. Up until now, bismuth has been the only element that hosts a rich tapestry of topology, leading to two decades of intensive research activities. This is partly attributed to the material’s cleanliness and the ease of synthesis. However, the current discovery of even richer topological phenomena in arsenic will potentially pave the way for new and sustained research directions. “For the first time, we demonstrate that, akin to different correlated phenomena, distinct topological orders can also interact and give rise to new and intriguing quantum phenomena,” Hasan said.

The cloud is benefiting IT, but not business

According to a recent McKinsey survey that engaged about 50 European cloud leaders, the benefits of cloud migration still need to be recovered. In other words, cloud migrations are not as universally beneficial as we’ve been led to believe. I’m not sure why this is news to anyone. The central promise of cloud computing was to usher in a new era of agility, cost savings, and innovation for businesses. However, according to the McKinsey survey, only one-third of European companies actively monitor non-IT outcomes after migrating to the cloud, which suggests a less optimistic picture. Moreover, 71% of companies measured the impact of cloud adoption solely through the prism of IT operational improvements rather than core business benefits. This imbalance raises a critical question: Are the primary beneficiaries of cloud migration just the tech departments rather than the more comprehensive business entities they’re supposed to empower? Cloud computing technology is often associated with business agility and new revenue generation, but just 37% report cost savings outside of IT. Only 32% report new revenue generation despite having invested hundreds of millions of dollars in cloud computing.

Securing Mobile Apps: Development Strategies and Testing Methods

Ensuring secure data storage is crucial in today's technology landscape, especially for apps. It's vital to protect sensitive information and financial records to prevent unauthorized access and data breaches. Secure data storage includes encrypting information both at rest and in transit using encryption methods and secure storage techniques. Moreover, setting up access controls, authentication procedures, and conducting regular security checks are essential to uphold the confidentiality and integrity of stored data. By prioritizing these data storage practices and security protocols, developers can ensure that user information remains shielded from risks and vulnerabilities. Faulty encryption and flawed security measures can lead to vulnerabilities within apps, putting sensitive data at risk of unauthorized access and misuse. If encryption algorithms are weak or not implemented correctly, encrypted data could be easily decoded by actors. Poor key management, like storing encryption keys insecurely, worsens these threats. Additionally, security protocols lacking proper authentication or authorization controls create opportunities for attackers to bypass security measures.

How Do Open Source Licenses Work? The Ultimate Guide

The type of license a project creator chooses should be determined by legal counsel, as entering the realm of copyright law requires alignment with the project creators’ intentions. The type of license, which only qualified legal counsel can provide, should correspond to what the project creators want to achieve. Meanwhile, among popular licenses, the MIT License is comparatively permissive. It allows users to fork or copy the code freely, offering flexibility in how they utilize it. This stands in contrast to so-called “copyleft” licenses, like the GNU General Public License, which impose more stipulations. ... The process of changing a license can be complicated and challenging, emphasizing the importance of selecting the right license initially. When altering an open source project’s license, the new license must often comply with or be compatible with the original license, depending on its terms. Ensuring that the changes align with the copyright holders’ stakes in the project is crucial. This intricate process requires the guidance of competent legal counsel. It’s advisable to establish proper licensing from the project’s outset to avoid complexities later on.

6 Things That Will Tell You If You Are Destined for Leadership

Self-awareness about personality traits naturally leads to increased understanding and empathy when working with people who possess different traits than us. Instead of being unable to make sense of others' actions, we can analyze them and relate them to their inherent personality preference. This ability can prevent natural triggers towards the unknown from judging, blaming or taking things personally. ... Knowing about personality preferences is essential, but it's also crucial to be aware of how people prefer to handle change. Change is an event, but how change affects people is based on their personality traits. Some people embrace change so much they want it to be fast and vast. However, they tend to have difficulty staying focused and completing tasks. Others have an adverse reaction to change. They honor tradition and enjoy predictability.  ... Everyone has experienced negative situations, such as making the wrong choices, reacting to someone's words or behaviors with negative emotions or getting sucked into self-sabotaging thoughts. When you can bounce back from these situations with a positive mindset and be productive, you are exercising resilience.

Quote for the day:

"With desperation comes frustration. With determination comes purpose achievement, and peace." -- James A. Murphy

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